Volume 10 Issue 6 February 2011
VOLUME 10 ISSUE 6 FEBRUARY 2011
Meditations for the Modern Man DEVON BUTLER
Spanish Nouns and English Heartache
Don’t Make Me Dance
One Woman’s Words
My Mother Says
Highway, A Parable
SARAH COLLEEN DILLON
Female Seeking Females Wielding Swords KRISTEN CICCARELLI
NUNO TEIXEIRA EMMANUEL XERX JAVIER
Inside (Masculinity) JACOB MOOREHEAD & MARTHA BRONSON
YUSUF KIDWAI (PHOTOGRAPHER) SAMANTHA PLUMSTEAD (MODEL)
Meditations for the Modern Man DEVON BUTLER
On Friday nights I become a cliché, sipping pinotgrigio and lustfully losing myself in Mr. Darcy’s confessions of love to Elizabeth Bennett. The end result is always the same; the credits roll as I let out a heavy sigh and think, why can’t real men be like this? At that very moment I’m sure most men are not wondering what happened to the chivalric code, but benefiting from its demise by cruising clubs and going to see Black Swan for only one reason. Yes, this subject has been beat to death. Chivalry is dead, and men suck. Before we go blaming science or men’s “innate” visual na-
Masculinity has become defined by that which is not feminine, creating a fear in either becoming the opposite sex or becoming controlled by them. ture that makes them need to visit strip clubs and watch pornography, I have to question the merits of this macho-man image and the representations of masculinity that are resisting a much needed transformation. In a world overrun by concerns of femininity and women’s representation in media, I fear that the concern for men’s selfesteem and development has been forgotten and overlooked. It would seem boys don’t need guidance or coddling to become men; they just need to lose their virginity and conquer the elements. While sardonically flipping through a recent issue of Cosmopolitan, I stopped on an article exploring the identity crisis of the modern man. It appears that since men are no longer bringing home the bacon to their obedient wives, they don’t know where they belong in society, or in relationships. Roles are reversing; the stay-at-home dad is on the rise and women are continuing to advance into professional and powerful roles. Pondering this theory for a moment, I notice an secondary piece below the article: helping your man feel more
masculine, even though you’re the breadwinner. Though I threw the magazine away in disgust, I couldn’t help but ponder its offending words for the remainder of the day. Is masculinity that narrow and formulaic? That a man needs to retreat to his ‘man-cave’ – an homage to his Neanderthal past, I’m sure – to work on an engine and drink beer to escape his overbearing and nagging wife? Surely there is more to manhood than being an overly sexual cliché, and more to womanhood than stroking your partner’s ego so he can feel like a real man. Yet in any traditional cultural story aimed at men, the standards of masculinity that are being projected and naturalized become apparent. In almost every action movie made, weapons and womanizing are the prominent themes marketed towards heterosexual males, but it’s not just the objectification of women that worries me. These stories prescribe that if you aren’t bedding attractive women every night and ignoring their phone calls all day, you’re not a real man. It’s better to be a cold sociopath than show any inkling of true emotion. While images in media that negatively impact young women certainly exist, the past few years have seen a number of intelligent and successful female role models emerge. While positive role models like Tina Fey prove that being smart is sexy, the Don Drapers of the world continue to produce notions of masculinity as the ultimate indicator of man’s status and superiority over women. It is troublesome that masculinity has become defined by that which is not feminine, creating a fear in either becoming the opposite sex or becoming controlled by them. The masculine and feminine experience is ultimately interwoven, with each issue pertaining to one stratum of people affecting the other. Changing gender roles shouldn’t be a competition for who is top dog, but about finding a balance. Just because men are taught to be strong and emotionless doesn’t mean they don’t need a positive male role model to emulate; actually, it means they need it that much more. It’s too much to expect men to wear cravats and profess their undying love so eloquently, but it shouldn’t be a stretch to expect them to respect women and their successful careers. A real man shouldn’t need his masculinity to be constantly reassured out of fear of becoming feminized, nor should he subscribe to the socially constructed notions of what masculinity is. Perhaps I’ve lost hold on the reality of men these days, or excessively romanticize the ideal man. Regardless of the state of the modern man, I refuse to settle for anything less than Mr. Darcy.
