Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Saint Harridan and “Saint Swagger” by Melanie DeMore

For several years, Mary Going and the crew at Saint Harridan provided incredible, loving service to butches, trans men, and other folx who wanted to wear men’s clothing but weren’t able to find a good fit or (and especially) a good shopping experience. Alas, Saint Harridan went out of business in 2016. We miss you!!

Tex has one of Saint Harridan’s suits, and we were just sorry it didn’t come along soon enough for her to get married in! She’ll wear it when we renew our vows in Ptown next year, though.

Mary and Melanie, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for the work you did for our community, for your integrity and strength, for the suits, the music, and thank you, thank you for the swagger!

http://marygoing.com/saintharridan/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XINhLF2BsJU

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ white girl from back in the day, and I yearn for a time before the covers of trade paperbacks were all squidgy, so you can imagine that I don’t actually understand what a pingback is. I do know that it can in some way be part of spreading the love, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter, love, and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)

 

Published in: on October 10, 2018 at 12:57 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Femme Friday – Literary Femmes: Darla, from “Aim to Please” by Robbi Sommers

I mentioned Robbi Sommers’ 1994 book, Behind Closed Doors, on Monday in Meditation for Queer Femmes, and now I’d like to showcase Robbi’s character, Darla, from the story “Aim to Please”.

You know how some butches secretly (or not so secretly) think femme-on-femme is incredibly hot, but they go all, “Naw, naw, not me, dude,” when a femme mentions that she might think butch-on-butch could raise the temp in the room just a wee bit, too? Mmm hmm. Well, this story is for those femmes!

Deep gratitude to Robbi for loving Darla onto the page; for giving Darla the femme intuition about what her dear butch is really hankering for, for allowing her to rope in her insanely hot ex for the scene, and for not being afraid to say anything when it comes to describing female naughty bits!

            I licked my lips, making them shiny wet. I looked sexy, I looked delicious, I looked femme-wild.

            “You’re teasing me, Darla. What’s the wait?” Blindfolded, Gina squirmed on the bed.

            “Just looking at your fine ass, baby. Just making you crazy for me.” Suddenly nervous, I refilled the glass and gulped it down. Seconds later, the door opened and Marty – black boots and silver-tips, leather vest and no shirt, tight jeans ripped at the thighs – stepped in the room. Everything was spinning, except for Marty who stood firm in the cyclone’s center.”

            “Hello, doll.” She mouthed the words without making a sound. She shot me her cocksure grin and licked her lips.

            Hell of a long time since I’d been called doll. Let me have you, doll. You know I’m crazy for you, doll. Spread your legs for me, doll. Doll. Doll. Doll. My heart began to pound. As if riding her cut-to-the-chase cologne, Marty’s presence permeated the room.

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! New Femme Friday feature for fall 2018: Books from which queer femmes can draw inspiration. What are your trusted sources of light and love? Please share!

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)

 

Published in: on October 5, 2018 at 12:21 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes — Where Do We See Each Other?

“One of our few (if only) seven-nights-a-week gay dance clubs is closing on September 16th,” writes Billy Masters in his 9/12/2018 column, which I read in Bay Windows. “Paradise in Cambridge (MA) has a special place in your beloved Billy’s heart. That was the first club that hired me to host a show – their Sweet 16th birthday party. Once I had a mike in my hand, there was no stopping me. And now, there’ll be no stopping me from saying we’ve brought this on ourselves. Support your gay businesses – or soon there won’t be any.”

And in her 1994 collection of sexy short stories, Behind Closed Doors (more on this book later!), Robbi Sommers writes “Whenever two lesbians find themselves alone in a group of straights, a magic camaraderie occurs. Sooner or later, they cross the room and strike up a conversation. It’s a basic lesbian phenomenon – strangers, ex-lovers, enemies. No matter how things were yesterday, in a straight environment, we gravitate.”

