Butchness & The Watermelon Woman

Something the Watermelon Woman is making me think a lot about is masculinity and gender presentation especially in the cis lesbian community. A lot of the content we have watched recently have focussed on cis women who are masculine of center. Rhea Butcher in Take My Wife, as well as Tamra and Cheryl from the Watermelon Woman. These three women talk about their womanhood with pride at the same time as presenting in a way that often gets them mistaken for men or boys. In The Watermelon Woman there is a brief scene where Cheryl is harassed by the police and called a boy, and Rhea Butcher (who has said in interviews that she identifies as cis-gender-queer) makes jokes about being perceived as a boy sometimes as well. I find the border wars that are created when I watch these butch women as a non-binary trans person interesting. What does it mean for me to relate so intensely for some of these women? What does it mean for these people to break down gender roles while at the same time definitively claiming womanhood and often violently ignoring the existence of tranwomen and transfemine people?

I have a lot of questions about the Watermelon Woman and Q.U.E.E.N.  The question Conrad brought up in class has stuck with me this week and I’m wondering if there is such a thing as “positive representation” and if so can representation ever be more that a tool that distracts us from the real and pressing problems of White Supremacy. I’m still trying to figure out my thoughts on this and it is definitely something I want to discuss more as a class.

Queering Narrative

As I am beginning to read Judith Roof’s Come As You Are I am thinking about the Eng reading we did, and some of the discussion we had in class around heteronormativity and homonormativity. Something that stuck with me from last class was our discussion around the narrative that sexual encounters are predicated on the assumption that people are looking for a relationship that leads to marriage/children, and how this leads to the idea that a relationship is considered a failure when those things don’t happen. It seems like Roof’s piece ties into this when it talks about narrative needing an ending to make sense. Roof writes “without the expectation of an ending, we have difficulty discerning a story, its pleasures, terrors, lessons, its making sense of things,” I think that radical queerness that critiques marriage disrupts the expected narrative arc, making the lives of queer people (their ‘pleasures, terrors, ways of making sense of things’) more difficult to be read and controlled by the patriarchy.  I’m also thinking about my own approach to intimacy, and the things that I have been taught to value in my relationships. I am really interested in thinking more about the ways that we talk about and value different kinds of relationships, and the language we use around relationships and intimacy. I think it is useful to think about narrative to do this, and I’m excited to read more of the Roof piece.