Archive for September, 2008
I’ve had almost half a dozen people ask me in the past few weeks about my pronoun of choice, so here’s the deal.
When referring to me as Sinclair Sexsmith, I go by the masculine honorific – by Mr. Sexsmith. That, I do feel strongly about. Pronouns have generally then followed, so I am often referred to as “he” and “him.” That’s fine, and I think the masculine character that I have cultivated here as my alter-ego fits quite well with masculine pronouns. I didn’t expect it to happen and I didn’t quite plan it, and I don’t know if I ever would have asked for my friends or lovers to play with male pronouns in my personal life, and I very much like it, more than I thought I would.
But, female pronouns in referring to me as Sinclair are also totally fine. In fact, in some ways, I like that some people refer to me with male pronouns and some with female pronouns, because I firmly am occupying both spaces. In some ways I like the gender neutral pronoun options like ze and hir (pronounced “here”). The Gender Intelligence Agency introduced the pronouns pe (pronounced “pay” not “pee”) and per, short for person, which I quite like but which is proving incredibly awkward in speech. Maybe I’ll try to write a story with them in it sometime, just to try it out, get more used to it.
Problem with pe and per is that it doesn’t have a third possessive adjective version of the pronoun – the “his/her/its” version. I guess that would be per, again? To borrow wikipedia’s structure, it looks like:
I called per.
Per eyes gleamed.
That is pers.
Pe likes perself.
Yeah, I like the philosophy behind that. But looking at the fifteen different gender-neutral pronouns that wikipedia lists as potential options, I hesitate to think that we need more of them. I guess we keep making them because the others don’t quite work, yeah? I kinda wish there was more consensus, but some part of that has to come about organically, about what gets put into use in daily life for a significant piece of a community.
In my offline life, I do not go by male pronouns, at all. As things go on, that is becoming more strange, actually – my sister referred to me recently as her sister, and I thought, oh yeah, I’m a sister to someone. I’m a daughter. Someday I’ll be an aunt, a mother. I think lesbian dad is rubbing off on me that way, in that I don’t know if I’ll ever be “mama.”
I do go by sir, sometimes boy, and other masculine words like that in a sexualized context … but there really aren’t very many of those words for butch tops in bed. But that’s a slightly different post.
So yeah, did I make that clear? Either pronoun of the main two pronouns are fine, neither of them fit exactly – but please do use the masculine honorific (and thanks to jesse james for finding that word for me).
Those of you who are RSS readers will not see the small banner in the sidebar about the fate of Bitch Magazine, so I figured I’d give a little heads up here too.
Bitch needs $40,000 by October 15th in order to print the next issue, and is looking for advertisers and donations. Subscribe, subscribe, subscribe – it’s always better to subscribe to a magazine than to buy it on newsstands as the magazine itself gets so much more of the money. Like purchasing the album at an artist’s concert instead of buying it through your local store, even if they are independent and (Perhaps I should take out a Sugarbutch ad!)
Bitch Magazine was instrumental to my identity development as a feminist. I started reading Bitch in 1997 when the sex issue came out, and until very recently I owned every single issue – when I moved from Seattle to New York City in 2004 I donated them all to my college library through the Women Studies librarian, who assured me they’d have a good home.
In 1997, I was just out of high school, still with my high school boyfriend, quickly losing what I thought I already had in a bisexual identity, and quickly discovering more advanced feminist discourse that, ultimately, saved me from myself and my own internalized ideas, especially about what it meant to be an adult woman. I quickly found so many resources to further explore in Bitch Magazine, quickly found other websites and books and authors that I fell in love with, which eventually led me on the path out of my relationship and to coming out, and coming into my own butchness, a few years later.
I love this magazine and I eagerly await and tear through each new issue.
So again, I say, get a subscription, get your mom a subscription, get your best friend a subscription, and donate. Read the entire call for donations over on Bitch’s blog and watch the short video of the editors explaining the crisis.
This Public Service Announcement has been brought to you by the letter B and the most awesome nectarine that is patiently waiting on my desk to be eaten.
