Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Tony Enos on Two-Spirit People

Tomorrow is the National Day of Mourning. Whether or not you can be in Plymouth for this most important and sacred gathering, please turn your attention to American Indian history and lives – the real history and real lives – and honor those, not just tomorrow, but throughout the year.

Tony, thank you for your clarity and generosity in sharing information about Two-Spirit people.

https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/culture/social-issues/8-misconceptions-things-know-two-spirit-people/

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 and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

Published in: on November 22, 2017 at 12:13 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes — Do For

We queer femmes are good at seeing where a little love can be slipped in. We know how to stroke, we know how to comfort, interpret, sweeten, smooth over, slick on the lube, turn the frown upside down. It’s a skill we’re proud of and justly so.

This life-giving and affirming thing that we do is all about caregiving, and as such, is seen as the purview of females. Anything having to do with women is pretty much always overlooked and denigrated by the culture at large, given that our culture’s beating heart is largely fueled by misogyny. And just like that, our precious art of love is twisted and tarnished.

Worst of all, our queer femme magic can start to seem like a burden. The feminine has a history of being spat upon not only by straight society, but by other queers. Ask any sissy. Ask Mattilda Berstein Sycamore, or better yet, read her book Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?. Ask any queer femme.

When you are good at something that doesn’t get recognized, that is actively devalued by all and sundry, you lose track of its importance. You yourself might begin to run it down, drowning as we all are in noxious messages from the odious status quo.

Have you lost track of your own genius? Are you buried in so many “have to’s” “shoulds” and “baby can you’s” that you are bowed down and about to collapse? Until you can’t let anything sweet into your own body and soul because everyone just expects you to do for because that’s what they’re used to? Let’s stop here for a moment and breathe.

Hey! Wouldn’t it be nice if queer femmes had the equivalent of a Mother’s Day, so there would be at least some semblance of the rest of the world taking notice of our brilliance and hard work?

Today is Queer Femme Day. I see how you do for others, queer femme sisters. I see how your art and words and presence and sense of humor and creativity and sense of outrage and keen observational power and bravery and staying put and going the queer femme distance make life better for the whole world. I see how you persist and persevere and I see how you hide your pain, swallow disappointment, and sometimes turn things in on yourselves.

Today is Queer Femme Day. Say it with me, “Today is Queer Femme Day, and I am in the center of love, I am centered in love, I am loving myself and caring for myself and I am speaking up I am showing up here I am here I am here I am!”

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

 

 

 

 

 

Queer Femme Meditation Friday, Showing Up!!

Gosh, all week I kept meaning to do the Monday Meditation and somehow the days have slipped by. I seem to have missed Femme Friday last week, too! Perhaps I just needed a wee sabbatical, as this is the year anniversary of Meditations and Femme Fridays (Pingy-Dingy Wednesdays came along a bit later).

Let’s meditate together here on Femme Friday. Let’s meditate on showing up. I don’t mean showing up to kick ass and fight injustice, because we do that already, every single minute of our lives. I mean showing up as in, “Oh, there we are!” Because for some reason, femme lives and femme story and femme bodies don’t really show up all that much in queer publications, let alone out in the world.

I just read a wonderful book by Barbara Sjoholm in which she chronicles her quest to find women seafarers. Almost all of them wore men’s clothing, did men’s jobs, and in one wonderful instance, hung a tissenhorn on her belt so she could take a whiz with one hand on the tiller if she needed to. A bunch of those seafarers had to be queer, right? We can recognize them as such. But, not one mention of the women who loved those seafarers, also queer, but, apparently, not showing up in the historical record or even in the imagination of queers who do historical research on queers and women.

This morning, Tex and I dropped the car off for service. Last time I was in, all by myself, the very sweet but very clueless straight man who usually takes care of us must have called me by Tex’s name 50 times. I said to Tex as we walked in today that seeing us together might be too much for this guy, but he took it like a man, called Tex by her name, and kind of skittered his eyes off me, smiling nervously, whenever I spoke. Later, I said to Tex, “If you’re Tex, then who the fuck am I?” I’m just not showing up at the garage.

