To The FemmeMobile! Away!











{June 19, 2012}   Father’s Day

A couple of weeks back, S (Q’s 8-year-old daughter) looked up at Q and said, “Should we get you father’s day cards?”

Now, I wasn’t actually there for the conversation, but it was relayed to me thusly:

S: Should we get you father’s day cards?
Q: Well… I suppose you could… why do you ask?
S: Because even though you have a girl’s body, you’re more like  a dad.

She was right! Kids are smart like that. They’re not all caught up in ‘supposed-to’s like the rest of us are.  A few days later I picked them up from school (something that only happens rarely), and asked them if they still wanted to get their Mutti a father’s day card. To resounding yeses, we headed to CVS. J (Q’s son) went through several cards before finally, frowning at me, said, “These all say ‘father.’ But she’s our Mutti.” I told him it was okay, she’d understand, and we could always cross “father” out and write “mutti” instead. Apparently satisfied with this answer, they both picked out cards and then announced we should get Q a present, too. They bought Reeces Cups with their own money, and off we went.

Q gets a little resentful over mother’s day because people forget about her. She sends cards and well wishes to her friends, butch and andro alike (I believe I’m pretty much the only femme in her life), but doesn’t get any back. Last year her brother sent her flowers, which was a BIG deal. Then again, I wonder how many people remember at all. I send a card to my folks on their respective days, but not anyone else. Hmmm.

It also occurred to me that in another couple of years, I might well be “eligible” to be getting mother’s day cards of my own. That kinda freaked me out. I think I wouldn’t mind if everyone forgot. >.>

It’s funny; I was also the one kid in the family who DID NOT WANT KIDS, KTHNX. And I’m the first one to end up with them… This amuses me, though I’m still not sure it counts as they’re part-time kids. Also, I didn’t have to deal with any of the crappy baby ages. (I know lots of people say that’s their favorite part, but I like kids best once they hit 7 or 8. Then you can DO STUFF with them!)

Anyway, now I’m starting to ramble. Life continues on.

J



There is this constant debate among the femme community, with people pretty much coming down very strongly on either side, about whether or not femme can be applied to bi or het women, or men of any shape, size, or sexuality. It basically comes down to two arguments, boiled down thusly:

1. Of course, because we’re trying to be inclusive and (my own opinion, here) if we’re saying gender shouldn’t be linked to what body you’re born into, then it also shouldn’t be forced on you because of your sexuality.

2. Lesbian/Queer femme is already a minority: get your damn straight-woman or male-of-any-sort hands off my gender; I have enough areas in which I’m overlooked! Don’t appropriate this one! (I actually quite understand this; it tends to be my emotional reaction. Then my hyper-sensitive sense of morality kicks in, and I realize I don’t really agree with this one…)

Got that? Good.

Now, when I was first looking at femme, I kept seeing how femme and butch were transgenders. They were transgressing gender boundaries; ergo, trans. I learned initially that transgender referred to a person transgressing gender boundaries, which could refer to femme or butch or andro or FTM or MTF or anyone inbetween. I also learned that transsexual meant specifically FTM or MTF.

Since then, through experience I’ve learned that those terms are far from agreed upon, and we, as humans, tend to boil things down to the easiest way of saying it: trans, whether it’s transgressing or transitioning.

All this makes me wonder: do FTM and MTF folks have that same, “stop appropriating my shit!” reaction? I’d think they have much more reason to, to be honest (starting with the fact that, uh, they coined it). I’ve always felt a little strange saying I’m trans (even though I leaped on it initially) because, well, my trans path is VERY DIFFERENT than an FTM/MTF’s trans path. At the same time, I don’t want my trans experience swallowed up into the more socially-fascinating FTM/MTF trans experience. That’s not me; we are totally different ends of the spectrum, only very distantly related if related at all.

I almost feel like we need a different term. Leave trans where it belongs, with the people who used it first: those people who are actually transitioning. I’d rather have a label of my own, to show I’m transgressing gender boundaries.

…I have no idea what that label might be, mind you. But it’s something else I’ve been thinking about.

