sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
I had an interesting, and very beneficial, revelation last night.

My Ideal of Femininity has changed. This might be a significant part of why it is so much easier for me to be female than it has been for the past while, because the standards I am holding myself to are different, and much healthier to attain.

See, I've always known people who embody "How To Girl Right"1, someone in my periphiary who, if I can be like them, I can be doing this successfully. I am not, after all, successful at femininity, at female. It is not a thing that feels natural to me, not like my tomboy-genderfucked-mishmash of behaviour and appearance.

But in the past few years --I don't know how long, not exactly-- there's been a shift. And in thinking, I figured out the pivotal part of the shift, and the reason this is so important to me. The previous Ideal was about what you do, making sure you can successfully meet all the activity markers. The current Ideal is about what you are.

My current Ideal of Femininity is a person I know who is smart, and kind, and incredibly strong-willed. Who is in-touch with her sexuality, and flirtatious, but never forceful. Who is not judgemental, and listens to people with experiences she can't touch, and who would not shame someone for what they are or do not yet know.

I want to grow up into that sort of existence, because too damn long I've been trapped in a world where it matters what you do and how you do it. Putting on makeup, creating food, dancing the follow, wearing dresses...all of that is not a reflection of what you are. All of that has always felt transgressive and wrong --a different kind of drag-- and hard for me to manage. Putting on eyeliner doesn't make me feel female, it makes me feel costumed or lost. And so for too damn long, the idea of being female has been fraught, because when I feel like a girl, there is nothing I can do to encourage the feeling.

I am still very gender neutral, of course. Gender is just not something I _need_ in my day to day life. But I do have days when I feel like a boy, and I do have days when I feel like a girl, and knowing how to manifest those feelings into the real world is a pivotal part of keeping my mind safe and happy and sane.

But part of manifesting those feelings is looking towards examples, people who can do male, or female, far better than I ever could. And I have now found a new example, one that doesn't make my skin crawl quiet to contemplate, and that is a beautiful thing.


1: I'm sure I have "How To Boy Right" as well, but I think it's mostly just "Racheline and also the Middleman" which is great but not especially helpful.

PostScript: Obviously I have not informed you of the identities of either Ideal I've held. The last was unhealthy, the current...I do not put friends on pedestals, not if I can avoid it. No speculation.
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
Sunday morning, I was already a bit worn-out and brainsick when I saw The Truck. It was parked in front of a church, just outside of Harvard Square, and the back of it had some "sweet" Christian platitude about how we have all sinned and are all going to hell.

(Clearly, this truck belonged to the jackass kind of Christians, who would rather yell at you for how bad you are, than do anything to make the world a better place. I much prefer the Christians who actually do Good Things, and who may quietly pray for your soul, but don't get all in your face about it)

And that was annoying, primarily because it was in my way, but I could've slid right by it and never given it a second thought, until I pulled alongside it and read the quote written bold on the side.

I don't remember the exact wording, but the message was very very clear: WOMEN ARE VILE AND CORRUPTED CREATURES, AND THEIR ONLY GOAL IS TO WEAR SCANDALOUS CLOTHING TO TEMPT MEN TO WICKEDNESS. I don't think it actually said "BURN THEM ALL" as part of its message, but that's certainly what it felt like.

And reading those words, when I am tired and lost and in the middle of a grand existential crisis about whether I can even ever think of myself as a woman at felt as though I had been punched between the ribs, deep where my Self resides. Because I can deal with so many things, deal with Boston drivers and not getting jobs and weird looks when I am just myself on the T.

But I can't deal with being hated.

And I especially can't deal with having that hate slapped across my face too-early in the morning, when that hate has nothing to do with me, with anything I am.

Just with the fact that the single lucky sperm of my da that made it into my mom's egg just happened to be carrying an x-chromosome instead of a y. Something that I could not even begin to control, because I literally couldn't have existed in time to control it.

Hatred because of my DNA, without ever knowing me, without ever meeting me. I'm given to believe that's normal. I am woman(ish, sometimes, approximately, in body only, who knows?) and therefore I hear sexism in jokes from friends, ("women amIright" and "because I'm the boy" and somehow the jokes aren't ever funny or maybe just the reminder isn't.) and rants on the internet, and vitriol from those who think so low of me they imagine I only exist to tempt and so low of men they imagine they only exist to be tempted.

I don't like being hated. I'm service oriented, a Girl Scout, a Herald (before there was a blue box there was a white horse, and given the choice of Companions it's never even been close.) someone who exists on this world to make it better, to make people happy, to make your life easier.

But how can I make your life better if the only thing that would please you was if I no longer existed?

sorcyress: A character from a comic about the maintenance workers of the universe, holding a thumbs up and saying "MOOP!" (Zonker MOOP!)
I think realizing (and becoming comfortable with the fact that) I'm genderqueer has made it a lot easier for me to be traditionally feminine.

Like, I'm a lot more willing to be excited about cute bras and awesome high heels and the wearing thereof, since it's all just a different kind of drag.
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
So, I don't really do the whole "casual nudity" thing.

People often complain when I post things of this length without putting them under a cut. To which I say, the scroll button is to your right, and you can cast your vote for how I manage my livejournal at the next 'election of who runs Kat's journal' which will be in approximately never. )


1: As an aside, if you have ever felt uncomfortable or creeped out by the way(s) I express admiration to you, please tell me (if you feel comfortable doing so). My e-mail is kdsorceress at gmail dot com, and I would like to know what I am doing wrong, so I can not do it in the future. I am hoping this aside is entirely unnecessary, but I've fucked up in the past with regards to how much casual touch/flirting/whatever someone is okay with, and I want to be better about that.

2: I mostly don't trust people. The ways I do trust people are not necessarily the ways they want to be trusted. It is the highest honour for me to trust that you will take care of me, and I'm not actually convinced anyone has that in full. If you're complaining about that fact, because clearly you would do anything I needed and take good care of me, well fuck you. I am too damaged an individual to easily trust you, and too honorable to lie that I do.

