To The FemmeMobile! Away!











{June 5, 2012}   Link spam!

Some fun stuff I’ve been finding.

First! Jason Alexander, y’know the comedian, did something stupid. In a comedy bit, he said cricket was gay and then pantomimed effeminate stuff, thereby offending homosexual folks as well as queer and straight genderbenders AND feminists.

But mostly the gays people.

They called him on it. He pooh-poohed them. More people called him on it… so he actually sat down and thought about it. Then he wrote up this apology, which might be the best apology I’ve ever read, in large part because it means he actually THOUGHT ABOUT IT and is willing to learn and grow. YAY!

Also, a friend linked me to this as well: Fuck Yeah, Hard Femmeย An extremely awesome Tumblr account with — you guessed it — hard femmes.

Which has made me think about the definition of femme some more. I somehow doubt I’ll ever find a definition that I can accept. And each time I look, I start wondering about the whole genderqueering definition again.

More on that later.

J

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{September 10, 2011}   Comment away!

I made a new comment policy. It says I can edit any comment of anyone being a douchebag. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I kind of love that function. >.>

I’m also taking off the moderation; I figure with a threat like that, people will probably behave. And if not, I’ll edit with impunity!

J



{August 28, 2011}   Failing spectacularly

You know, I generally try to be the better person. I try really hard to keep my cool in the face of stupidity and think to myself, “If you attack, they won’t take anything away. If you reason, they might listen.”

(Part of me also then thinks, “No they won’t! Reasoning is for the middle-of-the-road people, not the maniacs who’ve already made up their mind to one extreme or the other!” I’ve read WAY TOO MANY STUDIES on this kind of shit, and sometimes become my own worst enemy.)

But I try to be the better person and keep my cool. When I can’t, I try and walk away. And hey, I’m good at letting claws peek out while I’m smiling, anyway, or at least I think I am.ย  Though, in general, I try to be reasonable and not prick people… though I AM more likely to do it if it’s someone I don’t know. Less respect, less personhood for unknown people, you know? Same reason it’s easy to be an ass to someone online that you’ve never met: they’re faceless.

Anyway. Some (self-identified) masculinized-female is being a dick over in DK’s old blog. DK wrote this in his new blog: “My friends defended my honour and theirs with grace and cutting verbage,” and yeah, it’s definitely Nezu with the grace, because I am certainly not acting with any of that. (I like to think I have cutting verbage. >.>)

…I don’t feel particularly bad about it. I haven’t come right out and name called (though I did use the words “judgemental” “discriminatory” and various other socially-triggering things, but I don’t really care), but I certainly feel like the claws are out.

I have very sharp claws. I generally keep them sheathed, mostly because when I don’t I regret it. Either because I hurt someone and have Guilt, or because I kick myself later for burning bridges, or because I’ve been such a shit that I’m a little horrified at myself. So far, I’ve managed to travel the line that keeps me from being horrified at myself, and I don’t have Guilt.

The last time the claws came out was also over gender issues, on my blog — well, in comments that never made it to my blog, and then email. That person showed up here a while later to lambast me some more, and those comments didn’t go through, either (though I was sorely, sorely tempted, out of sheer spite. See, I would have felt bad about that – I’m guessing she didn’t think the comments would go through, since it was pretty much vitriol aimed at me. *sighs* And even over email and in the face of insults, I remained polite. I want a cookie, damn it). (It should be noted that I used something that person said as an example of a fallacious argument, so I wasn’t at all surprised I got the vitriolic comment/email… See, I’m really not so innocent. That would be claws-out-with-a-smile, because I never attributed it to her, I was polite in the email,ย and I didn’t pass her extremely nasty comment through to let everyone else see what a shit she was being…)

What is it about lesbians hauling off and being so very nasty to transpeople? (Is it supposed to be Trans people? I think I read that somewhere, but can’t remember.) I mean, I hear straight folk say some dumb-ass things, but I haven’t personally heard anyone straight say bitchy and outright insulting things. Lesbians, though, I’ve heard that to my face, as it were, twice, and overheard it other times.

Is it that FTMs are threatening? Making the already-small pool of possible partners smaller? Is it hard-core feminist lesbians who see FTMs as selling out? Is it that it makes us aware that, gasp, our own gender journey could not be finished and there might be MORE hard changes in store, and so it’s scary to see? Is it that lesbians are like everyone else, and things that are very different alarm them?

Probably all of the above, to one extent or another.

Anyway. I feel like a bitch in the 1700’s, when conversation was everything. When if you wanted to say something truly mean, you still found a pretty way to say it. I’ve failed spectacularly in being the better person, but at least I’m saying it with confidence and in thoughtful, creative ways. *wry smile*

J



One of the things Kate said in her book, Gender Outlaw, was that one of the gender constructs for femmes was that they look (typically a butch) in the eye, look away, and then look back and hold the gaze.

I almost fell out of my bed, folks, because I do that all the time. (And actually, another reason I think sometimes the social construct theory is wrong; because until I decided femme fit, I didn’t know any other femmes. How could I have learned this pattern if there was no one to teach me? Suggests it’s inborn, rather than created.) Of course, some part of me goes, “Do you really do it all the time? Or are you just remembering the times you’ve done it and forgetting the majority when you haven’t?” But the more I think about it, the more I think I’m right.

