Swiss Army Gender

Over on Facebook, Tané Tachyon has posted this engaging graphic for San Francisco Queer Contra Dance (here):

This is a Swiss Army knife with three sex/gender symbols added to the typical tools in such a knife: male/masculine (upper left), female/feminine (bottom), and a composite of the two (upper right).

(Tané was wondering about the source of the graphic, and this has not yet been identified — though in the discussion Michael Palmer pointed about that there is in fact a Center for the Study of Political Graphics, homepage here, that might be helpful.)

Now, about queer contra dance, here’s information from from the SF Bay group’s website:

Contra dance is a centuries-old New England folk dance tradition. It’s the rowdy red-headed stepchild of English country dance (the kind of dancing you see in Jane Austen movies). Contra dancing is done to live old-timey music in a variety of styles, from lilting Celtic-inspired tunes to rollicking bluegrass. All dances are taught by a caller, who “calls out” instructions throughout the dance.

Queer contra dance takes the traditional division of the dance into “gentlemen” and “ladies” and gives it a queer twist. Instead of gender roles, dancers choose whether or not to wear an armband, which determines their role. (If you’re curious, the “armband” role corresponds to the traditional gentleman’s or leader’s role, but there’s not much difference between the two roles.) The caller uses the term “armbands” or “bands” to refer to the dancers wearing armbands, and “barearms” or “bares” (no, not bears) to indicate those without armbands.

Bands and bares. I like that.


8 Responses to “Swiss Army Gender”

  1. Sheepy Says:

    I think that image is by Luka Delaney:

    (About halfway down. Possibly someone else from SWB, but I’m pretty sure it’s Luka.)

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    And from Tané on Facebook:

    And I guess Luka is calling it “Genderfuck Identification Multitool” rather than “Swiss Army Gender”:

  3. Julie Hekate (@RootsOfEcstasy) Says:

    I could be wrong about this, but I think the design is originally Mira Bellwether’s, not Luka Delaney’s. See Mira’s cafepress page with the “Gender Multi Tool:”

    Note how at the top of the design on Mira’s cafepress store the knife is not clipped off, whereas on Luka’s it is (which indicates to me that he may have used the square icon from this page or one like it:

    I think this is one of the BESTEST DESIGNS OF ALL TIME and bought a t-shirt from the cafepress store a few years ago. A *TON* of people ask me where I got it from and I can never remember, but finally managed to track down the store today!

  4. Seebs Says:

    Pretty sure Mira Bellwether stole it from Luka. You can tell by comparing the images; Mira’s clearly copies Luka’s pixel-for-pixel in some spots, but “cleans up” others.

  5. jay hekate (@RootsOfEcstasy) Says:

    Hmmmm I think you’re right Seebs! Clearly I saw it differently before, but now that I look at the two there are a number of differences – the lipstick, for example – that make me think Luka’s came first. Luka, if that’s the case I’m real sorry.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: