Archive for August, 2007
[O]ral histories have demonstrated that butch-femme couples were seen in America as far back as the turn of the twentieth century [... But] the lesbian feminist movement beginning in the early 1970s, dismissed butch-femme culture as politically incorrect. [...]
Criticism of butch-femme was usually based on the claim that these identifications are an attempt to replicate heterosexuality by designating one member of a couple as male (the butch) and the other as female (the femme). Even today this argument is frequently aired. However, it is highly problematic because of its own underlying assumption of heteronormativity–that is, the tenet that heterosexuality is normal, and that all other forms of sexuality are only weak imitations of it. Butch-femme need not be an imitation of anything; it is a unique way of living and loving.
from the entry for Butch/femme in the GLBTQ encyclopedia
Brazen Femme: Queering Femininity by Chloe Brushwood
Butch Is a Noun by S. Bear Bergman
Dagger: On Butch Women edited by Lily Burana, Roxxie, and Linnea Due
Femme/Butch: New Considerations of the Way We Want to Go by Michelle Gibson and Deborah T. Meem
The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader edited by Joan Nestle
… and don’t forget the upcoming Visible: A Femmethology edited by Maria Angeline
Did you see the post about gender binaries over at My Name is Lina?I’ve got all sorts of reactions. Mostly frustration. I feel inarticulate, like I can’t possibly explain this such that others will understand. I’m going to re-read some gender theory and butch/femme celebration books and see what I can come up with.
I like what Joy just said in a comment on my last post, how these dualisms/binaries are also about archetypes and patterns and mythology, about interesting ways to interpret and understand our lives.
Is that not enough?
I should be sleeping. And I have too many things to be writing about to be flying off the handle at some random thing, but I just ran across something that has me all … hot under the collar.The lovely Miss Avarice made some comments on my post about active surrender where I wrote about topping & bottoming, and who really has control. Fine, good. Sweet of her to link to me, actually, and I should’ve said that in my comments, but I got distracted, because someone commented by saying: why do lesbians hold true the male ideal of duality? male vs. female…masculine vs. feminine…i mean it is still a ridiculous battle and fight over nothing. still a struggle that is ultimately useless.
And oh my god I don’t even know where to start. Go read my very sloppy comments on the subject if you’d like.
You’re not going to go read the comments, are you? Okay, here’s what I wrote:
The dualisms absolutely can be confining, if you let what they’re “supposed” to be dictate who you are. But many people, and I include myself in this description absolutely, find categories and dualisms also extremely liberating, and celebratory. there is infinity inside of these dualisms, if one wishes to embody them that way.
Also: “the male ideal of duality”? Why would duality that be a male ideal? That makes no sense. Humans categorize, male and female and beyond and in-between.
But – I believe Miss Avarice was discussing topping & bottoming here in this post, which is not male vs female or masculine vs feminine. Which is also, perhaps, a duality, but you missed the point of the post: even when someone is bottoming, they are still in charge. so who is really bottoming? who is really in charge? who is really in control? who is really submitting? those lines are extremely blurry, and difficult to categorize, when you actually examine them.
I have two hundred more words I could say about this “struggle that is ultimately useless” and what is problematic about generalizing all lesbians as holding to dualisms. Makes me want to shake my fist and spit at the ground a little bit.
I have books and books to say about how, to start, the gender expressions of butch and femme are not reproductions of the heteronormative paradigm.Can everybody please just say that five times, out loud, right now? Butch and femme are not reproductions of the heteronormative paradigm. Butch and femme are not reproductions of the heteronormative paradigm. Butch and femme are not reproductions of the heteronormative paradigm. Butch and femme are not reproductions of the heteronormative paradigm. Butch and femme are not reproductions of the heteronormative paradigm.
But beyond actually even addressing this misconception, and further perpetuating this argument about how lesbians are reproducing heterosexual gender roles, there’s another issue here which is really the one irking me: are we really still asking these questions? I mean, really? Have we not addressed this, over and over and OVER?
And maybe that’s just me. Maybe I’m just fucken lucky that I’ve been examining gender expression and dynamics and paradigms, and the history of feminism and women’s liberation and sexual liberation, and kink and play and sacred sexuality, and so I take it for granted that I have done this work, and others still haven’t.
But goddammit, why why why haven’t these ideas prevailed? Why haven’t they permeated the general public’s consciousness, just a little more? What a fucken battle we’ve been fighting.
And! – I was at a round-table interview today with seven of the smartest sexbloggers I know (more about that later) and one of the things the interviewer postited was about how a woman’s sex drive is still (perceived) to be lower than a man’s.
I just had to bite my tongue. I mean, really? Are we seriously still believing that in this culture? In 2007? Women still aren’t sexual beings, when compared to men?
What. The. Fuck.
This is why we still need social change, and why writing about sex IS an act of social change and liberation, subversion and joy.
I have so much more to express about this, about my own personal story of coming to and coming to terms with my own gender identity, about my attraction to femmes and to the so-called “gender binary,” about why dualisms are fascinating and important and celebratory instead of limiting.
If it doesn’t work for you, fine! If you don’t find a particular binary useful, don’t use it. But do try to understand it before you go around discounting and patronizing other people’s values and choices. (Or maybe that was the anonymous commentor being authentically curious about the reasons behind “the lesbians” supporting as-a-whole these dualisms? To me, it just came across as holier-than-thou aren’t-you-unenlightened belittling.
… And this is a new thing, something I’m trying to remind myself of, and remember. I am under no obligation to educate any random person who comes along and challenges my beliefs. For some reason, I have kind of been operating under the assumption that I should, actually, engage with these questions, and attempt dialogue. I don’t actually have to do that. That feels like a weird thing to be realizing – and it lifts a sort of weight, whereas seeing a random post, on a friend’s blog which discusses some ideas that originated from me, makes me feel very much obligated to discuss and engage and argue and support and defend.And you know what, anonymous? You didn’t even leave your name, blog profile, ID, or email. Why would I discuss this with you when you clearly didn’t really want to engage in a conversation anyway? Why waste my time defending and defining parts of my fundamental identity to someone I don’t even know?
This is the difficulty, that I sometimes very much forget, of occupying space within these binaries. It’s somehow unlesbian, and therefore unfeminist, to be inside of those dualisms because they are supposedly originated from the heteronormative gender roles.Before I go to bed (because it is one am and I had just a weeeee bit too much bourbon tonight), I do want to say briefly (ha!) why it is that butch and femme are not reproductions of the heteronormative paradigm. And that is because of exactly the reason our anonymous misinformed friend over at Avarice’s place was saying that lesbians shouldn’t be adopting these “dualisms”: there is a wide, wide range of human gender expression. And these roles are taking certain organized human traits and playing with them, enhancing them, celebrating them.
This is such a huge topic, I could write (and have written) for hours on it. What is butch, what is femme, anyway? I would probably have to define those things before really examining their liberatory function. Honestly, the closest I’ve come to actually defining them really has to do with formal wear, and underwear: when I dress up, I wear a suit. It is how I feel most comfortable. When I wear briefs, I feel sexy. And that physical gender expression actually makes my actions, hobbies, and interests all the more interesting – I think – because they are not necessarily in conjunction with your perceived idea of who I will be, because of my gender expression. And that, right there, is an act of subversion.
Those are the moments in the binaries and dualities that are the whole purpose, to me. When two seemingly mutually exclusive things occupy the same space: boy and girl. Love and violence. Power and surrender. That is how things feel made whole, balanced, right.
The early registration deadline for the Body Electric School‘s Celebrating the Body Erotic for women (only) is coming up next week. I wrote about it here and this PSA is to remind you about it, in case you are interested.The workshop is $340 if paid in full by August 15th, which is next Wednesday. When I return from it in October and write all about it, you are going to be very sorry that you weren’t there, too.
