I been having a rough couple of days to begin with then I read today that Hostess is going out of business. Now anyone who knows me knows that I survived the last year primarily on Devil Dogs, which are made by Hostess! And to boot they made Twinkies too…yeah the stuff that is supposed to be our survival food during the nuclear holocaust. Now we will all certainly die of starvation. Unless we resort to eating the dreaded cockroaches, which – horrifically enough – are also predicted to survive. We are fucked.
The Mayan calendar ends on 12/21/2012…the predicted day that “the world shall change as we know it” not the predicted end of the world, as some think.
But look at everything that has gone on over the last 5 years….from the US electing a black President (who I love by the way) , and not once but twice! All of the women elected in the last election – 22 to the House alone! Independents elected, medical and recreational marijuana being legalized in several states, LGBT rights being advanced beyond what I personally thought they would be at this point. And so many other things have changed or are in the process of growth and change – especially peoples’ consciousness and awareness of the world.
Much of this is due to technological advances, computers alone have changed the world. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs changed the world. And people say one person can’t change the world….they need to remember all of the single-handed world changes there have been…from Jesus, to Hitler, to Ghandi to Bill and Steve…and who knows who is next in the line (I didn’t list every single person who changed things here on earth but you get the gist of the idea).
Now, I watched a TED Talk today (yes I am serious TED addict, I admit it) and something was said that reverberated with me.
“None of the fragments predict the whole, yet you cannot understand the whole without understanding the fragments.”
How true this is of about everything I can think to apply it to. It’s true of families, at least mine! To understand my whole family you have to look at each member (each fragment) to the the whole picture! Same with many, many other things, but I will mention just the LGBT community…to get the whole picture you need to look at the individual fragments in some way. And LGBT people themselves should throw this thought into their own brains and think about it a while. Occasionally I encounter serious bias and hate from right within my own community for being a Butch lesbian, seems it somehow threatens other “kinds” of lesbians somehow or another. But if we would all just stop and start to understand the fragments of the community, just imagine the enlightenment that would come. If we could only understand each other better, maybe we will learn to work together, without the hate and fear that comes from a place of not understanding.
Then there’s the whole middle east escalation. I am not Jewish so I have only the typical Caucasian American without-a-clue perspective. I see it as the never ending war of religions and holy places. It’s gone on for hundreds of years, and I don’t understand IF there IS a solution, what it could possibly be. I am fearful of a Fundamentalist Islamic state, one that believes in violent means to Jihad and that killing is somehow justified. So I’m not a big Hamas fan at all. I believe that Isreal is a legitimate state and at this point in time I don’t understand how it could not be recognized as one, as is Palestine. I get that my own government had a hand in the creation of that state, but now it’s there, and it’s not going away anytime soon. So, they rocket and bomb one another relentlessly. One is much larger than the other, so you know who will eventually invade whom and that it’s most likely inevitable at this point…perhaps this is the 12-21-2012 change to come…war in the middle east. And with Iraq backing Hamas it will definitely be a nasty, nasty war. It will not be good for anyone, the whole world will become embroiled in the muck of that kind of war. Thus it will change everything as we know it. *sigh* I wish I understood it better…yes, I am doing more research, but it’s a very long and confusing conflict, I just wish that it did not have to be as it is. Peace would be so nice for that whole area.
I realize this is more of a ramble of thoughts than a focused blog tonight. My mind is a bit frazzled and I need some creative stimulation! I’ve felt out of sorts the last couple of days, and I am just a bit off kilter.
If anyone has any specific topics they would like me to address, please leave me a comment below!
P.S. My sweet girlfriend just went and got me 2 boxes of Devil Dogs…bless her Femme heart!!!
This is a great piece, Janet does just a great job of being oh-so Femme! I love it!!!
Hi All I vlogged this on http://www.youtube.com/femmtasticj so I am putting it here as well it just jerks my chain that people think thy can tell me who I am, when I am not sure they even know themselves!