Nor do any of us femmes show up in Butch, photographer Meg Allen’s gorgeous new collection of photographs and one of the latest iterations of art that lovingly documents a much-maligned segment of the queer population. Allen “has given our community a gift with her new book,” Curve magazine says, “[she] memorializes the butch not only for posterity but also to illustrate that the butch is very much alive and well in the 21st century.” No question or quarrel from me, of course not! Not only is work that contributes to queer visibility and diversity incredibly important, this butch-lovin’ femme enjoys a little tasty eye candy just as much as the next girl, but let me ask you this (and it’s not the first time I’ve made this query): if butches and masculine-presenting female queers are in need of holding up, positive visibility and being artfully and lovingly displayed for the eyes of other queers and indeed the world, what about a) the female queers who identify as femme and who love butches and, b) the female queers who identify as femme and love each other or whoever the fuck they please? In other words, all of us femmes!

Last night, at a fundraiser for one of my most favorite organizations ever, True Colors Theater, I had the pleasure of reconnecting with a femme I had met before and of meeting another femme for the first time. I am so excited to invite them to our next Femme Klatsch, which is getting pretty close to including 25 femmes. All of us with our own styles, our own interpretations of our identities, our own romantic preferences, our own way of being queer, our own hurts and pleasures and brilliance and hopes for ourselves and for the world.

How is that not incredibly compelling? How is that not something other queers might like to see more of? How is that not worthy of a limited edition fancy-queer-pants coffee table book?

Close your eyes and listen to your breath. Let it all go. Rest in the present, allowing any thoughts to touch down but not linger. let go let go let go

And when you open your eyes and look around, refreshed and renewed, reach out to your femme friends and your queer friends who value femme and all that it entails, and let’s make some fucking art!

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pingy-Dingy Wednesday — Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands

In her fabulous essay for the journal InVisible, Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands discusses queer ecology with passion and wisdom and I just find it irresistible. For example, get a load of this:

Not all of us are content to practice our sexual politics within the narrow circles offered to us by consumerist and other mainstream agendas; some of us like to think that queers might have an interesting and diverse set of experiences from which to develop more critical, and more ecological, politics.

Oh, Catriona, talk my language! Make me come! I love this sooooo much!!! Thank you!! And you get one pingy-dingy!

Unnatural Passions?: Notes Toward a Queer Ecology

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ 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, laughter and inspiration, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter and inspiration to be had from other online queer darlings.

 

Published in: on November 15, 2017 at 4:58 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday — Shades of Cisi: Musings of an Uneveryday Gal

A cunning linguist all the way from Nigeria, Cisi has a lot to say about a lot of things. Here, she gets after some common distractions and annoyances femmes have to put up with – any of these sound familiar?

Thank you, Cisi, for telling it as it is and for being your own inimitable uneveryday gal!

The Hustle of Studs, Stemmes, and Femmes (1): Femmes over at Shades of Cisi; Musings of an Uneveryday Gal

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ 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, laughter and inspiration, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter and inspiration to be had from other online queer darlings.

 

 

Meditations for Queer Femmes – Bits and Pieces

It seems to me, there’s a blog where someone records the things they’ve written on bits of papers – notes to themself– and most of the time, they have no idea why they wrote what they wrote, or even if they themself wrote it. Maybe it was a quote from someone else, a song lyric, something they overheard.

Well, Tex and I have been working the FLYlady as we transition from house of teens to house of two middle aged queers who are, hoo doggie, ready to spend more time on art and lovin’.

I have been coming across lots of little pieces of paper, femme sisters, let me tell you!

Below is the found poem of these small records of my thought process, the emotions and wee moments of clarity that grace us all the time. We may not remember what it was, exactly, when we wrote, as I did, “PURE manners manners” but it’s a reminder that we are always thinking, always creating, always observing the world around us and parsing through all that the information to find where we are situated, what is important to us, and how to continue on with our gifts and ideas.

As a writer and a queer femme organizer and activist, I need to remind myself all the time that not every idea has to come to fruition, never mind that “PURE manners manners” might have been a memo to myself about some world-changing event I was machinating. The amount of these bits of paper reminds me that I am always coming up with things, that I am never at a lack for ideas, that there are so many other wonderful queer folks out there, who, like me, are doing art, loving each other, coming up with amazing community-building events and making positive change. And also, that everybody has to go grocery shopping once in a while.