(I attended one last year in October, the weekend before Callie & I met up for the first time since our single summer date, though it looks like I didn’t actually write about it at all, which is weird. I guess I was oh so distracted by the potential romance. Ah, if only I knew. I’m excited that I will be focused more internally this time.)
Women come from all over the country for this workshop – and it will be the only women’s program offered this year, so I have no doubt that it will be incredible. Also, it’s run by Alex Jade, who is my favorite of the Body Electric teachers because she’s very genderqueer and looks like a silver-haired fag. She’s a lot less mother-goddess energy and a lot more playful kink energy, which I adore, with still a lot of the spirituality mixed in. It is transformative and foundational, it’ll break down the unstable places inside you and build up stronger ones, it’ll bring old, ancient pains to the surface and caress them, set them free.
It’s phenomenal. I can’t say that enough. I would gladly tell you more about it via email, if you have particular questions.
The Body Electric School Announces
Celebrating the Body Erotic for Women
with Alex Jade
October 5-7, 2007, New York City
I am excited to extend an invitation to you and the women you know to join in a circle of women for an opportunity to explore, discover and celebrate empowered sexuality, self-defined eroticism, spiritually integrated eros. You will feel welcomed into a safe, serious, and playful space where we respectfully honor boundaries and experience ourselves as powerful, expressive and sacred.
In this weekend program of carefully designed embodiment practices women will:
- explore the innate wisdom of your body
- expand awareness, sensation and pleasure through conscious breath, movement, touch, and communication, where each woman’s choices and rhythms are honored
- learn how to more deeply tune in to your body, mind, heart and spirit: to receive more fully from yourself and others, and to give without losing yourself
- learn to give and receive full-body massage and to focus on the healing potential of sensual/spiritual energy
- learn from your own and others’ unfolding, and feel awed witnessing and supporting our uniqueness and commonalities
This full weekend workshop is for women of all ages and sexual orientations who are ready to learn about their own power to illuminate and enjoy sexuality.
Men, please pass this information on to your women friends. They will always be grateful for your thinking of them.
Workshop Title: Celebrating The Body Erotic for Women
Tuition: $375 per person ($340 if paid in full by Aug. 15)
Registration: $100 non-refundable deposit per person due three weeks before event
The workshop starts Friday evening and ends Sunday evening.
Contact: Debi Soler
New York City Coordinator
I “officially” emailed ALL of the folks who submitted Sugarbutch Star entries today. If you did not hear from me, and you did submit something, then I probably didn’t get it. I had some trouble with that aspiringstud(at)gmail.com address, as in, apparently, it doesn’t work.Also, a friend told me today that she submitted two entries but I never received the second one. So please, if you haven’t heard from me, send your entry again. This time send it to
And thanks! Can’t wait to keep writing these out.
** UPDATE: I figured out what was wrong with aspiringstud and it works now. I came across TWELVE more entries and that brings the total to 54 … holy smokes. I have no idea what to do with myself, I’m surprised and sa little shocked and totally turned on by all the amazing details and sex and fucken hot femme seduction that some of you have written to me. Oh my my … I am going to the gym now. Need a cold shower.
“Your turn,” she says, crossing the diner floor. Her heels click against the hard linoleum and I watch her ankles as she walks. Her calves, her knees. She keeps her legs tight together, criss-crossing like a model. My mouth waters.
She stops at the counter and raises her arm, guiding me back behind the bar as if we’re on the dance floor. I grin and nearly flush, a little embarrassed, flustered to be somewhere I’m not supposed to be, seeing the clutter of dishes, rags, coffee mugs, silverware, napkins, salt and pepper shakers, ketchup and Tabasco bottles. And, of course, the gleaming, polished silver milkshake machine.
I slide behind the counter and she spins on a stool, crossing her legs at the ankle. She leans over, spilling out of her dress. I lick my lips, run my thumb over them, position myself behind the bar. I grip the handle of the milkshake machine and run my hand over it, stroking.
