Very closely related to my last post is the subject of Deep Lez (which has also come up in various discussions on Tumblr recently). Deep Lez is more of a theory, a movement, than an identity (though there certainly are some who are choosing it as an identifier for themselves). And it’s also not so very serious all the time. It’s a feeling and a culture. Astrology, tea, folk music, Goddess worship, crystals, labrys jewelry…all totally Deep Lez.
Deep Lez is a phrase coined by artist Allyson Mitchell to reclaim ‘lesbian’ as a radical identity and calls it both “theory and practice.” Deep Lez honors the contributions of radical lesbian feminists of the second wave while still acknowledging the problematic aspects of the politics of that time (namely, transphobia). Deep Lez acts as a bridge between the second and third waves, urging feminists of the current generation not to forget our herstory and insisting on more inclusive politics this time around. As Mitchell says in this interview,
Deep Lez is about rescuing lesbian and radical feminism from being forgotten or discarded. There are some really amazing principles and practices that I don’t want to get lost…I think a lot of people are too dismissive of lesbian feminism. It becomes a joke and a cliché at best. At worst, people gag on the word lesbian, forget about being able to affiliate themselves with it. I think there is a deep set misogyny in these statements. I want to call attention to this misogyny and at the same time tweak lesbian feminism into an inclusive contemporary urban context that could really use a lot of its principles right now, and actually does use a lot of its principles but doesn’t necessarily give it credit.
And I say, credit where credit is due. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think my tea is ready and I need to consult my horoscope.
I really did intend to do a 2-month post but my photographer has been super booked (and by that I mean my girlfriend is now not only working full-time but also going to school full-time so we don’t see a lot of each other during prime photo-taking daylight hours). Instead I give you an almost-3-month post (the photos below were taken 10 days shy of a full 3 months of no shaving).
I still have yet to hear any negative remarks concerning my hairy legs, though I have caught some folks staring awkwardly. Far from the prickly landscape I had imagined, I rather like the way my legs feel now. They’re actually quite soft! And though it isn’t an everyday occurrence, I love seeing the juxtaposition of my fuzzy legs framed by the hem of a dress and a pair of heels.
Slowly but surely, I’m retraining my brain, imprinting in it a new understanding of femininity and what femme means for me. I’m learning new ways to be okay in my body, to express my inner self through my physical self. I’m a hard femme, a little rough on the edges. I discard traditional ideas of femininity and form my own. I’m creating a home for myself within myself and learning to love that place.
Following my recent rant on MichFest and its continued transphobia, I was directed by a reader to check out the Ohio Lesbian/Womyn’s Festival. I had never heard of the festival but was intrigued. Just like MichFest there is music and performers and workshops and camping and…well, womyn. But…and this is a big but…this womyn’s festival, dear readers, is inclusive, meaning if you identify as a woman, then you’re welcome to attend.
I was thrilled to learn about this festival’s existence (particularly after seeing the above flier cause this belly dancer knows a tribal costume when she sees one!) and vowed to throw my full support behind it. My partner and I started making plans to take a trip to OH and I was even considering camping for the first time since Girl Scouts (seriously y’all, I’m a big ‘ole priss…my definition of camping includes a cabin with electricity). We started recruiting friends to form a Chicago delegation to attend the festival and then…here’s where you can insert some sad trombone sounds…my job destroyed all my plans. I didn’t think it would be terribly difficult to get that Saturday off but I was sorely mistaken. Apparently a month in advance wasn’t early enough to inquire and the schedule was already booked up, making it impossible for me to take off. I threw a minor tantrum involving lots of cursing and bile-spewing at my stupid Saturday shift which regularly gets in the way of me having any type of social life.
So no Ohio Womyn’s Festival for me, but you should go! Really! Please go! For me! And if you do go, let me know what you think! I think it sounds amazing and I want it to do well, I want it to grow. Because this is the kind of womyn’s festival we need, one that’s not stuck in second-wave politics and embraces all womyn.
Information on tickets, location, directions, hours, etc., etc. can be found here.