Interestingly, I only do it to people I’m personally interested in, whether it’s interest in how they look, in friendship, or in something else. If it’s a business transaction? I’m far more likely just to look and hold the gaze, no looking away needed.

Fascinating. ๐Ÿ˜€

It also tells me that somewhere out there someone has studied the social construct of femme, and oh my god I want to read that. We have social constructs? I had no idea!

One of the other interesting things she said was that butch tended to be stepping outside the male gaze. Wait, I’m not sure I’m saying this well. So, in our patriarchal society the male gaze is the one that gets to be active and assertive by looking, and women are to be passive and submissive/vulnerable by being looked at. So butch is stepping outside that; females who are essentially taking that gaze back, taking that power of the male gaze for themselves and refusing to be the looked-at ones. They tend not to expose skin or sexualized themselves in every day life (at least, not in a culturally common way, but let me just tell you how hot Q was when I saw her in scrubs one day, omg. …I’m really looking forward to her coming home tomorrow.), and tend not to attracted sexual male attention. Femme, on the other hand, is typically purposefully stepping into a more vulnerable space, attracting the male gaze and attracting attention, more likely than not showing skin. I don’t mean dressing slutty; if I get dressed up, I will likely wear a dress that bares my shoulders, or a shirt that has a V-neck, or a skirt that bares my legs. Q, on the other hand, is going to wear a suit — that covers a hell of a lot more skin!

This wasn’t interesting because it was a novel concept, though I hadn’t consciously thought of it before, but rather because of the way Q and I interact. Q is a pacifist, despite dressing in a way that tells people she is not to be trifled with. Q has had… well, I think she’s had some major betrayals in her life, but she doesn’t seem to count them the way I do. ;-D (She would agree that she’s had a few, whereas I’m like, “Just let me at almost everyone in your history, I’ll tear them to bits…”) Q’s dated mostly other butches, with the occasional femme thrown in — though lately, as butch/butch has become more acceptable, she’s dated predominantly other masculine-centered andros or butches. I’m far more femmey than any of her recent flirtations. Now, I’ve talked before (at least, I thought I had, but I can’t find that post anywhere. Possibly it was on my personal blog. This is the problem with multiple blogs.) about the clothing deal: I like clothes that put me in that vulnerable space, though I never feel vulnerable. Q prefers other clothes, in large part because when I look vulnerable she feels like it is then her job to watch out for me (though she knows I can take care of myself; it’s still what society says, right? Masculine watches out for vulnerable feminine.). Plus, she’s far more aware of possible harm because she’s experienced it; her trend is to see where things can go wrong. I haven’t experienced that level of harm, and in fact have experienced the opposite; that if I treat people like I expect them to treat me nicely, and even place some slight trust in figures seen as untrustworthy, they are pleased at being treated decently and so they return it. Therefore, I expect things to go well.

(I also have a ruthless streak. I read end-of-the-world books and go, “…I’d survive that.” In general I curb that tendency, due to a violent episode I had when I was younger. But this also means that if I were attacked, while I don’t know if I’d escape, I’d sure as hell do some damage before I was taken down. Most attackers back off when they realize you’ll do damage.)

Now, here is where things started to link together in my mind. Q is pacifistic, feels like she needs to protect me when I put myself in a vulnerable, looked-at position, but her hands are tied; she can’t really protect me if things go wrong because she’s a pacifist. She hasn’t been dating femme women, and I do wonder if this might be a large part of why not; other butches aren’t putting themselves in that vulnerable position, and therefore putting her in a cognitively dissonant position. Which in turn makes me wonder if she was able to take up dating me, despite my perceived vulnerability, because of my underlying warrior. I don’t act like I expect her to protect me, like I can’t take care of myself, like I’m vulnerable or weak, or like I need protecting. Maybe it makes it easier to deal with my small clothes when I break them out, then? I know men treat me differently than other women who wear the same thing; I always assume they’re picking up on my inner warrior (or inner steel, if you prefer). Maybe that’s also what makes it a bit easier for Q to date someone in a more vulnerable state? (Or maybe I’m totally off the mark here.)

Hmm. Hey! Q! Does this sound like a plausible subconscious motivation? I mean, I know you really date me for my hot body, but… ;-D

(It’s much more fun when I can apply things I read to myself and dynamics between me and the people I’m around. :D)

J



So, in my other life I’m a total comic book geek. And San Diego Comic Con, the BIGGEST comic book convention IN THE WORLD, is this weekend! But alas, I’m not going. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Last time I went to ComicCon was a few years ago (there was a time when I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but then I got a job. >.<), and I went like this:

You can’t see my stomach muscles in this pic, but I assure you, I did so many freakin’ crunches for the months ahead of time that I HAD THEM. I was quite sad they didn’t show up in photos. Oh well.