To whom this may concern;
Ok Ok Now be calm. There has been much said and debated over the labels we should or shouldn’t place on ourselves as a group. Isn’t it about time that this ceased? If you want to be part of the identified group then fine so be it, and if you don’t then walk away quit associating with the group, problem solved. With that being said I will gladly lend my opinion to this discussion.
Being given a label or stripped of a label by someone who chooses not to be labeled within our community, is a moot point as they are nonexistent due to not…
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(I have about had it with being scorned for identifying as Butch….dammit. ~ MainelyButch)
“It isn’t an elapsed time since birth, sometimes, but the elapsed-time-since-rebirth since one’s heart and, not incidentally, loins make themselves known” (S. Bear Bergman, “Butch is a Noun” Arsenal Pulp Press, 2010)
I hear the words all the time “we are all just lesbians, with tits and vaginas and we like other lesbians, we don’t need and shouldn’t use labels”. It is an oft repeated and misused cry of not belonging; of not knowing where one belongs or how one identifies. Maybe it is shield used as a defense, as a place to hide and think that they are not judged or seen as anything but just lesbian or gay. They claim to walk a line of indifference, not aligning with any one group. But when you ask who they are they will tell you perhaps “Irish, English and Hispanic” or any other ethnic or cultural background. Why they are afraid to also find an identifying place under the vast LGBT umbrella, I do not know or understand. I don’t understand them not identifying with something as much as they claim not to understand my identifying as Butch. I am sure the topic will continue to be debated and chewed apart at every opportunity, so here is my take on the topic .
There are some in the LGBT community that speak harshly about the labels and identifiers that others of us use in our choice of vocabulary. They rebuke the use of any labels, claiming it sets us back and divides us somehow, and I deny no one their own opinions at all. Noteably, I have noticed this especially true of the Butch, Stud, and Femme identifiers. Somehow others feel, or seem to feel, threatened by the words themselves. Do they stir up images unkind to the mind of those who do not understand them? Is it that not understanding our worlds as they are known to us and us alone that frightens them somehow; that makes them want to take away our words for ourselves? Do they see it as some attempt to make them identify too?
I hear the often verbalized words, “labels, I don’t identify with any label” and “labels are for soup cans” – which is true because the label helps you choose your favorite kind of soup, as our identifiers help us find those and find those which we favor in flavor. Without those soup can labels you may be wind up eating cream of mushroom, when you really wanted tomato and basil. Those soup can labels have a vital purpose, to delineate our choices; as do our chosen labels and identifications. It’s good to know when another identifies such as I do, to know we have a comraderie and that we possibly have similar thought patterns and likes or dislikes. It gives me and others a place of belonging, where we can openly be the style of whatever label best fits us, and gives us guidance to be the best we can be.
Butch – Femme has given a rich, rich contribution to LGBT history. There is no actual handbook on Butch-Femme contributions, no handbook of how or why we choose this lifestyle. (*although there are many good reads which I will list after this piece) Many say we are mimicking the heterosexual norms. But I say that we all live by examples absorbed from childhood experiences and life knowledge. My role models were a very solid heterosexual set of parents, my mother embodying the strength and fortitude of a strong Femme – something I now seek in my own partners. And my father the epitomy of masculinity, strong and true gritted, someone I emulated and strove to be like all my life. I knew from a young age that I was lesbian, and that I was decidedly Butch. There was never ever a question in my mind. Yes, I knew I was/am female, with a female body and all the appropriate birth parts, but my mind was something different than other female minds. My mind was influenced by higher testosterone levels as a natural occurrence, as well as being surrounded by high levels of testosterone based people such as my father. I am sure the combination has much to do with who I am as a Butch today. I know it has much to do with how I treat a woman – in the absolute best and most respectful ways possible, coveting her femininity and softness as something I want desperately in my life – but beside me, not inside me.