I can’t resist. I don’t go much for celebreality but I remember watching Ellen’s old sitcom, I remember what a big deal it was when she came out, I love that she’s got her own daytime show now. We need images, ya know? We need representations of ourselves.
(Also, I’m still a bit obsessed with Josh Radin. I even dragged the Muse to see him perform last month. I can’t believe they flew him in to perform that song, it was so lovely.)
Okay, you are now returned to your regularly scheduled Sugarbutch Chronicles.
Now that I’m on the subject of definitions, I have a request. I need a word for something.
Sometimes the English language fails us; we really don’t have enough words for the precision of things. (For example, I’d love to differentiate between the “I’m sorry” that means empathy vs the “I’m sorry” that is an apology, especially since those two things are widely different and it makes it difficult to communite your true intention when language falls short. But that’s a sidenote.)
I’ve been thinking about chivalry lately – which is not rare – and in a few discussions recently I’ve been kicking around the idea of someone who receives chivalry, and how that too is a skill.
Some women don’t much care for chivalry, and some do; those who do have a different kind of interaction with it, an appreciation and understanding that definitely alters the dynamic of the exchange. It’s actually kind of complicated to allow someone to pull out your chair, take your coat or help it on, to take their hand or arm or elbow. Those are skills, too: how to receive chivalry.
I think we need a word for this. It has been suggested to me that perhaps we can use the same word – as in, “that femme is chivalrous, she knows how to accept chivalry from me” – but that doesn’t quite convey what I’m trying to say. I keep thinking of other forms of nouns for two people in a give/take relationship – gifter/giftee, inviter/invitee – but that doesn’t quite make sense with the structure of the word “chivalrous” and “chivalry.” Makes me wish I knew more about the origins and structure of language.
In the recent past, gender activists have tended to use the term “bio” to define non-trans folks. As in, bio-male, bio-women, bio-guys.
But let’s think about this a minute eh? There’s nothing non-biological about trans folks.
The words cisgender and cissexual are becoming more and more prevalent for describing non-trans folks – folks whose subconscious/internal sense of your own gender identity generally matches that of your biological sex.
The word has its origin in the Latin-derived prefix cis, meaning “on the same side” as in the cis-trans distinction in chemistry.
Julia Serano has been significantly altering my own perception about cis/trans issues, particularly within feminism. Though I haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend her book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, and I will be writing up a review of it eventually. I also recommend Serano’s recent article Rethinking Sexism: How Trans Women Challenge Feminism from AlterNet on August 5, 2008 (beware, many comments are hard to read – attacking, misunderstood, incensing). Serano was one of the speakers at the Femme Conference, and it’s clear her work is really cutting-edge of the gender activism and theory, and I’m really excited to read more of her philosophies.
I’ve got a thousand things to say about cis privilege and the social construction theories that have been prevalent in gender studies thusfar. Sadly, I haven’t finished writing that up yet. But I hope to, eventually.
My story The Creation Myth won the first ever BSB writer’s contest, and I am taking home this fabulous For Your Nymphomation sex toy case which I’ve been coveting ever since Essin’ Em (who has a new URL, by the way) reviewed it a while back. (Also, did you know they also have a rolling suitcase-type of toy trunk? Holy crap, how did I miss this!)
I’m sure this is not the only source of the concept of a professional submissive, but a few months back I heard about this book The Pleasure’s All Mine: Memoir of a Professional Submissive by Joan Kelly, and that’s what came to mind when I was writing this Jackie character. I just started the book, I’ll let you know how it is.
A little taste of my short-short story, The Creation Myth:
“You don’t need to know yet,” she says. “You don’t need it.”
Flattering, but frustrating. I am convinced her case holds the key to some heretofore untapped topping in me. I play the idea of her correcting my technique as I beat her, guiding me as I fuck her, over and over in my mind when I jack off. I imagine this would entice me and enrage me until I lose control a little, unleash, and let her have my all.
Until I surrender to my power.