3: Well, I don't hate the physical appearance of it anyways.

4: You know what I hate? When I line up for a dance and someone goes "OMG, you're dancing GIRL?!", sarcastic or not. What the hell, yes I dance girl! Probably about half the time. There are very few dances or nights where I am strictly one role or the other --the exception is vintage, and I will dance the girl role for Marc, or Rach, or quite a few other people if that's what is preferred or necessary. My pride has always been not that I dance the typically male role, but that I dance both.

5: This is a sharp statement. I can enjoy perfectly well being naked, the fine art of lounging, preferably entangled, with someone adored. I sleep naked whenever I can get away with it --there is something luxurious about the event. I have swam naked with friends, and wandered topless with strangers, and spent many many nights being a naked toy for my sir while he is fully dressed, and all of those were lovely things. I do not always require or want clothing --sometimes the only thought that goes into getting dressed is "is this clean and weather appropriate".

But most of the time, there's something more.
sorcyress: Just a picture of my eye (Me-Eye)
I can't stop staring at this picture.

It's Racheline. She linked to it on her blog, saying this is me as a man1 and this is me as a woman. The one I am fixated on is her as a woman. It's a photograph I've never seen --I am semi-obsessive about saving pictures of people I find friends, interesting, attractive, far-away and foreign3-- and was not in all honesty the one I was expecting. The one I was expecting is her as a dancer, red dress sharp against the walls of the subway station, strong and vivid and quite utterly in control of herself.

This is a photo of something different. This is, as she says, a photo of her as a woman. And I'm fixated, on the eyes, on the hands, on the curve of her lips and tilt of the neck.

Racheline has achieved something I simply can't seem to grasp.
She is able to be beautiful. Traditionally femininely beautiful, and quite utterly a woman.

Obviously there is only so much a photo can portray, and I don't have her on IM to ask terribly prying questions about gender and mindset and comfort in ones skin. The sideways glance could just as easily be a way to hide feeling lost, unsure, but I don't think so. She defined the photo as her as a woman. And thus it is.

During NoSuchConvention, I found myself struck with one of those decisive moments in which I suddenly know who and what I am. I wrote about one not too long ago, on my most recent Erik day. That day I knew solidly that I was not my normal absence of gender, I was decidedly male.

At the con, I knew suddenly that I was not my normal absence of gender, I was decidedly female. I was female, and I wanted to be delicate, and flirty, and pretty. I wanted ruffles and lace, a proper skirt, to try on a corset and see if I too could have breasts spilling out of my top. I wanted(want) to be traditionally femininely beautiful and quite utterly a woman.

The initial problem was that I was ill equipped to achieve that at the con. I did try --let down the hair and turn my coat back into a dress-- but at best, I could hit "barefoot hippie goddess" which is not at all the same thing as pretty woman, no matter how you view gender identity. In all honesty though, I could've had access to my entire closet and not known what to wear.

The problem, the real problem, is that I do not have the talent or the security to take clothes and hair and make-up and turn myself into a woman, into a real woman who is beautiful and can smile and mean it, who understands what it's like to be feminine, and how to turn your head and move your hands. I never learned. I have watched with fascination as my sister taught myself, as Jannyblue made posts about how to appear normal, but even following their advice, I am not sure I could achieve anything more impressive than faking it, and becoming very very quiet.

I know too many real women, women who know who and what they are, and who hold themselves with ease and understand what to do and why to do it. I have seen enough examples to know I'm not right.

The moment that feels most right from prom was getting dressed, dropping the leatherman into my purse. Just in case. Maybe you can be a woman with a leatherman, but not I. It was defiance, a tomboy's toy, a geek's little weirdness. It was pulling myself away from the femininity, from the pretty dress and well-braided hair. It was giving me something solid, usual, to latch onto.

The moment that felt most right from the Highland ball, another time wearing another pretty dress, was when [ profile] adfamiliares latched on to how lost I looked-felt-was and gave me subtle instruction. Now we go choose a table, now we put our purses down, now we go mingle, and talk with friends until you can forget that you are dressed wrong. It was a gift, from someone I admire, and it helped enough that I remember it distinct, ten months later.

I'm sure I can look like a woman, like a beautiful and feminine thing. But it comes at the cost of my voice, as I become no longer myself. Trying femininity takes effort enough that I must close myself off, hide behind eyes that are a little too wide, a little too scared. Curl to the edges of the crowd, because I can't sustain the illusion otherwise, and well, what's the point of being pretty if I ruin it by speaking?

Maybe someday I'll figure it out. I'm getting better at the boy part of things, about realizing today I am masculine and I will behave like thus. There must be similar switches to pull, things to learn (and I laugh as I wonder if maybe I shouldn't start lurking on the edges of the internet devoted to helping good little boys become lovely little girls, in whole or in part.)

I can't help but expect flames from this post. How dare I suggest all women must be feminine, be pretty (I don't think I did), that all women must be confident and self-aware and strong. And of course, I am such a lovely girl, and so beautiful and why would I think myself ugly (I don't and I'm not). Or perhaps how dare I want such a thing, why would I not embrace my body-as-is, revel in unshaven legs and unarranged hair, aspire to be a hippie goddess more than disney princess (I have always been a princess, my very name was chosen in part to let me have that identity. Children should have princess names, said Neva to my mother, and so we did, Katarina and Nikolai, and Alysandra.)

Because I am young, and still learning myself. It has not been so long since I could admit satisfaction with the shape of the meat-sack I inhabit, and I still exhibit the tendency to be unsure of that satisfaction sometimes. The mind is such a grand and glorious and more complicated organ, why would it not take me longer to come to terms? I love myself, as is, but there is an ideal that I may never reach, and it hurts to remember that, just like it hurts when I remember I will never put a rocketship on the moon.

