I’m trying to do some morning pages every day, and sometimes those turn into blog posts, so you might be noticing that there’s been more password protected posts than usual. They are personal writings, usually about my relationship or about my personal psychology.
You can have access to the password protected posts if you want to read them. Just join the mailing list, and when you confirm your subscription you should get sent the password automatically. I usually send out a newsletter once a month that includes updates to what I’ve been doing and the upcoming events for the next month or so. (Sometimes it’s not as often as monthly. I try, though.)
In fact, the newsletter should go out next week. So even if you don’t care about the password, you can still sign up for it and receive updates from me once a month or so.
This is a kind of old theme that I’m using, but I love how simple it is. I’ve always meant to do some upgrades to the comment structure but haven’t gotten around to it. I finally separated out the trackbacks and pingbacks from the actual comments, you can see that in a post like My Slutty Little Girl if you want to check it out.
I also opened comments on old posts again, so if there are older writings you’d like to comment on, please do. This fixed the issue of the sidebar (did you notice that? It would be down below the main body instead of at the side on the old posts).
I still want to update this theme such that I can have nested or threaded comments, but I messed around with it this morning and I couldn’t seem to make it work. If you are a WordPress coder and are interested in helping me with this, I do have a little bit of money I could throw your way, and I’d really appreciate it.
Someone commented recently that they didn’t know there were new posts because I’ve left the What’s Happening in March calendar post at the top of the blog this month—I did that in February too. Does this matter to y’all? Do you notice? Is it helpful to have the updated schedule there all the time? Or is it in the way? I’m not sure it’s doing what I want it to do. Maybe it’d be best to have this in the sidebar, but I haven’t figured out how to automate that yet.
If you’ve got any other suggestions for how I can improve the site, I’d be glad to hear ’em. Leave them in the comments.
Lots of great comments on Tuesday’s post about my own frustrations with the discussions on this site – I’m replying to the comments in the thread, too, with more information, so read the comments if you’d like to know more about my thoughts around this issue. You can also subscribe to the Sugarbutch Chronicles RSS comments feed (but that’s really just for the hardcore fans).
I’d like to say two quick things about it, then I’ll move on to more random miscellany:
1. Thank you, thank you, thank you. That post was not meant as a request for praise, of course, it was just an update on where I’m at and what I’ve been going through – but I appreciate the praise, and I appreciate the clarifications about what this site and these discussions have meant for you.
2. I’ve mentioned that I’m implimenting some changes in how this site works, but don’t worry, I’m not planning on changing it drastically. If you have particular suggestions about what you’d love to see more of, what your favorite parts have been, what you hate, I’d love to hear that as I go forward. Really, though, the biggest change will probably not be on the published-side of things at all – it’ll just be in my own psychic process toward the site, and hopefully, in my own boundaries about frustration and internalizing criticism.
2a. I’d particularly like to grow the SSU category here on Sugarbutch – “Sinclair Sexsmith University,” the custom sex, gender, and relationships “program” with 101-level articles and information. I’m not sure exactly how to begin building that, but I’m working on it.
A little bit more housekeeping, random things to mention & file under colophon:
I just found out that sugarbutch has a livejournal syndication. If you use LJ, you can add Sugarbutch as a friend & keep up with me that way.
bzzzgrrrrl emailed me to let me know she’d nominated Sugarbutch for a BlogHer Hero award. She says, “You won’t get it, I’m afraid. The official rules prohibit material that is “inappropriate, indecent, obscene,” etc., and who knows what that means, but I bet Sugarbutch Chronicles qualifies.” Ah, she’s probably right – but I’m still really flattered, thank you for the nomination.
She sent me a very flattering, humbling blurb that she included with her nomination, and I’m reprinting it here with my thanks & gratitude:
Sugarbutch Chronicles changes lives — mine, at least. Sinclair writes frankly, openly, and playfully about gender. My generation of feminists just Didn’t Talk Like That: Transfolk made us uncomfortable. People who deliberately declared themselves “butch” or “femme” but weren’t trans made us more uncomfortable. Sinclair is as sexy as she is smart, and she opens dialogue for and between her readers that inspire us all. Since reading her, I’ve had better sex, better conversations, better jumping-off points for challenging my own ideas. SBC isn’t the only blog about queer theory or gender theory, but it’s the best I’ve found.
I’m attempting not to blush, and instead practicing my “thank you”s with all this praise recently – instead of deflecting I’m just trying to accept. I’m really glad that some – any – of my own thought processes, approaches, and philosophies are useful to others, and I’m extremely grateful to all the comments, emails, questions, and folks out there with blogs & books & further writings who are exploring these topics.
It’s a nice community we’ve got goin’ on here. My gender conversations are a lot less lonely than it used to be, thank you for that.
A couple heated comments about my last post already, and I want to make a couple things clearer.
I believe it is absolutely okay to not identify with the labels of butch or femme – or any label, for that matter. I think identity categories should be chosen by ourselves, not by others, and if a label is not chosen, it should not ever be imposed.
(Sometimes I feel like that should be written at the top and bottom of every post, just to make it clear. I want to write it in all caps, in bold, in italics, underlined: I support your identity, whatever it may be, even if it isn’t mine. And I also expect you to support mine.)
I’m not trying to say that, when someone is called butch or femme and does not identify that way, that that is not a misperception of your own personal identity – of course it is. That’s why the post was called “on misperceiving someone.”