This year, the Westboro Baptist Church decided to picket ComicCon. THOSE FOOLS. I’m so proud of my fellow geeks right now, though. See, the denizens of ComicCon… decided to PICKET BACK. Hee. Hee hee. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. They arrived with signs that said things like, “God hates kittens,” “Thor is my god,” “Your god got nailed to a cross. My god has a hammer,” “God loves gay Robin,” “Odin is God,” “God needs a starship,” “Superman loves fags,” “Fags are sexy beasts,” and so on. They even had a chant going: “What do we want? Gay sex! When do we want it? NOW!” One guy said into a microphone (in what I hope was a good Vader impression), “I find your lack of faith… disturbing.” And the best part? There were the usual handful of Westboro guys… and hundreds of fans.

Holy shit. I love my fellow geeks. I’m so proud right now!

You can read about it, and see LOTS of awesome pictures (including guys dressed up as Jesus, and Buddy Jesus, along with the more usual assortment of comic and movie characters) here.

And here.

And here and here and here. And there’s even video and whatnot, here!

Hee hee. Don’t mess with geeks. We mess back. ๐Ÿ˜€

Yes, that would be me in the middle...

PS if you hit those links, you should check the comments. They make me happy. ๐Ÿ˜€



{June 3, 2010}   Femme confrontation

So, the other night Q and I were at dinner (keeping in mind time is fluid, and by ‘the other night’ I mean a MONTH ago), and she ordered a fillet mingon. Or however you spell that. I’m spelling impaired and vegetarian, what can I say?

When her cut of meat came, it was quite clearly a steak. Even I, the spelling impaired vegetarian, could see that. Given she’d paid extra for her fillet, this wasn’t impressive. She was like, “Eh, it’ll be fine,” and I was like, “*flap flap flap!* Get their asses back here!” Only attempting subtlety. (I probably failed.)

It reminded me of the time someone made a nasty crack about DK, but not to DK, at the gym while she was working out. I flailed around when I found out about it, because let’s be honest, here: if someone made a nasty comment about me, especially if it were boys/young men, I’d sulk and be hurt and sad. But THEN I’d find the manager and have them thrown out. And then they’d be more butthurt than me, ha ha, and if I wanted to pretend like I was doing it for moral reasons than I could also say maybe it would teach them to treat people with respect, but let’s be realistic here.

DK, however, licked her wounds and didn’t say anything. She and I talked then about how femmes — myself, of course, and the other femmes whose blogs I read — seem to be much more proactive and assertive when things like that happen than most butches, who seem to shrug it off. DK and I theorized that maybe butches were just more used to it, or more laid back as a whole. Who knows?

But when the thing happened with Q, she pointed something else out: butches spend their lives trying not to be noticed, to avoid more trouble. Complaining isn’t a way not to be noticed. I, however, have the privilege of looking hetronormative. If I scream, I fully expect that people (*coughs*men*coughs*) will COME RUNNING. Sure, I might meet the occasional sleeze, but most guys will help.

If I complain, I fully expect that women will help me from a feeling of solidarity, and men will help me because I’m attractive (and, obviously, vain. I know it’s bad, but I’m totally willing to use social conditioning in my favor.) and because I’m “the little woman.” (It’s also useful that while I’m of average height, I’m still slim and come across as small.)

Don’t get me wrong, there are definite drawbacks to this. But I’m not talking about those right now: I’m talking about how this has shaped my behavior when it comes to things like telling someone to fuck off, or to either refund my money or get me a new steak, god damn it (all with a smile, and preferably done in such a way that people do what I want before they realize they can say no).

It’s interesting to me the ways in which butch and male differ: men act much as I do, for different reason. They generally expect the world will do as they ask because they’re taught from childhood that they’re the higher caste (in, of course, the loosest sense of the word). Butches, however, are taught not to create too much of a fuss, not to draw more attention to themselves, because they’re outside the norm: drawing attention can be dangerous.

Femmes, on the other hand, are working within the system; we seem like we’re the norm. I get what I want because I’m helpless, to be doted on, to be aided, to be coddled. Female and feminine. Corrupting from the inside, mwahahaha.

Uh. Back to my original point. I just thought it was interesting, both to see how butches and femmes often seem to differ when it comes to confrontation (as a generalization, obviously), and to see how men and butch differ on the same lines.

Gender and social constructs. Fascinating stuff. ๐Ÿ˜€

J



{May 14, 2010}   Argumentative shut-downs

So. I’ve been reading blogs and comments pages and things, and something I’ve noticed is how, somehow, argumentative shut-downs seem to work. Now, that’s the point of an argumentative shut-down: to shut down the conversation. To shut the other person up. They’re used when a topic is uncomfortable to the person in societal privilege. So, for instance, it’s used by men toward women.ย  By white people toward people of color. By straight people to gay people. By gay people to trans* people. By gender normative people to gender queer people. By able-bodied people to disabled people, by young people to old people, by pretty people to ugly people, by skinny people to heavy people, and so on FOREVER.

Recently, I learned a lot about argument shut-downs because I had a friend involved in Race!Fail, and she, lovely person that she is, taught us about racist arguments and attitudes and things, and BOY DID I LEARN A LOT. Including things about privilege and how to spot when someone is using a shut-down. Which I have seen frequently in the butch-femme blogs of late.