And besides all that, the difference between attractive and charismatic is very sharp sometimes. Do not lie that I am more of the former. Prettier than average, of course, but I was trained by the best from a very young age to warp people to my will. I have more power than Buttercup ever did, but still, sometimes I can't help but wish to be the most beautiful woman in the world.

And I suppose, the only closing thought I can share is how unfair it is that Racheline has two perfect red dresses, and I haven't even got one.


1: this post, and here is the man2 picture

2: It's interesting how I intersect with gender and words. In that photo, he is self identifying as a man, so I will call him a man. But I wanted so bad when writing this to soften the word, to say "boy" instead. Sometime I should look at the world, and analyze the why I call you boys and girls, why I so often abandon the words man and woman.

3: I guard and treasure every photograph I've ever found of my clone. Of Thorog. Of Rackle and Harena, of DrummerDude and Jarne. Of all the people who for so long were just avatars and text, who I connected to so much easier-stronger-better than my "real life" friends.

The internet has changed since then, and I've aged enough that I've changed too. I wouldn't necessarily go back to when pictures were a treat and a phone call unimaginable delight. But I am nostalgic for then.
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
So, [ profile] badmagic has posted a thing about advice you would give to your 15-year-old-self. This is especially interesting to me, as the difference between 15!me and 16!me is...vast, it seems. Not just the change from heartbreak and an interest in sex, but in terms of anger, of introspection, of impulsive actions, of not just being asexual but antisexual.

It's the difference between being a child and being an adult.

So I started to write advice to my 15!self. This is going by memory --I have the ability to cheat, because I have this livejournal to look at for most of that year, and the BtW file for the three month gap-- and I tried very hard to restrict it to advice that would actively be useful to 15!self --it's all well and good to tell her to meet Sparr earlier and see what happens1, but not when the opportunity won't even arise for more than two years.

So. Here's what I would have to say if me from six years ago and me from now had a nice sit-down and a chat.

1) Don't worry about not being sexual, but do be gentle to those who are. You don't have to be sexual to be sex positive, and I really do think you'll feel better about things if you stop calling people you care about tramps. Let them enjoy their sins.

2) The relationship you just started will be convoluted and confusing. Do not put as much energy into it as you do. It feels like your heart is breaking, and it probably is, but I promise it gets better. You'll be friends for a while, GOOD friends, and that's important. Even after it disappears, it was important. And I promise, eventually he dumps her, and the words he say will be the sweetest revenge you can imagine.

3) Remember that guy you met at Origins last year? Heh. Everything you dreamed and more, if I didn't change the timestream too badly by telling you all of this. And if I did...pursue his friendship. Keep his friendship, and take care of him. He'll repay you in kind, and that'll be more important than sleeping with him. Sex, as you're well aware, is not everything.

4) You have ADHD. You also have a mild auditory learning disability. This isn't why you're bad at school --you're just an unmotivated dumbass like that-- but this _is_ why you have so much trouble in Ms. H's class. See if she can give you help or advice.

5) In eight or nine months, you're going to realize you're wired to love more than one person at once. It will change things so much to tell you this -dangerously much, in terms of setting you back from being an adult- but never let yourself be forced into monoamory. Ever. Ever. It will only make everyone involved miserable. You will be younger for the experience, but you also won't cry as much.

5a) You're genderqueer by the way. Start working out how to be a boy now.

5b) Figure out a safer way to not be younger for the experience.

6) You will always have Veronica. Always. Keep her as well as you possibly can. Same with Pauli. Give both of them the attention and time they deserve.

7) If you have to wait for a boy, he will eventually be worth it. Every one of them. Even and especially the one who knows there are sparks, and makes you wait, for two and a half agonizing years. Even the one you've been waiting for ever since you made a terrible decision two years from now.

8) Go ahead and fail that class. It hurts, but it means you will get the teacher who changes your life. Let him. Tell him so. And try not to be quite so obvious when you flirt, it's just embarrassing all around.

8a) But seriously, stop being awful at school.

And as that last one doubles as advice to 21!Sor...yeah. We'll leave it at that. In all honesty...I liked myself at 15. I was young, but I've always been too clever by at least five eighths.

What would you tell your 15!self?


1: *reads nametag* "Oh! Oh, you're the one my future self told me I should meet! Hello! I'm underage, would you like to be friends? I hear you'll introduce me to interesting things..."
sorcyress: A character from a comic about the maintenance workers of the universe, holding a thumbs up and saying "MOOP!" (Zonker-MOOP!)
So, let's talk a whole bunch about dancing, now that I have ranted at Marc some, and so I have removed all the anger and returned to just frustration.

First off, and mostly unrelated, I feel there ought to be a seminar at things like NEFFA and Flurry which just goes through some of the beginning dance things that can apply to multiple dance forms. Things like "Give weight" or "the most important part of a figure dance is ending in the right spot". Also, up is towards the music, down is away from the music, heads are the people facing or backs to the music, sides are the people with their sides to the music.

Though in all honesty, I can distill all of dancing into three things that everyone should know: Get to the right spot. Give weight. If you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong.


Second off...heh. Yeah.

So, today was the Regency tea dance, where I was again specifically asked by one of the local1 dance historians/teachers to never dance the lady's role while dressed as a gentleman (or perhaps to never have a male partner dance the lady's role while I danced gentleman, which is a problematic distinction, so out of charity I will assume I was asked the first2). The reason is for the sake of the newbies --fine, whatever, it is indeed easier for a new dancer to identify the gentleman and lady's sides of the dance when the people on them are appropriately garbed.

However, if you are going to require me not dance in the lady's role while a gent, then I am going to require two very important things from the dance community at large.

First of all, I require gentlemen to stop asking me to dance. This happens at least once at every ball I go to, and tonight it happened three times for the same dance, which is exasperating, offensive, and time-consuming. If a gent asks me to dance, I must politely explain that I am a gentleman3, disentangle myself from him, and find an eligible lady. This wastes my time, and it wastes the time of my fellow gentleman.