Spanish Nouns and English Heartache L.M. OLSEN
Jessica was seated at her desk, hunched over the crisp white page full of clauses, adjectives and verbs. She, however, was only focused on the nouns; her grey eyes watching as LA LEGUMBRE bent in half. The L straightened and slid pink slippers onto the bottom of the R’s feet and the R twirled, spun and twisted, slid to the right and bounced in the lines between the text before ending with a pirouette. The R clapped, for she was very proud of herself indeed; she had been working on that move for minutes and had finally nailed it. She watched as the U in EL LUNES repeatedly wiped the sweat from his brow as he washed and waxed his teensy red Mustang. He muttered something about the sun, looking up at the fluorescent lights in the classroom. When she turned her head and hung her ear over the page, Jessica could faintly hear an AC/DC guitar riff. Then she heard the U grunting about the sudden appearance of clouds; mentioning something about a storm coming. Her eyes hung on the page as the A in EL CORAZON, much like a man without arms would walk, threw one leg in front of the other, one side at a time. He went over to where LA JEFA was standing, where the doe-eyed J was glancing at her reflection; she adored her new dress. He curled his leg around her waist, spun her and lowered her into a dip, ending with a kiss. This dip only slightly peeved the C in EL ESCRITOR, who cursed the E and the L for standing too close, for he was bumped and the pileup of letters was messy. There was ink everywhere.
But F, who was hanging around in EL PROFESOR, used to date the J. With a furrowed brow, he was watching from the bottom left corner of the page. Always previously suspicious of such a union, he flipped himself over and over, for this is how he walked. He tumbled and fumbled toward the dancing pair, picked up his lower horizontal line, and stabbed the A right through his triangular gap. The A cowered and dropped the beautiful J. He tried to scrape her from the floor, but this was an impossible task without arms. So he turned and, using his hips as pendulums, threw one leg in front of the other. As the F’s lines curved skyward into a smile, the A kept slowly throwing one leg in front of the other, one in front of the other, until he reached the edge of the page. He jumped from the page to the edge of the smooth wood grain tabletop of Jessica’s desk, landing with a tiny thud. With a tear in his eye, he turned and glanced at the graceful J, who was now holding the F’s hand, for he was fully capable of helping her up. She was glowing; she loved the attention. And so the A faced forward. His body stiffened, his nostrils flared and he sighed. And he jumped. Jessica yelped; her arm shot out, wiping the page with her palm. Smearing the ink, she heard many itsy-bitsy screams. And so she stood up. Excusing herself, she made brief eye contact with the teacher. She did not look at the class. “Perdón, señorita,” was all she could say before closing the door behind her, leaving her books behind.
Corporeality JOSLYN KILBORN
A thin thought he pulls out of air, I float unformed and free until his pencil hands grasp the hope of me and draw my outline with their leaden fingers. He paints me hips and thighs and lips and I cry, “touch me touch me make me real!” All day he draws until touch dulls so in his sleep I file his fingers. He wakes with pencil points turned knives that peel and slice and husk and dice and I moan, “shuck me harder, baby, strip my shell and steal my pearl.”
Beach EMILY KENNEDY
Cruise Control MAEVE STRATHY
It’s tough to be a queer gal trying to find a mate. Not only are you faced with the general roadblocks of the dating world, but you also have to figure out whether or not the girl you’re crushing on is gay. When I started looking for dates in my teens, I found that since I didn’t ‘look’ like a lesbian, I was lost in the queer community. How on earth could I find a girlfriend? You might think that this is a just queer experience, not a specific female queer experience, but I think it’s unique to queer women. Why? Because of cruising. What’s cruising, you ask? I’ll do my best to explain. Two gay men pass by each other on the street, and for whatever reason, each recognizes the other as gay. Maybe it’s how they’re dressed, maybe it’s the area of the city they’re in, or maybe they just know. As a result of knowing, they cruise each other. They wink, lock eyes, smile, or just look the other up and down. The cruise could end there, with a look and nothing else; it could also lead to them stopping to chat, exchanging numbers, or to the nearest public washroom. That’s how I define cruising. If I was to simplify stereotypical gender performance, I might say that males are aggressive and females are passive. In the queer community, people are more likely to think of gay men as feminine and lesbian women as masculine. The act of cruising turns that stereotype of queer people on its head. Gay men flirt just as aggressively as their heterosexual counterparts, while queer women hold back, remain passive, and either congregate at a lesbian bar where they feel comfortable being aggressive or go on PlentyOfFish.
