To The FemmeMobile! Away!











I used to watch Doris Day’s Calamity Jane obsessively when I was young. Especially every time I got sick. I was in love with her, in a “I want to be her” sort of way. Here’s a snippet:

It was full of gayness, including accidental cross-dressing. (You can rent it for $2 from Youtube, apparently. It would be a $2 well spent, I’m just sayin’.)

When I moved to Canada at 20, long before I figured out my own sexual and gender identity, I had to leave it home. I didn’t see it again until years later — probably ten years later, when my sister bought it for me for Christmas. By that time I’d figured out both the lesbian/butch attraction and the femme bit.

Watching the movie again nearly made my jaw drop. Calamity Jane both was me, and was who I wanted to be. She’s got a temper that drives her into doing stupid things (though mine’s under control now), she sticks up for the underdog even when it puts her at great risk, she’s got this super rough, tomboy, cowgirl exterior, and she really wants someone to see that she’s beautiful under it all. She wants love and doesn’t know how to go about getting it, because so many people saw the tomboy and not the girl (this is less me: people generally saw the girl, but I had a hard time realizing that). She’s strong, she’s a hero, and she still wants rescuing. She’s rough and practical on the outside, but she cleans up and wants to be a girl.

She’s me, as a femme.

It’s funny: for all her tomboyishness, she never came across as butch to me, either. I think it’s Doris Day’s feminine energy under all that faux-rawhide!

When I saw it again after so many years, I watched in absolute fascination. Here were the answers I’d been looking for just a few years earlier, when I started this blog, trying to figure out how I could be femme and yet not be a high femme or wear dresses all the time. In short, be femme and still be a tomboy. Here it was, the answer I’d watched over and over as kid, wishing I were her.

It makes me think that even as a kid, I identified with her. Maybe my subconscious was trying to help me out. 😉 Now, if only she’d been attracted to butches… I might have figured it out that much faster! ;-D

JB

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I got an email from a friend this morning, an extremely awesome friend, that basically said this:

“You do realize that your post is like, “I’m not transphobic, but…””

It went on eloquently, but that about sums it up. (I have great regard for this friend’s ability to put things totally bluntly, without making me feel attacked, like a terrible person, and without her sounding like a bitch or condescending. I wish I had that ability, but I don’t think I do.)

Anyway, in emailing her back, a few things occurred to me.

1. I would have no problem with this if we were showing many types of bodies as beautiful, and this were just another one. But,

2. as I saw it, we were just extending the already-almost-unattainable body into a completely-unattainable-body.

As I was explaining this, I said that while I felt it was morally wrong to say what I was saying, practically speaking I didn’t want to be showing young girls something that they couldn’t possibly ever do on a skeletal level as the standard of beauty.

This is when somehting occurred to me. Except for the 5% of people who are born with that model body type, we are already showing young girls something they can’t possibly do on a skeletal level. We’re already having to play damage control because it’s already impossible. Not almost impossible, but totally impossible for 95% of the population. I’m sure there is another 5% of the population that has a very male body type; no hips, broad chest and shoulders, etc. (They still aren’t going to have the muscles along the abdomen that men have, but an MTF modeling is going to have issues a cis-woman doesn’t anyway, so it’s  a wash IMO.)  If we have an MTF modeling, then at least those girls (and also the other girls born in male bodies) have a representative, too.

What we need to be doing is adding more body types into what’s considered beautiful. While I wouldn’t have chosen a body type that’s an extreme of what we already have, that also doesn’t mean we should exclude it. This is one of those two-wrongs-don’t-make-a-right moments. Saying, “We need other body types but not that one” is bullshit. I call bullshit on myself.

I feel much better now. I have two centers of what’s right and wrong: my head and my heart. My heart always figures it out first, but until my head figures it out, too, things don’t work well. Now I’ve got both lined up. Woo hoo!

So I can say without reservations, go Jenna! (The model. Not me.) And also – Thanks, Momo. You rock my socks.

J



{December 22, 2011}   …Whoa.

Totally unrelated to the last post, I just realized there have been almost 12,500 hits to this blog since I started it.

…holy shit. That’s a lot of people looking at my stuff. o.O

Uh… Here! Have my favorite Christmas song!