JB



{March 17, 2011}   Gender and Sexual Orientation

In my various wanderings across the web and through various gender books, one of the things I continuously run across is the argument that your biological sex should not define your gender. I think pretty much everyone reading this blog is going to agree with this.

What I think is interesting is the other argument that I hear on a frequent basis, though: that your sexual orientation DOES define which genders you’re allowed to be.

The argument here is that, for instance, only lesbians can be butch or femme. (For the sake of brevity, and because it seems more hotly contested, I’m going to shorten this to just femme. The arguments for butch actually change slightly, anyway.) Of course, this is a very black and white argument: it doesn’t take into account bi women, or only takes them into account when they’re dating other women. If it does take them into account, it then identifies them as ‘queer,’ so only queer women can be femme, but even then queer in this use seems to silently mean ‘attracted to other women,’ even among the people who would argue in other circumstances that queer can mean almost anything.

While I understand the desire to say, “Hey! I’m femme, and I’m already a minority, damn it, you hetro people get your hands off my gender!”, I still don’t think it’s actually right. I don’t see the difference between using biological sex to constrain gender or using sexual attraction to constrain gender. Either way, we’re saying certain genders can only be used by certain people. Wasn’t the whole point of breaking out of gender boxes so that genders were no long constrained by biology? Which, according to most, is what drives sexual orientation.

If I’m going to say that my biology does not dictate my gender, then I must accept that there are fabulous gay men out there who are also femme, and in fact that there are even hetero cis women who are also femme — whether or not I like it.

Am I wrong? Is my logic flawed somewhere?

J



{November 25, 2010}   Gender and Attraction

I’ve been thinking more about that whole eradicating gender thing, and I think part of my dislike with the idea (aside from the fact that I don’t think it’s humanly possible) is that, it’s gender I’m attracted to. Yes, okay, I’m attracted to people — but I’m attracted to people of a certain gender.

I think I have this concept that if we get rid of gender, everyone will be wearing androgynous. That’s not what Ms. Bornstein means, as far as I can tell; she seems to be saying that getting rid of gender will free people to wear and do whatever they feel at that instant. But even still, that assumes that most people will want to (for lack of a better word) change genders periodically (or more often), and… I can only speak from my experience, but I’m not likely to dress or act much different than I do now. I wear and do the things I do because they’re comfortable for me.

I really feel like I’m missing a key thing, here, like there’s something that Ms. Bornstein is trying to get across to me that I’m not getting. Ha, I should probably go read the book some more. ;-D But I left it home, and I won’t have it until Saturday or Sunday at the earliest, so I’m stuck just hypothesizing.

There are people who read this who have a better grasp of gender and gender theory and whatnot than I do; what do I seem to be missing? Can someone else explain to me what the hypothesis is in a way that I better understand what’s being suggested? Because I’m not at all sure about my conclusions…

J



{November 22, 2010}   Eradicating gender

So, I’ve been reading Gender Outlaw by Kate Bornstein, and I’m at the bit where she’s talking about how we should eradicate gender because it’s essentially a class system.

I can’t argue with it being a class system; I think she’s probably right. (Can you think of a culture where one gender wasn’t considered ‘above’ another? I can’t.) The thing is, I’m not sure it’s possible to eradicate gender.

Humans evolved to categorize and judge. The sky is blue — that’s a judgment. It’s bad to murder. That’s also a judgment. That person is blond. Categorization.  That woman is wearing a red shirt. That’s a categorization. And so on and so forth. With all the snap judgments we have to make today (it’s safe to turn left at this unprotected light, I shouldn’t ask that stranger for directions, I need to take this call, I should dodge this person to thread my way through the crowd), categorizations are actually becoming MORE important. By putting people in categories, it frees up thought time and helps us make faster decisions.

Are those good decisions? Not always. Are they good categories? Not always. Is it a good thing to categorize gender? Not necessarily. But I don’t really think it’s an optional thing, either. I think this is hard-wired into our neural biology. Not that they need to be categorized as we currently have them categorized, but just that there will always be some sort of gender category, and the default will probably be what’s in the view of the majority. That doesn’t mean the minority can’t be in the view of the majority, but if the majority is unaware of it, then it’s never going to be acknowledged. (Ex: when it comes to race in NorCal, black is in the minority but still in the view of the majority; we are aware there are black people. If there is an undiscovered tribe in South America somewhere, they’re not in the view of the majority and so no one is ever going to assume someone is from an undiscovered tribe.)

