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Wilson (Brettle & Rice, 1994) writing of the “ambiguities of contemporary space” said “If it is true that postmodernism inaugurates a new experience of the world as fragmented, and that the postmodern sensibility breaks down divisions of all kinds . . . then we should not be surprised that it breaches the public/private divide”. And although “we demand and are able to see more and more . . . our seeing causes fear and paranoia.” (pp. 20-21)

But Pollock (1988) wrote:

“Modernity is still with us, ever more acutely as our cities become in the exacerbated world of postmodernity, more and more a place of strangers and spectacle, while women are ever more vulnerable to violent assault while out in public and are denied the right to move around our cities safely. The spaces of femininity still regulate women’s lives – from running the gauntlet of intrusive looks by men on the streets to deadly sexual assaults. In rape trials, women on the street are assumed to be ‘asking for it’.” (p. 89)

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A ‘gendered space’ can be as important to self-identity and a sense of self-security, as those that inhabit it, but through all of this I have hardly discussed gender. Gender is still discussed in terms of its stereotypical oppositions, the ‘great divide’, and of levels of conformity, appropriateness, sexuality, and breeding (genetics/class). But gender has gone the way of all else post-modern. There are many genders, and spaces large and small accommodate these genders to varying degrees. Nina Wakeford (Ainley, 1998) demonstrated this well when she wrote: “San Francisco has a special place in the lesbian and gay imagination . . . . ‘The city can serve as a sort of gay finishing school, a place where neophytes can confirm their gay identity’”. (p. 176) She wrote:

“San Francisco retains its image as being on the leading edge of reconceptualisations of gender and sexuality, both in public and private worlds . . . . The city retains its reputation for tolerance and acceptance of virtually any subjective definition of sexual identity. A recent advice column featured a letter (signed only ‘Dickless in Frisco’) which indicates the kind of intricate reconfiguration of body, desire and vocabulary in this local context . . . .
You bioboys [boys born boys, as opposed to girls made boys] think you’ve got problems . . . I’m a female-to-male transsexual who since my accession to sentience has been wild about boys. For years I tried to be happy as a straight female, but it never worked, I wasn’t female and I wasn’t straight. What I was, and am, is a guy who is into gay S/M leather as a master/top. I’ve been on testosterone a year and a half and pass as male most of the time, and in daily life my gender is not problematic . . . . And since I’m also a drag queen, I like being able to still look good when I go out en femme – which is not the same as reverting to female: I mean drag in corset and fishnets. Deep down, I think I’m a she-male dominatrix trapped in the body of a FTM tranny.’” (pp.177-178)

 

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