Posts Tagged ‘afterellen’

My Take on “The Kids Are All Right”

July 21, 2010  |  essays  |  21 Comments

I spent almost a week on this after I saw the film. It turned out to be a bit of an opus, about six pages long, and AfterEllen.com graciously told me they would run it.

Here’s a little teaser of my thoughts:

What if this depiction of that trope, of that storyline of lesbian-sleeps-with-a-man, is actually a step forward? It’s actually a step away from the old versions of this story? It’s something new. We haven’t actually seen this before. What if it’s a sign that we’re actually getting farther from this trope, rather than recreating it yet again?

Untangling that trope means entering into some grey areas, unseeing the black-and-white of this issue and looking at some of the larger contexts and contents; reigning in our own projections a little bit to consider this with fresh eyes, from a place of a beginner’s mind, without quite so much anger directed at this trope. I know that sounds like you have to give up your very warranted anger, but that’s not quite what I mean. It’s just having enough looseness to be able to allow new information to be observed, even if we already think we know exactly what we’re looking at.

Because that’s really the problem here, isn’t it? We hear “a film in which a lesbian sleeps with a guy” and we roll our eyes and get that disappointed, sinking stomach feeling, and we pretend that we aren’t disappointed in yet another depiction of us, of me, of my life, my legitimate love, my legitimate orientation, in a mainstream film that had so much potential, so we squish that potential and we squish that disappointment and we try to sound so damn smart about the wrong that is this film that we might actually miss the film itself, what it’s saying, and what it’s doing.

Read the whole thing over on AfterEllen.com.

And go see this film. It is really beautiful.

Happy 4th Anniversary, Sugarbutch!

April 29, 2010  |  miscellany  |  18 Comments

Today, April 29th 2010, marks the fourth anniversary of beginning Sugarbutch! I’ve been going at this site nearly daily for four years straight, and it’s the first anniversary where I am not working at another job; Sugarbutch is my full-time job.

This past year, I’ve written 231 posts, received 2,798 comments, added one category for a total of 37, and added 1,267 tags. I’m kind of tag-happy these days. They’re a sort of footnote.

I’ve also started writing many other places, including the Radical Masculinity column at Carnal Nation, my Mr. Sexsmith’s Other Girlfriend column on New York City for Eden Fantasys’s magazine Sex Is, and I even had a piece over on After Ellen this past week. I’ve started a reading series, with Cheryl B., called Sideshow! The Queer Literary Carnival, and I’ve been teaching workshops and classes more frequently. I’m keeping track of all of those things over on MrSexsmith.com, rather than here, so if you’re interested in where I’m performing or where else my work is appearing, subscribe to that RSS feed. I’ve also started keeping media (video, audio, and photographs, mostly) over on my mrsexsmith.Tumblr.com, which has freed up this space a little more for in-depth writing.

I have some more projects in the works for the near future! Stay tuned.

I have always reflected back on this very first post when I do these anniversary posts, and as many of you are new readers these days, here’s an excerpt from my very first post, bed death, standard variety:

What I’m trying to say is this: I’m not getting the sex that I want. No, scratch that: I’m not getting the sex that I need. My basic human needs, basic woman needs, basic self needs, include sex. If asked, I would say at least three times a week, though I can be a little flexible about that. I understand, having had some experience as a couple, that that can’t always happen. But I also know that it can, and does, when both people make the effort.

I’ve been with my girlfriend for three years. We met in college, in a Men & Masculinity class. It took another couple of quarters for us to get together; we had a slow start, easing into each other and into a relationship, which was wonderful. One of the great things about our relationship is how well we have been able to keep our autonomy – we never became one of those couples that you never see without the other person, we aren’t joined at the hip, we don’t constantly speak in first-person-plural. Of course, the greatest strength is often the greatest weakness, and in our case, the intimacy has fallen out of our relationship almost entirely.

We haven’t had sex in … longer than I care to admit. And in the last two years we have probably had sex five times. I stopped counting the days between.

I’m surprised at how clear that is, when I look back at it. It feels like such a murky, confused time, but I lay it out so clearly: I’m not getting the sex I need. I still believe sex is a basic human need, perhaps not for survival on the food-water-shelter level, but on the hierarchy of needs scale, certainly. It is something we need in order to feel psychologically safe, protected, comforted. Well, maybe saying “sex” is too broad. We don’t actually all need sex. I need sex, I need hot dirty queer kinky sex, but perhaps you need pretty music playing candles lit sex. Perhaps you are totally satisfied with the once-a-month quickie. Perhaps you’re asexual, and need companionship, partnership, friendship, intimacy in other ways.