Why is this the case? Why is open sexual aggressiveness more prevalent in queer males than queer females? I think this is a situation where stereotypes become true; where men are men and women are women, straight or gay. Isn’t male aggression in sports more common and acceptable than female aggression? Isn’t it okay for men to solve their problems with a fist fight, whereas women ‘talk things out’? In straight flirting, this sort of aggressiveness is inappropriate because most females don’t respond to it. In gay male flirting, where everyone is on the same playing field, it works. In queer female flirting, this sort of aggressiveness just wouldn’t look right. More than that, it just wouldn’t feel right. Perhaps that’s not what most women respond to, aggressiveness. Personally, if a woman walked by me and gave me an elevator look, I think I’d be turned off or grossed out. Here’s the thing though – I’m not hating on gay men, I’m jealous of them. I wish I could cruise. Not necessarily in the way that gay men do, but I wish there was a queer female version of it. You walk by one another and you just know, and you find an appropriate way to show your interest. It seems that despite our greatest attempts to transcend stereotypes applied to our genders, we sometimes still fall prey to them.
My Mother Says JACK ROUSSEAU
y mother says “hi.” She still thinks you’re a girl. I don’t know if it’s because you have a gender neutral name or because of a strong self-delusion. I know it has something to do with the prevalent social norms and opinions, but it takes more than one person to change that. She caught me leaving to meet you and we got into a conversation that felt an argument. It went something like this.
Where are you going in such a hurry? JACK: I don’t think either of us needs to know, it’s not like I’m going to meet Alex, I’m already late. we’re getting married. Who is this Alex? Why haven’t I met her? MOM: If she’s a nice girl, I think she’ll want to settle down. You haven’t met her because there is no her to meet. JACK: It’s not a question of whether or not he’s a nice boy, Alex is a he. And I haven’t brought him to the meet it’s a question of whether or not gay marriage will you because I’m afraid you’ll dress him up like a girl be legal, and whether or not I care about getting a to fit your preconceived notions. tax break. That’s what it boils down to, right? MOM: You’ve been spending a lot of time with her. MOM: Do you think your father and I got married for tax JACK: I like him, a lot, and I think he likes me. breaks? We married to start a family. I expect one MOM: How did you meet her? day you’ll want to settle down with Alex, get JACK: After class, at the Varsity Stadium. He was one of married and have children. the players, not one of the cheerleaders, though you JACK: In the unlikely event that I am able to impregnate a should know there are male and female man, how do you expect me to explain the damn cheerleaders now. thing to his parents? MOM: Is she athletic? What sport does she play? MOM: How long do I have to wait for grandchildren? JACK: Yeah, he plays rugby. What’s wrong with this girl? Doesn’t she want MOM: Rugby? That’s a dangerous sport for a girl. children? JACK: It is a dangerous sport, but he’s not a girl. I don’t JACK: When was the last time I brought a girl home? Five think it’s any more dangerous for girls than it is for years? Ten years? How many boys have I brought boys. home? MOM: In my day, we played tennis and volleyball; none of MOM: You have a lot of friends, I’ll grant you that, but you the contact sports. And what ever happened to shouldn’t let your friends keep you from meeting a cooking and hair dressing as an extracurricular nice girl. activity? JACK: I can’t stay and talk, I’m already late to meet Alex. JACK: They’re still around. As a matter of fact, Alex and I MOM: Okay, run along. went to a cooking class the other day, learned how JACK: I’m serious when I say we need to talk about this. to make a – MOM: Say “hi” to her for me. MOM: That’s good. One of you needs to know how to JACK: I will. cook; better her than you. That’s it. I know she means well, but I can’t help feeling she’s trying to brainwash me by setting her expectations to a heterosexual standard. I look forward to the day when sexual preference is not assumed heterosexual by default. And anyway, she’s in for a surprise when she meets you. MOM: JACK: MOM: JACK:
Her face goes to waste. Hours spent in labour; painted on, layered on, such a beautiful face. But her face goes to waste when he never sees it. Her mask gets washed off and he sees the marks on her face. Her face goes to waste, every brushstroke in place waiting for him to see and fall in love with that face. Her face goes to waste, he sees it when she canâ€™t hide it He sees past the face and the soul doesnâ€™t go to waste
Highway, A Parable BARTHOLOMEW BRESLAU
A couple, man and woman, walked along the highway in the early hours of a new day. They walked hand in hand, awed by the glaring absence of traffic or any car to speak of. When dawn arrived they were met by the first commuter, still tired from a restless night, pulling off the road and onto the median they inhabit. The man, performing what he thought to be the expected noble act of a brave knight rescuing the damsel in distress, moved to push the woman away from the car. The woman, defying what she thought to be the expected helpless act of a damsel in distress rescued by a brave knight, moved to push the man away from the car. The couple, man and woman, pushed against each other and remained stationary while the car drove forward and overtook them.