I’d have to say that rather than try to eradicate gender, I’d like to see more genders explored and acknowledged as acceptable. Will people still screw up at figuring out what gender someone is? Sure. I would hope, though, that the more genders we have, the more people will be respectful of them, and the more people will realize that, yeah, their gender might get screwed up sometimes — no biggie, just correct and move on.

I’ve heard people talk about cultures where a neutral gender is assumed until they’re told otherwise, but I’ve never actually heard of a culture named, which leaves me wondering if this has happened, or if this is simply a desire. If it’s happened, it would argue against my categorization theory.  Maybe, in that case, we could assume a neutral gender. Even so, though, I find it doubtful. I mean, if someone tells me they have a learning disability, even without any evidence my brain starts trying to categorize it by what I’ve seen, and often assumes dyslexia if there are no obvious cues — that’s the well-known one in our culture. I would guess that if people were assuming gender neutral, it would be the same thing; outwardly you might go with gender neutral, inwardly our brains are still at work. And now that I think about it, if people are giving us their gender then it’s still a categorization; it’s just one they put themselves in, rather than one the world put them in.

Of course, I have to admit I find the idea of a no-gender world distasteful. Kate would, I suspect, tell me that I feel that way because I’m invested in gender due to what the culture has taught me. She’d be at least partly (maybe entirely) right; I like having femme as my identity. Erasing gender would erase a piece of nearly everyone’s identity. Saying some people can be genderless is an interesting thought, but in our culture now the outside world does its best to put gender on people, and I’m sure ‘genderless’ would quickly become a gender of its own, with that sort of force applied.

… I totally sidetracked myself, there. I meant to say that I don’t like the idea of a genderless world, and maybe that’s where my theory comes from; grasping at straws to make gender okay. (I don’t believe so, but I will acknowledge that it’s possible!)

I have a lot more thinking on this to do. Definitely some exploring of my own issues and why gender is important. (Mostly, I think, because it brings me a community — in my case, femme. I can find people to relate to at least on that aspect, and that affects how we’re treated and how we act and react. Thinking about eradicating that means the people I talk to for whom this is really our only shared interest… well, my fear is that I’d basically lose them. I’d lose not only my identity, but my community. Hmmm. There’s lots of blog posts on this, I suspect. *laughs*)

Annnnd, now I need to go train dogs. 🙂

J



{November 6, 2010}   Re-thinking Gender

There’s two parts to this post, so bear with me.

Part one!

I’m reading Gender Outlaw by Kate Bornstein, on DK‘s suggestion, and I really like it. It’s making me think again in twisty ways that I find, without some influx of twisty thinking, I tend to stop doing. (Which is a shame, as I really enjoy doing it!) It does remind me, though, to be careful with my words.

One of the premises of the book is that gender is a societal construct, but then in the next breath Kate talks about never “feeling like a man.” If gender is a societal construct, then we would ‘feel’ like whatever society told us to feel like, and there would be no transgenders of any sort. Maybe the way we perform gender, the earmarks we look for, are agreed upon and enforced by society, but I don’t think it’s entirely a societal construct; not if we’re “feeling” that one is right and another is wrong.

It reminds me very much of something I still struggle with, and struggled badly with for a long time. I was raised with the idea that women should not be barefoot and pregnant; that this is the ideal of the conservative patriarchy, and something they try to enforce (which I do agree with). I’ve met many feminists, and at one point held the belief myself, that women only wanted to be “just” wives and mothers (Christ! Hardest job in the world, and it’s a “just.” There’s something really fucked up there.) if they’d been told so and brainwashed into it; that no woman would “naturally” be inclined toward wife and motherhood. Then I realized that if we’re going to give women a choice in what they want, part of that choice has to be being a wife and mother. I’ve met a few women who get great joy in doing so, who feel complete and happy. (Heck, AlphaFemme seems to be an example of this; she talks about the great joy she gets in being a domestic wife — AF, I know you’re not married, but work with me here. ;-D — and I don’t think she’s been brainwashed into believing that’s what she wants.)