To the end of the dance masters and mistresses, perhaps the best thing you can do to discourage this is to refer to me properly, as a gentleman, when explaining dances. Saying something akin to "and then you will dance with the gentleman across from you --or the lady dancing the gentleman's role" while referring to me4 does not encourage your dancers to treat me as a gentleman.

In more blunt terms, when I put on the full tailcoat et al, I am not a lady dancing the gentleman's role. I am a goddamned gentleman, and I will dance the gentleman's role, except in the most dire or intriguing circumstances.

The second thing I require is that, if you insist that gentlemen may not dance together, ladies may not be permitted to ask one another to dance until and unless there are no unpartnered gentlemen.

Oh no! This is terribly sexist, isn't it? Why can't ladies ask each other to dance? Well, because if all the ladies on the floor are dancing with each other, and I am left alone at the end with another gent, our choices are to not dance, which goes against every reason I am here5, or to split up another couple, which always feels *terribly* rude to me. Perhaps the other couple is a pair of old friends, who do not see or dance with one another near oft enough. Perhaps one of the other couple is not comfortable dancing with men. Perhaps one is trying to learn how to dance the role of a gent, or is more comfortable doing such. Certainly, they may be quite pleased to be split apart, but especially when they flocked to one another in the early stages of choosing partners, it feels cruel to demand they separate.

So, if gentlemen are not allowed to dance together, then the ladies must wait until all the gents who wish to dance have partnered before joining hands. And certainly, a lady may ask a gent (and I am always honoured and pleased when it occurs to me) in order to expedite this process, but she may not be allowed to ask another lady until there are no unpaired gentlemen.

Now, for what it's worth, I think that second rule is complete and utter bullshit. When I am clothed as a lady, or clothed gender neutrally, I often ask other women to dance, in either role, because there are many people I like dancing with, and not all of them happen to dance the gentleman's role. I am fond of this ability.

Furthermore, I am perfectly willing to dance with another gentleman. Honest. I won't freak out or feel I've lost out on an important flirtation6, or feel otherwise cheated. I know many gentlemen --male, female, or queer identified-- who feel the same way, and are perfectly willing to dance either role with another gent.

And no, I'm not even encouraging male/male dancing7 (though I will happily get argumentative about that as well). I am simply pointing out that you cannot insist gentlemen not dance together unless they are in surplus, and still allow the ladies to dance together whenever they please, thereby potentially locking gentlemen out of the dance entirely.


Mostly unrelatedly, I also refuse to ever follow the rules of gentlemen not dancing together when it comes to couple dances at balls or other dances where there are very few of such, like only a single "last waltz". Nine times out of ten, the person I bring to dance with me is male identified, so I am _damn well_ going to dance the "special" dance with him. There is no gentleman's or lady's side to throw off the newbies with, and if it's a special important "dance the last waltz with your sweetie" dance, I see no reason why charity towards an inexperienced or unpartnered lady is more important than me getting to dance with my special important sweetie. If that makes me cruel, I happily accept the title8.


Almost entirely unrelatedly, it makes me weary that I so often get into conversations about costuming, and someone assumes that I am clearly looking for advice or resources to put together a proper lady's ballgown and corsetry. Um. No, I'm sorry, I am wearing this tailcoat and waistcoat because I prefer to dance the gentleman's role9 identify as a gentleman at Regency events. It is not some sort of hand-me-down "pity" garb, that I am only using until I can get an appropriate gown. I know this is a huge gender-issues clusterfuck of a thing, and will probably not be fixed in my lifetime, but man, it hurts so stupid much every time someone invalidates my masculinity by insisting or implying that I am clearly a lady, I just happen to be wearing guy's clothes.

Um, beyond that, the tea dance was fun, albeit simple, and I should never be the best dancer10 at a Regency event, that is just heinously wrong. There were delicious cookies. People complimented me on my garb, and my ludicrous non-period hat (FEATHERS).

Also, word on the rumour mill is that maybe there might be some sort of Regency-for-Scottish-dancers in Boston sometime (knock on wood), so hopefully that will happen and more of you will be available. If not, I will just have to dance with you otherwise, huzzah!


1: Where local covers the upper half of the east coast

2: If you are saying that I *may*, when dressed as a gentleman, dance in the lady's role without that being problematic in terms of confusing newbies, where a cisgendered male dressed as a gentleman dancing the lady's role *would* be problematic in terms of confusing newbies, then you are NOT ALLOWED to use any variation on "because newbies cue off costumes" for why gentlemen and ladies should stick to their own sides. Because my costume is decidedly and distinctly male.

I don't know that this happened. But I also don't know that it wouldn't happen, and I find that offensive as a genderqueer person in general, and as a male-identified dancer specifically.

3: It _maddens_ me that I have to do this. It is not like I am wearing a relatively genderneutral t-shirt and jeans. I am in knee breaches, hose, a shirt, waistcoat, cravat, and tailcoat, and somehow people still assume I am dancing the lady's role? I am not talking about friends wanting a dance with me, I am talking about complete strangers who come up and ask me. What. The. Hell.

4: I'm not clear if this actually happened today, but it has certainly happened before, and even if the teacher was referring to one of the lady-identified people dancing the gentleman's role, I got more than a few glances from around the room.

5: I go dancing to dance. Everything else is secondary. I don't give a shit about your costumes, your food, or your gender roles, all I want is music and a dance.

6: I have been made livid about certain conversations in which it was pointed out that you can't have genderbalance by having a fem/fem couple, one of whom always dances the gentleman's role, because the women who danced with that female-as-gent would feel "cheated" out of a dance with a "real" male. Which is one of the reasons I've been told I can't go to Newport as a boy (in order to increase my chances of getting in). I shit you not, that is some queerphobic bull-fucking-shit right there, and I don't pander to *phobes.

