Friday, July 11, 2008

to be laced, or not to be

my new Mouse Garment gift from Dawn at MDI (read her very funny version of the creation of said garment by clicking HERE) has sparked a mostly off-line discussion between me and Slant Readers about stereotypes, expanding paradigms, and pushing boundaries (among other things.) Dawn had an especially interesting take on this, though I'll let *her* share it if she so desires. Some people say the lace has to go Huntress, others say, fuck it, leave it on there.

i don't have time today to dig deep into why i think this whole lace-or-no-lace thing represents a much bigger (and maybe more complicated) concept of gender expression, and butch, and femme, and everywhere in between. i wish i did, because it could be so very, very interesting.

so i'm gonna be lazy and ask you. should i remove the lacey hem, or keep it right where it is, and why? i don't think there is any right or wrong answer. it's all about perspective. and i'm just curious what yours might be.

it will kill me if i check back on The Slant tonight and have no comments, so come on, take 5 minutes and tell me what you think. Dawn says to tread carefully because when you ask people their opinions, they might just go on ahead and give 'em to you. it's sage advice that i'm going to completely ignore, a sometimes bad habit of mine.

fire away?


michael said...

As I previously stated in a comment this morning on your "gay old time" post, I think you should leave the damn lace on.

I may have the unique perspective of knowing you for many, many years. You are indeed butch my darling, but you are a very soft butch and you know it. Especially on the inside. Like I said, I've seen you in a dress, and despite your protests at the time, you did not look like a man in drag. I've also seen you in a suit and tie, and I know which choice makes you comfortable and which choice makes you feel like you're coming out of your skin.

And that's the real issue, right? When you wore that dress, as great as you looked (and honey, you looked fantastic) you "felt" like a man in drag, and I think that's where the whole concept of gender expression lives. It's a very fluid thing, different for everyone.

I really do want you to keep the lace on, and I honestly don't know if I can properly articulate why. Let's just say I like to see you push the boundaries every now and then. I also know you well enough to understand that sooner or later, the lace is gonna come off.

And then you'll probably send it to me, in san francisco.

love you.

allison said...

my girlfriend, who is very butch, was forced to wear dresses until she was in 4th grade, when she finally protested loudly enough that her mother gave in and let her start wearing levi's to school. she will tell me that to wear those dresses was humiliating for her and that she was always deeply jealous of her big brother and his wardrobe. she says that it would make her skin crawl to have to put on a dress everyday, and that when she was finally allowed to wear pants, she felt liberated.

i honestly have a hard time imagining you in anything lacey. it just doesn't, hmmm, fit. yet, i would be lying if i didn't say i wouldn't mind seeing it, just once. you could make a paper bag look sexy darlin'.


Audrey said...

Damn Dar, you can't even SEE the lace from the photo, but if it makes you feel better we will have a "REMOVING THE LACE" party, maybe we can make it into one of the Dyke March theme partys? what say Lady Bug?
we'll invite Dawn down and have a grand old time of it.
it actually might be freeing for others also to let their butch out.
BUT . . . I must say that although Dawn says "sure take the lace off if you want" remember the mouse pant are a creation of hers. a
piece of her art if you will.
just saying . . .
and who exactly will be seeing you in these mouse pants? maybe she would "like" to see you in a bit of lace? hmmm...

toklas23 said...

this just in, via email, from the wonderful jean vermette, with her permission to share:

".... this whole lace-or-no-lace thing represents a much bigger (and maybe more complicated) concept of gender expression, and butch, and femme, and everywhere in between."

I don't think so. Historically, lace was hand-made by a long and laborious process, was useful only as decoration, and so was adopted by the upper classes as an indicator of their wealth. It was gender-neutral and used by both males and females ... hence it was more of a "class" thing than a "gender" thing. There are stories of poor people being executed for stealing lace because they might try to use it to convince others that they were of a higher class than they actually were.

Our culture, at our time, has tended to view its mass-produced lace as "feminine", but even as recently as the late-1700's it was still proudly used by american men. It's all just a "this-is-what-our-culture-thinks-at-this-time" perception. And since you are definitely NOT someone who follows in lockstep with "this-is-what-our-culture-thinks-at-this-time" kind of thinking (whether the culture is heterocentrist or lesbian), I say wear it, and wear it proudly. For you it would be more of a "personal integrity" statement than a sex, or gender, or class statement.

Zack said...

I think you need to ask yourself if the lace feels uncomfortable, and if so, why. If it does make you feel uncomfortable and only so because you feel it's not acceptable to be butch and wear lace, I go with fuck it - keep it there for a while and stretch your comfort zone a little. It might stretch the comfort zone of others, too, and that is usually a good thing. After all, you can always remove it later.

Besides, you don't strike me as someone who lets the world and society (even GLBT society) tell them what is acceptable or not. ;)

Quing said...

I agree with Audrey: it's Dawn's creation for you, tyhe lace was added for a specific reason, so I say go with the flow and if anyone asks, tell them the story! I hear you are a good storyteller...

j said...

So. As the masculine dyke non butch who gets the butch label even though it doesn't fit my perspective is this:

Darlene - do you like the lace? If so, leave it. If not, remove it.

I don't think it makes you more or less of anything either way:)

MRMacrum said...

Did you make the pants? Or were they as I believe a gift from the fun side of Dawn's heart? While I can't speak to what lace might represent for you as a gay woman, I can say that if they are comfortable, you should wear them with pride and smile every time you gaze at your feet. If you can't laugh at yourself, laughing at others seems so pointless.

Dawn on MDI said...

I'd post a comment, but I just wrote this enormous, rambling thing over at my blog and I am not going through that twice. Hop on over if you want to see what I thought.

Jenna said...

I say leave it. I say so because it is good to push boundaries and because these were a gift. If the designer said "it needs lace" I am sure you should leave it :)

If it really bugged you to wear it, you wouldn't be asking us, you just would have removed it.

I like Jean's point, but really think we are worry too much about a little lace!