Sunday, May 30, 2021
One poll conducted in January by the conservative American Enterprise Institute found that 39% of Republicans agreed that “if elected leaders will not protect America, the people must do it themselves, even if it requires violent actions,” and 56% believe that “the traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.”
Friday, May 28, 2021
|CNN Style - See the Other 19|
Thursday, May 27, 2021
Transgender identity, in their words
Analysis by Lisa Selin Davis
Tue May 18, 2021
(CNN) How many kids identify as transgender? That has been a hard question to answer, in part because the term can mean different things to different people.
Many associate transgender with gender dysphoria — severe psychological distress caused by gender identity and biological sex not aligning — or with medical transition. The term, however, can also include those who veer away from gender norms, but who don't want to change anything about themselves: their names, pronouns or bodies.
Susan Stryker, author of "Transgender History," defines trans people in part as those "who cross over (trans-) the boundaries constructed by their culture to define and contain that gender."
A 2017 study by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health scientist Michelle M. Johns and colleagues found that 1.8% of high school students identified as transgender, which she and the team found by asking them if they were transgender.
Dr. Kacie Kidd, a physician and adolescent medicine fellow at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, thought that the cohort of gender-diverse kids might be larger if questions about gender and identity were posed differently.
Rather than ask kids if they were transgender, Kidd and colleagues asked two questions in a study of 3,168 high school kids at 13 racially and economically diverse public Pittsburgh high schools.
The first question was: "What is your sex (the sex you were assigned at birth, on your birth certificate)?" with the options of "female" and "male." The second question was: "Which of the following best describes you (select all that apply)?" with the options of "girl," "boy," "trans girl," "trans boy," "genderqueer," "nonbinary," and "another identity."
|Some 9.2% of kids in an |
urban school district consider themselves
gender-diverse in some way,
a new study said.
"Our goal was to understand the prevalence of gender-diverse identities among high school students in our Pittsburgh school district by asking what we considered to be, and what many scholars consider to be, a more inclusive question about gender identity," Kidd said. "We came in suspecting that this two-step gender identity question would demonstrate a higher prevalence of gender diversity than in prior studies."
These researchers were right that gender diversity itself was higher in the population they looked at than in other studies. In the study, to be published in the June 2021 issue of the journal Pediatrics, Kidd and her colleagues found that 9.2% of kids consider themselves gender-diverse in some way. Still, because the question is not explicitly about identity, but rather how kids self-describe, the data don't make clear whether that diversity is in expression, identity or other facets of gender.
Kidd was expecting a higher number; however, the leap still surprised her. There are several ways to understand a larger number of teenagers claiming new words to describe themselves.
Dr. Kacie Kidd, a physician and adolescent medicine fellow at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center:
Gender diverse people exist likely in much higher numbers than we previously were aware of or discussed in the literature," she said. "They are all unique individuals who have different needs and interests. We should be supporting them as a community in living their authentic lives, whatever that looks like for them.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
A weekend where socialization was finally possible!
|Palm Beach County HRC Board|
Saturday I had a board meeting/dinner with The Palm Beach HRC in Hobe Sound. It was hosted at a beautiful home just a half block for the ocean. HRC is a worthwhile and politically active organization and I am so proud to be a part.
I have been on the board for over a year and this was our first face-to-face board event.
Sunday I coordinated our Mercedes Club "End-of-Season" dinner at the wonderful Raindancer Steakhouse in West Palm Beach. We had cocktails for an hour and then dinner with nearly 30 in attendance. As a group we are looking forward to next year and doing more fun stuff. This photo is from that event.
Monday, May 24, 2021
Look, I didn’t handle [Chaz’s coming out] all that well in the beginning. It took me a minute. Because you’ve been with a child for 40 years, and then all of a sudden ... but you know what? Chaz was so happy! ... As a matter of fact, I was just telling this to my friend last night. It’s like, if I woke up in the morning, and I wasn’t me anymore and I didn’t feel like me and I couldn’t be me, I would just be beyond grief stricken. And that’s what I have to tell a mother or father: You are who you are, but how would you feel if you were someone else and you couldn’t be that someone else? That’s how I had to get it. And, you know, I didn’t do it all that well in the beginning. So, I can’t take too many kudos, but now, it’s fabulous.
Sunday, May 23, 2021
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) explodes on house Republicans for opposing capitol insurrection commission.
Four Americans died at the U.S. embassy in Libya.
Republicans launched the investigation with a focus on Hillary Clinton, but Democrats accuse them of using Benghazi as a political weapon, especially after this from comment from Republican leadership, Rep. Kevin McCarthy on Fox news:
Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today?
The final report finds no evidence of wrongdoing by Clinton after a total of seven (7) investigations.
Friday, May 21, 2021
|Katy at Café Boulud|
While it was a really long time to wait, I couldn’t help but feel lucky that my “sentence” was ending and maybe, just maybe, I would be returning to some sort of new normalcy. I was grateful, and a little sad, thinking about many of my friends who were not as lucky as me. Some of you may recall my story a few months ago about getting dressed just to drag the trash cans down to the road in the wee hours of the morning. I just needed to get out of the house.
I compared this experience with getting dressed as a 19 or 20-year-old, sneaking out of the house and the driving a couple of blocks away to a blue mailbox, pretending to mail a letter, and then returning home. I don’t think the whole trip took more than 15 minutes but it felt so good to get out of that house!
So, here I was, planning my return to the world and I was either going to “go big or go home” as some folks say. Reservations for 7-7:30 PM dinner couldn’t be found in Palm Beach at any of the good restaurants. Everything was sold out! I did find a table for two at 7:45 PM at Café Boulud, a really good, but really expensive, restaurant that is part of the Brazilian Court Hotel. Rhonda and I have been to Café Boulud four or five times in the past and have always had a very nice time. Since our reservation was a little late we decided there would be enough time to stop by The Colony Hotel for a drink before dinner. That would give us a chance to see who was still there and who and what had changed since February of 2020, the last time we were there.
Despite allowing an extra hour and a half in my getting ready plan, I was nervous about being out into the big leagues right out of the gate. What if I have one of those “dressing disasters” we have all had? Then what?’
I didn’t have to wait ten minutes when the first disaster struck! My false eyelash adhesive, now a year and a half old, had separated into an oily-ooze and a white paste. No amount of mixing the two would produce a sticky glue. On top of that, my brand new (a couple years ago) lashes came out of the unopened package as stiff as a board. They could not be bent to conform to the curve of my eye lid and no amount of glue would hold them in position! I tried for 35 minutes and then gave up in total defeat. I would have to go without. Cleaning the glue off my eyelids and redoing my eye makeup cost me another 35 minutes. My time-cushion was evaporating…fast!
Make up done, I made a quick pit stop and put on my underwear and outfit with no problem. Great! Then I put on the necklace that was the perfect color only to realize the piece was the wrong shape and size of the space and just looked awful. Back in the box! Option #2 was a long draping triple chain that I could have called “Old reliable” because it went with everything and generally looked great…but, not tonight. It added nothing. Then, another disaster! The chain caught up in my wig and in my frustration, I tugged a little too hard and broke the chain and had it so tangled in my hair that I had to take the wig off to retrieve it! Twenty minutes later, with the wig re-brushed out and reset and a new medallion on a long chain added, I was ready for perfume and a last-minute check. And a last-minute it truly was! I was out the door without 1 minute to spare.
Pulling up to The Colony I could tell there was some “event” taking place. There wasn’t a parking space to be seen. So, I pulled into the portico and as soon as I stopped my door was opened by the valet who said, “welcome to…no…welcome back to The Colony!” I pretended to recognize him but honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him before. [Maybe our reputation had preceded us]. When Rhonda and I entered the hotel, we found five young women gathered around the hotel manager unintentionally blocking the path to the restaurant and bar. They all looked to be professional models and I guessed they were part of the “event.” The cool thing was that one of the models was at least an inch taller than me! She was beautiful and proud of herself, and she had every right to be. Oh, to be that skinny again! We smiled, said “excuse me” and moved through the group toward the entrance to the bar. “Just like riding a bicycle,” I thought.
The bar was busy but the outdoor area was packed. Almost all the tables around the pool were taken and there was a large group of very well-dressed people on the lawn that separates The Colony’s convention center and pool. A black Ferrari 488 GTB or Pista was parked on the lawn next to the bar so maybe the event was sponsored by Ferrari or their local dealer. It was fun trying to guess.