You can scorn my use of the Butch identifier all day long. I shrug it off because I know you do not really understand – either me or the word itself. It’s simply due to that understanding that you feel you need to rebuff my attempts to belong to my own group. You may not know where you belong, you may fell trapped in limbo and wish you could figure yourself out as I have done with myself. Perhaps it’s that you envy my guts for having the fortitude and foresight to really know who I am and where I fall in the binary scale of feminine and masculine. My clarity is palpable, and this scares many. For without fear they would not scorn. Scorn itself is quite simply born of fear and not knowing. It is natural to fear the unknown, the unthinkable and the different.
Perhaps one day they will allow themselves to find their own people, to identify as someone who is part of a group, whether that is simply the human group, or a specified group, race, creed, heritage, kind of group, they belong somewhere, and others no right to deny anyone else of belonging, of identifying and of living as they choose to live.
As a stone butch I cannot identify with the straight up lesbian label. It does not fit me. My ideas of relationships with other women, sex and being are not the same as someone who is middle of the road, sort of what I call the granola lesbian. She may feel neither feminine nor masculine. She just likes women; is into same sex relationships and is happy to just be herself, however that manifests for her. Personally, I tried to identify with that variance for many years, actually to the point of doing much unnecessary and deep emotional harm to myself in the process. Because it was not and is not how I am wired. I am wired hard Butch. The masculine wire in my brain is much thicker, more of a pipe than a wire, than the thin thread of femininity.
Yes, I am woman. I shall never deny that fact. I was born a girl. I have girl parts. I do not see them in the same way as others much of the time. The feminine feels uncomfortable and wrong for me personally. Yes, I toy with gender, I allow my own natural masculinity to shine through, I do not stifle it or tone it down one iota. As I will not be or try to be anyone that I am not. I am who I feel inside that I am, and I am proud to be Butch. Proud to recognize my Butch-ness and let it control me and continue to make me exactly as intended. No, I did not learn Butch from anyone. I did not learn masculinity, but I did emulate and strive to be the good parts of masculine. The one difference between men and Butches is just that, we can inhabit the masculine in ways that are comfortable, not forced. Men may be made, a virtual fact of nature, but Butches are born, absorbing that which is right for each of them personally and leaving the crap right on the floor – the macho attitude, the underlying tilt toward more internal anger, violence and anything remotely negative about being wired as a biological man.
So, in wrapping this up, I stand firmly in my Butch boots. I cannot explain to someone who just doesn’t get it that this IS just me, this IS who I am and no one has any right – or reason – to question that or to challenge it in any form. All I can hope is that with time and experience that every person finds who they really are inside and allows themselves to freely recognize that, to revel in it as I do and to be the happiest they can be by being just who they are in life.
I harbor no ill feelings towards those who rebuff my gender, my sexuality or my identification. I do not always agree with their styles or choice either, but I keep mum generally and I only ask for them to learn tolerance, respect and to live and let live, as I do with them in mutual respect. I will not force my labels upon them, and they hopefully will not force their opinions of labels on me. It doesn’t matter anyways, I am just Butch. And this Butch is strong, resilient and knows who she is at her core.
“Butch is a Noun” 2006, 2010 by S. Bear Bergman, Arsenal Pulp Press
“Missed Her” 2010, stories by Ivan E. Coyote, Arsenal Pulp Press
“Dagger” 1994 by Cleis Press Inc. Edited by Lily Burana, Roxxie, Linnea Duc
“Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme” edited by Ivan E. Coyote and Zena Sharman, Arsenal Pulp Press, 2011
“Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity” 2006 edited by Matt Bernstein Sycamore, aka Mattilda, Seal Press
“Butch/Femme: New Considerations of the Way We Want to Go” 2002 Edited by Michelle Gibson, Deborah T Meem….co published simultaneously as “Journal of Lesbian Studies” Vol. 6 Number 2. Harrington Park Press
“Butch/Femme: Inside Lesbian Gender” 1998 edited by Sally R. Munt, Cassell, London/Washington
I recently had a question asked by two different viewers on my Youtube channel, and it gave me pause for thought, and fodder for a blog and vlog on the topic. The question is “Can Butches and Femmes be just friends?” Meaning here, can they successfully navigate the terrain of friendship – without becoming emotionally involved and without sex becoming a factor or issue in the equation?