The times are changing, the face of homophobia is changing, queer culture has changed so rapidly that it seems we hardly know who each other is, we hardly know what it is we share and where in the hell we can have interesting and generative conversations with one another. We’re good at pointing out each other’s inconsistencies and hypocrisies, good at drilling down on our own identities and, especially the younger set, really good at finding each other online, but how else are we communicating with each other? What do we count on each other for? Expect from each other? What kind of help can we give each other? How do we show queer love and support across the board, to all the beautiful letters of the ever-expanding alphabet, in all walks of life and at all ages?

Answers to those questions seem heart-breakingly elusive at the present moment. Speaking with youth and individual queers around town, hearing about their daily compromises, losses, isolation, and challenges, usually directly related to homophobia and heterosexism, I often find myself wondering what the next iteration of queer community will be, sans places like the Paradise and sans the secret handshakes.

Visibility is an answer, of course it is, but what does that mean, exactly? I can remember when queer publications celebrated any representation of queerness, even if the queer character was a villain or a ludicrous, insulting stereotype. We spend so much time fighting for honest representation in popular culture, as if that’s the only place that matters. It matters, of course, but there’s a huge difference between seeing yourself (sort of) reflected in an ad for hard liquor and feeling a visceral connection to a little girl singing, “Ring of Keys”. That little girl – both the character and the artist who birthed her — experienced the incredible gift of an adult queer walking into her actual life. If we are lucky, something comparable happened in our lives, and we were blessed and healed by the experience. Seeing some semblance of queer on tv can also be powerful – I was just listening to the Butchies song where there’s mention of Ellen coming out, which is something none of us around then will ever forget – but it isn’t real in the way a human being you meet or even just glimpse is real. It isn’t real in the way a teacher, family friend, neighbor, or other member of the place where you live is real. It isn’t real in the way living, breathing, complicated and visible real-live queers are real.

On the cover of the latest  Advocate, one of the last standing queer publications, we see a sweet photograph of a group of young queers, illustrating the story, “The Kids Are All Right: 20 Years After Mathew Shepard’s Death, Today’s LGBTQ Youth are Living in a Very Different World”. Glaringly lacking is any representation of female masculinity. The lesbians (a couple) and the trans woman are very girly in the “traditional” sense of the word. I would be lying if I said this doesn’t upset me, but for the first time, I thought to turn my energy elsewhere. Rather than trying to kick ass by challenging the rapid and uncaring barrage of information, that information that is everywhere and nowhere, I am dedicating myself even more to my own queer art. Art is timeless and deep and meaningful in ways the artist sometimes doesn’t even understand herself. Art connects and teaches and sends out love, a steady heartbeat. You can come back to art again and again, finding new meaning, new inspiration. Art changes as you change. Art is always there for you.

As much organizing and activism I’ve done for the queer community, as proud of that as I am, I’m beginning to understand that, for me, the most radical and lasting gift I can offer up is my queer femme art. That to ignore that call – louder every minute — is to capitulate to the confusion and rage stirred up by constantly reacting.

Dear femme sisters, what are your gifts? How do you embrace them? How do you love them and nurture them?

Our gifts are unique. Sacred. Beautiful and varied. Each of you, my darlings, my miracles, each of you manifests your queer femme gifts like the goddesses you are. Each of you blesses the world.

This is how we carry queer community into the now.

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, kind, and wise and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Femme (Book) Friday – I Still Believe Anita Hill and Emma’s Revolution

You know how people often say, “Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know about [exciting news here]? Well, I am an under-rock dweller, I like it here, it gives me time to read and write and sing and basically chill out. However, things do get in my peripheral vision, of course, thus this Femme Friday’s book recommendation. Also, a song by some indefatigable power dykes.

I Still Believe Anita Hill: Three Generations Discuss the Legacies of Speaking Truth to Power, edited by Amy Richards and Cynthia Greenberg, The Feminist Press, NY, 2013.

This book is soul saving. The contributors have names I knew and names I didn’t know, and the depth and breadth of their observations and wisdom are both shattering and uplifting. I just love this book! Here are a few tasty morsels to entice you:

At the time of the hearings, I was sixteen years old. And what was so meaningful to me was seeing a woman who was giving voice to our ancestors. I’m first generation Haitian, born in the United States, so Anita Hill’s speaking out gave voice to the experience that our ancestors had, but couldn’t speak about. It also provided a language and definition of sexual harassment in the workplace for many women, including my own mother, who at the time just saw sexual harassment at the workplace as part of the job. The hearings gave a context for being able to deconstruct the institutions which impede equality.