That post is under password protection now, as is most of the things about my exes and personal life. If you want the password, join the (very very rarely occasional) mailing list, and it’ll be sent to you when you confirm your subscription.

The traditional gift for the fourth anniversary is fruit, flowers, and books, or, I’m told, the modern equivalent is electrical appliances. Umwhat? People don’t need fruit, flowers, or books anymore? Those seem way more important than electrical appliances. I mean, I like the next tech gadget as much as anybody (though I think I’ll buy stock instead of the iPad, even though I’m really coveting it currently), but it’s almost summer! I can’t wait for strawberry shortcake.

On Sugarbutch’s second anniversary, I reflected on where this blog started and began the tradition of “ask me anything,” which I did last year also. So, in the spirit of keeping up with traditions, let’s do it again: Got a question for me? Ask me anything. You can ask anything, from personal details about my life that you’ve always wondered, to questions about advice for sex toys or your relationship, to philosophical musings on identity, gender, or sexuality theory.

Read back on some of the former “ask me anything” questions, and add your own in the comments. What do you want to know? I’ll answer as many as I can.

Vote in AfterEllen’s Hot 100 & Increase Gender Diversity in Lesbian Pop Culture

April 27, 2010  |  miscellany  |  8 Comments

AfterEllen.com has opened up voting for its annual Hot 100 list, which is largely a response to the “top hot list” time of year, and to give “lesbian/bi women a way to express what, or who, we find attractive, since our voice is largely missing from mainstream, heterocentric pop culture.”

A noble goal, to be sure, especially since AfterEllen’s major realm is in fact mainstream pop culture. To add voice to what queer women find sexy is a great place to start.

Last year’s list (has it been a year already?), though, is part of what got my boxers in a twist and why I put together Top Hot Butches, which is a list of 100 genderqueer, androgynous, and butch folks. The AfterEllen list has so far been extremely feminine, white, under 40, and straight. Last year, AfterEllen launched some supplemental lists, which were: women of color, women over 40, and out women.

But still, no gender diversity.

Though there are a few notable folks (Katherine Moenig, Rachel Maddow, Tegan & Sara, arguably), the majority of the list is still completely feminine.

And coming from someone who works in gender diversity, and who interacts with many, many queer women, many of whom, I know for a fact, are specifically oriented toward masculinity in their sexuality and partnering, I think that is missing a huge segment of the queer world.

So head on over and nominate some of your favorite butches for that list, willya? Need some inspiration? Browse through the Top Hot Butches, see who catches your eye. Who knows, they might not make it onto the final cut. But at least it’ll be an increase in votes from last year, and maybe next year they’ll finally do a genderqueer supplemental list, at the very least.

Aaaaaaand insert the nice segue here:

Speaking of encouraging more gender diversity in the mainstream pop culture, especially dyke culture:

I wrote a piece for AfterEllen recently, called Sugarbutch Says: Butches on Television, about the gender representation on television in the recent past. I was aiming for it to be current, but I just had to include some L Word folks in there.

Clipped from: www.afterellen.com by clp.ly

 

I didn’t include Tasha, played by Rose Rollins, from The L Word, though perhaps I should have. I was focusing on the actors (or TV personalities, in the case of Rachel Maddow & Ellen Degeneres), not necessarily the character, and it’s pretty rare for a butch character to be played by a straight woman, though I suppose it’s been done (Chloe Sevigny in If These Walls Could Talk II, or Hilary Swank as trans man Brandon Teena).

I also didn’t include Sue Sylvester and/or Jane Lynch. She’s out, right? And she’s butch-ish—at least, she’s not feminine. I’m still enjoying Glee, despite it’s occasional insanity and bad writing, and she really makes the show. Sue, her character, is not out, though, and again, I was kind of focused on queer butches who were somewhat explicitly queer and fairly masculine in appearance.

But there is more to explore here—I guess it’s time for a follow-up article already!

If this piece goes over well, I may be writing more for AfterEllen, and I already have some notes about butches in films and butches as characters in novels.

So, do you like the article over there? Comment and let them know, will ya, so I can keep going, trying desperately to inject some gender diversity into lesbian pop culture?