Facebook is the prime example of epic failure in the realm of Butch-Femme friendship. More drama and crap goes across the status bar of that application than I can even fathom. Personally I don’t let it bother me when someone un-friends me because I tell the truth, hey I know the truth hurts! And if you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch. If you can’t take the truth, GTFO . Because I tell it like I see it, and for some that seems to be just a tad bit too insightful for them, they are afraid I may call their bullshit like I see it. Hell, it has happened and I have been un-friended by both Butches and Femmes in the past, for doing just that – calling bullshit when I see it. I don’t care to be a spectator in anyone’s drama filled exchanges…and why would I? Nope just not into the drama myself, so take your “friendship” – and I use the term lightly – and GTFO. Good riddance. I don’t need the bullshit believe me – neither do you.
So can Butches and Femmes ever really be “friends”? I am not sure. I know that I approach every relationship in my life from an angle of friendship. I offer myself as a friend. Sex, when used as a weapon in any relationship from friendship to the romantic realm, is just wrong. And sexual exchanges of innuendo or as “come on” talk within a friendship is not acceptable behavior from anyone who wishes to just be friends.
What I do know for myself is that Butch – Butch bromances are needed and necessary. I am sure it’s the same for Femmes, although I cannot speak to their thoughts directly. You often need the advice of someone who possibly thinks a bit more like you do; who has walked the path that you are on and knows the ropes across that wiggly bridge. Advice and having an ally are valuable tools in navigating this minefield of this LGBT life. When I have Butch things that I think only another Butch would be able to relate to then I take my questions to my other Butch friends. If I am having Femme issues I might consult a Femme friend for insight, but it’s my Butch buddies that give me the most support; needed, necessary and like-minded support.
I do think that Butches and Femmes can be friends without sex or relationship stuff becoming an issue but it takes mature people to make the friendship. And there is also that category of acquaintance versus actual friend. Acquaintances are those who you know, but aren’t very close to, perhaps it’s your buddy’s girl, or the girl at work, she’s someone that you wouldn’t persue a real friendship with anyway.
Generally when a Femme puts you into the “friend” category, you stay there regardless. Any sort of romance that may pop up are usually just fleeting things and you stay in the friendship category, because most Femmes are strong willed, solidly minded and once you are in that category there is no such thing as a “get out of friendship free” pass, it’s lost somewhere between the “go to jail” and the “get 100 condoms free” passes in life. She wants to be your friend not your lover. She wants to tell you how to dress better, not undress you. She wants to talk to you like she would talk to another Femme, not like she would converse with you if she were sleeping with your ass. Exhibit one…she will tell you about the fabulous Butch she fucked last weekend…a lover or potential girlfriend would definitely not be telling you those things. Because if she saw you as a potential lover or sex partner she would want you to think that you are the only one, so if she’s telling you about her latest conquests then you are definitely in the friend category. Stay there.
When Butches and Femmes cross that threshold between friendship and a relationship one of two things happens. Either they get together and stay that way, or the friendship goes straight into the shitter. The second may happen slower, but it will eventually happen as you drift apart, one of you becoming more distant, you talk less, and then poof, no more friendship.
As you grow older in life and you gain experience in dealing with various personality types along the way, you gain insight and intuition about things. You learn to know the difference between friendly gestures and those with romantic overtones. You can feel when someone is not telling the whole truth, but is giving you marginal information to keep you in some sort of spot where they can later manipulate you into whatever they wish. You learn to avoid those people, they are toxic. Butch or Femme. Toxic.
Basics of Butch – Femme Friendships
No pet names…once a pet name is given some sort of weird connection happens, it breaks boundaries.
No pouring out of the heart. Save this for your time with like-minded buddies and other friends.
No sexting, multiple texting, or massive email exchanges. Each one gives the lead to more, and that leads to a falling off of the friendship cliff.
Respect boundaries, have impeccable manners and general good behavior that will keep things friendly.
No holding of hands, touching or other intimate behavior between friends.