(These are not the Irish Rovers. These are young guys being funny. So just don’t look at the video if you want to hear the song; you can laugh at the video after. ;))

And, uh, My Drunk Kitchen! She’s lesbian. And seriously cute. 😀 (Oh, Q, she doesn’t hold a candle to you, dear. ;))

J



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So, the other day I was headed to SoCal, about to hop on a plane, and I realized I’d forgotten my book. Oh woe! So I grabbed a lesbian romance off one of Q’s shelves, No Strings by Gerri Hill, and proceeded to read.

About halfway through No Strings, I saw the final Harry Potter movie. I quite liked the movie, but was a little disappointed at the lack of a complete Draco character arc, made more obvious when even Neville got a character transformation. (Generally speaking, a full character arc happens when the character’s behavior/attitude/emotion changes: Neville went from geek to hero, Harry had a complete hero’s arc, as did Snape, Dombledore and — well, most people. Ron went from bumbling bafoon to knight, Hermione from bossy brat to person-Harry-couldn’t-have-figured-things-out-without, and together Ron and Hermione went though a romance arc. Draco, I realized, wasn’t likely to have a hero’s arc — though he could have pretty easily — but I figured he’d have some arc. Instead, he’s the same sad little coward character walking out of the movie he is walking into the series. This made me really glum, because of all the characters there — except maybe Voldemort, but obviously his character arc was a mortal one — Draco had the most potential for real change.)

Feeling put out that the character with the most potential for real change didn’t get any change, I emailed DK, who was way into HP back in the day and likes the things I like, and asked for some Draco fic that had a complete character arc so my craving was satisfied. DK delivered! Among other things was an awesome Harry/Draco slash fic. (Slash indicates queer-of-some-sort romance, be it lesbian, gay, or trans.)

So I read this novel-length fanfic that had several complete character arcs (very well done; I understand the author is published now, and I might just look up her books) and was also slash.

THEN I went back and finished No Strings.

I quite liked the first half of No Strings, all the character development stuff and then them getting to know each other. Then the romance-plot stuff kicked in, and I pretty much skimmed through the rest of it. This is normal for me and romance novels; I like the bits learning about the characters, and I don’t really bother with the romance part. I started writing romance novels because I was writing slash, but slash is… different. Reading slash and reading romance right on top of each other really brought it home for me. DK linked me this blog post not too long ago, and most of it I’d already sorted out, but one thing in there — I think it was in there — was talking about how slash isn’t set into a specific genre formula yet, how you can do pretty much anything you want. Not so with romance. I also find it interesting that the lesbian romances I’ve read are definitely romance novel formula, but the gay romance isn’t. Often, yes, the published stuff is, but then you have books like mine. By Degrees is about overcoming major past trauma (the death of parents), opening up your emotions so you can come to grips with the fact that you’re gay and you can have sex and feel again. Oh, and by the way, there’s a romance that is the catalyst for that plot. In the Rough is about dealing with more past trauma (I have a theme, okay? *grins*) so he can get his shit together and take care of his daughter. Oh yeah, and on the way he realizes he’s in love with his best friend, but has been ignoring it because of self-hate due to — you guessed it — that past trauma. Off Trail is about learning how to trust again and letting people in to help, and the guy he lets in to help just happens to be the guy he falls for. This is definitely more romance-novel than anything else I’ve written in the gay world.

Then there’s the Dragon series, which is all action/adventurey, and in the midst of their action and adventure they start to fall in love.  If I look at my fanfic — the stuff I write not to get paid for, but just because it’s fun — while romance features heavily in it, usually the romance is what’s happening around the main plot. Often the romance is either a catalyst or the result of whatever is going on, but the main thing is what’s going on. In Naruto fic that was Kakashi being insane, in Star Trek it was Kirk and Spock on the run while Kirk has amnesia, in X-Men it was Rictor dealing with child abuse and in X-Men: First Class (if I’d ever gotten around to writing that, which I didn’t) it was multi-pronged: Moira finding Charles, Charles dealing with being a paraplegic, Darwin coming back to life, Alex learning to control his powers and Hank coming to terms with his fuzzziness.

I started writing romance because I thought I WAS writing romance, but the more romance novels I write, the more I chafe. I realized, when I read those two books side by side, I wasn’t writing No Strings back when I was thrilled about writing; I was writing Harry/Draco. Not romance, but slash. The closest thing I’ve found to it in published books is a Tanya Huff book, The Fire’s Stone (very awesome; also the heroes are gay, woo hoo!) and various Sharon Shinn “romantic fantasy” books. Which makes me wonder… have I been very stupid?

