As a child I had always heard comments about the illusive brown paper bag test. For those who don’t know the brown paper bag test was the practice of only allowing people with complexions lighter than a paper bag entrance to certain African-American social groups and events. Even though by “my time” it was more a casual reference than an actual practice, it was always something that stuck with me. Well that and the FACT (per my grandma) that coffee made you black. All I knew was light was right, and that I would never drink coffee (that didn’t last).
As a sociology major at the University of Florida (Go Gators!) I read countless essays, and books about the environment we live in. It was there that I first studied in depth the privilege that one group has over another, be it the color of their skin, their gender or the zeros in their bank account.
I started to think more on the luxury of being “light skinned” since I wasn’t and how easy white people had it, because I wasn’t one of those either. Even as an adult, I can very easily spot the privilege of being in Hispanic in Miami. Why? Because I am not Hispanic. Yet when it came to the femme/butch dichotomy, I was oblivious (with a side of disinterested). Why? Because I am on the winning end. It wasn’t until a recent conversation with two of my readers, AJ and BK on another post regarding black lesbians obsessions with labels, that I decided to tackle this head on.
Much in the same vein that Peggy McIntosh confronted white privilege, I will attempt to identify some daily effects of femme privilege in my life. I too, will attempt to choose conditions solely related to me being a femme, withstanding my race or gender in general. I look forward to hearing from you all on things that I should add or subtract.
In most cases my sexuality won’t be in question on first meeting someone, unless I specifically bring it up.
I won’t have to have a plan for the first time someone asks my child why their Mommy looks like a boy.
I will not be barred participation in any of my social/fraternal organization’s
events because I refuse to wear the required dress/skirt ensemble.
I will never be given an evil eye, or worse confronted, when I enter the women’s public restroom.
I will never be called young man or “sir”.
If I don’t desire to be penetrated sexually, it won’t be regarded as me forgetting I’m a woman.
I will never have to explain how I have children.
I can play contact sports, or dress in athletic clothing, without having people attribute these choices to my attempt to emulate men.
If a traffic cop pulls me over, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my sexuality.
I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children’s magazines featuring women of feminine appearance.
I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.
I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person that dresses as I do would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.
I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my gender identity will not work against me.
I can shop for clothes and shoes without having to go into another gender’s section.
I can wear personal garments that make me feel comfortable without having to alter them or create substitutes.
I can travel alone or with another femme without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.
I will feel welcomed and “normal” in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.
I will not be expected to financially support my mate because of my appearance.
If I am ever physically attacked, my appearance will never be given as an excuse by my attacker.
I will never be rebuked by a lover for being too feminine.
I know Christmas is over but I am still in the spirit of giving…. okay not really me but the fabulous ladies of Her Winter Party.
Courtesy of Wolfe Video (@wolfevideo), they are giving away a prize package to celebrate the release of A Perfect Ending, starring the amazing Jessica Clark. The package includes a copy of “A Perfect Ending”, an autographed photo of the cast & a copy of Jessica’s HOT 2013 calendar.
Want to a chance to win yours?
Better yet, want your chance to win yours…and give it to me since I’m not allowed to enter *humph*…
This was not part of the [insert lesbian equivalent to Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech].
For those who haven’t seen it, this is artist Browyn Lundberg’s interpretation of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”, starring prominent lesbian figures. Those with the VIP seating include Ellen Degeneres, Heather Matarazzo, Jane Lynch,K.D. Lang, Kate Moennig (as Shane from the L Word), Lily Tomlin, Linda Perry, Melissa Etheridge,Portia de Rossi, Rachel Maddow, Rosie O’Donnell, Sandra Bernhard, and Wanda Sykes.
I have to say that I first read about this while perusing one of my GUILTIEST of guilty pleasures sandrarose.com. I wanted to actually discuss the post when I saw it on there but I a) refuse to request a logon b) am not saved enough to have conversations with some folks just yet. Anyway here is the long and short of it (no pun intended really)…
Back in March of 2009, William Marotta responded to an ad Angela Bauer and now former partner, Jennifer Schreiner placed on Craigslist looking for a sperm donor. A few mouse clicks and a handshake later, Schreiner was inseminated with Marotta’s sperm. At the time Marotta relinquished all of his rights and responsibilities for the child.
I am so glad you got passed the Craigslist part and kept reading! Kudos to you!
Now fast forward three years later… Due to a health issue, Bauer has been unable to work as of March 2012. Schriener went to the state to get health insurance for their child. It was there that DCF requested the name of the father/sperm donor and Schreiner caved told them about Marotta.
Now here is where it gets interesting … more interesting…
I finally came out a couple of months ago to my family. So now I am in the exploration phrase and trying to understand the community. As a Black lesbian, I did notice the whole labels and roles thing. So I mentioned this subject to a white lesbian friend of mines and she stopped me and said that it is a thing in the lesbian community including the white one. She has to deal with it also.
I mean look into the gay community and all you see is tops and bottoms, the masculines vs the feminines. Within, heterosexual love-making, fucking, whatever you want to call it, positions are more fluid then it seem to be with the gays/lesbians. I was with one lesbian and she did not want to receive. However, being with *straight women, I see they give, take, whatever. I am not into straight girls but we can work things out*.
Again, I am trying to understand the lesbian community. If I can have a label, I would label how I think as a ‘stud’ but people say I am a femme for one reason or the other. I found this to be ironic because when I was assumed to be heterosexual, I was called a tomboy. As a doctoral student, I just can not dress nor do I want to dress like the black stud: gangsta rapper look…..puh please.
So yeah, this whole label thing is a problem. I just do not agree that it is a black thing. I mean, what about the black professional lesbians like me who may be politicians, activist, religious leaders, professors etc. How we express ourselves is a little different….sometimes.
Now usually I let sleeping dogs lie, and lying broads sleep but this is one of those moments where I was like “Please don’t let her be from Florida”… much like when naked men are eating faces on the side of the road… but I digress.
I am sitting here extremely overwhelmed right now after watching the documentary “The Execution of Wanda Jean”. For those who have never heard or seen it, this is a real life look at how race, sexuality, and mental health are still playing a role in the American justice system . We are introduced to Wanda Jean Allen, an African-American lesbian whose low IQ bordered retardation, who was on death row for murdering her live-in partner Gloria Leathers.
I am so conflicted about this film… this case… this woman… that I am almost at a loss for words. She shot and killed her partner who was leaving her. She had shot and killed another woman who tried to leave before. My black and white mind is telling me that she should die. But once you see the story unfold you feel your emotions go on a roller coaster ride that still shakes you up well after it is over.