No names. When discussing recent sexual conquests do not use names or identifying things.
No sexual inuendos, small talk or references to be exchanged or referred to in conversation, both in person or online. Using any type of sexual or “come on” type language is just a recipe for trouble, with a capital T. Afterall , it ‘s supposedly “friendship” you are after, not a relationship or sexual escapade, right?
If sexual tension evolves, deal with it head on, do not sweep it under the proverbial rug. Get it out in the open, discuss it and solve it. Maybe you are not meant to be friends…but are you meant to be more? If you can’t put the tension aside then it’s time to either end it or ask her out properly…you decide and let those chips fall where they may. But remember, if she never trusts you when you say “she’s just my friend” after you get together, it’s exactly how you two met…historically speaking. History says a lot. She won’t want you having other “friends” of the opposite label, i.e. Butches having Femme friends and visa versa.
No drunk calls, texts or emails…never, ever a good thing. If you are thinking of your Butch or Femme “friend” when you are drunk then it’s NOT a friendship in your head, it’s turning into something much more dangerous…the desire for a relationship.
Warning signs that it’s more than a friendship.
You start to dress more “her style”, listening to what she likes in her Butch or Femme, you start to look at your wardrobe and think of what “she” would like to see you wear, not what you like. Never change yourself for someone, especially a “friend”.
You stay up late at night waiting by your computer for her to get home so you can chat or email with her. This is a definite sign that it’s getting beyond friendship in your head.
Buying expensive gifts…you don’t do this for other friends, so if you find yourself looking at diamonds suddenly and thinking of buying one for her…it’s gone way beyond friends in your head.
Suddenly changing your other friends, because she doesn’t care for this one or thinks that one is too much of an influence on you. A friend will never ask or suggest that you lose another friend just so you can be “her” friend. A true friend will encourage you to have other friends, and may even want to hang out with you and them.
Isolating…if you find you are staying home more, waiting for her calls, emails or texts then you are not being friendly, you are being stupid.
Jealousy…if you or she starts telling the other who they can and cannot hang with, communicate with or who they should and should not sleep with, or what to do with their hair, nails, brows, etc…then it’s obvious it’s not friendship, it’s a connection going deeper.
Drop off friends.
Signs that a friend has decided that you are too much work, or that she’s feeling pressured and maybe things need to frost over a bit between you before it goes somewhere other than friendship….
She becomes a bit distant, has to work late, has prior obligations and cant’ hang with you.
Phone calls become rare to non-existant. Your calls go unanswered or to voice mail.
Texts and emails start to trail off, not so many anymore. And those that do come are short and to the point. Then she finally stops altogether.
Friends with Benefits.
Never a good idea in my humble opinion. Tried it and failed miserably. And I find that it’s always a friendship killer because once you go to the intimacy level, everything changes. You may think you are still friends, but you are now more than friends, but less than lovers. The whole dynamic is different, strained and usually not very much fun. One of you thinks it’s friends, the other has built a house and put up a picket fence in their mind. Watch out for this one; tread carefully.
So those are my thoughts and ideas on Butch-Femme friendship. I do have a few very sweet and good Femme friends. I adore every one of them, but I also keep them at a distance socially, out of respect for them, their Butches and for myself. I want to be a good friend, and sexual fantasy about a Femme friend would not make me a good Butch…it might make me typical to some, but not good!
Thanks for this, it’s just wonderful.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my crazy rants and raves. You are going to see quite a few new posts, some of old writings that I have in my collection, as well as some new stuff that I am doing as I am working through a project to collect most of my presentable pieces all in one place.
I write about many things, most of all my personal perspectives and opinions of love, life, various incidents, troubles and the human condition. While most of it is true, some are variations of skewed truth; yet all are my original writings. Some of which I can bear witness to and some I can only theoretically speculate about. Bottom line is that I love to write, and have much passion for the written word as it has represented man’s journeys through time and history. My stories are of my own time; my own history.
Please enjoy reading! I invite you each to leave comment, criticism, and opposing arguments as needed!