A fancy queer femme interested in pop culture past and present.
When I was in high school, they showed us a slideshow of various sexually transmitted infections. All of the pictures were outrageously gruesome and their sole purpose was to scare us out of having sex. Everything was red and swollen and dripping and crusted and ew—because sex is dirty and if you have sex you’ll be dirty, kids! There was one in particular they called “Barnacle Bill.” It was a penis covered in warts—warts upon warts upon warts until it didn’t look like a penis anymore. Poor Bill was nothing but barnacles. We laughed but we also cringed. “Now who in this class thinks it’s a good idea to have sex?” The other day at work, I was leafing through a dermatology textbook. Right there, somewhere in “Infections and Infestations,” was old Barnacle Bill! It was the very same picture. Except this time, it had a caption. Human papillomavirus in an immunosuppressed patient. Patient suffered from dementia and was unaware of the progress of the infection. Oh. That changes the moral of the story a bit, doesn’t it? It’s no longer a matter of “this is what sluts look like under their slutty pants!” It’s more like “sometimes life is cruel for no good reason.” Sometimes life is cruel for no good reason, and then after you’re (probably) dead someone uses the most embarrassing picture imaginable of your body to lie to schoolkids and make them associate pleasure with filth. I’m sorry, Barnacle Bill.
This is why it takes every bone in my body to restrain myself when other youth-serving professionals tell me “You should show the kids pictures of STI’s that will scare them.” Sex education is not fear mongering medical extremes, it is about information and risk reduction. When a teacher shows youth pictures such as “Barnacle Bill” the images subtly imply that all STI’s disfigure a persons genitals. The pictures then perpetuate falsehood because many STIs have few if no symptoms and are unnoticeable to the naked eye.
In addition to the original author’s apology to “Barnacle Bill” I want to say sorry to anyone who had to undergo the shocking picture method of sexual health education. You deserved better from the adults around you, and they failed. I hope you take it (or took it) upon yourself to get reliable and sex positive information from people you love and trust.
FEMME SHARKS DON’T EAT OUR OWN.
FEMME SHARKS LIKE TO EAT THOUGH
FEMME SHARKS RECOGNIZE THAT FEMMES COME IN ALL KINDS OF SIZES AND EACH KIND IS LUSCIOUS.
WE WORK TOWARDS LOVING OUR CURVY, FAT, SKINNY, SUPERSIZE, THICK, DISABLED, BLACK AND BROWN FINE-ASS BODIES EVERY DAY.
WE REALIZE THAT LOVING OURSELVES IN A RACIST/SEXIST/HOMO/TRANSPHOBIC/ABLIST/CLASSIST SYSTEM IS AN EVERY DAY ACT OF WAR AGAINST THAT SYSTEM.
FEMME SHARKS DON’T THINK ANOREXIA IS CUTE. WE THINK EATING A BIG-ASS MEAL IS SEXY.
WE SAY SCREW “HEIGHT WEIGHT PROPORTIONATE PLEASE” IN CRAIGSLIST WOMEN SEEKING WOMEN ADS AND IN LIFE.
WE HAVE BIG MOUTHS AND WE KNOW HOW TO USE THEM.
DON’T FUCK WITH US!
ASK US IF WE WANT TO FUCK THOUGH !
FEMME SHARKS WILL RECLAIM THE POWER AND DIGNITY OF FEMALENESS BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY WE’RE GIRLS BLOWN UP, TURNED INSIDE OUT AND REMIXED.
FEMME SHARKS ARE OVER WHITE QUEERS OBLIVIOUSNESS TO QUEER OF COLOR, TWO SPIRIT AND TRANS OF COLOR LIVES.
WE KNOW THAT WE ARE A CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE
there was a way to flag for feelings.
Right side: Wearer has SO MANY FEELINGS that they need to express, really they should be alone crying but for some reason they have to function in society.
Left Side: Wearer is open and available to listen to others feelings or support someone having feelings for free. Therapists cannot flag listen to feelings as a way to advertise.
Flagging feelings could also make life easier so one would know when to approach people with kid gloves and a kind word. Conversely flagging feelings would allow people to survey a room and know who in the room is willing support and listen to them.
There is a New York Times article this week titled “My Ex-Gay Friend.” The article is about a man who was a writer for XY magazine and his life now as an ex-gay. The NYT author approached the subject with kid gloves. This article was not an account of anger, but rather an exploration of a life. The author and subject were friends at one point which aided in the sympathetic tone. I highly suggest people take the time to read the article.
I was struck with how connected this was to my narrative; I was one of those teenage queers who consumed XY on a regular basis. Even though the primary audience for XY was a teenage queer male identified people (and I am a cisgendered femme queer girl) I enjoyed the fact that a magazine was dedicated to the to the needs, wants, and desires of teenage queers. The authors of this magazine provided me with support, as I flipped through each magazine I knew I was not going to spend my life alone. XY (even with its pervasive male message), allowed me to see that I too could live in queer community and have a larger social circle. It also did not hurt that buying the magazine at the local bookstore also felt like a little queer pride rebellion.
How the authors of the defunct magazine live now is a moot issue. What they put out in the world cannot be erased from the minds of those it touched in the late 90’s early 2000’s. XY offered me support over a decade ago when I needed it the most. Even if the ex-gay writer of XY now feels that I am ‘confused’ as a queer person, his words of comfort in my time of teenage isolation will always hold the most power, they changed my life forever in the best way possible.
I unintentionally wore an outfit that strikes an uncanny resemblance to a diner waitress. In addition I have consumed an excessive amount of coffee and I am feeling surly. I am unsure if these two facts are related or if my unconscious mind is in control today.
A version of this kitty that I painted hangs in my 1/2 of a cubical. HANG IN THERE KITTY gives me hope.
Yea you sing it Alanis Morissette “You treat me like a princess, I’m not used to liking thaaaaaaayaaaaaaat”