Saturday, May 19, 2012

Butch in relation to femmes, and vice-versa

i may only be butch for straight women.

i possess very few butch qualities, but the ones i have, i hold as deeply and as seriously as any butch. but i only feel those qualities when straight women are involved. example: i believe that every woman deserves to be taken out by a gentleman. he should pick you up, take you where you are going, pay for any expenses that should arise, and treat you with respect the entire time. if no straight man appears to be providing this service for a deserving straight woman of my acquaintance, i may feel obliged to offer.

this is completely different from my relationship with my partner, to whom i am always the femme. (and delightedly so, because he knows how to do all those gentlemanly things!) because i know how to be a good butch AND a good femme, i would never act on the above-mentioned sense of obligation as long as i am otherwise attached.

Further distinction of pieces of a gender

genderqueer = my internal perception of self (identity)

femme = my role in interactions (social behavior)

dyke = my outward appearance (physical presentation)

Androgyny as Activism

visible androgyny is a form of activism for me. i live my life to set an example that people who look like me can be successful in a professional setting, in a higher education setting, in a family setting. i want to set a good example for younger androgynes so they know that it can get better, if it's making them miserable, and that it doesn't have to get worse, if it's treating them alright so far. i want people who have never seen someone with my gender presentation before to know that we exist and that we're not scary, or even really all that different from them. (i do think that i have an advantage in this over my male counterparts, because females are more generally perceived as non-threatening. i don't think that's particularly fair.) by presenting a gender that is more central on the spectrum, we are visible evidence against a bi-gender culture. demolishing that structure is essential to the equality of all genders.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sex & gender activism

Kate Bornstein asks,

"As sex and gender activists, what rights and resources must we demand?
Of what value is our sex and gender activism to allied activists of other marginalized groups?"

As sex and gender activists, we must demand our right to free speech. We must demand equal access to the resources of mass media as our opponents.

Our sex and gender activism helps to break down the most primary distinction between groups of humans, and helps others become more open to the idea that those distinctions may not really exist anywhere.

secret decoder rings

i am relieved by the presence of butches anywhere. i see you on the train, on the street, behind the counter. i see you being your best to the people who need you, reminding them what real gentility looks like. i see you trying not to let too many people see you. thank you for meeting my gaze and releasing it.

rest assured, we femmes can still recognize you, across genders and generations.

Friday, March 23, 2012

dysphoria vs. negative body image

the difference between dysphoria and negative body image

i feel a responsibility to post this after my post a couple weeks ago. i'm still forming my own opinion.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

subtle cues

i just got engaged. i'm thrilled about it; i couldn't be happier to be with this person and i'm excited to promise officially that we're going to spend the rest of our lives together. my fiance gave me a beautiful engagement ring with meanings that are so uniquely us, and i love it. i challenge you to think of a more feminizing accessory.

it's not that i'm not happy or proud to marry to my partner. it's more that my internal gender is not one to match a big shiny engagement ring all the time. no matter what the rest of me is wearing, my left ring finger screams WOMAN in all the loudest of tones. there are times when that is completely appropriate and it perfects my outward gender ensemble in a way that i just learned exists. there are also times when it feels like a giveaway, like my voice when somebody asks for the time.

the expectation when somebody receives an engagement ring is that they will wear it all the time, to signal their full-time commitment to their partner. it marks me not only as woman but as his woman, as one who belongs to someone else. the feminist in me resists, even while the femme in me revels at the designation. of course i want to be his; that doesn't mean i'm always in a situation where i need the woman part proclaimed loudly with glitter.

there is no paradox here, but it feels like one.