Femme FATale

solidarity is (not)…
October 29, 2008, 1:40 am
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i know that this can’t be a phenomenon with merely my friends because i’ve noticed the same thing going on with friends of friends of friends – you know, people who are, like, three times removed my friend. halfway-to-kevin-bacon sort of people. and at least amongst the people i know who are doing it, it’s all the more shocking because of the fact that these are folks i usually consider pretty righteous when it comes to their politics, i.e. they’re “progressive,” people – queer or queer-friendly, anti-racist/classist/sexist/sizeist/ableist, you name it. so what’s the grave offense?

i have, at present, several facebook friends who have changed their names to be as follows: [first name] hussein [last name]. before you roll your eyes at me over the fact that this post is about facebook, take a look at it. need i mention that all the folks doing this are two things: 1) obama supporters and 2) white folks with western european and/or american ancestries? what this means, in my opinion, is that while all of these people claiming the middle name “hussein” are undoubtedly doing so in an act of “solidarity,” they are simultaneously appropriating not “just” a name, but one that is tied to very particular histories and cultures that are not theirs. cultures which have been dominated, colonized, invaded, and oppressed by this country and other western european countries for hundreds, thousands of years.

while these people then also go and try on “hussein” as a middle name for the sake of the election season, in an attempt to shed light on the fact that links between barack obama and any sort of “scary”, middle eastern culture are ridiculous, they wind up playing cheaply and dangerously, putting colonized cultures at risk. because for black, brown and mixed folks in this country and abroad, as well as middle easterners cross-culturally and across region and religion, they don’t get to step away from the bullshit ignorant westerners have attached to the name “hussein” once next week comes and goes. for white supporters of obama to take this on for the sake of solidarity is to ignore an entire complex history of oppression and suffering that white people are responsible for.

your cultural appropriation is not cool. it’s irresponsible and it wounds. show your solidarity by voting. not by coopting something that does not belong to you, something that has been unjustly and negatively inscribed by the very culture you live in every day.


this is kind of awesome.
October 24, 2008, 11:35 pm
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t.i. + 2008 election + cute kids = full of win.

it seems i’ve been tagged – twice!
October 20, 2008, 12:30 pm
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last week, while i was working tirelessly on my second prelim paper, y’all were playing a fun game of blog tag that i kept up on, but didn’t have a chance to participate in. this is late to say the least, but i’m slowly catching up on life outside of exam-writing…for the time being. i still have another one to go. the lovely queer rose and colleen both tagged me so i’ll do a total of 14 random facts to satisfy the masses. here goes:

The Rules are:
1. Link to your tagger(s): Queer Rose, Colleen, and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog – some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. i can’t sleep with my feet under the covers. whether it’s 90 degrees outside or -30, my feet are always sticking out from under the sheets and blankets when i sleep. my feet get hot really easily and i hate, hate, hate feeling all stuck. someone sweet once told me feet were like “little furnaces.”

2. i’m addicted to daily, online comics. i never knew i was such a dork and frequently made fun of an ex who used to read whole comic books, but dinosaur comics, xkcd, natalie dee, married to the sea, and toothpaste for dinner make my day.

3. this whole academia thing is a total front. what i really want to do is move to portland and open a bakery with my mom called “two tough cookies.” the boxes would be hot pink and would somehow incorporate our home state of new jersey (thus the “tough” in the cookies!). our specialty would be cream puffs.

4. when i was five years old i was possibly nearly kidnapped. i was visiting family on long island and my cousins and i went out for a bike ride except they were all older and on two wheelers and i was still peddling around a tricycle. they got too far ahead of me and i lost them and was by myself wandering the streets and crying because i wasn’t a city kid at the time and didn’t understand the concept of a block (i.e. if you make 4 lefts you wind up where you started). some old man told me he’d take me home and offered me junior mints. i dropped the bike and ran screaming down the sidewalk. i suppose he could have just wanted to help a hysterical child on the street.

5. i really like invoking catchy phrases from generations past: i.e. “rat bastard” when someone is a total jerk, “schtoopin'” for doin’ it, and “wreck of the hesperus” for someone who looks a total mess.

6. for the most part, the people closest to me, are the ones furthest away geographically. that makes my heart ache a little bit.

7. the third day of kindergarten, i received a black eye from a boy whom i notified could not continue playing with me at the dollhouse if he was going to continue throwing the furniture out of the house and across the room.

8. the next day, when he was walking down the bus steps in front of me, i grabbed onto the railing, hoisted my tiny leg outwards and kicked him off the last two steps. he didn’t talk to me again until high school.

9. you know that line in the classic film, “the parent trap” where hayley mills is sniffing her grandfather’s coat as she’s embracing him and he asks her what she’s doing and she replies, “i’m making a memory. years from now, when i’m all grown up, i’ll remember my grandfather and how he always smelled of peppermint and pipe tobacco”? i do that all the time with the people i love. most don’t notice cause i’m stealthy.