Compassionate Eyes SHAUNA CROSSMAN
He had the drooping eyes of a hard worker. The typeof eyes that weren’t sad, but certainly weren’t happy. They were accomplished, satisfied and ready for a good night’s sleep, but most of all, filled with kindness for anyone who cared to look. How I loved to sit on his lap at bedtime and watch him read to me. It was the privilege of a life time, and I knew it. I would never take that for granted. He was one of the few that were left, all the rest seemed to have disappeared. That gender was slowly dying off, whereas the women were harnessing their control of the race. Artificial insemination, genetic manipulation and gender selection were, most certainly, the cause. While many were almost immovably in favour of this movement, there were still a fair few who found it too radical and thoughtless. We are slowly becoming a land of artificiality. I don’t know how but someday, I’ll get all of those compassionate eyes back where they belong; looking into those of their friends and loved ones.
Photography YUSUF KIDWAI Models LESLIE CLARKE & ASHLEY FOY
Photography KATIE FLOOD Model KIRSTI KARJALA
Girls with LOVE somewhere in their profile pictures drawn in the sand Guys and pictures of snowmobiles Pictures of drunk and drunk and leopard print bras and drunk snowboarding and resort trips smiling in every picture drunk Boyfriend and Girlfriend basic and framed Her interests are Live, Love, Laugh His interests are Interested in Women and home address This new breed of norm Terrifyingly simple He talks too much, she cries too little
Female Seeking Females Wielding Swords KRISTEN CICCARELLI
I’ve always been drawn to women wielding swords When I was a little girl, She-Ra, Xena and Buffy kicked ass all over my television screen. They captivated me. Yet while I admired and loved these women, they were also a point of shame in my life – girls wielding weapons are unfeminine. They are female bodies inhabiting traditionally masculine roles and spaces. They are usurpers. I learned at an early age that because I have a vagina, I’m supposed to be feminine. The natural question arises: what exactly is “feminine”? It’s a question with answers so slippery they glide right through our fingers when we grasp at them. The culprit? Cultural scripts. These subliminal texts are interwoven so deeply into our lives that we never realize they are prescribing as well as describing the state of things. Take fashion, as an example. China bound their females’ feet. Britain strapped their females in suffocating bodices. We confine our females in mini skirts and stilettos. These fashions are meant to make those who wear them weak, sexualized and victimized. How fast can you run with feet three sizes too small, or heels three inches too high? Or without being able to adequately breathe? Having been sexually active prior to my marriage, on my wedding day, I received a book from an in-law telling me how to “reclaim” my sexual purity. My husband received only congratulations. In giving me that book, the in-law was following a religious script, one that says women are delicate objects designed for the sexual pleasure of men – or more accurately, one man, their husband. Even though I’d like to think that I’ve shaken off my religious heritage, this message still affects me. The media plays an active role in defining femininity as well. Everyday we’re bombarded by images and stories of women being forcibly overcome by men. While this certainly does occur, could it be possible that by describing repeatedly what is true, the media is also prescribing it to be true? If the only images of women ever presented are weak and helpless, we resign ourselves to a particular part in the script. The scripts dictate to us that men are strong, and women are weak; and worst of all, if a man wants to rape a woman he undoubtedly will. Nothing can stop him and his infallible penis. And so, we live in fear of the dark. But is it true? Or is it a self-fulfilling prophecy? There’s a yearning in me for women wielding swords; I want to know that there are women out there who rage and go straight for the genitals when confronted by men intent on harming them. I’m tired of seeing women who can do nothing in the face of danger, even if the truth is that there’s nothing she can do. What’s true today doesn’t have to be true tomorrow. A girl needs her heroines. And I need a femininity that allows women to stand up and assert themselves – violently if need be. I have some scripts to re-write.