I was going to post a handy-dandy list of how to spot a shut-down, but instead I’m going to provide you with an awesome link:

DERAILING FOR DUMMIES

Everyone should go read it! Not only does it get the point across, it’s also hilarious. That said, I’m still going to talk about the shut-downs I’ve seen most often. (I’m not nearly as funny as the Derailing for Dummies guy, though.)

1. The Tone Argument.

We all know it. It goes something like this: “I am not responding to the rest of your patronizing comment. You clearly do not engage with respect.” Is this true? Absolutely, could be. But mostly, it’s a way to stop arguing, used by people in power. See, here’s the thing: if the person who holds the privileged viewpoint cannot be proven wrong, they are then right. Theirs is the privileged viewpoint. If they refuse to argue, they cannot be proven wrong — and so they win the argument. This is the tone argument, because they’re not refuting anything that the other person has said: they’re saying, “I don’t like that tone of voice, young lady. I’m not speaking to you anymore.” It’s condescending, belittling, and gets someone out of an argument they don’t like without having to actually think about whatever it is they’re uncomfortable with. Another example is one I actually wrote: “[…] when people arenโ€™t used to reading things in capitals it doesnโ€™t come across as emphasis but rather as screaming, attacking, and/or condescension.” While I wasn’t stopping the argument there (and therefore it’s not really the tone argument), I was suggesting the tone might be modified. I’m pointing this out so you can practice noticing! If you see something like this when someone IS stopping the argument, it’s the tone argument.

2. Why Should We Talk About Your Pain? I’m Privileged: Let’s Talk About Mine!

The most easily identifiable form of this argument is actually a sexist one. Imagine, for a moment, you’re a woman standing in a group talking about the problems with women being raped. Someone walks up and says, “But men get raped, too!” This has COMPLETELY derailed the conversation. Is it true? Yes! But it’s not the topic. What it’s done is shift the topic from something that makes the privileged class — men — uncomfortable, and back onto discussing the privileged class — men. Another example is if a butch were discussing whether or not other butches considered a dildo a sex toy. If someone were to come in at this point and discuss whether or not he was comfortable with anyone but a biomale using the term cock, and how it upset him, this is a derailment. It’s taking a conversation by those who do not have privilege, and turning it back to focus once more on the privileged gender. It says, in short, “I know this is your safe space, but I dislike that the focus is not on privilege, that it threatens privilege by not deferring to it right now, and so I am going to insist that your safe space still acknowledge that my privilege is more important.” Is it totally understandable for someone to dislike that cock is no longer a male-only term? Absolutely. This is just not the time or place to be talking about that. In fact, since most conversations center around how gender normal people feel, interrupting a conversation among gender queer people to talk again about gender normal people is never okay, unless it’s invited.

Let’s have another one, shall we?

3. The I’m Not Talking About You Personally Argument.

Imagine, for a moment, I went to my friend Maelie‘s blog. She’s an AWESOME webcomic artist (free pimping! Check out tentative.net for her comics! SciFi, Fantasy, and one about a girl who runs away from the circus, ohyes). Now imagine I hung around there, reading about how much she likes webcomics, commenting on this, that, and the other thing. Then one day I get in a discussion with someone else in her comments, and in this discussion I say, “In fact, I think it’s Wrong to draw webcomics. I think that’s a sign of deep disrespect for yourself.” If Maelie were upset about this, would she have every right to be? HELL YES. I’ve just gone into her home and insulted her way of living. However, people who use this argument follow it up with something along the lines of, “I didn’t mean you personally, Maelie. I wasn’t trying to disrespect you.” Whether or not I was trying to disrespect her, it is extremely rude. In fact, it is a violation of her safe space, the same way it would be a violation to walk into her house and attack her emotionally in some way. “But I didn’t mean you personally!” This does not make it any better. If I say, “I hate black people,” to my black friend, and then say, “But I don’t mean you,” that does not make it okay. Furthermore, it takes a safe space — a space where people feel free to talk about webcomics — and makes it unsafe.

This brings us to two more arguments!

3. Intention Argument.

“My intention wasn’t to hurt you!” “My intention wasn’t to disrespect you!” Since no one can tell what someone’s intention is, since none of us are mind readers, intention really doesn’t matter. “I didn’t mean to upset you.” This doesn’t really matter. Between friends, sure, it can make a difference. But it is NOT an excuse. Plus, if someone has just pulled a, “I hate webcomics” in a webcomics space, half a second’s worth of thought would have told them that it would hurt people, no matter what their intention was. If they say, “I don’t think butches should use ‘he’, I think it is bad and disrespectful” in a femme-butch community, it doesn’t matter if the intention is to hurt butches: it’s obvious that statement is going to hurt someone, and therefore disrespectful in the extreme to say it.

