Archive for August, 2007
Re: why we need to examine our lives:I do not think that heterosexual relationships are bad. All I’m trying to get at is that in this culture, in this time and geographic location, we have culturally dictated gender roles for men and women, males and females, masculine-types and feminine-types. And any or all of us can buy into these gender roles, reproduce them, and limit ourselves and our loved ones by forcing us all into positions of responsibility that detract from our Selves, our unique beings, our authenticity, our integrity. This happens for everyone, because of the ways that gender is so extraordinarily prevalent in every single aspect of our culture.
In that examination of gender dynamics in the queer (specifically, lesbian) communities as a reproduction of male/female gender roles, the point I’m trying to make is that just because one is butch or femme doesn’t mean that one is not reproducing these roles. Sometimes we are. There is a lot of nasty garbage that comes along with compulsory gender, for heteros or queers or anyone in between, and if we don’t examine how gender works and functions and interacts, I don’t believe we will get to the place where gender is liberatory, as opposed to limiting.
One of the things I wrote is: “The struggles with not being visibly out, which also brings the privilege of hearing what people say when they don’t know someone queer is listening.”
Here’s what I am getting at: the bottom line is, as a butch, as a visible queer, I don’t have this ability. I don’t hear what people say when they don’t know somebody gay is listening to them, and that has made for some fascinating conversations with my (femme & passing) lovers & friends. I find it interesting. It’s a place where butches and femmes differ greatly, and that’s all I was trying to acknowledge – unique pieces of a femme identity. By writing that post, I tried to say, hey, I see you, I notice you doing this, I actively witness you: I validate your identity.
I got a bit of grief for this statement. I used words like envy and privilege, which I definitely understand are loaded. I do not want to glamorize this aspect of femme identity, which I do absolutely understand is very complicated, and which is the source of pain and sorrow and frustration.
Okay, that’s all for now. Just a few clarifications. I hate being misunderstood. It is one of the biggest reasons I am a writer: to make myself clear.
Susie Bright posted the Bathroom Sex Suvey over on her ever-entertaining blog. Here’s my answers.
What is your gender, at least at the moment? kinky queer butch top. they all greatly influence my gender.
Have you ever had sex in a public bathroom? What did you do? (Define “sex” as you like). yes. strapped on with a girl sucking my cock, fingering a girl till she came, on my knees eating her out
More than once, several times, every day? several dozen times, though it was years ago now
Did you have your t-room sex with a man or woman? women
Did you know them, or were they a stranger to you? I knew them
Have you ever had sex in a “private” bathroom— but one which wasn’t at your house? hmm … I don’t think so
Have you ever had sex in your own darn bathroom? absolutely. showering together is fun
Have you had bathroom sex fantasies, never acted upon? can’t say I really have that many bathroom fantasies, aside from sex in public bathrooms, which I have done a fair amount of.
Have you ever run into anyone having bathroom sex, while you were just “doing your business?” Have you ever been propositioned and turned someone down? Was it hard to say, “No, thank you?” no! but that’d be hot.
Have you ever run into a high level Republican pol having bathroom sex? not that I know of …
Are you gay? (Just kidding). sure – gay, lesbian, dyke, queer, I use ‘em all.
I went back and re-read the article Lina posted, and I’m pleased to say, it didn’t frustrate me nearly as much as it did the first time I read it. I have various responses at the ready and I feel like I could easily defend my position & claim.I would like to go through it and actually write out those responses, actually, but I just don’t have the time this week. Maybe soon.
During this gender discussion we’ve been having, I was reminded of this quote:
Nothing can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is his own.
- Sidney J. Harris
… and I think it is fitting in this situation for various reasons. This argument of “butch/femme as reproductions of the patriarchal compulsory gender roles” et cetera is old, nearly forty years old at least. It strikes me as ignorant and arrogant and young to go around spouting opinions about things which one knows very little. These are old ideas, they are not radical, they are recycled, get your facts straight.On the other hand: there is much value in observation. And there are many, many butches and femmes who – I believe – to fully pass judgement here – are NOT using these identities as subversive tools, but rather ARE reproducing the heteronormative paradigm (gasp! I said it!).
Mostly, I feel like I have no ability or right to draw conclusions about how other people occupy and use their gender. However, occasionally I get the chance to actually converse with someone about it, and I am often shocked at the ignorance and thoughtlessness.
