Femme Friday – YOU, Gosh Darn It!

Ok, people, how many times do I have to say it? I WANT TO FEATURE YOU!

I want to share the love by introducing as many femmes as possible here, so there is a place for us to celebrate and honor each other. So that other femmes out there have a place to go when they start to wonder: What does it look like to live a femme life? Who are the other femmes alive right now? Who are the femmes from history? Who are my younger and elder sisters, aunts, grandmothers, foremothers?

I don’t want to guilt you, I want to invite you: if you are willing and able to introduce yourself just a little, and maybe offer a few thoughts for a Femme Friday post, that would be so fucking femmetastic!

Below is a step-by-step, but you can send whatever you’d like, as long as you’re centering it on Being Femme. Living Femme. Loving Femme. Femme Love Heal World!

Deep gratitude to all the femmes in the world, and that includes YOU!

For Femme Friday:

Very short bio. This could be anything!  Example: The Total Femme is 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.

Answer one or more of the following questions (these are just examples – anything you’d like to talk about is fine, as long as it has to do with being femme!):

How did you come out as femme?

What does femme mean to you?

Who are your femme role models and why?

Do you feel invisible? Why or why not?

What do you do to nourish your femme?

Is femme a role or lifestyle? Why or why not?

Do you have femme friends? Do you all agree on what “femme” means?

What is your favorite femme art or literature?

Who or what inspires you?

AND/OR

Include artwork, prose, poetry or anything else you’d like to share with an audience of other femmes for our edification, celebration, amusement, etc.

Email me with questions or just send your contribution right along to: thetotalfemme@gmail.com. I can’t wait to hear from you! Oh! You could also recommend other femmes to me, both real people and characters in literature or the media. That would be fun!! Thank you, sweet sisters!

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!

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 –Nikkita Oliver and Last Real Indians, “Black and Native Lives Need Each Other to Matter”

I live in a town that has an image of an American Indian as town symbol, but because it is modeled on a sculpture by a revered (white) town son, most people don’t put it in the same category as, say, the mascot of a neighboring town whose high school team is called the Sachems. Our town has a lot of Black Lives Matter signs, but almost no awareness of its complicity in racism towards American Indians.

Nikkita Oliver and Last Real Indians, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for discussing this issue so wisely and with such compassion. The more articles like this I read, the better prepared I am to raise awareness and have meaningful discussions with other white people, discussions that hopefully lead to action about my and their part in the shared resistance.

https://lastrealindians.com/black-and-native-lives-need-each-other-to-matter-by-nikkita-oliver/

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.

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 January 17, 2018 at 5:23 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Femme Friday on a Saturday (Because That Happens Sometimes!) – MadFemmePride

There’s nothing like stumbling upon your people in person or online or both, which is what happened to me with MadFemmePride. I met some of the fabulous members, in all their glory and glitter, wielding their groovy signs, at a Dyke March many years ago, and then I hooked up with them on meet up.

Here’s what these amazing queers have to say about themselves:

MadFemmePride (MFP) is a queer, femme-centered community that is PRO-trans, PRO-woman and PRO-femininity for all folks who support femme-positive queer space.

We are open and welcoming to anyone on the queer, questioning, LGBTQIA spectrum who wants to meet new people, mingle, and experience a little bit of the MadFemmePride friendly magic that makes our diversity-conscious, radically-inclusive community so special.

We are based in and around Boston and organize in-person events primarily via meetup.com.

Read more about MadFemmePride in the most recent Boston Spirit Magazine, where they were recently featured!

Deep gratitude to MadFemmePride for their big hearts, delicious politics (not to mention the vegan cupcakes!), book groups, picnics, marches and more! May every town grow groups such as this!

In fact, if your town does have a group like MadFemmePride, the Total Femme wants to know about it, so hit me up with a comment or an email!

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!

Published in: on January 13, 2018 at 10:03 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday — Nnedi Okorafor talks about African science fiction

My sweet femme friend Miel Rose recommended Nnedi Okorafor’s writing to me, and I just finished reading her second novella about an earth girl who travels far and gains great responsibility, Binti: Home, which I adored. The astrolabes, the Meduse, the otjize, the okuoko and the edan are so beautiful and real. And my newly empty nest would be a lot easier to endure if my kids were at Oomza Uni instead of attending their mundane ol’ earthbound colleges!