“So,” I say. “Can I get you something?” I’m having trouble keeping my face straight. It feels a little silly, but it’s also hot. What will she do? Let me fuck her, here, really?
Shanna purses her lips. “What do you have back there?” she leans over the counter and shifts her hips, then reaches for my belt.
I grab her wrist and hold it for a moment, surprising her. I bring her hand to the package behind my fly and make her feel my hard on. She oooohs a little, still in a character, and lifts her ass onto the counter, swings her legs over it, opening her knees. She grabs my tie and pulls me to her, kissing me hard, running her fingers along the short hairs on the back of my head, wrapping her legs around my waist.
“I want … ” I say between kisses, “I want you, I want you to … suck me. Would you do that?”
She nods yes and closes her eyes, just for a second, tips her chin down, and slides off the counter. She kisses me again and, palm flat against my cock, fingers on my fly, she unbuckles my belt, unzips, and pulls out my packing strap-on. Swiftly. Expertly.
She kisses me while she does this, hard, kisses the corner of my mouth, my cheek, my jawline, my neck, net to my collar, and she sinks to her knees.
The tip of my cock touches her lips and it feels tender, sensitive. As though I can feel her, sucking it into her mouth, working her tongue down the shaft. This is the thrill of the borrowed cock, the filling of it, the way it becomes mine. It is hitting my clit perfectly and her mouth, oh god, her mouth feels exquisite. I want to release into her – want to grab her hair and work her against me, down her throat.
I hold onto the counter instead. The metal edge cuts into my palm. She works her tongue on the underside of the head of my cock and my hips buck, pelvis tightens. I tip my head back, hips forward.
“God,” I groan, aware that it is what would give this whole thing away, should someone walk in the door. My expressions. I keep one eye toward the door but my eyelids keep closing. God her mouth feels fantastic.
Shanna looks up at me, eyes wide and shining, cheeks taut, hands on the thighs of my black slacks. I want her, want to fuck her. I look around – where? – we can’t have much time, but I already feel close to coming. She sees me glancing around, my stance has changed.
I groan as she sucks me hard, particularly deep, and pull my cock from her mouth. “Wait,” I say, “somewhere … else.” I offer my hand and she takes it, rises off her knees back onto her feet.
I have a perfect sightline into the kitchen, and notice the huge walk-in freezer right behind the doorway. There may be people back there, a line cook, a busser, but they wouldn’t notice us. We could sneak right in. Shanna sees where I’m looking and waits for me to take a step.
Tiptoeing, almost, once I move she follows and we reach the door in a few quick strides. My cock bobs from my fly. I pull on its industrial handle, somewhat thick in my hand and satisfying to grip. I let her go in first.
She turns to face me and brings her shoulders up. “Brrrr.” The air is cloudy and it burns my throat a little to inhale.
I survey the situation. A few boxes, milk crates, stacked up in the corner, filled with some heavy containers, jars, lidded plastic. Some of the boxes have been peeled open, others are still wrapped and sealed. Shanna’s face reads skepticism.
I sit perched on the edge of the crates and boxes and say, “Come here.”
She frowns a little. “What, here? I’m not sure – ”
“Oh, hell yes.” I stand, take a step toward her, reach out and wrap my arm around her waist. She fits well against me this way. Her arms go up around my neck somewhat instinctively.
“But – ” she says, a little too sweetly, batting her lashes at me. She has control of every detail.
“Mmmhmm.” I lift her skirt and she gasps at the cold air, it contracts her thighs a little. I take her left knee to the crook of my elbow, and bend my legs to get underneath her, gripping my cock in my fist, sliding inside her slowly but easily. She moans and it is a lovely sound. She’s not holding back, begins working her hips against mine, thrusting and circling in s-curves, figure eights. She hooks her foot behind my back and I lean, balancing the weight of our bodies, taking a few steps backward again to lean against the boxes for support. Perfect. Perfect – my shoulders lean and my hips thrust freely, deeper and a little harder, my cock already so hard and her lips are on me, on my neck again, I can see my breath hanging in the air as I exhale, hard, groaning every time she presses against me, and she kisses me, lips full on mine, tongue softly fierce, mouth open, open.