–Joanne N. Smith, “What Does Anita Hill Mean to You?”

Rosa Parks’s first act of courage was not refusing to give up her seat on that Montgomery bus, but her refusal to accept the likely acquittal of a gang of white men who raped a Black woman many years earlier in 1944. Parks stood up against the routine denigration of Black women in a manner that was far more life threatening than her role in galvanizing the Montgomery bus boycott. Parks and other African American women who took up the dangerous work of defending Black women against sexual terrorism recognized the inextricable dimensions of white supremacy and sexual violence, blending womanist consciousness together with antiracism at the very foundation of the civil rights movement. Resistance to sexual violence was thus far from a post-movement afterthought or a white feminist spin-off. Unearthing Parks and other Black women’s activism over time reveals that the gendered dimensions of racial exploitation experienced by Black women were not alien to but fully constitutive of the way that racism was understood. Yet this memory has not been nurtured and retold but buried beneath shame and ambivalence. Its consequence in the Hill-Thomas affair was a male-centered frame on sexual racism that anointed Clarence Thomas as a victim and left Anita Hill outside the politics of empathy and group recognition. As a consequence of this forgetting to tell, the singular trope of lynching served as both shield and sword, to deflect the charges against Thomas, and to forcibly separate Hill and her supporters from Black communal politics.

–Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, “Stunned But Not Bowed”

For my peers and me, feminism is no longer a fight against obvious obstacles. We won Roe v. Wade. We won Title Ix. The list goes on. Feminism for my generation, for the most part, is not about “getting” rights. It’s about preserving them. Feminism for us has largely become a much more subtle fight, full of nuance. This is where it becomes complicated for my generation to integrate our feminist beliefs and values into our daily lives. While my generation as a whole may be passionate about fighting injustices, while we may theoretically be able to identify what is acceptable and what is not, we don’t recognize within the contexts of our own lives the same injustices that we speak against on a theoretical level. We have a semblance of understanding, a superficial acknowledgment of right and wrong. But it doesn’t always permeate our actions. And I think our relationship with sexual harassment is a perfect example of this paradox.

 — Julie Zeilinger, “How to Run With It”

Scrumdillyishous, yes??

And finally, here’s Emma’s Revolution, with “I Believe Her”. Play it loud!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8M72D95ofM

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! New Femme Friday feature for fall 2018: Books from which queer femmes can draw inspiration. What are your trusted sources of light and love? Please share!

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)

 

 

Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – The Quebe Sisters and some sweet fiddlin’!

I don’t know why, but I was just wanting to hear some fiddling today, and this is what I found. I love the down-home, stompin’ feel and that good old fiddle sound!

The Quebe Sisters, you get one pingy-dingy! Thanks for satisfying my fiddle craving today!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MioAXwagthc

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ white girl from back in the day, and I yearn for a time before the covers of trade paperbacks were all squidgy, so you can imagine that I don’t actually understand what a pingback is. I do know that it can in some way be part of spreading the love, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter, love, and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)

 

 

 

Published in: on September 26, 2018 at 5:15 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Nobody’s Business?

I recently took my elderly parents in for their 6-month check up at the wonderful geriatric practice we were lucky enough to find when they first moved here 4 years ago. Their doctor is a young, kind and patient fellow who we’ve all grown to like and trust. As we were cooing over the pictures of his kids, a new baby and an adorable toddler, he let us know that he and his family would be moving this winter to be closer to his siblings and their families. Innocently, I asked if his wife’s work was portable or if she’d have to look for a new job.

“My partner works for the V.A.,” he replied. “So he’ll be able to find work easily.”

Should I have known better than to assume he was straight? Of course, and I apologized. But then, from the depths of my being, these words came flying out of my mouth: “You’re only just now coming out to me? I hate you!!”