4. But This Is A Public Space!

The argument has been made that if you put something on your personal blog, it is then in public space. Like a lot of these kinds of arguments, while it is true in technicality, it isn’t true in the unspoken social codes. If someone says this, they are generally arguing to be allowed to beat you up. After all, you put it in a public space. This is bullshit. This is, in fact, a blaming-the-victim argument. I do not ask to be raped by wearing a short skirt, nor do I ask to be verbally brutalized by putting things online. In fact, a personal blog is more than anything a safe space, and should be treated accordingly. Any time you go into anyone’s community, you should act accordingly — and if you should act accordingly, then if someone comes into your community, they should act accordingly!

5. Insults

These are most effective when they are not completely insulting, when they can tread the line so the author can say, “Oh, I was just kidding!” Example: “youโ€™re being a hall monitor. Again.” This shuts down the conversation, and if it doesn’t work right off the bat, they can continue by saying something like, “I don’t like your tone. I was only kidding, but now you’re yelling at me!” when the person gets offended! In fact, this particular quote is extra insulting. The ‘again’ implies ‘you’ are always a hall monitor, as well as adding a great level of condescension; the implication being that the speaker has had to tell you before, because the speaker is obviously in charge of who gets to be the hall monitor, and furthermore that the speaker doesn’t appreciate having to remind you of your manners — like an adult to a child.

6. Shutting Someone Out.

This is most simply done when you tell someone they must be silent for the conversation. There’s a brilliant quote, in fact: “I wasnโ€™t talking to you personally or asking you personally to explain yourself. It was a general question.” So, in effect — anyone can answer it, except you.

I couldn’t make this shit up.

7. You Are Only Saying That Because Society Has Taught You That And You Don’t Know It!

As a femme, I get this sadly frequently (usually spoken so I can’t quote anything, dammit. It’s so much more fulfilling when I can quote something. ;-D). For instance, “You only like butch women because society has taught you to like masculinity.” And when I counter with, “No, actually, I like butch women because I like butch women,” the response is, “You just don’t know you’re repressed by the patriarchy.” (This is also something I get for liking girly clothes, painted nails, and something my sister gets for enjoying cooking and domesticity.) It’s impossible to argue with someone who insists that your every motive is due to being repressed, only you can’t tell. This also takes away any ability of someone to claim they know themselves, it says the privileged person knows them better and knows what’s better for them, and infantilises them. (It drives me CRAZY.)

There’s a really simple rule of thumb I learned when I was embroiled in the Prop 8 arguments: re-phrase it to something ridiculous (webcomics) or something hot-button (racism). Is it patently ludicrous/offensive? Then you’re in the right to haul someone up by their short and curlies and tell them to knock it off. Now, some people enjoy the debate and hearing other viewpoints even when it includes this sort of thing, and I try my very best not to step into those blogs if the blogger hasn’t expressed displeasure. (It’s also sometimes hard to see in your own blog, as in a discussion that went bad here and I let go on too long.) I’m just… not one of them. ๐Ÿ˜‰

J



{March 24, 2010}   Touch and Go

Life has been a bit touch and go for me, here. I don’t know why, but there’s annoyance right there at the surface, and it keeps sort of… rising. Not in a “I’m so PISSY” sort of way, but in a, “…Alpha wolf is getting annoyed,” sort of way, which is both healthier for me and more dangerous for the folks around me. I notice it in the fact that I’m cursing more, that my warrior streak is sort of constantly right there under my skin, that I’m taking no shit at all from people of late. Which isn’t to say I’m being a bitch, but is to say that I’m awfully good at smiling and putting the smackdown.

I think it ties in with sex.

The more I play around with Q, the more she encourages and supports and pushes and just shows me how to have fun, the more I’m teasing and confident and reclaiming a part of myself I hadn’t realized was really that damaged.

Here’s what I’m finding amazing: it’s more than just sex. It’s more than being able to say, “Touch here, suck there, I want…” (which, uh, I still have problems saying BUT I’M GETTING THERE!). I’ve talked before about how being able to make people look at me is a power trip. What I hadn’t realized was that I was still hamstrung; I could make people look from a distance, but there was always a concern at the back of my mind. What if they took me up on the offer? Ohgod. I was always walking around with one stray thought paying attention to how I would get out of any particular sexual jam. (Such as, what if someone made a sexual comment? What if someone wanted to talk about their sex life and expected me to talk, too? OH NO THE HUMANITY.)

Now… I’m not. Or I am but much less — that’s probably more accurate. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And it’s like I’ve dropped ten feet of anchor chain. Suddenly, I can stand up straight. I don’t have to remember to hold it up, it means I can take on things I couldn’t take on before because now I have the energy to do it. I’m not spending half my energy looking for an escape.

I used to think to myself that, when I got over this sexual thing, I couldn’t wait to meet myself. Well, I’m meeting myself, and I like me. My edges are sharper than they need to be, but that’s okay. I’ll re-learn how to be a slightly more gentle person, but now I have the strength to continue to back myself.

It’s not all there, by any means. But — wow. I have the distinct feeling that I don’t have to take shit from anyone, and it makes me feel slightly invincible.I am becoming the force to be reckoned with I always suspected I’d be. It’s a little terrifying. Time to work on developing some extra compassion so I don’t just bowl people over. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In only slightly related news, Bond mentioned a strap-on in passing, which made me think of sex. Actually, everything makes me think of sex.