7: As in, men specifically making a point of asking other men to dance, at the beginning of the "finding partners" portion of a dance, (as opposed to the end when there are no other available partners) which, yes, I suppose could technically deprive two whole ladies of dancing. Because they can't possibly dance together. Because --I shouldn't start this rant. Basically, it boils down to "everyone should learn every part, because then everyone can dance more".

8: Is Kat perhaps bitter about two assemblies ago? Noooo, how could such a thing be true!

9: I feel I should point out that in all truth, for all dancing, I prefer to be as ambidancetrous as possible --dance as evenly split down the lead/follow (or lady/gent) line as possible. However, if I am formally dressed in the costume of one gender or another, that means I am much more inclined to be dancing the role I'm presenting.

And I do really love dancing the gent in Regency. There's a lot of flirtation, gentlemen get more and better solo sequences, and I happen to prefer vests to basically every dress ever. Now that I think of it, I should change the wording up there --regardless of what role I dance, I vastly prefer to dress the gent.

10: [ profile] genarti may very well have had the footwork and figures better than me, and there were certainly a few of the EA/CVD folks who both knew what they were doing, and had the springyness to support it. But I was decidedly in the top tier, and that is _insanely_ inappropriate for my skill level, and that of the people I know.
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
Looking for input:

1) Is there a good non-gendered, or gender-inclusive word that could provide about the same connotations as "gentleman"?

(A friend asked this on Flife, and it occurs to me that this would be a useful word for my life. Neither he nor I thinks "gentleperson" satisfies.)

2) So, a boy-shaped friend of mine asked recently if I had any suggestions for how to indicate "I am not a bad guy" when walking late at night near (specifically, but it could certainly be generalized) single1 women. His biggest concern was what happens when he is walking at about the same pace as a woman, and behind her, such as to seem like he is following her (rather than both going in the same direction).

(Obviously walking the opposite direction from someone is easy to indicate "safe" --make eye contact, smile, maybe say "good evening" and keep walking.)

Oh, damn. Only now it occurs to me that I could've suggested he switch sides of the street, assuming the area is safe to do so. I mean...there's still the following problem, but especially if the woman is aware of you switching sides, there's an indication of giving space.

More suggestions?


1: As in, "only one" not "unpartnered"
sorcyress: Just a picture of my eye (Me-Eye)
So, Monday at dance! I wind up grabbing [ profile] _meej_ to dance, for logical reasons --he's fun, and a good dancer, and I don't dance with him nearly enough.

He runs off to grab a drink of water, and I go find us a set. Common courtesy in Scottish Country Dancing states that when the lead is not there while the sets are being formed and counted, the follow stand in the lead position, so as to make it easier to tell how many couples there are. I make a point of doing this, because it's polite to the couple doing the counting, and makes a lot of sense.

For whatever interesting reason, I'm distracted, and don't notice when DJ comes back. So there's a moment, where we're both standing together on the lead side of the dance. We banter, and I take a step towards the follow side.

"I mean, do you want to lead?" he offers, totally sincere.

And so I did. A female lead, which is not totally unbeknownst, and a male follow which almost always is. I thanked him generously after the dance, but I feel it bears repeating here, because honestly? Helping me fuck with the highly gendered lead/follow conventions at dance means SO MUCH to me.

There are reasons to keep a male/female split for set dances, most of them having to do with helping the beginners identify where in the dance they need to be facing at any given time --saying "face the ladies" is a little visually easier than a new dancer trying to remember which side exactly is the follow side, as well as keeping up and down and across the dance all in their head at the same time.

But when you're in a group of people who have some idea of what they're doing? There is no reason1 that women can't lead or men can't follow, and I really do appreciate it every time I see it happen.

((And remember kids! If you know how to lead *and* follow, that means you have twice as many potential people to dance with as the people who only know one!))


1: Okay, fine, if we're being really pedantic I'll accept "Allemandes" as a reason. But it's not a boy/girl reason, it's a short/tall reason --it is damn hard for me to lead a significantly taller guy in an Allemande, it's impossible to tell where the hell the arms go. But there are work-arounds for that, and like I said, doesn't have jack shit to do with gender except as far as your average woman is shorter than your average man.
sorcyress: Picture of a smiling tampon with the phrase "Girls: We're so emo we don't even NEED to cut ourselves" (Emo-period)
Disclaimer: This is an angry Sor post. I have specifically not called out the person who made me angry, because maybe he's still a friend. But holy shit, can I not deal with him in any way less passive aggressive than posting in here right now.

I did not do the intelligent thing and sit for a few days, or get someone to read this over. Because sometimes the fastest way to let someone know how much they hurt you is to get very very angry at them.

Some days, it really fucking sucks to be a girl1.

Because OH-EMM-GEE! You like, get your period, and it like totally ruins the super-cool white pants you bought on sale last week at Macy's, and your boyfriend was all like makin' out with Cyndie, and ew, she is like such a tramp and so you're so done with that asshole, god, he never called anyways.

Yeah. Right.

Or maybe it's because the world is insidious and subtle, and you've been raised in it, and even though you're trying so damn hard to get a handle on all the internalized misogyny you've been carting around for the last twenty years, there's always more.

And so when you get into an argument about sexism, you have to have it patiently explained to you that maybe the right solution to this problem is to get some nice men involved, to solve it all. And no, there are no women who could possibly fix it instead. Men only.

And it's being told you're having an emotional response, and silly little thing, the emotional response isn't what we're looking at here, we're looking at the practical solution. And it's remembering every insidious thing anyone has ever implied about how females are so terribly emotional, and it's such a bad thing.

(And it's crying for ten minutes after everything is done with, with pure unadulterated rage, and part of the rage is sheer hatred for yourself for being so utterly unreasonable as to have an emotional response to someone hurting you. Because society says that that is the so utterly typical female reaction, and that such a reaction is wrong)

And it's starting out the conversation by asking if this is going to make the angry feminist more angry, and having the answer be "no". Because of course, what is there to make a girl mad about, in suggesting a male based solution to a problem primarily concerning females? And it's being mad just right there, because if we're talking about a situation where young girls are having a problem young boys don't, it is almost certainly going to make the angry feminist more angry.