I’m also particularly fond of the line ““She breaks us like horses,” my friend B whispers loudly after Jackie leaves our table at our usual watering hole. “Ruthless.” “B” is actually the fierce fat femme top Bevin Brandlandingham of The Femme-Cast, and when I submitted the story I had included Bevin’s name and link, though I forgot that the submission was supposed to be anonymous so Catalina (the BSB editor) and I hid her identity.
Read the whole thing over at BestSexBloggers.com.
If you’ve just tuned in, you are joining our hero, Sinclair Sexsmith, on his ongoing quest for sex, gender exploration, and relationships. This is what happened in August; let’s watch.
- Uh, there wasn’t really any smut posted this month. I was single and haven’t been seeing anyone steadily, so there were no real-life adventures, and I’m preparing for the Sugarbutch Star 2008 contest where I write up various fiction stories, so I haven’t been writing much smut lately.
- I did write the suspension of heterosexual belief about reading smut or watching porn with participants who aren’t particularly within your erotic orientation, and being able to suspend your orientation enough to appreciate the technique and skill of the sex in the scene
- I also write on choice feminism and compulsory gender roles, which is something I’ve already referred to often, especially in regards to making all potential options valid in order to make a legitimate choice.
- There’s a sexy seduction story, summer game plan, I posted over at Sappho’s Girls. What, you didn’t know I was writing there?
- Sugarbutch Star Contest!– the official launch! and the announcement of the 2007 sugarbutch star chapbook which you’ll be able to buy from this site soon.
- In praise of femmes: hair & shaving. I start out by talking about the difference between my personal preferences and what I think the options are (or should be) for women in general. I wish more women didn’t shave, honestly. Shaving probably wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for me one way or the other, but I do particularly like freshly shaved skin. I see it as being yet another way to increase physical sensation, and as such, it’s a sex toy.
- On butches: hair: “Sometimes I even like my five o’clock shadow. I’ve developed the habit of scratching my chin like the boys do. Feeling when I need a shave. Letting it grow on weekends, on weeks when I don’t have work. When I was in Mexico I didn’t touch it once. Ten days without shaving, I am sure a personal record. I didn’t even know my hair would grow that long, that dark, that thick. … Sometimes, I even like it. “
- Both of these pieces were extensively commented on, by butches and femmes and various folks within the gender galaxy around the blogosphere. The comments & posts are particularly worth reading and I would even say are more interesting than my original posts – it’s fascinating to hear the details about how people keep their bodies, and the reasons for it, and the ways that shaving or body hair is subversive and resistance. Add your own comment to the mix about what you do, or post it on your own blog and leave a link.
- I theorize about romance vs chivalry: What’s the difference between romance & chivalry? The two can look nearly identical, we thought – bringing flowers, pulling out a chair, taking a jacket – but something separates them. …Sometimes chivalry is purely kind and thoughtful, with no romance whatsoever. When I hold the door open for a stranger, or for my mom or sister or a straight girl friend, I do it with no romantic intent. Ah – so perhaps that’s what differentiates the two: intention.”
- Some thoughts on my relationship with love in new place, new learning (protected)
- moving backward, moving forward (protected) where I continue to mull over my relationship history
- Elsewhere: Gender 101 article over at Eden Fantasys; blogs by butches featured over at TLL; summer game plan (actually written in July, but I never featured it here) over at Sappho’s Girls
- English Department at SSU: Define: mutually exclusive; writing prompt: what’s in your box of darkness (from this poem); if I had a red pen; define: transmasculine, writing prompt: if I was being really honest, protected poetry: the solace of solitude.
- Interview: I’m on Bedroom Radio
- Reviews: massage bongers, a preview of the goodfella packing cock I ran a little contest with my review of the erotica book Spanked: with what and where would you like to be spanked?… and here’s the winner
- Eye Candy: that stare, gloves, standing around with that famous butch lean, Dani. Tag your photos with ‘sugarbutch’ on flickr and they’ll be featured in the sidebar. Looks like we’ll get some femme eye candy in September!