DK: So, I got my hair cut the other day–

Me: Hmm. Q’s hair is too short to grab during SEX.

Nezu: You want to get together Friday?

Me: Friday. What am I doing Friday? I dunno but Thursday I’m having SEX. Last Friday I think I was having SEX, too.

G: So, Swoon List–

Me: Sex sex sex sex sex sex sex

Bobby Da Bird: Chirp!

Me: Ha ha ha ha, he totally wolf-whistled at Q’s ass the other day in the middle of SEX, which made her laugh really hard. Oh, man. That sex was really great.

Even in the middle of sex. Q: What are you thinking about?

Me: …I was just mentally gloating over my awesome sex with a really hot butch. >.>

Okay, so granted, I think about sex on a regular basis anyway. But these days I’m constantly horny, due in no small part to the fact that Q keeps calling and texting me and saying things that make me horny. Which — oh, man. We keep talking about sex stuff. Not only the sex we’re having, but the different things we like and ways we look at it.ย  (Under the cut? More SEX!)

Read the rest of this entry »



Ha ha ha, I mean that for an SO, but REALLY I mean it for EVERYTHING. >.>

Okay, so Nick was very nice and very interesting but… there were no sparks. NONE. Alas.

And then I came home and my neighbor, K, and her boyfriend got me drunk. hoooleee… Hee. ๐Ÿ˜€

The good news is — well, multifold. Or something. Work with me here, I’m drunk blogging. The good news is, I think both Nick and I realized it wasn’t sparking, so I don’t have to worry about a stalker. Yay! The other good news is, I looked FABULOUS. Check it out. ๐Ÿ˜€

Pictures are clickable! You can kind of see the tops of the boots in that one pic; alas, I was working with a timer and the confines of my apartment, so I couldn’t get a better shot.

You ever meet someone, and you think, “…I would flatten you.”? I do. I do it a lot, actually. Part of it is self confidence. I have a lot of it these days. I am attractive, I run my own business, I’m a successful business woman, dog trainer, author, and I’m well on my way toward being successful in being a good person — donating to charity, living with love, all that kinda stuff.

It was very strange being with Nick, because if anyone had asked me I would have said the same thing about her. And yet, even as our conversations went on, I could feel myself quietly taking control. I don’t think it has to do with experience. I didn’t hit this same thing with DK. DK was basically my energetic equal in most ways (in other ways, we swapped off so it was all good). At no point did I feel like, “I could smother you.” And yet, that’s what I feel with most people. I’m in control. I’m going to guide the conversation, decide what we talk about, decide how fast we move, etc. I hadn’t really realized it until tonight, and it was a little odd. The phrase that popped into my head? “Fiercely femme.”

I’m not a dom. I do not WANT to be a dom. I have no interest in that. Problem is, to find someone who can — for lack of a better term, and believe me, I don’t like D/s and my skin crawls at this term and if anyone ever used it on me I would have to break their kneecaps. Oh wait, I kinda already did with someone else — match me, and take charge, and be slightly dom for me… well, I’m not sure how that ends. Except, boy, they’d better be REALLY dom without being a Dom and without being a controlling ass (those two things are very separate, let me just point out. You can be Dom and not be a controlling ass, and if you’re a controlling ass you’re probably not really a Dom).

I’m starting to think I’m hilariously well balanced, and anyone coming after me had better be really centered.

It’s almost like a test. I feel like a dog. In fact, allow me to put this in dog terms.

What decides the top dog? It’s strength. Pure and simple. Dogs are easy. “Are you stronger than me? Show it by outpowering me. If you are stronger, then you are the better choice for top dog, and I will listen. BUT, I am going to test you a million times over, first.” That’s me.

Are you stronger? I’m going to take over this conversation. Are you going to take it back? I’m going to step forward and tell those men to fuck off. Are you going to step forward even in front of me and play guard, or are you going to let me be the boss?

It hadn’t occurred to me this would come up, honestly, because DK — who was many years younger than me — responded the way I needed.

Take a hypothetical situation. (Really, never happened. Probably a good thing.) Say we’re walking down the road, the two of us, and we meet a group of guys. Those guys start making snarky comments. Now, DK is more likely than I am to let it roll off; she’s laid back like that. I, on the other hand, am a lot more likely to step forward and tell them to FUCK OFF.

Here is the test: does she let me do it and deal, or does she step forward?

DK was the type to step forward. A shadow there, just behind me. If they stepped forward, I knew she’d step up too. I was protected. I had my pack, and I knew she would help keep me safe. (Mind you, if I were alone and I said FUCK OFF I also knew I could keep myself safe, but it’s the thought that, in this case, counts more than anything you could possibly imagine.)

Another hypothesis, which happened frequently IMO. It’s evening. I’m freaking out about god knows what. I’m bouncing around the apartment and stressing myself out, feeling like there’s a beehive of distress under my skin.