As my cousins (all conservative catholic, very much raised with the idea that the only proper job for a woman was to be married with kids) started to get married, I really struggled with it. I wanted to shake them all and say, “You don’t have to do this! Stop it!” But if we’re going to give women a choice… I’m better, now, at believing they’re doing what’s right for them. To make myself okay with that, I also believe that if this isn’t right for them, then it’s part of their greater growth, and it’s right for them right now to attain higher healing or something like that. It’s definitely not perfect nonjudgement, but it’s the best I can do for the moment. Now that I’ve seen several of them married, there are actually two who take great joy in their current state, who are radiant and happy (if sometimes tired!) when I see them. It’s a good reminder that some women really do want that.

It’s something I need to remember as I read gender bending books, because it’s easy to start saying, “People only portray women and men genders because we’re told to!” Maybe many people only portray them for that reason, but there are some people for whom they’re actually correct, for whom they fit nicely. Definitely something to remember; to an extent, gender is a social construct, but some part of it is inborn, too, and I shouldn’t discount someone’s gender just because it’s the majority. So, really, this is a note to self. 😉

It does make me laugh, though, that the argument often used for why there aren’t natural genders is that they don’t feel right. In arguing such, the person is almost disproving their own point! (Maybe this isn’t Kate’s argument: I haven’t read enough to know. But man, it’s an argument I hear a lot.)

Part 2!

Anyway, there was something else that occurred to me that I wanted to mull out (and get other opinions and discussion on, if possible!).

There was something in Gender Outlaw where she was making lists of what possible genders there were, and she added boy/girl
lady/gentleman
femme/butch
faggot/dyke
man/woman,
and kept going. But really, it was that ‘boy/girl’ that struck me.

I once had a friend say to me, “whatever else you identify with, you can always identify as a woman.” I was appalled. I don’t feel like a woman. I have never felt like a woman. I feel more like a girl, but that’s not right, either. I feel femme. (In his defense, I hadn’t yet even discovered femme.)

More recently, someone on an author list I was on was asking if there’s a difference between boi and butch. Now, those of you who identify as such are welcome to correct me, but in the limited time I’ve been in the community I’ve thought of them as two different things. Both masculine, yes, but I think of butch as presenting adult-masculine, and boi as presenting teenage/young twenties-masculine. They’re two very different presentations, and I’m not remotely interested in bois. What’s really interesting to me is that I think of ‘baby butch’ and ‘boi’ as two different things: A baby butch, to me, is either a butch who’s just coming into the identity, or a young (emotionally, mentally, or physically) butch. A boi is someone presenting as young-masculine. (On a slight tangent, Q and her buddies have “Boi’s night” — which makes perfect sense to me. They’re getting together to play, whether it’s at a bar, on a video game, or just hanging out. Just like I have “girl’s night,” when my whole attitude is one of play. Slightly different than living that, though.)

Given my responses to girl/woman as applied to me, where one almost fit (despite my age) and the other DID NOT (despite my age), I’m thinking that I subconsciously see these all as different genders. (Realizing that also helped me finally come to terms with femme as a transgender. It’s so close to feminine that I was still having issues coming to grips with the idea that it’s its own gender, rather than an offshoot. But girl/woman and lady/woman are all close, too, and I’d call those separate genders. This made me realize that though femme is close to feminine, it doesn’t make it an offshoot; it just shares some attributes, and that’s okay. :))

I also wonder how much I’m conflating ‘archetype’ with ‘gender,’ and if the two actually should be conflated, anyway.

(In a total aside, I’m sitting at my little glass table outside, and there’s a hawk crying somewhere nearby. What a beautiful, haunting sound!) (And now Bobby da Bird is imitating or responding to it. Very cute.)

If I define both archetype and gender, I find they’re awfully close; it’s just that one is more all-encompassing than the other (gender being more all-encompassing and less rigid than archetype). Let’s see… off the top of my head, full of mistakes:

Archetype: the life-long patterns and paths, ways of behaving and thinking.