It is insulting and difficult to be misperceived, to be misrepresented. As Daisy put it: “the person saying that doesn’t understand me, and like I’ve failed at gender expression.” I totally understand that – I hate being misperceived (as Daisy also points out, I said it bugs me when people told me “you’re not really butch”), but ultimately, that too is about the other person, not about my own identity. And just because one person misperceives me does not mean that I am not butch, if that is what I am choosing to call myself.
This clarification is important to me because I see many, many folks around me, many readers of this site, many of my friends, who tell me that they deeply want to identify as butch or femme, but are holding back for whatever reasons. Are suspicious of the identities, and are making their way down those paths of understanding how it will play out for them, in their own unique ways. I want to encourage that, when I can, share my knowledge of this identity process, and make it easier for someone else.
Now, on a related sidenote – being misperceived as butch or femme, or as not butch or not femme, is about the social policing of gender. The ways we, as a society and culture, enforce standards of gender on each other, on our friends and communities and lovers and strangers.
Miss Molly commented: “As much as we’d like to say there aren’t different rules in the queer community for butches and femmes, there are many of the double standards that exist for straight men and women.” Sure – there are standards out there, but they’re the same perceived cultural standards that enforce heterosexism and homophobia.
What I find most interesting here is who is doing the enforcing of these double standards. For example, I was in my favorite dyke watering hole not long ago and ordered a vodka cranberry with my usual bartender (who, at this point, calls me “dude” affectionately and shakes my hand when I walk in), and she actually leaned in close to me and said, “Are you sure? That’s awfully … sweet, you know.”
I cringed. Yes, I usually order beer and whiskey. Yes, the drink I ordered was “girly,” and my gender was insulted there, underneath that comment. But: this is about her, not about me. As I joke, sometimes: “I’m man enough to wear pink” – I’m also man enough (ahem, “man” enough, I should say) to order a cosmo or a midori sour or a vanilla vodka cranberry with a cherry if I want one. Yes, I know it’s a sweet drink. I’m aware of what I ordered, and I wouldn’t have ordered the drink if I didn’t want it.
Ultimately, that comment was about the bartender, and her ideas about how gender framework operates, not about me or how I operate. It is not her – or anyone’s – responsibility to police what they perceive to be my gender performance, and I’m at a point in my gender process and identity won’t let anyone else do it for me.
My point about that is this: Who is it that is making these “double standards?” Who enforces them? I read all sorts of things from all sorts of personal online diaries, articles, personal ads, queer media, books, gay culture – and everywhere I hear the same stories about butch and femme: those who don’t identify with butch and femme feel like they are being pushed to do so, and those who do feel like outcasts, like gender freaks who don’t fit in.
That’s a little heartbreaking to me, every time I get my Google alert with gender keywords in my inbox: yet another email full of “Femme women are noticeably less deviant and have a socially acceptable appearance,” and “a rigid and artificial dichotomy of male/butch/top/dominant and female/femme/bottom/submissive” and “the idea of ‘butch‘ and ‘femme’ is as frakked up as Albuquerque driving” and “all butches want to become men” and “I’m butch I suppose, but I’m no guy” and “all that boy/girl butch/femme crap – it’s not real!”
All over the lesbian/queer/dyke communities – my communities – I see people railing against this, from many perspectives. All I’m trying to do here is share my own stories and my own perceptions, illuminate the process a little bit, discuss it, open it up
I want to also echo Lady Brett’s comment: “If it does piss you off, it’s probably a matter of misperception. So, please, tell me. Give me the chance to fix it before you get offended.”
Yes. Please do tell me if I misperceive your identity. Tell anybody, when they misperceive any sort of identity of yours, not just in your gender identity. I’m not trying to blow off the misperception and to encourage you to just let them go on thinking you’re butch/femme/whatever – it is insulting! and, ultimately, inaccurate. Which makes us not feel seen, not feel acknowledged, not feel validated.
What I’m really getting at with that last post is the times when someone is misperceived, really in any way, and they are deeply insulted by it. There’s more to it than just “you don’t see me as I really am” – there’s this big set of implications because of those loaded words.
But again, I want to stress, I really believe that any misperception and insult is about the other person, not about me or my identity – and I do believe this goes both ways, being perceived as butch or not butch or femme or not femme or foreign or local or a hippie or a punk or bi or trans or anything that we don’t actually identify as.
Maybe I’m getting too Buddhist in my philosophies here. I was just reading Be the Person You Want to Find by Cheri Huber, and I’m feeling those philosophies seeping into my opinions on these subjects.
Identity categories are so personal, so intimate – and the theory around them is so slippery! I mean, if anyone can identify as anything, if social policing means nothing, then what is the real meaning of an identity label? Some theorists would say, ultimately, it’s all basically meaningless. I can get there, can understand those arguments – but I also know what it feels like to be inside of these identity categories, and to know precisely how it works for me, how it’s given me a beautiful structure in which to tinker and fuck around and play.
These topics are really difficult, and anytime I post something that gets heated and emotional, I always take the comments very seriously, and consider my points even harder. I am not claiming to speak for everyone here – man, that is one of the best things about blogs, is immediate discussion and feedback and comments like this. I’m only speaking from my own perspective about my own experience, with hopes that it occasionally is helpful to others. Speaking of the round-bellied-guy, I want to echo a quote from the Buddha that I’ve got hanging on my fridge, and was reminded of this week:
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.