Nnedi Okorafor, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for sharing your prodigious imagination and gorgeous writing with us! Your work lives on my bookshelf next to Octavia’s books.

http://nnedi.blogspot.com/2014/01/african-science-fiction-is-still-alien.html

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 January 10, 2018 at 3:29 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes — Queer Femme Inspiration

For queer femmes, the stories of other queer femmes can be nothing short of life saving. Every femme who shares her take on the world releases enduring nourishment to her sisters far and wide. Every time we name ourselves, proudly claiming femme, we save each other the fatigue of constantly having to read between the lines, desperately searching for queers like ourselves. There is a comfort unlike any other in seeing queer femmes engaged in every arena from art to science; from knowing that we are everywhere. And because “bodies respond to other bodies” and “[t]he heart responds to direct human contact,”* that comfort grows exponentially when we queer femmes gather together in person and are able to relax, connect with our own complex femme identities, and be nurtured and challenged by other femmes. Femmes who are like us in one core fashion, but who are, of course, their own fascinating, unique selves. I don’t think it can be said enough that we are able to explore our own identities more deeply, connect with ourselves more fully, when we have time to rest, laugh, renew and explore with others like us.

And when we have rested, laughed, renewed and explored, we are able to bring a more healthy and discerning awareness to the rest of the world. A generosity. After a Femme Klatsch, I can just breath more easily, and situations that might have infuriated me and taken up way too much of my time end up being more easily resolved because my spirit has been fed and eased, and I feel good in my queer femme body.

In addition, when our queer femme spirits have been fed by queer femme company, we are so much more able to be inspired by those who are not queer femmes. Queer femme company is imperative, but connecting to other queers and to straight people, finding inspiration there, is not only delightful, but necessary for the work of resistance.

For example, I adore the Marketplace series by Laura Antoniou. I’ve read it many more times than once, but the first time through was the most profound. I was just coming out in my thirties and was so excited to be here and queer! My attraction to the world of the Marketplace is based less on a desire to live a life of full-on BDSM and more on the fact of the possibilities in this queer leather story. If these characters can move in so many directions, find so many ways to connect, love and thrive doing things that are in direct contradiction with what the status quo says is ok – that’s inspiring! I treasure that inspiration, from the leather community, from trans folks, from radical fairies, from drag, from poly folks, from the Queer Asian Pacific-Islander Alliance, from Black Lives Matter, from United American Indians of New England, from the Center for Coastal Studies, from RedNation, from Bold Nebraska, from Brown Girls Surf…the list is deliciously endless.

I want all of us to support each other and learn from each other. I want us all to have the opportunity to gather in affinity groups, those places conducive to a certain, basic kind of healing and spiritual growth, so that when we get back together, we can sock it to the oppressors.

We all need our own close-knit communities based on affinity and love; we all need our siblings in the revolution who may not look a thing like us but with whom we share the goals of resistance and radical change and with whom we are inextricably linked.

I am inspired by my queer femme sisters.

I am inspired by lovers and warriors of every stripe.

May we meet in power!

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.

*The Power of Off: The Mindful Way to Stay Sane in a Virtual World by Nancy Collier, p. 109 in the chapter, “All Alone in Virtual Community”

Femme Friday – Loree Erickson

I learned about Loree Erickson whilst reading the chapter on cyborgs in Feminist Queer Crip by Alison Kafer, where she uses a quote from “Revealing Femmegimp: A Sex-positive Reflection on Sites of Shame as Sites of Resistance for People with Disabilities”. The bio from that 2007 publication reads, “Loree Erickson, York University, is a queer femmegimp whose research brings creativity and theory together with her personal experience as a person with a disability to explore issues of sexual self-representation, embodiment and identity.” It is a kick-ass article. My shitty web research skills turned up a few other things on this delicious femme, including that she’s got a selection in The Feminist Porn Book: “Out of Line: The Sexy Femmegimp Politics of Flaunting It!”, that she’s made a porn film called “Want”, and that she’s facebook friends with Minnie Bruce Pratt and Joan Nestle (and has a very nice kitty). Important and lovely information indeed, but of course, not even beginning to scratch the surface. I look forward to more.