 

PURE manners manners

not acquisatory – connective

As James Baldwin says

cumulative retreat

Lacey Baker queer skater

Reductress – lez comedy

fruit of generosity

can easily turn bittter and sour

without reciprocity

Femme sister, doing for.

I love myself!

I’m super fly!

I applaud myself

When I walk by!

Queer sex ed

minorities w/in minority; link with other queer youth (or just queer) organizations; law enforcement; policy making; younger

Mary!!

45 mins! An hour!!

mayo lemonade

Ignore culture @ your peril

Trump ignores as much as a progressive liberal might

gay man friend

pretense – can’t tell if femme or butch

indicates he doesn’t want

to look too hard at dykes

respect? misogyny?

DARK GLASSES

reviews

Zoe?

I see you, and I like it!

“faceless suburbia”

face of suburbia

art tattoos

cat pee

This is it

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

 

Published in: on November 6, 2017 at 9:00 AM  Comments (2)  
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Femme Friday – Susanna, “Hell yeah queer femme!”

Susanna and I met at the Dyke March some time back, and had a great time talking femme and beyond. We have continued to run into each other over the years at all the best queer places, and I am loving getting to know her and making femme community together!

Deep gratitude to Susanna for her life-long feminism, her willingness to embrace the freedom of femme, and her generosity in sharing her queer femme wisdom with us here.

I claimed “femme” for myself a little more than 10 years ago, in my early thirties. I had come out as a dyke ten years before that, and had been a feminist since about the third grade when I was so fired up about the ERA that I started a girls’ rights club and went around wearing  button that said “64 cents” or whatever pittance women were earning for every white man’s dollar at that point (today it’s  79 for all women combined, 60 cents for Black women and 55 cents for Latinas ::growl:: ).

At 30 or so, I was thrilled to be queer but felt the “femme” label was somehow a diminutive of or a backing off from “woman,” a word whose under-use I still think betrays widespread misogyny. “Femme,” at that point, felt limited or constraining, a containment of the possibilities I had learned “woman” held.

It’s funny because now “femme” feels the opposite. Now, “femme” signifies to me simultaneous queerness and femininity, the power of “woman” I learned from feminism, combined with the edge of queer, the refusal to accept unquestioningly the received constraints of sex and gender.

After a lifetime as an anxious person who historically has been oriented toward learning the unwritten (and sometimes nonexistent) rules and following them, the lesson I’m learning from femme is that I can break or bend the rules to create greater possibility and freedoms in my life. This lesson started in the realm of fashion, when I would ponder the appropriateness of going somewhere looking like something—and decide I could do whatever the fuck I wanted. Wear makeup? Yeah! I’m a queer femme! Go without makeup? Yeah! I’m a queer femme! Tight jeans to work? Ditto.  Combine leopard leggings and a plaid flannel? Hell yeah queer femme!

This lesson is proving to have multiple applications in the non-fashion realms of my life. Career wise, for at least a decade I’ve had jobs that required me to know with authority. This is both a pleasure and a torment for the anxiety prone perfectionist—but my “hell yeah queer femme” approach has helped me lighten up, and realize that I can not-know without putting myself at risk. More than that, I’ve learned the place of not knowing sometimes results in the best thinking/collaboration/movement. The workplace equivalent of matching plaid and leopard print, if you will.

In the realm of sex, love and romance, the lessons of femme have l been multiplied by the lessons of poly and kink: Ask for what you want; if you don’t get it deal with it like a grown up; learn to recognize both limits and abundance. For me, here too there had been a proliferation of possibilities as I’ve embraced femme— lovers and playmates from across the gender spectrum, into all sorts of things I may have longed secretly for but never dreamed I’d get to try. Today, I get to love and play and flirt like never before. And when things are especially sexy, deep, soul-moving, or even  awkward and mismatched, I get to grin and say to myself, “Hell yeah queer femme .”

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com.

 

Pingy-Dingy Wednesday — Ami at From Top to Bottom Reviews

A day late and a dollar short, since Ace Awareness Week was last week, but because ace is every day, I am still thrilled to send you over to From Top to Bottom Reviews to hear what Ami has to say about being ace in Indonesia and what to read when in the mood for a good story featuring ace characters.

Ami and From Top to Bottom Reviews, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your sense of humor, your generosity with authors, and for showing us the map!