Photography YUSUF KIDWAI Model KAREN GEISTER
n May, I took a sociology course at Conestoga College. On the first day of classes, I walked into the class, scanned the room, and saw a woman with short curls and a blue scarf tied to her forehead. I later learned that her name was Karen. I think the reason why I remembered her face out of the many in that classroom was because I felt she was different, that she was interesting, that she might have a story to share. I always sat in the front right corner of this classroom, alone. A part of me wanted to socialize and get to know my fellow students, and another part of me just wasn’t interested in it. I was tired of having the same old meaningless conversations about the weather, the summer, and the schoolwork. Once I arrived early for class – or maybe it was a break during class, I cannot seem to recall now – while Karen was talking to another classmate. From the snippets of conversation that I could hear, I learned they were talking about her surgeries. Karen then turned to me and apologized, believing her conversation about the surgeries was making me uncomfortable. I told her that I was a photographer and, having photographed my share of interesting and unique moments, was
not feeling uncomfortable at all. Karen later came over to me, flipped out her phone, and showed me a picture of her in a swimsuit. It had been taken a few years prior, when she used to model. That image caught my attention, particularly her perfect beach body and beautiful long hair. As our course progressed, she shared a few important details about her life – her fight with breast cancer, her surgeries, her children. I got Karen’s email address before our class ended for the term. I emailed her my portfolio, which she seemed to like, and she agreed to let me photograph her as she progressed through her recovery. After exchanging several emails, text messages, phone and in-person conversations, I am really glad that I got to know Karen. Her attitude towards life is very positive. In one of her emails to me, she wrote, “Life’s not about waiting for the storm clouds to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain. I say, go fly in the rain too. Just imagine the rainbows you could see from up there.” Karen is a true fighter. She is very inspirational and leads by example.
Gender Interrupted ALEXA FORTIER
At birth there are usually two options: male or female. I was born the latter. Just because I was born a certain way, take shape a certain way, and come into being a certain way I am automatically excluded and included in restricting, sterile categories. Because I was born with a vagina as opposed to a penis. I am female, but I don’t feel female. People expect me to be and act a certain way because most other girls act that way too. I feel like straddling the line sometimes. I feel like walking genderless. I am not sure whether it is harder to be stifled
I want to wade through all the bullshit. Through asphyxiation by perfume; through lids, lips, lashes layered in concupiscent colors. within the realm of femininity or the realm of masculinity; only that each carries the threat of taking root within us, without hope of ever breaking through the surface. So much of gender is dependent on age; that within certain brackets of arbitrary numbers, I am compelled towards characteristics that I may dismiss or admit depending on how young I am, how dumb I’m allowed to be, and how little it all seems to matter. It is a strange and unrelenting double standard, where the complete stagnation of a gendered life is contrasted with one of total immersion; where both the Madonna and the Whore cannot fit into a highly regularized sexual society. In high school when my friends went to prom, and accumulated boyfriends and started gaining ‘experience’ (a term I use loosely) and all matters of lust, betrayal, herpes, UTI’s, and DUI’s, they called it being ‘too intelligent’. When I was told I was ‘too picky’, I know what they are really saying. Gender, and all of its diminishing capacities, has become a trap. I have seen the descent and stared into the fever-dream
eyes of friends, who were once capable of making me laugh or exalt. They now seem only to whisper, “I’ll change who I am for him, if only he’ll take me back” and can only return from the void to ask questions that revolve dizzily around female orifices and the unending instant-gratification. It is with unending regurgitation that who I am is intertwined with the people I meet and kiss and fuck. I’m not condemning love or human connection, but the strange ritual prescribing that until I’ve had a one night stand or experienced a series of meaningless penetrations, that I’m not really ‘experiencing life’ or ‘living to the fullest’ or any other trite and hackneyed expressions. I’m not a romantic person waiting for my soul mate or the ‘one’, I’d just rather save myself the trip to the free clinic to figure out what STD the walking dildo from the night previous gave me. But more importantly, those people are not me. There is some part of me that belongs only, and will only belong, to me. That part is the one I’m interested in discovering in my youth, in getting to know. I want to wade through all the bullshit. Through asphyxiation by perfume; through lids, lips, lashes layered in concupiscent colors. I want to outlaw all the magazines that exist solely on the basis that we are all individual but inevitably the same, abolish the fluttering and nervous glances that crawl across classrooms, and enter through doors that exist in spaces entirely unparallel and with no discernable exits. I want to neuter these impulses. I am not immune to feelings like lust and habits, vanity and superficiality, but we are made vulnerable by them because gender (and consequently, sexuality) is so intrinsically linked to feelings of self worth. I hate that I am forced to surrender to the inevitability of these emotions which control me no matter how much authority I admit they have. I hate that they are connected to other emotions, to feelings of love, and feelings of joy, so that I cannot sever it entirely from me as one cannot sever an artery. At times I feel I cannot live with it. Every day it reminds me of what I’m here for and what I no longer understand – it isolates me. It bleeds, but I do not. It lets things, people, inside - but I do not. I have to live with it and let myself be defined by it, even though there’s nothing else I feel less defined by. I live in this world where nothing matters more except the flesh between our thighs, flesh that hangs like strips or flesh that concaves. But I refuse to be defined by these things that suffocate me, exclude me, and interrupt me.