We sipped our drinks and talked and talked, occasionally stopping to say hello to old acquaintances. It was very much like old times…just a little smaller crowd but given the twin circumstances of COVID and End of Season, the crowd would have been deemed “typical” for the time of year.
At 7:45 PM we arrived at Café Boulud and were greeted by the Maître de who welcomed us “back” and showed us to a lovely table in the main dining room. I was surprised he remembered us after a year and a half. Later the restaurant manager came by to add his “welcome back, ladies,” comment to us. I guess we were memorable!
The prices at Café Boulud were breathtaking and memorable as well. How about a delicious filet of Dover sole for $70? Ouch! Rhonda and I each ordered the lobster salad ($18) from the appetizer menu for our entrée. When it arrived, we both laughed. The dish couldn’t have contained more than three forkfuls! There was no chance of over-eating in this restaurant. Maybe it was a sign to us. Afterall, the three young women at the next table were all size 4’s.
Alas the evening had to end. It was so good to get out again. I told Rhonda that it was like tuning one of those old radios where you turn the dial a little one way and then the other until the station comes in clearly. That’s how it felt. Clear.
Thursday, May 20, 2021
It Is Not A Noun or A Verb!
Describing trans people as "things" is de-gendering and no better than describing them as "transgenders".
What does the word transgender lack?
It is not a noun. Or verb. It describes an aspect of a noun. But like other adjectives in formal language– green, strong, female, etc. – it describes the type of noun in question, and explains something about a noun that’s relevant to the context.
Transgender, as a word, describes folks who were assigned a sex or gender at birth in-congruent with their actual sex or gender. Transgender is an adjective – it cannot stand on its own, but must be attached to a noun. Like other adjectives, transgender exists to modify and clarify some aspect of the noun at hand.
Transgender is a word that modifies, but when I open up my Google alert for “transgender”, it’s rarely attached to a noun; instead, cis journalists (out of ignorance and fear bred of cissexist society) often use it to dehumanize their subjects when reporting their lives and all too often, their deaths. I notice the misuse of these words most glaringly in titles. Here’s a sample from May:
- Butt-Injecting Transgender Found Not Guilty
- Fil-Am transgender sues Macy’s for discrimination
- Transgenders seek state help with employment
- Transgenders win discrimination tiff with American Eagle Outfitters, AG Andrew Cuomo forces changes
- American Eagle Outfitters Agrees To Include Transgenders
- Right to ban transgenders from clubs?
- Transgenders call on Congress for jobs
- Kolkata transgenders stage a protest against discrimination
Transgender is not a noun. It is an adjective, and reducing people to just one of their qualities is necessarily reductive and denies their gender and their humanity.
"Transgender" is also, as you’ll notice above, the catch-all for many different kinds of people. Dyssonynce wrote on this earlier this year :
Especially since while I am one of those trans people, I am not a transgender person. I am a transsexual person. This is why I don’t use transgender. This is why I do use Trans. If you can’t see that there are serious differences in just the letters used there, please, learn something about us.
Using transgender as a noun is occasionally an ignorant, symptomatic mistake made by a careless writer. But more often, it’s an indicator of more issues: transgender or cross-dressing male to describe trans women, a she where a he is needed. It is indicative of a pattern of dehumanization, of degendering. How can a writer too lazy to check the AP style manual or question their own use of nouns and pronouns be trusted to write about trans issues? (The answer is systematic cissupremacy.)
Transgender is also not a verb because gender is not a verb. I do not cisgender every day when I put on a skirt or wash my genitals. I do not gender when I do anything, because gender is not a verb. Using transgender as such reflects a lack of understanding and avoidance of research on the part of the writer.
Transgender can modify “woman” in the case that the woman in question was assigned male at birth. Transgender can modify “man” in the case that the man in question was assigned female at birth. Transgender can modify “person” when talking about (particularly though not exclusively) nonbinary folks on the trans spectrum. Transgender can modify “people” when talking about a community, and “issues” when talking about issues of concern to the trans community. Transgender can modify whatever nouns can be used to describe a trans person. Trans mother, trans father, trans political candidate, trans writer, trans blogger, trans journalist, trans veteran, trans student.
