Home > FtB > Everyone’s already seen this.

Everyone’s already seen this.

Everyone’s already seen this picture already, I’m sure.  It’s been making the rounds.  Does anyone know how this got released? Some of my upcoming questions will be moot if Rachel released it herself.  Also, I just want to say that I myself am thoroughly amused and enamored by this picture, I just think that it’s quite interesting what the blogosphere response has been to it (This is reading as my “I am not an angry feminist disclaimer!”  I  guess it is.).  A few thoughts:

  1. It’s so funny that Rachel used to have long hair! Just kidding.  As we all know, butches are always butch-presenting, and nobody – especially those with gender-variant presentations – has ever experienced any kind of change in their gender presentation.  Especially not Rachel Maddow.
  2. I  am really happy to see this picture.  It reminds me that even butch style icons participated in compulsory femininity.  Maybe Rachel even felt very comfortable with her presentation in this picture! I know that I have similar pictures – long hair, pearls, off-the-shoulder dress – from my sorority days and up until the last year, I was quite happy with the way they turned out.  Even though I never would have chosen to style myself that way the rest of the time.
  3. I haven’t seen a single person thus far say, “She looked so pretty like this.  I wonder why she doesn’t dress like this now!”  Thank the Lord.  Then again,  haven’t been reading any comments.
  4. I guess it depends on Rachel’s identity and relationship with her gender, but I just wonder how I would feel if I were a butch-presenting public figure and a picture like this hit the internet waves and generated discussion.  I do not think I would like it if you guys saw pictures of me in my female attire, or wearing make-up, or with long hair.  That’s me though.  Would you? I think it would be considered hugely transphobic if Rachel were a transman and this photo went around.  Not that I think transmen and butches are the same things, but occasionally, yes, our concerns overlap.  Like some transmen, I’ve met butches who were protective of their past.  Then again, like some butches, I’ve met transmen who were not that protective of their past.
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Categories: FtB
  1. July 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Most of the posts I have seen of this have been “omg she was a babe in h.s.!” from mainstream media/blogs. the queer spots it has turned up are just “omg awesome”.

    i’m not protective of my non-butch past. i was a dress wearing long haired little girl until 10 because it was compulsory under my mom’s regime, but then i started begging for shorter hair and pants, and that was that–more or less– i did a lot of compulsory femininity stuff in high school and i wore a dress when i married my husband even though i wanted to wear a tux too… alas i haven’t worn a dress in a long time– since before i got divorced probably.

    • July 19, 2010 at 12:08 pm

      Part of my protection comes from the purpose that this blog serves. I’m surprised by how much writing with an alias makes me feel separate from my lived-in self. Even though there is a lot of overlap (indeed, mostly overlap), I’m less comfortable showing my occasionally feminine self on here. Not totally UNcomfortable, just less comfortable.

  2. me
    July 10, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Rachel in drag…so glad she grew outa long hair :) there’s a photo of me at my matric dance (kinda like prom) in a purple satin dress with matching little heels – I still look butch *shrug*

    • July 19, 2010 at 12:06 pm

      I was quite happy with my prom dress! But that was at the point where I felt most comfortable with my femininity. As soon as my comfort started waning again, I think I went back to looking butch, or at least, looking uncomfortable in pictures.

  3. G
    July 15, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Really interesting concept. I had to think about it for a couple days to sort it out.

    I’ll admit, I’m a little protective of my pre-butch past. Most of that stems from the fact that I’ve never really had a lot of positive (to me) feedback about it. I get comments that are usually wistful (especially from my family) or ridiculing, and I can’t say that I like either one. I also don’t really know how to respond when I get those “Oh my god, you’re wearing make-up!”-type comments. It was a time of my life where I felt really out of place and uncomfortable, so I’m open to the fact that I might be overly sensitive to people pointing that out to me.

    • July 19, 2010 at 12:04 pm

      Like Rachel, I was a babe in high school. And like you, most of the comments about me prior to my embrace of my butch self, are wistful. I find that ridiculing comments toe the line between being surprised and being ridiculing however. I think people are trying to make me feel more secure in my current identity: “I can’t believe you wore THAT, it’s so not YOU.” I’m not sure if there is a perfect way to respond to my pre-butch past. As you said, I’m overly sensitive to that time, as I was very uncomfortable. Anything makes me remember that discomfort.

  4. August 19, 2010 at 6:13 am

    Am I the only queer girl who has not seen this picture? First I was speechless and then I wondered if it was Photoshopped. I’m not into stereotypes but I can admit I was shocked. Even though she looks beautiful here, I actually prefer the appearance she self-identifies with now over this yearbook picture. Thanks for the heads up.

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