My hands are on her hips. Pressing against her hard. I can feel every place our bodies collide, the heat in such stark contrast to the frigid air. She arches her back and presses me deep, I thrust harder and loose myself in the rhythm, hard, and again, again, against her as my muscles contract, face tenses, pelvis thighs ass tense, hard, harder … and then shuddering release, still thrusting and vibrating against her, getting softer, slower, coming down.
I hold onto her and breathe into her neck, her hair, for a moment. We kiss, giggle, weave that sex haze, gather ourselves.
Shanna exits the freezer first and returns to our table, and I follow. I pull my wallet out of my back pocket and the bell on the door jingles, the waitress tosses her cigarette into the street after she’s opened the door and then turns to see me tossing a few bills onto the table.
I pick my fedora up from the table and set it onto my head, run my fingertip over the rim, and slide my wallet back into my pocket. Shanna has one knee on the vinyl booth and takes another mouthful of vanilla milkshake.
“C’mon, doll,” I say, offering my hand. She takes it and the sound of the milkshake glass on the table echoes. “Let’s blow this joint.”
She laughs. I’m being a bit ridiculous. Ah well, why not? I circle my arm around her waist, wink over my shoulder at the waitress, and we walk out of the diner on the corner.
Pardon the diversion. Now back to your regularly scheduled Sugarbutch Star Contest.
We should not get rid of nor avoid getting all stuff. Our practice of reducing and refusing an abundance of stuff is checked by our recognition that some stuff is important to us and those around us. Stuff can damage our well-being. And yet we can remain positively cautious about stuff, understanding the real value of material possessions.
To rejigger stuff so that its role in our lives is ordered appropriately is the third step in our self-aware response to being “stuck in stuff.” It simply makes no sense to reduce and to refuse all stuff. In addition to necessities – clothes, shelter, food, etc. – we are privileged to possess beautifully meaningful stuff. Art, pillows, dog leashes, heirlooms, love letters, chairs, memory albums, and much more are examples of valuable stuff. Our disciplines to reduce the amount of stuff we have and to refuse an abundance of more stuff puts us in a situation where we can rightly appreciate and order the stuff we keep and acquire. We can put stuff in its rightful place in our lives.
Funny, just this morning I was reading Mark Morford’s newest column on “free stuff”, so I’ve been thinking about the acquisition of things that I don’t actually need or intend to acquire.
This is all to say that I am still – STILL – in the midst of this overstimulated, overextended crisis, and I am trying to adjust my life and my posessions accordingly. I’m cancelling things, I’m not committing, I’m attempting to look at the projects I’m (already) running on more realistic timeframes, I’m not committing to any new projects. And on top of all of this, I’m purposefully and intentionally putting more of my efforts toward projects that pay me money.
I know – radical, right?! I currently have one job, nine-to-five, and yet I am obligated to various organizations and groups and personal projects to give all sorts of time and effort and skill in exchange for no monetary compensation. Yes, I do get other things – experience, socializing, networking, writing – and all of these committments are peripherally related to my long-term Big Three Goals.
But of course they are! There are hundreds of things that are related to my big goals! I can’t do all of them. And, the other thing I’m realizing is, I’m not actually working on the goals – I’m working on things that lead up to the goals. Which is okay, perhaps; it’s not awful, I’m getting more confident, more experience. But I need to stop delaying the work and start actually doing it.
Yesterday, I came across smart questions that will super charge your life over on Lifehack.org, and promptly saved many of them:
What can I do right now to take the next leap instead of the next step?
What have I been avoiding that I can do today?
What is the most important thing I need to do today? (Do it first!)
Is this the best use of my time right now?