Asexual Awareness Week: Reader Interview: Ami

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 and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

 

Meditations for Queer Femmes — The Road to Femme

Tex and I saw “Fun Home” this weekend. It was incredibly moving to witness queer story so impeccably presented with such talent and love. The two of us held hands, quite misty, as Small Alison sang “Ring of Keys”, a song celebrating that moment when a young queer spots an adult queer and realizes that she is not alone in the world. Recognizes herself. Carly Gold, playing Small Alison, is a wonderful actor, portraying that pivotal moment with such ebullient joy. It was deeply satisfying.

Later, though, I got to thinking. When or how does this happen for femmes? Our role models are almost always straight women; I think of my grandmother, my aunt, a college roommate. But that powerful zing of connection, “Hello! I’m like you! You’re like me!” that “There I am!” moment may very well not be part of our childhood experience, and even if we do briefly experience queer connection, we are so very good at denying it, trying, in our isolation and confusion, to make it fit into a heterosexual mold.

In Lee Lynch’s story, “Cannon Street,” the little butch protagonist meets an adult femme and experiences some of her first sexual feelings. If we are a femme who is romantically attracted to butches, we, too, might feel sexual stirrings if we ever have the luck of glimpsing an adult butch out in public or of having a crush on a tomboy. But even those feelings can be pretty difficult to interpret. As my straight college roommate encouraged me to do, we might think of them as just a wrong turn having to do with an excess of hormones and horniness. Not to mention the fact that this connection is sexuality-based, which is important, of course, but is only one part of a fuller femme identity.

Every one of us queer femmes is so different. Some of us are expert at constructing an identity. “Maybe we’ve never seen one that could be us yet,” writes Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha in her poem “femmes are film stars”. “but we make her up,” she continues, “we make her up outta thin air; outta brilliance and ass.” Others of us, more timid and cautious like myself, need books and all kinds of other bolstering and specific examples in order to find, let alone progress on, the road to femme.

If our femme role models are all straight, as they are likely to be, then they actually aren’t role models. They might be great at teaching us how to put on eye makeup or choose an outfit, they might love us to bits, we might need them desperately, but in the end, they can actually be obstacles on the road to femme.

At a recent Femme Klatsch, we discussed ways of being out as queer femmes. I like to wear my Femme Show t-shirt; another femme always makes sure to be sporting a rainbow somewhere; all of us are as out as we possibly can be, at all times.

Being visibly queer for we femmes is certainly not as self-evident as it is for butches or more androgynous lesbians, but it is so incredibly important, for our own self worth, for queer femme community, and for the next generation whose paths we will certainly cross.

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

 

 

Femme Friday – Andi Schwartz

Toronto-based femme, Andi Schwartz, is an academic, a poet, a journalist and a fur baby mama (their names are Franny and Zooey, ‘cause I know you want to know!). In her paper, “Critical Blogging: Constructing Femmescapes Online,” she says, “that femmes politicize online space by using blogs as tools to engage in identity production, community building, and political theorizing.” Hey, FUCK YEAH!!! Among other writing, she has two gorgeous poems in Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s “hard femme poetics: a poetic anthology of femme literary brilliance” and truly one of the best blog names ever: Emotionally Nauseous.

Deep gratitude to Andi Schwartz!

It is important to understand femme blogging as political because it disrupts notions of what is considered political, who gets to participate, and who gets to decide. If femmes are excluded or face oppression in more traditional forms of political resistance, then they might forever be excluded from political discourse. If we shift our ideas around what is political and what is resistance, and where and how this all happens, we see a broader range of femme political participation. This combats stereotypes of the passive, apolitical, dependent femme, and helps to reconstruct femme as powerful and agentic. Changing how we view “politics” and “the political” means changing how we view femme. This nuanced view of politics and political activity can also be applied to communities who experience barriers to other forms of political participation that get minimized by the term “slacktivist,” including youth, people with disabilities, people of colour, and undocumented immigrants, permanent residents, or others with restrictive citizenship status. These ideas must be challenged so that marginalized communities’ resistance and theorizing can be recognized, valued, and utilized to create more nuanced and inclusive politics.

–Andi Schwartz, “Critical Blogging: Constructing Femmescapes Online” in ADA: A Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology, #9

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com.