So, here’s what I haven’t said during this gender rant exploration yet:
Sometimes, butch/femme is a reproduction, a mimicry. And honestly, I disapprove of that. I believe that because of the grand amount of gender injustice that happens, because of the prevalence and acceptance of misogyn, because of the objectification and damage done by compulsory gender rules, we must – MUST – do some deep searching and analysis as to how institutionalized oppressive structures function and effect our lives. Especially the big ones: race, class, gender, sexuality. It is life-altering to understand how they work. I honestly think feminism and women studies played a huge role in my dealing with my depression, and the shock of becoming an adult woman in this culture.
But I digress.
This help that gender analysis and theory offers is where feminism comes in. And 1907s US lesbian-feminism – also closely related to what I tend to call “white western feminism,” WWF – was limited in its view at times, dismissing all butch/femme representations as hetero or all hetero sex as rape (coughDworkincough). Obviously there are some issues with these limitations.
Though this may be a mainstream understanding of What Feminists Think, it is not the only understandings of sex that feminists hold. And to dismiss feminism as only viewing things this way is also limiting.
So. In summary: sometimes butch/femme is a reproduction of the compulsory misogynistic heteronormative gender roles. This is why we must examine the hierarchical structures in which we operate and make conscious choices about how we participate or resist.
And, not everyone’s participation or resistance looks the same. That’s why I try to talk to people about this stuff. Ask questions, listen, be aware. I feel like that’s all I can do, is attempt to understand the wild and precious ways we all live our lives.
Strappy sandals, roman sandals laced up the ankle, legwarmers, flowery skirts – the legs, the legs, the legs
The moments of subversion when I expect gender to be aligned with compulsory femininity, and I am surprised
Delicate jewelry, fingernail polish, pierced ears, garter belts, purses, glasses
The way she walks in high heels
The under-the-eyelashes fuck-me look
The feminine curves of cleavage and the clavicle
The struggles with not being visibly out, which also brings the privilege of hearing what people say when they don’t know someone queer is listening
Holding the door open, holding your umbrella, ordering for you, pulling out your chair, that moment when you take my arm, carrying your heavy burdons, cradling your delicacy …
The examination, overhaul, and eventual reclamation or rejection of “traditional femme hobbies”
When a boy actually turns you off … but I turn you on
Team Gina, Butch/Femme
I like butch girls and I cannot lie
you other femmes can’t deny
when a butch walks in, all the femmes wanna fuss
’cause there’s like one of them and thirty of us …
Brilliant! I don’t usually post media here, but this is oh so relevant to the current topics of conversation.I really wonder what kind of conversation happened on the set here. Where’d they find all these butches? Do they identify as butch? Were they hesitant to be involved in this video because they didn’t identify as butch?
And how about that part at the end, when the butch is “flaggin’ a bottom” – she vehemently denies it: “I’m a top, I swear!” – I like the subversiveness of the lyrics there, the femmes singing “I ain’t trying to be predictable, but you’re gonna have to pin me against this wall” (I would like that), but it is a tiny moment where I wonder about the reinforcement of the butch/top femme/bottom dynamics.
Really though, this shit is fucken brilliant.
“Oh fuck -
God – yes – fucking hell -
holy shit – oh god – god -
oh fuck – oh god – oh – yes -
oh fuck -
holy shit … “
“You’ve got quite a mouth on you, Mr. Sexsmith.”
Fuck a girl’s ass with a strapon (is it still called pegging if it’s two women, or is pegging unique to a woman strapped on fucking a guy?). I’ve done plenty of ass-play, but somehow the women I’ve been with have never actually been comfortable enough with it for me to be strapped on. I have, however, fucked a guy this way, once upon a time.
Stingy toys, like a cane. I’d like to leave some marks. I’ve used a cane before, actually, but I don’t own one, and I’d like to experiment to feel more comfortable with it
Receive – and give – a cutting
Role-play out in a bar, pretend we don’t know each other and pick each other up. I suppose that has a lot of variations (resistance, convincing).
Sex in central park, sex in every girl club in new york city (the bathroom, the back room, the alley, the deserted dancefloor, wherever), sex at work. After hours, in an empty office, wherever. I’ve done that, actually, though not at my current job.
Play with knives. And yes, I think I’d like to be the one holding the knife, although that could be negotiable.
And, last but not least, recent events have told me that I need to practice my flogging & rope bondage.