Tag Archives: sexuality

The Buzzcocks – Punk & Sexuality

19 Apr

Last week with the death of Margaret Thatcher, I found myself contemplating the punk movement and their opposition to the Thatcher government and its policies. See posts – and ___________. With this I was listening a lot to The Clash (my favourite punk band). One afternoon after work I stopped off in the city and picked up some local street press (free newspapers discussing music, movies and queer topics). I picked up Queensland Pride (a local Queer Street press publication) and I saw an articles about the British punk band, The Buzzcocks. It was an enlightening article!!

I had no idea about the band’s queer ness / support for the queer community and that the lead singer, Pete Shelley is bisexual. I had never listened to their music. I had seen references and articles to the band over the years, but I thought they were a macho (given that the term ‘cock’ is in the band’s name) male orientated punk band. I was rather wrong. The ‘cock’ in the band’s name in fact refers to the Manchester slang for mates/friends. And to discover that in their songs there were references to sexuality and bisexuality, was fascinating. Peter Shelley had also been “involved in student politics at college and campaigning for rights of women and gays and lesbians and bisexuals.” A marriage of campaigning for LGBTI rights, equality for women and punk politics. I loved this. I was inspired.

I mentioned this to my girl over the weekend and said I wanted to listen to some of their music. And low and behold, my girl bought me two of their albums yesterday! She is awesome. So I had a chance to listen to their music this morning on my drive to the train station. I like it. And there were a few songs that I liked straight away – great guitar, beat and lyrics. I will be listening to more over the weekend I suspect.

I am also going to try and listen to some female punk bands such as X-Ray Specs and some Queercore (punk that rejects the disapproval of LGBTQI people) bands.

Links –
http://gaynewsnetwork.com.au/entertainment/music-2/10842-ever-fallen-in-love-with-a-buzzcock.html

Femme Identity & Me

4 Apr

I sometimes identify as a “semi-femme” (a term of my own making, which I use to describe myself within a femme context), other times as “just myself.” But I do find the femme identity very empowering and inspiring. I may chose to more closely identify with the femme identity in the future. I have also previously posted on Femme Identity, see my posts Femme Identity and Femme Identity Continued.

One thing that makes me reluctant to embrace the femme identity fully is that it is perceived that the femme identity is linked to the butch identity and that femme women are attracted to butch women. I know myself, and I am not attracted to butch women. If I identify as femme, I don’t want people to assume that I must like butch women. And this is in no offence to butch identified women, I simply know who I am attracted to and I don’t want others to assume to know who I am attracted to based on how I express myself.

I have been reading a research proposal by Connie Laalo entitled, Beyond Lipstick: Expressions of Femme Lesbian Identity through Dress. In the proposal, the author states that in order to fully establish and assert femme as an autonomous identity, it must be engaged independently in a manner that validates this expression of femininity as an authentic expression of lesbian identity and lived experience. I love the concept, of asserting the femme identity as autonomous, authentic, and independent of the butch identity. And a few blog posts and online articles I have read appear to promote this and aspire to this. Decreasing femme invisibility may also aid this aim. This concept would sit so much better with me, and I know I would feel a lot more comfortable in identifying as femme.

There is also one other thing that sometimes bothers me about identifying as femme. I don’t want my femininity (dress, long hair, make up, views) to be seen to be conforming to the patriarchal, societal and traditional expressions of being female. And just to add to the mix, the term feminine doesn’t always sit well with me, as it seems to imply conformity also. The term “femaleness,” as proposed by Feminist Spiritualists in the book Living in the Lap of the Goddess: The Feminist Spirituality Movement in America by Cynthia Eller, seems to reflect this rejection of patriarchal, societal and traditional ideas around femininity and what it means to be a woman, and describes these things as female traits beyond conformity. I like displaying my femaleness, but I don’t do this to conform to the preconceived notion of what it means to be a woman. I am like this because I like these things. It is part of who I am. And this feeling falls into the concept of empowered femininity and “choice.” I am a feminist and I chose to be feminine and express my femininity / femaleness how I wish. These two go together and are not separate or mutually exclusive.

As more studies, blog posts and webpages increase awareness of the subversive and feminist elements to the femme identity, hopefully there will be a greater understanding of this identity.

References –
Eller, Cynthia (1993) Living in the Lap of the Goddess: The Feminist Spirituality Movement in America, Crossroad Publishing Company, USA

Laalo, Connie (2011) Beyond Lipstick: Expressions of Femme Lesbian Identity through Dress, MA research proposal, Ryerson Unviversity, Toronto, Canada
https://ccs.cf.ryerson.ca/ethicsReview/data/2329/5562/consent/A913CEB8F7401808444ED189B965BCAB.doc

Subversive Performance of Feminine Gender – Femme Identity

4 Apr

“Subversive performance of feminine gender,” as per Connie Laalo in her research proposal entitled, Beyond Lipstick: Expressions of Femme Lesbian Identity through Dress.