And it's being told that it's okay, the person who suggested this male solution in the first place is a feminist. And she doesn't really seem okay with the solution either, but again, it's the practical solution. And the practical solution is always the right solution, always2! And it's being told that, because she's a feminist, it's absolutely okay, and there is nothing wrong or sexist about this situation.

And it's asking for the conversation to be over, because you're not sure which of the two participants is more likely to be the recipient of physical harm, him or yourself. Because you can't deal with this. Because he's not listening, and you can't put into words all the rage and insecurity and self-loathing that's come from the last two decades from having a vagina and that he and his penis have never had to deal with.

And it's having him continue to argue after that point3. To continue the discussion after you asked in no uncertain terms to end it. Because you're not the important one here. Your request doesn't actually matter in the slightest. Because he still has things to say.

And it's knowing that he's right. You're not the important one here. Your voice doesn't actually matter in the slightest. The men still have things to say.


1: It really fucking sucks to be part of any minority group. I'm not trying to devalue anyone else's experience here, I'm just bitching about what's directly affecting me at the moment.

2: Before you argue this point, consider: It is more practical to off people than to pay them social security. Killing them costs less money, and they no longer take up space. Practical solutions and correct solutions do not always go hand in hand.

3: Can I go from angry to fucking furious here? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?! If someone is talking to you, and they ask to please end the conversation, DO NOT KEEP ON FUCKING ARGUING. Say "Okay, but I'd like to talk about this at a later time" if you have to, and change the goddamn subject. Anything else just says to me that you don't actually respect me enough to listen when I say 'stop'. And I have _big_ fucking problems with people who don't listen when someone says 'stop'.


Oct. 13th, 2009 01:37 pm
sorcyress: Just a picture of my eye (Me-Eye)
So, there's this really damn interesting person known as [ profile] rm who posts a lot about things I'm interested in, like sexuality and gender. Especially gender. Lots and lots of very awesome gender things.

One of the things I have gathered from reading all this is that, occasionally, he sees fit to dress himself up as Ianto, from Torchwood. Not as a cosplay, specifically, somuch as a "it's time for work, and today I would like to look nice and smooth and stylish like Ianto". I mean, as far as I can tell, of course --I don't know his exact motives in the action, merely that it is something he does sometimes, and completely rocks.

Rach may have Ianto days. I apparently have Middleman days. At some point, my brain ticked over into "goddamnit, Sorcy is a bit of an irresponsible twit, but MM is about the most steadfast and responsible person ever. Let's be him today, instead, and get stuff done!"

And so, after lunch when I came back to the room...

...I redressed myself accordingly.

It's a fantastic outfit. The whole thing is designed to feel solid, accomplished, good about myself. Those are grade A boots of butt kicking there, the cargo pants are designed for girls, with actual pockets, the belt is in the least known of "my colours", the button down shirt and tie are just professional, and the jacket is made pretty much entirely of win, some more win, a little bit of awesome, and even more win.1

Oh, but of course, I'm leaving out my favourite part.

Hey, at least if I'm a tremendous dork, it's for one of the better organizations out there. (It's worth noting that I'm also wearing boy scout socks...also that sometime I should write an essay detailing my thoughts and feelings on GSUSA and BSA)


1: Okay, and a tad "needs buttons" but whatever. I can fix that.
sorcyress: checklist of "bisexual kinky polyamorous horny" and ending with "and I'm still not sleeping with you" (bipolyhorny)
WARNING: This post talks a bunch about rape, and about fear, and about blaming the victim, and behaviours that people should take in order not to get raped, and behaviours that people should take in order to not, you know, rape anyone. If any of that is likely to trigger you, please skip the rest of it.

Someone linked this, and I don't remember who. But it made me laugh, in that pathetic, oh god, why do we even need to say this? sort of way.

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!
1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.
2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!
3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!
4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.
5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!
6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.
7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.
8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.
9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!
10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

Credit to No, Not You

((I especially like that it's a non-gendered list on all accounts, and can easily apply to all manner of hurting-other-people, not just sexual assault.))

Lesley is not the sort of campus where they pound into our heads the "YOU WILL BE RAPED AT ANY MOMENT!" paranoia that a lot of places seem to feed -which is actually odd, now that I think of it- but I'm still tempted to print out a couple copies of this one and leave them somewhere casual.

And no, I don't particularly think anyone on my friends list needs to learn any of these lessons. I'd like to think that they wouldn't be "friends" if they did.

But seriously. It really really really sucks to be a woman, and constantly be told that YOU need to do the work, that YOU need to change your habits, and your clothing, and your behaviours because if you don't, the poor defenseless men around you just won't be able to control themselves, and they'll just *have* to rape you on principle.

It sucks to know that I shouldn't leave the house in that flighty little skirt that looks really cute, that I have to wake my roommates up with a text message so they know I got where I was going safely, that I won't ever drink around college kids1 because I can't trust that they won't try to push me too far. Yes, they're all actions I take, and just some of the actions I take to keep myself safe --I walk a half mile or more most nights in order to get to the beds I sleep in. I keep my eyes open, and I keep a sense of where people are around me. When I go to Rocky, if I'm by myself, I wear a big coat over my slut-clothes, or try to find other groups to walk with.

When people offer to walk me home, no matter how much it sucks, I take the offer. Because yes. It's embarrassing to have to be walked home, like I was some kind of defenseless child, and it hurts my pride that I have to accept help like this, and sure, I can laugh it off, or maintain that it'll be nice to talk to the boy for a little bit longer. But it really really sucks to have to have someone else help me with as simple a skill as walking from point A to point B, just because I'm small and female. And I hate that I'm too smart to argue them out of it and walk around alone.