10. i’m not one who believes we have a “love of our life” or any kind of meow meow like that, but sometimes when i’m not even thinking about the future or relationships, i get this overwhelming sense of a person i haven’t yet met who i just know is going to knock me off my feet. i feel you out there, in the universe, and i like it. i’m onto you.

11. i feel like i might have to give in and just realize i’m never going to be one of those femmes who can apply false eyelashes. it’s a blow to the ego, but i think i’ll make it. can’t someone on the femme’s guide give a tutorial?

12. one of my proudest achievements, which i buried under memories as having been nothing big and or exciting, is that at the age of 15 i designed and ran a riot grrrl website which received tons of traffic and led to me publishing a weekly digest of national riot grrrl news, book reviews, cd reviews, events etc. to about 100 readers. i don’t know how or why i forgot about how awesome this was until about a year ago.

13. i am a clasically trained pianist who passed on her audition at julliard because she wanted to study gender studies instead. my parents didn’t talk to me for a week.

14. my very first “girl crush” was on sue milliken, a t.v. chef on the former show “too hot tamales.” i didn’t even know she was a big ol’ d then, but i knew there was something i liked about her and found desirable. now she kinda just reminds me of ani difranco. also, what person in the early, early teenage years finds t.v. chefs attractive? weirdo.

because i’m a week late, i’m not going to tag anyone, but feel free to comment and link your list here if you’re self-tagging. xo for now, friends! i promise i’ll crawl out from under my rock here and there. i’ve been working on a post in my head for the past few days entitled, “what i will do with my life post-prelims.” “blog more,” is near the top.

my, my.
October 20, 2008, 1:07 am
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a recent coversation about letters of recommendation we would give to one another’s other and/or future lovers, led a certain butch to say the following about yours truly recently:

makes great brownies.
moans better.

ahem! i do declare…

pittsburgh sweet.
October 11, 2008, 9:32 am
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it’s almost something sacred. the word “you,” when you speak it in reference to me. it is one word in a sentence made of many others, but it’s the only one that hangs on your tongue like the way honey drags down the length of a spoon – slow and thick at first and then rushed and ribboned towards the end. my punched down, plumped up heart doesn’t care about the sentiments or about the words that surround this mention of me in your mouth. i am focused only on the way it feels to be cradled by your lips like that; attention paid only to the feel of your breath grazing when you exhale me.

this is about absence. the kind that causes me to rock away grief. because sitting still with it is just too great an ache.

i am responsible for near tidal waves.

when we were a part of one another still, i noticed not the way you held me in your mouth – pulled me in, pushed me out – but more the sound. the gravel of your generations-deep, southwestern pennsylvania, coal miner family accent and the way it snuck out between the cracks of a crooked smile passed down from a grandmother every bit as pretty then as you are handsome today.

my concentration on the way you spoke me, the way you still sometimes do when i let my guard down a little too early, is about the ways i loved you. i wonder now if something as simple as how you wore your lips when you grinned – practically a right angle instead of a more even, upwards bevel – should have been a sign of the unpredictability of you.

a fall aesthetic.
October 10, 2008, 8:34 am
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fall has always been my favorite time of year and it’s no doubt for many of the same reasons as the rest of y’all: cooler weather, the change in foliage (if you live somewhere where this happens), and of course the transition to a different and, in my case, better wardrobe. for years my summer wardrobe was a sorry excuse for clothing and i’m sure that was in relationship to where i was in my head as far as body image. i grew up with a pretty fat positive mom, but still one who enforced some sort of “sleeve at all times, on all shirts” rule that i later tossed out as being total bullshit. my summer clothes have evolved into something i no longer dread, including skirts i’ve sewed myself in recent years and new and thrifted dresses. oh, and tank tops. and tube tops. lots of them. behold! a fat person with fat arms! gasp! how unusual!

but fall? fall is my joint. say it with me: sweater weather…mmm. and this is ironic because i’m not huge into sweaters. going to class and teaching in colleges and universities, as well as several office buildings in between when i lived in d.c., made me a fan of layering: cute camisoles, light sweaters, carrrrdigans (drool), and shrugs. jeans, of course too, pencil skirts, dresses, but with tights. this season, because i’m hopelessly flawed in keeping tights for long without running them? black ribbed ones, deep purple, turquoise, and gray! fall equals jewel tones after all, no? oh, and scarves! fall is scarf weather and thanks to a grandma with fast crocheting fingers, i am a queen to many lovely, homemade ones. my favorite is made of a deep red wool that is of the same skeins my grandmother knit my baby blanket.

oh, fall aesthetic! you are, of course, not just for the femmes either. the butches and bois, the transmasculine folk, this is button-down shirt and sweater weather. argyle sweaters. wide striped sweaters. sweater vests. tweed pants. boots. plaid wool scarves. swoon! the fun of thrifting with a butch for a fall wardrobe. or merely just observing their dashingness from across the street…with a wink!

fall, it’s about time you got here. last night, you had me dreaming of houndstooth and herringbone.

i took this picture in northampton, ma two weeks ago. the trees there are already so stunning. my foot? maybe not quite as much!