Ex: The hero archetype has a life pattern of a difficult journey, coming to grips with something at the end (either mental or physical). The warrior archetype goes to battle, and must learn eventually when NOT to go to battle. (Ha ha, this is totally my archetype. >.>) The bard archetype is a wanderer who brings news, information, and new ways of thinking by entertaining and telling stories. The damsel archetype is someone who wants to be rescued, then protected. (This, in seemingly direct opposition to the warrior, is also me. Luckily Q has a knight archetype. :D) And so on among many more archetypes.

Gender: Clothes, behaviors, ways of acting that declare of us one gender or another. Sort of. Maybe an aspect of personality? Damn, I can define what makes a gender presentation, but not what a gender is. I’m going to go with an aspect of personality and tastes.

Okay, so the stress on archetypes is a life-long arc or behavioral pattern, whereas the stress on gender is the current way one behaves and expresses. Two different things, and yes, I think my tendency toward thinking of girl/boy/boi/butch/femme/woman/man/etc is a gender, not an archetype. (Of course, girl/boy have the same problem that man/woman do: whereas man/woman are also conflated with biological sex, boy/girl is conflated with age, and as a gender will likely mature into woman/man. So maybe it’s only a gender on someone old enough to have chosen it? Hmm.)

Anyway, I started this to get your ideas. Do other people think of boi/butch/girl/woman/femme/man/etc as genders? Or is it more like boy/boi grows into man/butch, and it’s all one gender? And what about gender only being a gender on someone old enough to have chosen it (whether or not they’ve done so consciously)? I’ve met teens I’d refer to as a ‘young man’ or ‘young lady,’ and adults I’d refer to as a ‘girl/boy,’ so…

Geez! So complex! 😀

J



{July 24, 2010}   Women: Gender and Sex

I was responding to G‘s comment, talking about how I felt that who I’m attracted to isn’t the same as who I am, and I was thinking (again, ad naseum) about being uncomfortable saying I was attracted to women, when something hit me.

I think my struggle isn’t with the sex. Someone asks about my sexual orientation, and I assume that they want to know what biological sex I’m attracted to. So I say “women,” because technically that’s correct. I think the problem lies in the fact that I’m not attracted to sex, so much as gender, transgender, and masculinity. But “woman” is also a gender orientation. I’m not attracted to women as a gender; I’m attracted to butch. But if someone asks what sex I’m attracted to, and the name for the correct sex is the same as the name for a gender I’m not attracted to… you see my dilemma? (I spelled that word so poorly the first few times that spellcheck couldn’t figure out what I was trying to say. *laughs*)

If someone asks me who I’m interested in, I say “Women” and I am both telling the truth (it is the biological sex), and lying (it is the wrong gender). I therefore really don’t feel like I can say I like women, because it’s a lie; I don’t like woman-as-gender particularly. (As a friend, sure, but — you know what I mean.)

It’s a linguistics problem, and it’s reinforced every time I try short cuts. I mean, if I’m talking to someone and I reference anyone I’m dating, it’s usually as, “The woman I’m dating…” which reinforces my own dysphoria. I don’t like the gender ‘woman.’ I am telling people I’m dating a woman. They assume I mean the gender as well as the sex, and while I can’t control their assumptions, knowing that I am feeding into those assumptions creates a discomfort within me that exacerbates the whole problem.

I don’t see easy solutions. When I can, I say, “The butch I’m dating…” but if I’m not talking to someone in the gay culture, especially if it’s not an appropriate time or place to get into a gender discussion, ‘woman’ is easier. I could say, “The butch woman I’m dating,” which would at least give people some clue as to what I mean when I say ‘butch,’ but it’s unwieldy. I could just not talk about it, but… A) ick, and B) I use anecdotes from my daily life ALL THE TIME to make a point or tell a story, usually with my clients, so that’s not going to happen.