So yeah. I try and do the stupid behaviours that the internet and the college advisors and the sweet and well meaning and patronizing professors tell me I should do. I try to keep my head up, and my mind clear, and make my agenda known. I do my damndest to be a good little girl, and skip the parties2 with the drinking and the idiocy and the potential for danger.

But I really wish that I didn't have to feel like being raped was dependent on anything that *I* did or didn't do. I really wish I *could* wear short skirts when I feel like it, or go to Rocky all by my lonesome, or wander for hours under the stars and lights of a sleeping city. I wish I didn't have to check in to anybody at all, not ever. I wish I didn't have to worry, and I really wish that some of these behaviours are so ingrained I don't even realize I'm worrying.

It sucks sometimes to live in an imperfect world.


1: There are other reasons for this, too. But I don't trust college kids sober, and I definitely don't trust them drunk.

2: I don't actually get invited to this sort of party. But if I did!

WARNING (again, for people who read their friends list from the bottom on up, like me): This post talks a bunch about rape, and about fear, and about blaming the victim, and behaviours that people should take in order not to get raped, and behaviours that people should take in order to not, you know, rape anyone. If any of that is likely to trigger you, please skip the rest of it.
sorcyress: Just a picture of my eye (Me-Eye)
Women are warm and soft and curvy, and squish in all the right places. They have nice breasts, and hips, and don't have sharp elbows or knees. They take care of their body, and do things to make it look and smell nice.

They know how to cook, and are good at it. They make things from raw ingredients, not from boxes, and know how to go shopping for what they need, and don't even bother with recipes, since it's all so very simple to them anyways.

They sew things. They can both make things from patterns, like costumes and period clothing, or they can modify things that they get from other stores, to make them fit better.

They know what colours look good on them, and what colours match with each other, and what colour belt you should wear with these shoes, and what pattern shirt you should wear with that skirt. They can tell what clothes flatter their figure well, and what clothes won't. They look good in dresses. They own proper underwear, with lace sometimes, that serves just as much as decoration as it does utility.

They wear make-up, often every day. They know how to do it subtle-like, so that no one can tell they're made up, and they know how to do it striking, to emphasize their eyes and cheeks and lips. They can apply lipstick in one go. They know what hues to use for their skin tone. Similarly, they know lots of pretty things to do with their hair, and can pick or choose to match the occasion.

Women follow when they dance. If they're quite good at dancing, they lead sometimes as well, but only with the very inexperienced. They are good at following, and do not try to back lead.

They are flirtatious in appropriate ways. If they are single, they can flirt with strangers out in the big wide world, catch eyes, ask boys for numbers, all that sort of things. If they are hooked, they know how to behave properly as half a couple, know when to kiss their boyfriend, and how to hold him and where hands should be placed.

They do not tell dirty jokes. They may be bawdy in groups of their closest girl friends, discuss vibrators or birth control or very mild kinks, but they wouldn't dare mention masturbation in mixed company, or be vulgar. They are not sexual creatures in public. They may sometimes tease their boyfriends in public, but no one else, and get embarrassed if someone notices.

They are monoamorous, and display cautious amounts of jealousy towards their boyfriend's female friends. They are heterosexual, except for perhaps a few incidents of experimentation in high school or college, and perhaps except for a best friend, with whom wildly over the top, and completely platonic flirtation can occur.

sorcyress: A character from a comic about the maintenance workers of the universe, holding a thumbs up and saying "MOOP!" (Zonker-MOOP!)
So, this weekend I went to NEFFA. YAY! I decided to go the entire time without Vera. YA...oh, wait, BOO!

But! Before going, I set up my phone to receive twitter messages, from mom and the people who were gonna be at NEFFA, and more importantly, set it up so I could update my twitter from anywhere I got phone service.

Tweets are in italics, and under the cut )

So yes. NEFFA this year felt largely more like a convention than a dance event, but I'm pretty okay with that. I spent several hours doing multiple kinds of dance --I got to do a bit of swing with a really talented lead --he led me through a couple jumps and dips, which was rad.

Volunteering went reasonably well, if dull. Dancing was not enough but quite good what there was. People were utterly amazing --I should really make a point of talking to SpringIsWrath more often, as he is wonderful, plus keeping up with Jesse (known also as Boy-I-Kissed-At-Flurry) and [ profile] ncarraway.

Soyes! That was my weekend. More posting on more things eventually.


POSTSCRIPT: My twitter is here, if you want to actually follow it. Let me know offlist who you are, so I can follow you back!

1: I like boys in skirts, oh yes I do.

2: Tall. Painfully skinny. Long hair. I don't find everyone who fits this trope attractive, and there are certainly other tropes I go for hard (my height, something like twenty or thirty pounds more of curves than I have, dark hair, female -oh yum!) but both my dating track record and my eyecandy track record reeeeally like the gangly ones.

3: Pets, with the capital letter, are different from pets, without. The capital letter denotes ownership of some sort --it's very not my kink, but not to the level where I'd call it an antikink4 or anything. I find it a fascinating power dynamic, from both sides.

4: I feel that the most acceptable word for the opposite of a kink is a squick. But the word squick (and its original meaning)...well...squicks me, so I try not to use it. I'm working on finding a better word, expect post on this later.
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
One year ago today, it was 2008, and I was (shocking nobody who's ever had an extended conversation with me ever) interested in gender and sexuality.

I also believe I originally meant to post up some thoughts on that poll, ages and ages ago, and then got distracted. At the very least, go fill it out for me if you haven't, okay? Or, if you want to do the really quick and dirty version in the comments of this post...

You list as [gender(s)]:

You are attracted to people of [gender(s)]:

You consider yourself [poly/mono/etc]:

You are currently in relatinships best described as [none/mono/poly/complicated/etc]:

And, bonus question, since I forgot it in the original poll:
Your preferred pronoun is:

Seriously. This kind of thing fascinates the hell out of me. Babble1 about gender and sexuality and stuff like that in the comments, please!