Obviously, I don’t hate him. He’s been a really good doctor to my parents, helping us as all kinds of things went down. We will really miss him. And, I really could have used his queer company from day one. It would have been incredibly comforting to have a queer little brother as I navigated my mother’s depression and anxiety, my father’s dementia and various physical ailments – all the stuff that comes with being the caretaker of old folks.

This young doctor couldn’t have known the particulars of my life when we first met, that I’d recently had my heart broken and had to leave a UU church after several years when I finally realized the “Welcoming Congregation” promise was just flashing lights and mirrors and that this could never be a safe spiritual home for me. He couldn’t have known that I’d been soundly rebuffed in my efforts to find a queer support group for caregivers when, at the last minute, straight people were allowed to join “but they’re fine with gay people!”. He couldn’t have known all that, but he might have understood that being out to me would have comforted and supported me, made me – and my parents — feel less alone.

After I told the story about our doctor to my femme sis Liz, she remarked that she’s never understood the whole “it’s nobody’s business” thing, and I know what she means. If you’re in danger, you have to protect yourself, of course. But to be closeted at a groovy Cambridge, MA hospital to a flaming femme who is obviously a caring and conscientious person… Why? Not to mention how reassuring his presence as a queer doctor would surely have been to queer elders, their families, allies, the staff – his influence could have been huge as well as being a huge part of his healing work as a medical person.

It seems to me there can be this idea that if you know I’m queer you can suck out my soul or something, like you know my real name, like I’m Rumplestiltskin with his fatal flaw. That if you know I’m queer, you’ll be able to control me. Is being queer shameful? Will people be able to manipulate and use you if they know?

Just as our doctor doesn’t know my personal details, I don’t know his, so I have to assume he did the best he could with what information he had, and that his reasons for being closeted were important and compelling for him and his family. But I’m still so sad.

Driving home that day, I contemplated writing our doctor a letter detailing some of the things I’ve talked about here, urging him to see “Gen Silent”, etc., but have decided against it. I really don’t think he’ll forget my honest, heartfelt and heart-hurt reaction any time soon, and it’s certainly none of my business how he continues on with his medical career.

But darlings, if you can, if you are able, if it’s safe for you, please come out! Spread queer femme light and love! Be there for each other, for family and for family and beyond. Allow the starburst of your queer femme magic to radiate out and out and out.

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, kind, and wise and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)

 

Published in: on September 24, 2018 at 8:41 AM  Comments (2)  
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Femme Friday – Annah Anti-Palindrome

Funny thing – you go on the internet to research femmes, and things can get very slippery. You see someone somewhere who has written about femmes or being femme, and then you track them down and their website says nothing at all about being femme. It’s very odd! Not so with Anna Anti-Palindrome, whose work I first encountered in Everyday Feminism, where she pairs up with Rhea Ewing for a very thorough discussion of femme in “11 Common Assumptions About Being a Queer Femme – Debunked”.

When I went to Annah’s website, there it was: “Annah Anti-Palindrome is a Bay-Area based musician/Optical Sound-Smith, writer & working-class, Jew Witch hard-femme (italics mine) currently living in Oakland.”

Deep gratitude to Annah for being an out femme, for her heart-breaking, haunting art, and for making me laugh and think hard about my own palindromic name!

https://www.annahantipalindrome.com/music

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! New Femme Friday feature for fall 2018: Books from which queer femmes can draw inspiration. What are your trusted sources of light and love? Please share!

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)

 

Published in: on September 21, 2018 at 6:00 PM  Comments (3)  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Femme Dream, Curve, Yel, and Esther Newton’s My Butch Career reviewed by Victoria A. Brownworth

The night before I got the latest issue of Curve* and saw Victoria A. Brownworth’s loving review of Esther Newton’s memoir, I had what seems to me to be a particularly femme dream. I was standing on the banks of a fast flowing stream, watching in awe as many, many butch cocks floated by, glorious, in all colors and shapes, some hard and some soft.

The next day, as I read my Curve, I was treated to a picture of rapper/musician, Yel, who looks to me to be packing, along with the write-up of My Butch Career. Can I get a “Hell, yeah!!!” ?