Which leaves me… at least understanding why I don’t feel like ‘lesbian’ is the right term to describe my sexual orientation, even if it’s technically correct. Interestingly, if I think of the definition of lesbian as “women (the sex) who are interested in same-sex partners,” I’m more okay with it. If I think of the definition as, “Women who love other women,” I have that instant dysphoria again.  I think it really is the same-word-for-gender-and-sex conundrum.  Hmmm. I’ll keep you posted on my search for a solution. ;-D

J

*Edit: I just read Jolie‘s response to a comment G made here — G’s just gettin’ all around this week! *grins* — and I think it’s also accurate, and further adds to my discomfort. She mentioned that saying she likes women (or is lesbian) feminizes the partners she’s with. THAT IS TOTALLY TRUE. And, again, it makes me uncomfortable, both for misrepresenting myself and my likes, and for misrepresenting the person I’m with. Oh, language. It’s time for you to grow.



{July 19, 2010}   Lesbian and femme

I’m hoping this is going to be a short post, because god knows I need some downtime that doesn’t include writing.

I figure that hope pretty much guarantees this post will be five thousand words long. Ha ha ha. (As an aside, I’m writing a column now on, uh, writing, and it’s supposed to be 1000 words. Who knew 1000 words was SO SHORT? *shakes head*)

I made the comment in my last post that I am butchsexual, and I think it’s true. I’m really only attracted to butch women, and though I haven’t yet taken the step of saying I’m really not attracted to men, that’s probably true, too. (At least right now. *laughs*) Then Jolie took my term and expanded upon her own experience with it, and in writing that she said something I found very interesting. Actually, she said several somethings, but for now let’s start with this one. ;-D

I’m not a lesbian. I don’t embrace feminine beauty in all its forms, and all of that happy horseshit. I can appreciate a pretty girl, but it’s usually in more of the “I recognize something in her that reflects me” aspect. I’m more than happy to point out a hot little thing to my guy, but I’m not going to drool over her.

I read this, and I was like, “Yes! Oh, that’s it, exactly!” I have as much trouble identifying as lesbian as I do/did identifying as bi. It’s the same problem: it just doesn’t fit right. In a conversation with Nezu at one point, she suggested it was because being bi in our culture is really assumed as pansexual; you like everyone. Of course, that isn’t the case; it just means you like men and women in the same way others like one or the other. You don’t like ALL of them, you just like some of them from each category. And yet, it still didn’t fit right.

Lesbian is just like that for me. I really don’t feel like I can say I’m lesbian. Lesbian indicates I like women — but actually, I don’t. I like the gender butch, which appears on women, but it’s the gender, not the body, I’m really interested in. I think Megan Fox is the hottest thing on two legs (OH MY GOD, SHE IS SO HOT), but if I stop to think about kissing her or doing anything sexual and I’m like, “….ehhhh. Ew.” On the other hand, I can Google her all day.

…Megan Fox is totally like catnip for me. Excuse me. I’m having a really hard time regaining my train of thought, here. I need to go roll on her or something.

And yet, even as I say all this, while I would certainly love to run my hands over her yummy delightful sexy hot muscles, and I’d love to play in her wardrobe and get her make-up artist to make me glisten without working or looking like I’m actually sweating, I don’t really want to do anything sexual. For a long time, I thought maybe that’s just because I didn’t want to do anything sexual with female bodies, but that’s not true. Trust me. I like doing sexual things to Q’s female body, mwahahahahahahahahhahahahaha.

Ha.

Ha ha hee.

Mmmm. Damn, my train of though is just not running well today. Where was I? Butchsexual, not lesbian, right. Sometimes, I’ll be somewhere with Q where it’s a gay/lesbian thing rather than just her butch buddies, and I’m like, “…Wow. I feel like such an outsider here. I really don’t relate to these women at all.” Q and I went two-stepping, and I had a blast. I danced with a woman in a green dress and brown cowboy boots, all short blond hair and very good at dancing. Q pointed out several of her friends, some obviously butch and some not, and I found myself treating them like I would straight women, and being really unable to relate otherwise.

Even Q is more lesbian than I am (though I actually think of her as more gay — which doesn’t really make sense except in my head). She’ll look at a roomful of women and be able to pick out a dozen she finds attractive, and I’m lucky to see one. When we were at the rodeo, she kept pointing out hot women and my internal reaction was, “…Really? Why?” I hit the same thing going out with Nezu, and I find that I usually respond in the way I respond to someone like Megan Fox, in a “Yes, they’re hot!” but really I want to roll in them, not do them.