1: No, really, Har, Dodger, etc. I like hearing people's thoughts, especially about this. I am encouraging long comments, damnit. Don't let yourself be limited by the thought that I'm going to be overwhelmed --if you're that worried, just toss a one line summery at the bottom for ease of skimming. I promise to read the whole thing though.
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
A year ago today, it was 2008, and I wrote a pretty decent essay on friendship privileges. If your name is [ profile] macaroniandtuna, didn't you promise to give me thoughts like...eleven and a half months ago or something?

The actual posting of that one involved little bits and pieces of drama that I don't feel like going into. And when I originally wrote it, I will admit there was a little bit of a "HINT HINT!" involved for someone certain, which I so got past by the time I posted it. I try very hard not to hint hint people in my livejournal.

(Okay, really, I just try very hard not to hint hint people. If I want a relationship, I should be man2 enough to ask the damn person if there's any hope for us. It's amazing what a little bit of communication will do.)

I was pretty happy with the writing of that one, though, and since I think at least half of the goal of this project is to find really good things that I've written and bring them back to public attention, go read!.


((OH! Also, twenty one years ago today it was 1988, and [ profile] muzikmaker21 was born. I didn't bother blagging about this at the time, which was a massive oversight. Sorry dude. Have a good birthday, 'k brotherfather?))

1: I have the nasty habit of being dumped by boys I'm not dating. I'm pretty sure it's happened three, maybe even four times now.3

2: Woman enough, awesome enough, fuck, I don't know. It's just the way I talk, I talk kinda misogynistic, okay? I don't like it either.

3: Ahahahaha, notetoself, if you're going to decide to delete a part of the entry you're writing, delete the relevant footnotes as well. Although this one amuses me. Consider it your Fun Sorcy Fact of the day or something.
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
So, I've decided to start a 2009 project, that I try to do, if not every day, damn close to it. I am calling it "X Years Ago Today" and it is basically me finding out what younger!Sor was like --each day, I will trawl back in my livejournal(s) archives, as well as possibly the Behind the Wall file or whatever history I feel like looking at, and find out/post what I was doing X years ago on this date.1

Today's x is three. Three years ago today, it was 2006, and I went on a drama field trip, where apparently I was made more aware of my desperate love for androgony, and was able to ascertain that I Like Genderfuck.

16!Sor was so cute. And of course, I'm damn sure she already knew about her draglove, later in the year she went out with a genderwhatever pre-everything ftm2. But still, it's sweet of her to make a special note of it.


1: If I decide that it's too boring or cluttery here, I'll post it over in [ profile] sorspeakswords instead.
2: That would be Blue Canary. I do not stress about using female pronouns for her, because she has given me the impression that she really just resoundingly doesn't care, genderwise.
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
I have a list entitled "Common Themes in Sorcy's Mindscape", which I add to when I think of new things. These are not necessarily tropes that ever show up in my (public) writing, but instead things that tend to be near the forefront of any daydreams I might have.

One of them was brought up in a discussion last night --the idea of, for lack of a better term, pure transsexualism. I am endlessly fascinated by the concept of what would happen if men suddenly turned to women, both on a global and individual scale. I say pure simply because it would be a complete transformation, in essence, you are you, you just happen to suddenly be in the body you would inhabit were you born female.

While I will occasionally toss various people I know into the male to female situation and daydream about what happens next1, the only person I've ever bothered to think about in a female to male situation is myself.

I've spent probably an embarrassing amount of thought on the topic, to the point where my male!self has a name (Erik) and a rough background. He almost certainly dated Veronica (though probably at a younger age, and they've since become friends), he is...probably...less interested in genderfuck than I am, he is not as into the dance scene not because he dislikes dancing but because he doesn't have the same relationships with the people who have primarily dragged me into dance. (I don't know if he would know Magus, for instance.)

The biggest sticking point is that I honestly don't know what Erik's sexuality would be --I know he likes girls, but I don't know if he also appreciates or is interested in men. Yes, I like everybody, but I'm a girl and it really is more socially acceptable, in my limited experience, to be a non-hetero female than a non-hetero male.


What about you? If, when you were born, you found yourself with an x instead of a y or vice versa, what do you think your counterpart would be like? Would you be into the same things? Would you have the same gender, do you think, and the same sexuality? How would your basic relationships with the people around you be different --for the purposes of this post, they all have the gender they have in the real world, you're the only one different.

Tell me alll about yourself. *grins*


P.S: For bonus points, give me a quick run down of what you'd do3 if you suddenly swapped gender right now. You were male up until reading this sentance, BAM, you have tits.

1: I tend to be more mentally attracted to men, and physically attracted to women. The girls I usually have serious crushes on are often heavily into some kind of genderfuck already, and tend to, if not list as male, have characteristics and interests that are more stereotypically male. (technical theatre, geekery, gaming). Therefore, the concept of a male mind in a female body2 equals a happy Kat.

2: Well, I mean, kindof. I do know an awful lot of pre and post op/testosterone female to male transboys. I really really don't want anyone to be unhappy in their own skin.

3: I mean, after the four hours in the bathroom figuring out how everything works and playing squish.
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
Poll answers are screened (ie, only I can see who voted for what) Comments are not (Anyone can see those!)

[Poll #1129507]

'kay, you may return to your ordinary business now. Please don't blast me too hard for forgetting your specific sexuality. :P

sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
I'm bored, so I'm stealing this from Fish.

It is my opinion that just about everyone, no matter how hetero or homo you are, has someone who is so goddamn amazing that they will go gay/straight for them.

Soyeah. Who would *you* go gay for? Or straight, or whatever.

And because spreading the madness is fun, Fish says he'd go gay for Christopher Ecclston, which I support. I myself can't really go gay OR straight for anyone, being awesomesexual and liking everybody naturally.



sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
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