Curve, you get one pingy-dingy! Thanks for still putting out a paper version of your magazine, and thanks to Yel, Victoria, and Esther for doing what you do! Oh, and I am sending out so much love to all the dick-cravin’ (craven?) femmes out there, and to the butches who satisfy.

Her Butch Career

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ white girl from back in the day, and I yearn for a time before the covers of trade paperbacks were all squidgy, so you can imagine that I don’t actually understand what a pingback is. I do know that it can in some way be part of spreading the love, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter, love, and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)

*Anyone remember what Curve used to be called?

 

Published in: on September 19, 2018 at 4:11 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Your Family Heirloom

We queers have such complicated relationships with our families. There’s full-on rejection, full-on idealization and “I’ll do anything to keep the love” and everything in-between. I’m talking about families across the board here, of origin and chosen. How many of us queer femmes dated boys and men because our families of origin expected it? How many of us queer femmes de-girlied ourselves when we (finally) came out because our new queer family expected it? Then one day, if we’re lucky, another dyke tells us she likes it when we wear lipstick. Maybe we have enough courage to tell her we like it when she wears lipstick, too, or we buy her a tie for her birthday “just for fun” and shit gets way more real all of a sudden. Or we might realize our single aunt, the one who moved away to a big city or to a remote farm and who has always been spoken of with scorn or pity or both, is actually twice family and has a rich and rewarding life. Information about her real life may have been unavailable to us as children, but it is waiting for us now if we just reach out.

Humans love knowing where we come from, where certain traits, tendencies, gifts and hurdles might have their origin. Who in our families (all our families) might have worked out a thing or two concerning life’s great questions.

I started thinking about family heirlooms after reading a passage by Chögyam Trungpa in his book, Crazy Wisdom. The passage is about hopelessness, which I think ends up actually being about hope, or anyway, about accepting that life can be really hard right at the same time that it is full of sweetness and wonder. In Al-Anon, they talk about “the gift of desperation” that brings someone to this under-the-radar (at least it was for me) spiritual program. And it’s true, because as much as I hate alcoholism and addiction and how they’ve hurt so many people I love including myself, I’m incredibly grateful that I’m learning to stop spending all my time drilling down on the negatives and being miserable. Instead, I’m finding the strength, support and love to be able recalibrate and refocus. Human experience is big. There are so many ways of being in the world.

Our family heirlooms – because there are so many once we direct our attention there – are solid reminders of our humanity in all its rainbow glory. I remember and draw sustenance from the way my Gramps took care of kids in his rural school district during the Depression, feeding them from his garden, buying one young man a suit so he could graduate high school with dignity; from the cheerful example of Grandmimi, who lit up her small Iowa town organizing and including and fully participating in just about everything; how my parents quietly reached out to neighbors and taught me that one little act of kindness and community ripples outward; how John Preston and Joan Nestle got together to edit Sister and Brother: Lesbians and Gay Men Write About Their Lives Together and model deep queer community by linking their disparate queer worlds; by the way Lee Lynch lovingly wrote and wrote and wrote and continues to write about butches and femmes; how so many queers over the ages managed to leave us their priceless stories – a few who have touched my life over the years (there are so many!): Miss Ann Lister, Quentin Crisp, Anonymous, Amber Hollibaugh, Audre Lourde, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Leslie Feinberg, Richard Rodriguez, Felice Picano, Chrystos, Mary Renault, Tove Jansson, Becky Birtha, Mark Merlis, Samuel Steward, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, James Baldwin, and I could go on for pages…

I am bolstered and inspired in who I am and who I strive to by these many, many family heirlooms.

Dear queer femme sisters, spend a moment today in gratitude for your families and what they have bequeathed to you.

 

The passage that inspired this Meditation:

Student: When you talk about hopelessness, the whole thing seems totally depressing. And it seems you could very well be overwhelmed by that depression to the point where you just retreat into a shell or insanity.

 Trungpa Rinpoche: It’s up to you. It’s completely up to you. That’s the whole point.