DK grabs me and drags me down to the couch, physically. (She was a fair amount larger than I am.) She hangs onto me for a minute, and tells me it’s fine. Let’s watch a movie. It’ll be okay, and in the morning I’ll think better. I could fight that. I know that if I were truly upset, I’d snap and snark and she’d let go and we’d talk about it — but at the same time, I’d be sitting and already slightly calmer. If she’s right — and she often was — I’d settle, let it go, snuggle and trust her to take care of the world for a bit so that I could let go,and in the morning — whaddaya know? — it would be better.

There is a fine line between this sort of alphaness and assholiness. Here’s the thing, though: if DK never grabs me and pulls me down and shows me, physically, that she’s strong and tough and will take care of it and therefore keep me safe, I never believe it. I continue on being boss. If she does it at the wrong time and refuses to listen to my stress, that’s more like misogyny. (DK was very good at knowing this line. Some instinctive thing, I think. ;))

I do not want to have to be in charge all the time, but it’s in my nature to push. To try. To see if you’re really strong enough to take over, to trust that you’re really the best person for the job. It’s that dog thing. Are you really stronger than me? Because if not, I’m better suited to fight off the bad guys. It doesn’t really have to do with how awesome you are or how self confident you are. Of course, those play in; without the correct balance, it’s not right. But there’s something else there. An alpha dog thing, that I don’t yet have the language to describe. Something I want. Something I need to feel safe, like I can trust you to take care of it so that, at least in the evenings, I can relax and settle. And let me tell you, I’m very strong. If you can’t match me, this won’t work. If you can, then very quickly I’ll stop fighting. I might test, occasionally, but when you call me on it I’ll melt and grin and feel protected and loved because you can take care of me.

Along with that, I’d like someone fit, attractive, who likes going to plays, the ballet, opera, and other things (or will at least let me convince them), who likes dogs enough to deal with mine. That’s not asking much, right? >.>

Nick was very sweet. Probably the perfect thing for a retro, feminine femme lady. That’s not me. Being fierce is awesome, but sometimes I wish I were a little less so. >.<

J



{October 27, 2009}   Identifying femme

I have a giant essay-y post of doom percolating in my head. And if I say it’s giant, you know there’s trouble. Probably is, it’s sort of scattered all over the place.

Which, granted, not much different than normal. ;-D

But usually I have a vague idea of a plan, and this time… I don’t. Alas, alack, I’m sure we’ll figure it out, right? You’re with me, right?

Right?

Guys?

Awww. ;-D

So, I’ve been reading this book on Femmes called Femmes of Power. It’s a bunch of essays, articles, interviews and the like by various high-powered femmes in the femme and feminist activist worlds. A lot of it is trying to describe who they are and how they feel femme and that sort of stuff. A LOT of it focuses — in part, I think because they’re activists — on how being femme is about deconstructing femininity, reclaiming it as our own rather than as something we do because we’ve been enculturated to do it, and how they queer it.

This, at first, put me off a little. I don’t feel like I do that. Not all the women in the book do that, either, but MOST of them do, and I hear it over and over again in femme stuff. But I really don’t feel like I do that. >.< Then I started looking at myself and patterns in my life a little bit deeper, and I think some things have started to come together.

Many femme women were girly girls. They liked skirts, dresses, make-up, hair styling, etc. I did not. Most of them felt like they had bought into the patriarchal idea that they had to look pretty. I … did not. I was a tomboy, first and foremost. I was eighteen or so before I realized that things other than comic book T-shirts and denim cut-offs existed. (And baseball caps. Don’t forget the baseball caps. :D) So while many of these women talk about having to stop and examine what they were doing and why, I was very aware when I started dressing up in the first place that I was doing it to make people look at me. I didn’t have that need to stop and think about why I was dressing as I was dressing: I sort of skipped that step and went straight to dressing and knowing exactly why I was doing it and owning that power.

Next point. Many of these women talk about using femme clothing as a costume, that it’s not normal style (though sometimes it is), that they’re highly aware of looking not-quite-like-others. I kept thinking I didn’t really have that. I just put on whatever I felt like putting on, and didn’t pay attention to whether it looked like other people or not. I mean, T-shirts and cut offs. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Then more typical shorts and belly shirts.

And then I started thinking about my own patterns and realized that was never really true, either. Once I started paying attention to how I dressed, I wanted to stand out. I didn’t look like everyone else, at least not most of the time. When I was younger I remember my older sister looking at me in one of my outfits I’d put together one day, shaking her head, and saying, “It works for you. It wouldn’t work for anyone else, and I don’t know why it works on you, but it does. It’s Jenna-style.” Then she sadly shook her head again, I’m sure despairing of ever having a proper girl for a sister, and walked away.

I was gleeful. *laughs* I didn’t want to look like everyone else. I found hats — other than my baseball caps — and even when I wasn’t really feeling awesome, I wore things like my handkerchief shirts (proper for clubbing, which I wore for the hell of it), my doc martins with anything I wanted, sheer tops over funky clothes — clothes. Things I never really thought about, that weren’t exactly popular, but I liked them. So, I guess I did fit that criteria of clothing as a costume, except that I don’t feel like I’m putting on a costume — I feel like I’m dressing like me. It’s just that me isn’t how everyone else looks.