I’m looking for an agent for my hetro paranormal romance novel right now. I’m sorta-kinda working on the sequel to it; I had a trilogy planned. They all interest me, but none give me that fire fanfic used to give me. I’ve often thought it was just because, well, fanfic is easier. You don’t have to create the people or the world, you can take what’s been given and run, there’s a built-in audience with, let’s face it, low expectations. Definitely easier.

I’m also working on a fantasy novel. I have little hope that it will get picked up or published anywhere, to be honest, because it’s kind of bizarre and not easily niched. Publishers don’t like that. But wow, I think about it all the time. I can’t sleep for thinking about it. I’ll stop writing for a few days because of stress or businesses or whatever, and when I come back it’s easy to just pick up and keep going. I don’t look at the clock a million times or check my word count to see how far I’ve gotten. There’s a (gay) romance in it, but the main point of the story isn’t the romance. This is how I felt about fanfic, but it’s not fanfic: it’s just as hard as creating anything else from scratch.

What I’m going to do is keep writing it, finish it, and start looking for an agent for it. Then I’ll decide whether to pick back up the romance sequel or write either a sequel to the fantasy (already plotted…) or a new fantasy. I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do. On a practical side, it means I’m probably going to remain training dogs to pay the bills… and I’m so tired of that. I just want to be writing. On the emotional side, at least I’ll be thrilled about what I’m writing, rather than in this occasionally-excited, kind of pleased, wondering when I’ll be done state. I’ve really missed being thrilled.

Maybe it’ll work out. I don’t know. I’m just feeling a little frustrated, I guess.

J
(cross-posted to my everyday life blog)



{April 19, 2011}   Protected: Moving Forward

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{September 30, 2010}   Protected: Relationship stuff

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{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)



{July 17, 2010}   Butchsexual.

So, wow, things are happening and I’m not even sure where to begin.

In that last protected post, I talked about internalized misogyny — the dislike of women, the belief that women aren’t as good, the feeling of women being unclean. I’ve known I’ve struggled with this for some time. Heck, I was a teenager when I first became aware of what I was feeling. Do I want to talk about this? I’m not even sure. I’m not even sure it’s something I really have anything to say about, except that it’s there. I can point to a few causes that probably add up together, but that doesn’t help me solve it. It’s gotten better over the years, and it’s much better right now, though I am my own worst enemy (I push myself way too hard, add stress on stress, and then it just gets worse instead of better — but I’ve had some awesome discussions with Q, due to my protected post, and that’s easing off, too). Do I need to talk about this right now? I don’t know. Do other people struggle with this? With the female body being icky or whatever? It seems like most lesbians I talk to love love love the female body, and it’s part of what made me second-guess my own sexuality for so long. If I didn’t like it, surely I couldn’t like women, right? Is this really unusual, or do people just not talk about it?

I was watching porn with Q the other day (I BOUGHT PORN. Well, she bought porn, but I went into the adult shop! And had an opinion! And the ground didn’t swallow me up! And the lady at the counter liked my hair!) and I thought, “Hmm, this would be so much hotter if one of those people was butch.” It was like a mini-epiphany, even though I’ve known it for a while.

We were watching gay porn, with hot guys, and I STILL wanted one of them to be butch. I’m still not in the least attracted to feminine women, though I can easily acknowledge that some of them are quite pretty. It’s just not my thing. And honestly, I haven’t been attracted to a guy in months, now. And before that one guy, it had been months again.

My mini-epiphany? Was just that I really like butch women. I’m butchsexual. I don’t like other women, I apparently don’t like guys. No wonder I had such a hard time figuring myself out.

Geez. I’m not sure any of this is really more than blathering, at the moment. I’m exhausted, I’ve been doing promo ops for my new book, working on a column for Geeking Out About…, dog training at twice the levels I usually do, not particularly sleeping well, and being very, very stressed. It’s all piling up, so now the little things are seeming like big things, and I have no time for blogging, and when I do have a minute I forget what I was going to blog about. >.< Some day I’ll have a chance to go through my drafts and put something thoughtful up. Some day. >.>

J



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