 S: Is there anything –

 TR: You see, the whole point is that I’m not manufacturing an absolute model of hopelessness with complete and delicately worked-out patterns of all kinds, presenting it to you, and asking you to work on that. Your goodness, your hopelessness, is the only model there is. If I manufactured something, it would be just a trick, unrealistic. Rather, it’s your hopelessness, it’s your world, your family heirloom, your inheritance. That hopelessness comes in your existence, your psychology. It’s a matter of bringing it out as it is. But it’s still hopeless. As hopeful as you might try to make it, it’s still hopeless, and I can’t reshape it, remodel it, or refinish it at all. It’s not like a political candidate going on television, where people powder his face and put lipstick on his mouth to make him presentable. One cannot do that. In this case it’s hopeless; it’s absolutely hopeless. You have to do it in your own way.

–Crazy Wisdom by Chögyam Trungpa, Shambhala, 2001

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, kind, and wise and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)

 

 

Femme Friday – Liz Nania is a Femme Artist!

Way back in the day, some of us femmes did a thread called “Femme Pussy” on butchfemme.com – whee, that was fun! As a wordy and nerdy femme, I love thinking about and discussing language, meaning, and of course, pussy, what’s not to enjoy? I think a lot about how my identity – so long in the making and discovering and building – influences my writing, and have enjoyed discussions about femme and art with other femme artists. I am so thrilled to welcome my sweet femme sis, Liz Nania, back to The Total Femme, to showcase her sexy, gorgeous art, and to hear from her about being a femme artist.

Deep gratitude to Liz for her so-fucking-femme art!

Femme Art by Liz Nania

Does femme art exist? I’m a painter and a textile artist, and a femme lesbian. So, is my art “femme art?” Definitely. It’s also feminist art, lesbian and queer art, and art by a woman artist.  I’ve never been one to shy away from labels; representation is important! I wish more artists from marginalized groups would share their identities as they share their art and music and writing and performing, and I’m still surprised that so few do. I know it’s risky. But so is being an artist!

Much of my painting is abstract, but I do create some representational work, too. My art explores love, time, celebration, being a woman and a lesbian, social commentary, and other things dear to my heart. And my textile art is unapologetically feminine; it’s even more girly than I am!

The most flaming femme piece I ever made is “Femme Flag”, a rainbow flag sewn from printed fabric, lace, my lingerie, remnants of my clothing, a piece of embroidery from The Total Femme’s aunt, and the waistband of my husbutch’s jeans painted gold. “Femme Flag” is an unabashed celebration and symbol of femme lesbian pride and identity. Then there’s “Blue is for Butch”, a piece created primarily from my butch’s clothing. The focal point is a metallic gold sun, one of the primary symbols I use for her in my imagery. Under the sun I stitched a dangling fringe of keys. (For the record, I made this piece before the wonderful Ring of Keys song was written. For decades, many a femme has salivated like Pavlov’s dog at the sound of butch keys jingling from a belt loop, and I’m no different!) So, art made by a femme in tribute to her butch? Definitely femme art!

“Fun In The Closet” is a tongue-in-cheek textile exploration of lesbian desire in the 1950s. Among the winding vines and flowers embroidered on a vintage bureau scarf, lurid lesbian pulp fiction novels are hidden; an embroidered swirling current of energy roils up the floral smokescreen. I imagine some well-worn lezzie pulp novels hidden in many a closeted women’s bureau drawer, perhaps under the “unmentionables”.

I also created a series of paintings meant to be shown together, the Butch Series. It consists of 12 drawings on encaustic wax on birch panels, with added gold leaf and a little pigment, describing and worshipping the beauty of female masculinity, as modeled by my wife through her butchly body language. The world hasn’t caught on to the magnificence, and often even the existence, of butch women, so I thought I would help it along.


I’m proud to call these works femme art, feminist art, lesbian art, and women’s work. Any artists care to join me? Come out, come out, wherever you are! Why not be the change you wish to see?

See more of Liz Nania’s work: www.liznania.com, and on Instagram at liz_nania_art.   

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! New Femme Friday feature for fall 2018: Books from which queer femmes can draw inspiration. What are your trusted sources of light and love? Please share!

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)