I absolutely love the concept of subversiveness and that the femme identity can subversively perform femininity. Turns the traditional and societal notion of femininity and heterosexuality on its head! You can be femme / feminine / possess femaleness AND be a lesbian too. Takes “signifiers of being a woman” – female clothes (i.e. dresses, skirts), long hair, make-up, high heels and glamour and combines this with a queer sexuality. It plays with perceptions, assumptions and judgement.

There are times I think to myself, when dressed in a nice dress with bright red lips and my hair dyed red, that I want to say out loud “I’m a lesbian!,” just to get the message across that I love to dress how I do and I love women. I think this is something most people would not know by looking at me and how I dress. I guess this is a great description of femme invisibility and “passing.” It is unconsciously though because I don’t pretend to be straight, I just don’t express my sexuality in an obvious way.

Reference –
Laalo, Connie (2011) Beyond Lipstick: Expressions of Femme Lesbian Identity through Dress, MA research proposal, Ryerson Unviversity, Toronto, Canada
https://ccs.cf.ryerson.ca/ethicsReview/data/2329/5562/consent/A913CEB8F7401808444ED189B965BCAB.doc

Female Identities & Expression I find Attractive and/or Inspiring

27 Mar

Female Identities & Expressions I find Attractive and/or Inspiring –

Unconventional
Non-traditional
Hybrid of stereotypical / traditional feminine and masculine traits
Subversive
Transgressive
Traditional femininity performed with empowerment and awareness (Empowered Femininity)

The Butch Identity – How I React

22 Mar

I was contemplating this morning, how the butch identity (as expressed by individual women I observe in daily life) sometimes makes me feel uncomfortable.

This is no means meant to be offensive. I am sincere believer in everyone, whether gay, bisexual or straight, being able to express themselves. And I am an advocate for embracing the diverse ways to express gender identity and sexuality.

I think for me, it is because the butch identity expressed through clothes, haircut and mannerisms is something that I have rarely encountered first hand. And I am not really attracted to the butch identity. I periodically self identify myself as femme or “semi femme” (my own term), but I don’t want this femme identity (for myself) to be defined and characterised by an attraction to the butch identity.

I am attracted to women who are “womanly,” a term I coined to describe a strong, tough and confident persona, a strong female sexuality, sensuality, a womanly figure, and a combination of some stereotypically “female” and “male” traits. It is a complicated definition!

I think the uncomfortableness comes from being aware (as a lesbian) of such an obvious expression of sexuality. I am someone who likes to talk about my sexuality, but most of the time, I don’t feel the need to “broadcast” it to everyone under the sun. However, there are times, when I do just want to wear a t-shirt or have an imaginary sign above my head saying “I am a lesbian, and I am proud of this.” It sounds like I am in two minds!

As there is a positivity to the obvious expression of sexuality by butch women, I want to reduce this uncomfortableness. I am educating myself further on the butch identity and the concept of female masculinity.

Lipstick Lesbian Identity

21 Mar

I am intrigued as to whether there as been any academic study/research on the lipstick lesbian identity. Have researchers surveyed women who identity as lipstick lesbians? Have researchers discussed how these women experience and express their sexuality or issues such as harassment from heterosexual males or the assumption that they pass as heterosexual? I have read a few blogs and websites regarding this identity and these issues, but I have yet to see any papers. I am going to dig further.

Femme Identity continued

20 Mar

Following on from my post Femme Identity, I am curious to know the opinions of other lesbians (femme, butch and non-identified) about this gender identity and how this is perceived.

I have a very positive view. And I particularly admire when femme identified lesbians state that their gender identification has little to do with who they attracted to, but rather how they wish to express their sexuality. Personally I think the femme identity is empowered femininity, a form of femininity (expressed through feminine dress, hair and make-up) expressed along with a strong statement regarding sexuality, and an embracing of and power over their own body, image and sexuality, which is feminist.

I find the neo-burlesque and a neo-pin up movements expressions of empowered femininity. These are subcultures, lifestyles and fashions where modern women, feminist women, can embrace their femaleness and express their female (and lesbian) sexuality in a way they want to, and not solely for a male (or female) gaze. I love that these movements embrace fashions, performance and some ideas from by-gone eras, but also incorporate elements of sexual freedom, equality and alternative fashions (such as tattoos, gothic fashion, vintage fashion and fetish fashion).

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