Over the last few years, while I’ve tried to start a business and look respectable, I’ve been dressing more “normal.” Jeans and plain tank tops (though even those are, uh, tight. And thin. >.>), a lack of hats, normal shoes. Over the last few weeks, though, I’ve been remembering how much I really enjoyed dressing for ME, and I’ve started going back to it — a little more carefully, still trying to look like someone you’d trust your dog with, but right back into my style. And you know what? It’s awesome. It doesn’t even take any thought, really, because it’s ME.

I don’t feel like I’m deconstructing femininity, but I do feel like my style is a little bit queer. I definitely feel like I wear things specifically to own how and when people will look at me, to have that power of attraction. I queer femininity in the same way other lesbian and bi women do, because I’m not dressing for the male gaze — and not to please the male gaze, certainly — but more for a specific female gaze. Also, because it gives me power. I’m not sure I can describe that: think femme fatale, and that’s how it feels.

In this book they also talk about femmes reclaiming and bringing power to the desire to be desired, the need to be needed. The idea that of COURSE we can do it ourselves, in fact we’re totally strong and kick-ass, but we LIKE femininity, like playing up to that idea of queer masculinity, like the old style chivalry without actually needing it. I’m still having problems putting it into words, but I know it when I feel it. >.<

Something else I find interesting is the butch/femme queer thing. When you say a butch is queer, it generally refers to genderqueer. They are inhabiting a masculine energy in a feminine body, ergo their gender is queer.

When they say femmes are queer, it seems more to refer to the idea that we are taking femininity and setting it on its head, taking it back and empowering feminine ideals in equality, enjoying chivalry without allowing the patriarchy, being strong but still feminine. We are queering femininity itself, but we are not genderqueer. Some people say we are genderqueer, but they can’t quite describe why.

Interesting.

A lot of what I’m reading is about making a statement in some way or another, and I don’t feel the need to do that. Though I suppose just by being me, I’m making a statement. But where a lot of these women seem to wake up in the morning and say, “What do I want to tell the world today? How am I going to craft that in my clothes?” I just wake up and go, “Hmmm, what do I feel like wearing?”

I do sometimes feel odd. I mean, here’s all these VERY FEMININE WOMEN… and then me. And thought I have a lot of the same feelings, and what I wear is not exactly the norm style-wise, I’m not always that girly. Today I wore black cargo pants with a white thermal top and an awesome black velvet hat. (I love this hat.) I looked great. ๐Ÿ˜€ But not really GIRLY. I mean, I was obviously a girl, and I think I was an awesome looking girl, but it’s not the dresses-and-heels get up a lot of femmes wear, and wouldn’t have been even if I weren’t training dogs today.

There’s another thing that’s helped me with all this, though, just when my perfectionist mind is going, ‘YOU DON’T FIT PERFECTLY, YOU CANNOT BE THIS… UH, THING.’ And that’s DK, because when I’m feeling weirdly boyish among all these girlygirls, DK does awesome little, “OMG THAT IS SO AWESOME,” things that make me feel good about myself, and good about what I’m doing, and still femme and like a girl even though I’m in tomboy clothes. Like I can be me in whatever I’m wearing or doing, and it’s all good and awesome. It reminds me I don’t have to “fit” into the retro-femme. I can break the rules and say, “Yes, I identify as femme, and also I am me.” (This is especially hilarious as most femmes seem pretty relaxed about how you dress or whatnot, even though so many of them really dress up femininely. So why do I need this reassurance? *shrugs* I dunno, but I do. Hopefully someday soon I won’t, and I’ll just enjoy her moments of “!!!” because they’re fun, and not because they tell me I’m okay, still.)

There is a bit I really like about femme stuff. Femme is active, not passive, it is intentional, it is fierce, it is conscious, not unconscious, it is meant to empower, not bend to others’ power. It is reclaiming feminine space, changing what is feminine and bring power to it from the inside out, rather than saying everything feminine is bad because we’re enculturated to do it and kicking it out.

I like that. ๐Ÿ˜€ I guess that sort of explains the power I keep referring to…? I dunno.

Now, something about this word, fierce. I’ve heard it a lot in reference to femme, and at first I didn’t really think anything about it. But I hear it A LOT. In fact, I went to a friend’s wedding recently, and Dr. Danny was there. I said to Danny, “I feel like such a wild child, with my shortish, semi-spikey hair and my black, red, and white dress” (among all the girls with long, softly curling hair and pastel colors). He said, “That’s because you’re fierce,” and I didn’t think anything about it at the time, but I’m thinking about it now, and wondering if he knew what he was saying, even though I didn’t. He’s certainly more knowledgeable about all this than I am. *laughs* Also, not all femmes identify as fierce, but I certainly like it. It plays into my warrior side. ;-D So I kind of hope I could be called fierce. That appeals to me. *grins* A lot.

Hmmm. I don’t think I’ve entirely clarified things for myself, so I’ll probably talk about a lot more of this later. Trying to get it clear, settled, where I understand it and how it relates to me, you know? And hopefully I won’t stay up quite so late tonight obsessing on it all. ;-D

J



et cetera