Deep gratitude to Loree for being sexually explicit, for her sublime tattoo (“as is”), for her generosity, for refusing to be docile and for saying, “A femme will catch your breath, dazzle your senses and muddy your binaries.”

(The below follows the paragraph on femmes.)

            Such eloquent and adept definitions of gimps have not been as abundant in the literature as those for femmes, and more has been written and reclaimed in regards to Crip/ple. Crips and gimps are adamant in our refusal to be docile. We know that our presence makes the normative universal ‘you’ uncomfortable. Yet instead of acquiescing to a place of shame and servitude, gimps and crips are loud mouths that will deflect your discomfort back to its true source. Many of the articulations of new meanings for crip/gimp appear in discussions of the similarities between crip and queer. As Eli Clare argues, “queer and cripple are cousins: words to shock, words to infuse with pride and self-love, words to resist internalized hatred, words to help forge a politics.”

            Queer and crip/gimp share a “defiant external edge” and “comfortable inner truth”. Through a defiant relationship with normality one can find inner comfort. Further, crip/gimp and queer intersect and intertwine with femmeness, becoming a femmegimp body and identity that resists the pressure to feel shame for its disorderliness. A body and identity that strives to bask in her asymmetrical curves dares you to as well. I do not wish to convey that there are any clear and definite boundaries associated with a femmegimp identity and body. A femmegimp identity relies on the inherent fluidity associated with the concept of becoming where one’s identity and/or body is not fixed.

                                    — Loree Erickson, “Revealing Femmegimp: A Sex-positive Reflection on Sites of Shame as Sites of Resistance for People with Disabilities”, Atlantis 31.2, 2007

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!

 

Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Barrie Jean Borich over at Older Queer Voices, “Our Bodies, Our Archives”

What a fabulous find this one is, a wonderful addition to “Word Is Out”, which, if you haven’t read and watched, now is the time! I, too, love the butch/femme couple Barrie Jean speaks about, and experienced many of the same complex feelings about them that she did. Barrie Jean also wrote two books I read and loved back in the day, My Lesbian Husband and Restoring the Color of Roses; I am looking forward to resuming my acquaintance with her!

Barrie Jean and Older Queer Voices, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for the collection of stories and for everything you do to preserve and promote our precious queer history.

https://olderqueervoices.com/2017/02/03/barrie-jean-borich/

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 – Femme Agenda

I just finished reading Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division – the Inside Story of the First Openly Gay Pop-Punk Band by sister-Midwesterner Jon Ginoli. I had a little trepidation that his story would be a painful onslaught of drugs and self-abuse, hopefully with a happy ending like in Godspeed, written by his contemporary, Lynn Breedlove of Tribe 8, the first out dyke punk band. (Big femme love to you, Unka Lynnee! I’ve read Godspeed twice!) Instead, Jon sticks doggedly to the point of his book: there was no gay male pop-punk band, so he started one. A and then B.

“That I’m here at all writing this still astounds me,” he says in the last chapter of the book “I actually got to live out my rock and roll dreams. Perhaps some people’s dreams would have been grander, for greater stardom or riches, but part of me is still that kid from Peoria – a place of more modest hopes and ambitions. For a long time I felt that I had something to contribute to the culture at large, like a lot of people do. I feel lucky that I was able to actually make that mark, because many who try don’t succeed. From a young age I had a vague sense of wanting to achieve something, so there’s a sense of relief too, that I haven’t wasted my time and effort.”

In order to further my queer femme agenda, I need utterly queer stories like Jon’s.

His story inspires me because I, too, want to know that following my queer femme heart makes an impact. My efforts don’t include jolly perks like being asked to sign fans’ dicks or singing songs about being the buttfuckers of rock and roll who want to sock it to your hole, but I have gotten to hang out with members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, read my queer chapter book to local fourth graders, sit and have heart-to-hearts with queer, questioning and ally youth, bond with other femmes and so much more. These things feed my queer femme soul.

Some might say that Jon doesn’t tell the whole story in his memoir; for example, he doesn’t go into much detail about his experience with ACT UP or talk all that much about substance abuse or ditch too much dirt on other musicians, but that’s what I love. This is a story about making queer art happen come hell or high water. I appreciate the clear focus on that aspect of Pansy Division: he is satisfied with his work.

