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Imperialism is not a Lifestyle Choice

there is no way to individually "opt out" of imperialist project

Date: 02/02/2010

I haven't read Massad's book (I just placed an inter-library loan request) so I can't speak about the book or his arguments. That said:

On Feb 2, 2010, at 9:56 PM, Christopher Smith wrote:

Massad has never stated that there is NO same-sexual practice in the "Arab world". What is argued by Massad, is that to define said practices through a Western imaginary, and vocabulary - can and is read as cultural imperialism. This practice does no service/justice to the persons imagined by Western activists as in need of being "emancipated".


Queer/gay/lesbian become imperialist terms, when they are deployed to define someone else's existence, without their consent.

But is it possible for the hegemonic culture/civilsation to *not* define others' existence? To say that these terms "become" imperialist when we use them in certain ways would give the misguided impression that queer people in the West can cease to be part of the imperialist project by merely using language differently, or behaving differently--which I do not believe to be the case. It is in fact useless to argue whether certain word or phrase is imperialist, because the very language we are having that argument in, and the very fact that we are the ones arguing about it, are inseparable from our Western imperialist queer existence.