There’s a dark sense of liberation It’s the language of angry fists Raised in the air It’s the language of every blood type Pooling in the road This is the place we said we’d meet If the day ever came I’m waiting for the sun to come To burn my shoulders And cook my hair I keep waiting for somebody’s son to come And make me feel like I have tasted something to die for But where is he? When he comes around Someone has to walk me Spanish down Toward him I can see the hunger there A shining predator’s fur Silk and lingerie on my breath He can smell my fear He knows what isn’t far off And if ever the surgeon lays you down On a hard bed And straps down your head Rest easy It’s only open-heart surgery And he went through many lives Just to end up here inside you
There’s a dark spell before a nation falls to its knees Anyone can reach out and feel the the storm Swallow the electricity Little boys run through walls of thunder like they were super-beings And broken-hearted babies cry Because of what the world is whispering And when the little boys come through the fire They have breathed the angry sky And it stays locked up inside them Until they can undo their flies There’s a dark sense of liberation Destination: dying free New voices speak the language Fists could speak so easily Blood types start to harden Into thicker stronger lines And we join the growing laughter To taste it rolling off our tongues And the laughter falls down to our mothers Breathing shallow in the dirt All I really need to know though: “Is this gonna hurt?”
One Woman’s Words EMILY HOLMES
T.S. Eliot believed that in poetry and literature, the past is never abandoned, but that present motivations are always extensively modified by the past. My life has been filled with strong, assertive women who would consistently strive to get the best out of life. My grandmother was one of them. To some, she is seen as intimidating and opinionated. To me, she was nothing less than genuine. One of my earliest memories with my grandmother occurred when I was about four years old. My grandmother loved jewelry, a trait that she unfortunately passed on to me. We would sit in her living room, sorting through flyers and magazines, cutting and pasting images of rubies, sapphires, and diamonds onto pieces of construction paper. The end result was what we called a “gem book,” a book that depicted all the different types of gemstones. My mother never approved of my grandmother embedding this sense of luxury into my life; she was a more simplistic woman, who believed in investing only in the essentials. Her concern wasn’t misplaced – those books are likely the reason why I occasionally guiltlessly spend a whole paycheck on a shopping spree. For the many years that I knew her, my grandmother lived alone. She divorced my grandfather long before I was born, and despite my curiosity, always refused to tell me why. Fourteen years after I made my last gem book, during a visit to my grandmother, I left the room briefly to take a call from my high school boyfriend. My grandmother had a significant amount of contempt for him. Though he had admittedly screwed up a few times in the past, I rationalized that no one is perfect. I noticed the worried look on her face when I returned to the living room where she was seated. She told me she saw the look in my eyes whenever I would
talk about him, the boy I loved. She said she recognized the way my face would flush as I made excuses for him and his actions. She said she recognized my look and those actions anywhere, because she had experienced them herself. I learned that my grandmother’s meeting with my grandfather was passionate, their engagement was quick, and the marriage was nothing but tiresome. Her marriage made her someone that she never intended to be; a shell of the wild, outgoing and independent woman she once was. Her divorce was more expensive than her teacher’s salary could handle, and left her almost destitute. If not for her strong support system, she never would have survived. This would become the moment where I truly saw my grandmother for who she was. She was a woman who was willing to attempt to survive off nothing just to regain her independence. Those hand-made books filled with images of sparkling gemstones weren’t just material goods – they’re a reminder that there is extravagance in everything in the world, which my grandmother found through her own re-discovered independence. My grandmother was terrified that my future was destined to become her past. I promised her that I would never let anyone or anything take any part of me, and that I would fight as hard as I could to maintain my independence no matter the circumstances. T.S. Eliot’s theory is realized through my grandmother. I see myself as a changed person due to one woman’s words. I understand that in order to seize the benefits of life I must become aware of my own potential, not only as a woman, but to shape my future existence.