I know I’m not the only queer to struggle with not being able to see my strengths fully. Buffeted by heterosexual forces and misogyny and all the rest of it, it can be so hard to be able to clearly understand the impact of your efforts.

Last night, my kids told me they didn’t believe in New Year’s resolutions or taking time to regroup and recharge – you should always be doing that, they told me. Still and all, January is a nice time to put some good queer femme intention into the world, to interrupt the het narrative, to take a breath and not be in such a hurry for the Next. And in this time of frenzied divisiveness, to find encouragement and be heartened by the lives of other queers whose generosity and dedication have brought more bent energy into the world.

Part of my femme agenda in 2018 is to pay closer attention to what I like to do and what I’m good at and how I can use those to queer things up. To continue to champion queer femme and make room for our stories, but to also find love and gather courage from other queers. To take my own work as seriously as I take the work of other queers; to be as generous as I can in my own unique bit of the universe.

Dearest, queerest femme sisters: who and what inspires you in your Femme Agenda? What do you do in order to queerly rest and queerly sock it to us? Whatever it is, I wish you fortitude and every blessing as this new year begins. Your stories inspire me.

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.

pitsme_615

“Fem in a Black Leather Jacket” by Pansy Division

Femme Friday – Me and You, the Femmes We Are

I began the journey to the femme I am when I read The Persistent Desire, when I read Stone Butch Blues. I knew I was a butch-loving femme right then, as those stories went straight into my soul.

When did you know? How did femme knowledge come to you? Was it when you read the Femme Shark Manifesto? How do you define “femme”? How do you spell it? How did you become the femme you are?

Does femme help you orient your life? Like a north star, a beating pulse, a bubbling spring? Does it show you what direction to go in?

What does femme mean to you?

The femme I am has everything I read and observe swirling around in my head as I try to make sense of what it means to be alive right now, to be queer, to be turning 56, to be the parent of adult children, the femme wife of my butch husband, the middle-aged daughter of old parents, observing my children mature, my husband sometimes creep, sometimes leap into her wisdom, and my parents inhabit the outer reaches of old age with grace, anger, humor and bluff.

The femme I am is a mentor to queer youth, an elder, even, a femme of a certain age.

Who is watching your femme, drawing sustenance from you? Who needs you? Who do you need?

The femme I am is often lonely for community. The femme I am is both safe and unsafe. The femme I am wonders what rights look like when they’re not just stuff the status quo has, but are actually about true equity for all living beings. The femme I am seeks comfort in sometimes healthy, sometimes unhealthy ways.

Where do you find comfort? What are your femme theories, your femme art, your femme work? What is femme to you – a side dish, the main dish, the dessert? Who can you talk to about femme? Who is interested? Who thinks it’s sexy and endlessly, deliciously, entertaining? What have you learned about femme that is so precious, so profound?

As I grow older, femme, my femme, expands and deepens and becomes more complex, holding worlds and worlds. The femme I am contains multitudes.

Does the femme you are sustain you? What are your latest theories about femme? Your discoveries and intuitions? What makes you laugh and shout with joy?

The longer we are femme, the more we discover. Femme will never get used up; we just keep finding out more about it.

And so here we go, sweet femme sisters! Into 2018, full of femme love and power.

You and me.

Me and you.

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!

Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Lucy Allen and “Reading Medieval Books”

Oh, to have been in London last week in order to attend the talk by Lucy Allen, “Queerly Invisible, Female Desire in Medieval England! “I argue,” says this queer medievalist, “that in some of the most popular literature of the period, we can see the details we glean from the historical evidence magnified and intensified to form a rich seam of innuendo concerning female same-sex desire and its often strange and unfamiliar manifestations. This, in turn, sheds light on our own preconceptions as scholars of historical sexual desire, and especially on our own sense of what is and is not ‘queer history’.” Oooh, doesn’t that sound like soooo much fun??

For more, see her gorgeous blog, Reading Medieval Books, and her latest post on this subject, “’Queerly Invisible’: Medieval and Modern Fictions of Lesbianism”.

Lucy Allen, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for fossicking about in the Way Back Then as well as the Here We Are Now to get us thinking about silences, invisibilities, assumptions, exaggerations, certainties and uncertainties when it comes to images of same-sex desire.

Reading Medieval Books

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.