Transgender even as an adjective is not always necessary. Woman and man describe trans woman and trans man just fine, and in fact, that’s probably better unless the story is somehow about them being trans. And it almost always is about the person in question’s trans status, because that is what folks without cis privilege are reduced to.
Describing a person as "a transgender", article and all, is dehumanizing because it makes the person in question less than a noun: it defines them as not a person; they are not even a thing**, a place, or an idea. They are an adjective: one aspect of their life that has been pulled out of context of their humanity to mock and to shock.
Devon puts it this way :
Nouns are the primary components of speech, and they possess greater power and more potential for abuse than any other element. Consider this example: "a black man" versus "a black." The second construction strips the individual of his status as a man, an insidious thing. However, when the same word is used as an adjective modifier the problem disappears; "black" then simply describes the noun "man," the most important component of the sentence. Similarly, when "transsexual" is used as an adjective the implicit meaning changes — the emphasis is placed on person, man, or woman first, transsexual second.
These words as a word doesn’t exist on its own. It is an adjective, a word used to further describe a person, a noun. Transgender is a quality, not an entity.
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
|Women's Lace-Up Flats Flat Heel Sneaker|
I am tempted by the well-placed Pinterest ads for just what you cannot live without. Months ago I was burned getting a pair of sneakers from China that were cute but of inferior quality. Thus I have become cautious. It is not that I have given up on direct sales/imports from China products, however, I study the pricing and shipping carefully. If I do succumb to the temptation, then for safety (credit card), I use PayPal knowing there is some delivery backup as well.
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
|Motorsports star Charlie Martin|
By Christina Macfarlane and Sana Noor Haq,
Mon May 17, 2021
(CNN) Anorexia. Depression. Loneliness. If motor racing requires a high level of endurance, then Charlie Martin is well versed in navigating life's twists and turns -- on and off the track.
It was in 2012 that Martin transitioned. Two years later, she won her first event in France at Saint-Gouéno at the wheel of a Westfield SEiW, breaking the class record by two seconds. Now, she's intent on becoming the first transgender driver to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hour race.
Alongside her commitment to supporting LGBT communities -- which she signifies with a distinctive blue butterfly logo -- Martin is the only elite transgender driver in motorsport and one of the few athletes defending the right for trans girls to take part in women's sports.
In light of the recent increase in anti-transgender legislation and policies across the US, her activism feels increasingly significant.
Changing sport through activism
Martin says that sharing her story has allowed her to change the course of her career for the better, a trajectory she hopes to mirror through her work as a Stonewall Sport Champion.
"When you have an opportunity like this, it feels too important, especially at a time like now where there is so much discrimination happening against the trans community," she says. "It's really alarming to see."
She's not wrong. Activists have already called 2021 a record-breaking year for anti-transgender legislation in the US, with 31 states introducing bills that ban transgender girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identities. The bills are also seeking to limit access to gender affirming health care.
Likewise, according to a survey from LGBT+ anti-violence charity Galop, 81% of 227 respondents in the UK reported experiencing a form of transphobic hate crime in the 12 months leading up to October 2019.
"This is about kids striving to better themselves, their self-esteem, their vision of what they can achieve ... sport is a big part of that," Martin adds. "Denying that ... it blows my mind."
From a caterpillar to a butterfly
It seems that her boundless sense of optimism has led her to where she is today, a motif encompassed by her blue butterfly logo.
"If a caterpillar can turn into a butterfly, then to me, it symbolizes possibility ... incredible things can happen in life if you believe in them."
Monday, May 17, 2021
Another example of such models – Russian model Stas (full name Stanislav) Fedyanin. With the growth of 180 cm he weighs only 45 kg. By the way, he’s not a gay, and he even has a girlfriend.
Meanwhile, if we talk about the reaction of parents and classmates, at first they were somewhat shocked. But now his father is calm about the requests of his son to buy a dress or shoes of this or that brand. But his mother, who works in the beauty industry, where many people of non-traditional orientation, needed a couple of years to accept it. In addition, he had a very hard time at school, it was a real harassment: the guys beat him up, and only the girls loved, defended, and they considered him their best friend.