It’s funny; I almost feel like sexuality is as limited as gender, sometimes, but then I wonder if it’s mostly just me (and Jolie. *grins*). Other people don’t seem as bound to one gender as I am. Folks want to know what my sexuality is, and I’m never quite sure what to tell them. Bi, maybe. Lesbian, technically. Butchsexual, definitely. But I think Jolie hit the nail on the head: I’m not lesbian. I don’t love women in all their forms. I don’t even love women in some of their forms. I really only love them in one of their forms. If that’s the case — well, is that lesbian? Technically, if we’re going by biological sex. But not really.

Interesting.

J

(This, by the way, is only 900 words. It could have been a column. ;-D)



Interesting post over at the Femme’s Guide, a little bit old, on innate femme gender. I really liked this. I keep reading about how gender is created — and sure, okay, to a certain extend society creates gender. But I don’t feel like I could shed my femme clothes, don Q’s guy jeans, a sport’s bra, my black Doc Martins and a man’s tank and call myself butch. Not even if I adopted the mannerisms (some of which I already have — as an aside, I was sprawled on the couch one day, reading over DK’s shoulder. She was tucked in the corner, leaning against the arm, and I had my leg across the rest of the couch, the other foot on the coffee table, one arm over the back of the couch and the other tucked up against her. She read something along the lines of, “Masculine presentation includes claiming space, so sprawling out and taking up room is something men and butches do.” We stopped, looked at her, looked at me, and cracked up.) and attitudes and did my very best to fake it — which I could probably do pretty well. I’m a hell of an actress when I want to be.

But you know? I wouldn’t be butch. It wouldn’t make me butch. It’s that old philosophical argument: If a man thinks evil thoughts but does good deeds, is he good or evil? If the world saw me as butch, would it make me butch? I’d argue no.

So when I’d read about gender being entirely performative and something we create, I’d agree… to an extent. Yes, I perform my gender — but if I didn’t, it would still be my gender. Yes, my gender is created — by a collective unconscious? By society? I’d buy the former easier than the latter, and argue that it’s a chicken-or-the-egg statement, anyway. Did society create it, and then it became? Or was it already in our minds, and we created it to express it?

Anyway. It’s always felt inborn to me. I don’t feel like it’s something I can pick up or leave off or any of the other things that are generally stated or implied. It was nice to read someone else saying the same thing.

I might have to talk more about this, some other time when I have more, uh, time. *laughs*

J



{May 1, 2010}   Post of topic-leaping

Okay, so a friend of mine posted this video, and because I think it is the funniest shit ever, I’m posting it everywhere. You can get more information on it, or you can just know that a troop in Afganistan got bored and made a video for Lady Gaga’s song, Telephone (that’s the work safe version, btw).

People! I get it now! This is why gays aren’t allowed in the military. If straight men turn this fabulous, gay men would tear the place apart. (This should totally be a recruitment video, btw. Join the Army! It’s like Glee, but far more entertaining!)

I was also thinking about the movie, Kissing Jessica Stein, (why didn’t any of you warn me it was terrible? I’m so disappointed in you. Don’t try and tell me you didn’t say anything because it came out almost a decade ago. That’s no excuse.) and I decided that it’s really even more insulting to straight women than lesbians. You know the biggest thing I remembered from the movie? The very last bit, when they have lesbian bed death, Jessica goes back to the boy, and the other girl gets to roll around having hot sex in red satin sheets. What do I learn from that?

1. Lesbians get to have decadent hot sex in red satin sheets. YAY! GO, US!

2. Straight girls shouldn’t try to be gay. They also cause lesbian bed death. Oh yeah, and apparently have no sex drive.

Right.

Now, onto a Very Important Topic: FLOWERS! As in, I had a PSMy day, and I bought myself some flowers. They’re bright and cheerful, and they’re now sitting in a vase. Yay!