On The Fence DEVON BUTLER
Don’t Make Me Dance SARAH COLLEEN DILLON
he universe is full of unrequited, unexpressed love and joy. Unaltered bed sheets. Unkissed mouths. Untangled legs. Untasted pussy. Unmoaned orgasms. We, the great unfucked.
I am special. I am different. I will fix this. I am the one. Not a prophet; the prophet.
The world is not sexed enough! Yes, there is pornographic, iconographic, clean and shaven, vapid Justin Bieber sex. Blink and you won’t miss anything in that over-sexed, overdosed congress of sex. But when you go home, and you take off your crest white strips and synthetic pheromones, are you fucking? Are you sweating and confused and wet and coming? Are you fucking? I repeat, the world is not sexed enough! And I say enough! I say baby. I say honey. I say doll. I’m going to do what I can. I’m going to unclench the thighs of the collective lesbian masses. I am on a pilgrimage to pussy. Me, by myself. I’m going to play the haughty, smartmouthed churlish one. Me and my fists of fury. Me and my pseudo-butch bravado are going to take control. I’m going to sashay my dandy pants your way. I’m going to point my gentlemanly toes toward you and not say a damned thing. I’m going to sidle up beside you and ignore you so you’ll notice me. You have to understand the joke, people, this is all a lie. This little game, it’s a lie. What you don’t want to see is that terrible, shuffling, el-
rious thing that is actually me masking an oncoming panic attack. To you I look lazy-eyed and self-assured. Inside I’m chanting mantras to keep myself from passing out. I do that standard vagina-bound slide-and-kiss method that we godowners use. It’s pretty fail-safe. Rule of thumb: you cannot lose if you put your mouth on the vagina. I adorn myself with your skin, your hair, your body. Between you, my cloak. You, my wardrobe. You, my teepee. In truth this is what actually happens:
bows-tucked, fists half up the chest dancing… you know. The shrug dance. The deep lez shrug dance. It’s embarrassing. You don’t want me to dance. Don’t make me dance. And after you preemptively reject me because you think I’m a dickhead for not making a move, the first move or the right move, I am going to pull up the collar on my jacket (because I have a jacket with a collar that does that), act as though I’m drunker than I am, hold my gin and tonic like it’s the ledge of a building, swivel around, grin at you and make a move to leave. You will regret your premature rejection. That smile of mine is like thunder on a hot ass day. That slanted, jaw-tight smirk of mine is a one-way road to your regret and subsequently, to your bed. And I want. And I wait. For the bend. for the bait. There is a feather bed just in the other room. Your room. It doesn’t bounce, it doesn’t spring. You just sink right in like a shallow, perfect nest. Like the deep sigh of a fat, orange cat. Like a slow, slumberous grave. I have no disciplines. Nothing I specialize in, except this: One curve where your ribs meet your hips. I don’t know how to talk to you, so I do the silent, myste-
It’s another night without the draping over of your body. Another year you will deny me. You, the vastness of you. You, the woman I stare at all night. You, the great and broad and anonymous hot babe that I’m going to obsess over to my friends. I will leave that bar drunken, ashamed, berating myself for letting you slip through my hands. Another you. Another chance at awesome, one-night-stand sex where you’d have been all like “o wow, you made me come so hard. That never happens.” And I’d have been all like, “well, you know. First time for everything, doll face” (inside I’d be singing hallelujah’s and raising fists like I’m a fucking hero). You’d have been so grateful and anxious to get back at it again and I’d have been so smooth, you wouldn’t have known that I was totally. Freaking. Out. I’d be so stoked that you were into me, it’s a god damned dance party in my chest, but I’d have looked so casual, save for the trembling upper arms. I’d have been holding myself up on my elbows for a long time by then. It’s hard work to keep a good mouth-to-clitoris level. Don’t want to be too high or too low. Just another day on the job, ladies. Brush the shoulders. Puff some air on my fingers that would smell so deliciously like you. It would have been orgasms for everybody! All day long! 24-hour orgasm! Let’s do it! But the truth is, I am walking with tears in my eyes for yet another night empty-handed and un-boned. And there is a biting cold wind whipping across my cheeks and my lips are chapped and I’m making that exasperated noise that you make when it’s so cold you can’t help it. And I’m cursing my amazing hair day and my ridiculous vanity because my ears are exposed and they are both stabbing and punching my brain with below zero wind. And in between the gasps of biting wind I’m singing Kate Bush. I am whining it and blubbering it, I am all “she’s no good for you baby... she’s no good for you now…” And someone is thinking, “holy shit, she knows that song?” Yeah, I know that song. I know it. I’m that guy! The truth is, I don’t know how to talk to women.
EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Morgan Alan firstname.lastname@example.org
THE MASCULINITY/FEMININITY ISSUE
Production Manager Lakyn Barton email@example.com
Photography & Art Manager Emily Kennedy firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor at Large Devon Butler email@example.com
Promotional Director Sarah Georges firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Outreach Director Erin Oldynski email@example.com
Advertising Director Jonathan Antflek firstname.lastname@example.org
Brantford Outreach Director Vacant Application at wlusp.com/volunteer
Interns Brieanne Berry, Jim Cavill, Lydia Ogwang
CONTRIBUTORS Emily Bednarz, Bartholomew Breslaw, Martha Bronson, Alexis Castrogiovanni, Kristen Ciccarelli, Leslie Clarke, Shauna Crossman, Sarah Colleen Dillon, Katie Flood, Alexa Fortier, Ashley Foy, Elli Garlin, Karen Geister, Emily Holmes, Kristi Karjala, Yusuf Kidwai, Joslyn Kilrorn, Jacob Moorehead, L.M. Olsen, Samantha Plumstead, Jack Rousseau, Maeve Strathy, Wade Thompson, Madison Wilcock
ADMINISTRATION President Bryn Ossington Production/Advertising Angela Taylor Chair of the Board Jordan Hyde Vice Chair Erin Epp Treasurer Tarun Gambhir Director David Goldberg Corporate Secretary Morgan Alan Distribution Manager Kari Singer
Though gender should not be be conceptualized as such, the Blueprint you hold in your hands has been organized into two distinct silos. Rather than boil the loaded topic of “gender” down to a singularity, we have divided our issue into two - an issue on the theme of masculinity, and an issue on the theme of femininity. When I both observed Blueprint as a reader and now help produce it as its editor, issues on themes of identity have always been the most interesting to me. Writers and artists seem to be most passionate when they discuss their own experiences in the context of greater political and social issues; the personal is indeed political. As a context that defines an individual from birth, gender’s role in shaping identity becomes self-evident. As was the case with Blueprint’s last issue on the theme of “Fetish,” the gendered division of submissions is once again unequal. The prevalence of ‘femininity’ submissions in this issue provides a fascinating cultural disconnect; though female voices are traditionally silenced in public spheres, in Blueprint, they have come to dominate. Whether gender is a personal cause for celebration or a binary to be overcome, it is a concept to be critically deconstructed. Morgan Alan Editor-in-Chief
CONTACT Blueprint Magazine 75 University Ave W Waterloo ON N2L 3C5 p 519.884.0710 x3564 f 519.883.0873 blueprintmagazine.ca Advertise email@example.com blueprintmagazine.ca/advertise Contribute firstname.lastname@example.org blueprintmagazine.ca/contribute
COVER Art by JOEL HENTGES
Blueprint is the official student magazine of the Wilfrid Laurier University community. Founded in 2002, Blueprint is an editorially independent magazine published by Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publications, Waterloo, a corporation without share capital. WLUSP is governed by its board of directors. Content appearing in Blueprint bears the copyright expressly of their creator(s) and may not be used without written consent. Blueprint reserves the right to re-publish submissions in print or online. Opinions in Blueprint are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Blueprint’s management, Blueprint, WLUSP, WLU or CanWeb Printing Inc. The circulation for a normal issue of Blueprint is 3000. Subscription rates are $20.00 per year for addresses in Canada. Distribution of Blueprint is provided in part by Dino Deliveries.
NEXT ISSUE On the theme of “Spirit” On stands March 16th Submissions due March 4th
The obvious switch is meant to draw attention to the ideas and visual styles and languages we use to define masculinity and femininity, men and women and ourselves. It is also meant to pose the question: why do we recognize the cover as reversal of visual elements of masculinity and femininity?
Volume 10 Issue 6 February 2011
Volume 10 Issue 6 February 2010