Butches, take note: flowers are always good. Actually, maybe everyone should take note. You know what flowers say, when your loved one is having a bad day? They say one of two things:

1. I know you’re having a bad day, and I want you to feel better, and I know you enjoy bright cheerful flowers so I went and got you some!

or,

2. I know you’re having a bad day, and I want you to feel better, but I couldn’t afford the Harley that would really make you feel better, and you have so many colonges already that I wasn’t sure if I could find a decent one, so I got you flowers! I hope you understand the intent. Let’s go have sex. (That last part should only be applied if you are actually in a sexual relationship with the person.)

So, yes, flowers. Good for all occasions! And they don’t even have to be expensive! That’s what grocery stores and Trader Joe’s are for! Sure, they’ll probably wilt by morning, but they were pretty that night. YAY!

In still other news, my friend DoctorLady stopped seeing a guy who was a homophobe (you can read about that discussion in her blog — I nearly burst something laughing) and I have an evil sort of “mwahahaha” feeling at being the person she referred to. See, she asked me several days ago if I would mind if she mentioned me and Q to see how he reacted, and I said, “Go for it! :DDD” (Yes, with that amount of smiling. What can I say? I kind of like being a shit disturber.), so she did, and he had a bad reaction, and they’re no longer dating. I’m sorry she didn’t find an awesome guy, but I have a bizarre sort of pride at being the tool to find out about his unawesomeness. Go figure.

In still OTHER news, DK sent me this kick ass study on femme as a gender! I swear, that study could have been written about me! I have so much to say about it that I’ve been trying to figure out the best way of starting. I think I might just have to go through the study bit by bit, and have a lot of blog posts about all the things they talk about. 😀 Anyway, suffice to say my femme experience is very common, and I’ll tell you all more later. 😀

In the final bit of vaguely-femme news, I was talking to my mom today about all the blogging I’ve been doing, and how it’s been helping me work through some issues. She asked what issues? So I kind of went, “Well, stress, sex, identity stuff — like whether I’m bi or lesbian — that sort of thing.” To which she made one of those “labels don’t matter,” comments. Our discussion went something like this:

Mom: Why does it matter? Whatever label you choose, you’re still you on the inside.

Me: Yeah, but it matters. It changes perceptions–

Mom: Ah, so you’re worried about how other people see you.

(Note: This is A Bad Thing in our household. You should be strong enough it doesn’t matter what other people think about you! While I do agree to a certain extent, I’m trying not to kill myself over it.)

Me: …yeeeaaah, and it changes my perception of myself.

Mom: So you’re letting other people dictate your perception of yourself? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change you.

At this point I began ranting about community and the way you get treated and the pros and cons of bi vs lesbian and so on and so forth, and throughout the whole thing I could hear her voice in my head going, “You’re letting other people dictate your actions. This is weak. It shouldn’t matter. Everything you’ve said is a co-dependent action, trying to curry favor from society.” None of which is true, but I kept hearing it because that’s my mom’s kick. By the end of my rant she sort of made agreement noises, but they sounded more like, “I’ll agree with you to get you to stop ranting, geez,” than, “I understand, even if all I understand is that this matters to you.” *sighs* So that hasn’t helped with the bugged, PMSy feeling all day. 😦 (Though I did have a BRILLIANT moment, imo, when I compared identity stuff with her favorite thing, archetypes. Archetypes are patterns in our life, and if you know what pattern you have you know how to stop it from happening. I talk about how some butches — the ones I’m attracted to — have a knight archetype, for instance. I compared changing an identity label to getting the wrong archetype pattern. This is the point at which she was like, “Okay, okay,” so I’m hoping I’m wrong about the tone and she actually did get it.)

I love my mom, I really do, she’s an amazing person and she’s taught me a lot, but every so often I talk to her and all the old perfectionist, drive-yourself-to-death, do self-improvement all right, all the time tendencies resurface. Humph. I’m going home next weekend. Should be interesting.

In the same vein, she says Q sounds fascinating. *amused* I’m a little afraid. ;-D (They both have an in-charge, occasionally OCD streak. I can’t decide if they’d get along famously or kill each other flat. As Q and I aren’t so serious that a trip to the in-laws is in order, it’s not something I really have to worry about atm.)

Now! I’m off to watch TV and attempt to turn my brain off. Woo hoo!

J



et cetera