Gorgeous boy Stas Fedyanin
However, in Russia the start of modeling career was unhappy, but fort example, in Germany he successfully participated in the Berlin Fashion Week shows. Abroad, he has photo sessions, interviews, and even magazine covers. “There everyone is interested in how I survive in Russia with such appearance. And they say: “Wow, you’re cool, we like you, keep up the good work.” And in Moscow, you can’t even imagine this”.
Sunday, May 16, 2021
Friday, May 14, 2021
Thursday, May 13, 2021
As Everyone Dresses The Way They Feel?
I discovered a blog recently that discusses "The New Fashions - Styles Beyond Gender". One would think it is about cross dressing. It is not and makes a cutting-edge comment about the subject. I will discuss in a future post why I agree that cross-dressing, as an expression, is obsolete. Your comments first?
Read the "Footloose and Fashion-Free!" comment.
We are living exiting times in many senses: technologies allow us to stay in touch with people from around the word and humanity even starts reaching for distant planets.
When it comes to gender, we have gone a long way into accepting our ample, rich sexual diversity that goes way beyond the traditional gender binary: after many centuries of stereotypes, people finally start presenting themselves as bi-gender, non-binary, genderless, genderfluid.
Even cis-gender people, i.e. those falling into the conventional ”male” and “female” categories, are acting, even unconsciously, in ways far removed from traditional patterns: Ladies are becoming more assertive, while gentlemen are allowed to show their emotions and display their “feminine” side.
All this slow but steady modifications in our conduct, which I consider to be extremely healthy and honest, cannot help but being expressed in the way we dress.
Ladies wear pants and “power suits”, while the creativity, the flair, the colors, the design, which used to be reserved for the girls only, are finally reaching the menswear department. Males don’t have to settle for the same old boring, gray, stuff.
Skirts, heels, jewelry and flower-patterns in bright colors for men are not uncommon any more.
My blog, promotes designers and creators of non-conforming fashions. WARNING: It’s not a blog about "cross-dressing". That's a word that hopefully will one day vanish from our vocabulary as everyone dresses the way they feel...
|Male Model Nikita Wolfe|
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
The film is about a boy named Tobias Hansen who is hiding a secret about his identity. But this secret is soon to be revealed by the insistent and curious Wilma. Should Tobias show his true self or should he let it remain hidden?
A short film about identity, acceptance and friendship.
This short film has won the award for best script at TheNextFilmFestival 2016 in the category of people under 16.
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Model, Comedienne, Author
After all, this is called the "Success" page and at first, I had to wonder if I fit that description. For me, it has been a challenge to embrace my successes. For years I held onto the shame of being a trans person. I enjoyed my life and pursued my dreams, but there was this nagging thought that I could accomplish more if I didn't have this baggage to contend with.
One of the greatest gifts in life is having the courage to strive for our full potential; physically, emotionally and spiritually. On my journey through transition, I found the biggest hurdle to overcome was not my own inner voice telling me I should be a woman. The biggest obstacles are the ones that society lays in our path to keep us from being true to ourselves. Clearing these hurdles and showing pride in our special circumstances will help change our society. That will truly mean success for us all.
Read the complete bio here: Leslie Townsend's Story
Monday, May 10, 2021
I found this blog and it is so interesting that a couple can achieve this degree of acceptance / joy. What a beautiful couple enjoying life. Refreshing and gives us all cause to be envious. Thank you Vlasta and Michaela for sharing your life with us.
We are happy couple enjoying life. This blog is about our experience, which we call "continuous sociological survey".
Many people live their lives waiting for something that will bring them happiness. We call it “I’ll be happy when…” When we buy a new car, a new apartment, when we go on a dream vacation, when… You can name it. But we think happiness is the joy of little things.
We would like to share with you our experience that the joy of life and freedom brings to us. We’ll try to bring our experience closer to you, we’ll try to show you that “it” is possible. Because, as Vlasta says, we only live once, and we don’t want to regret that we didn’t do something we could have done.
Although it is not very polite to reveal it in women cases, she was born in 1971. She has two children from her first marriage, Andula, 20, and Matěj, 18.
Vlasta was born in 1967. He has two children Mia, 13, and Max, 18. He did not get married, according to his words, because he didn’t have enough time. Life is so fast… 😊
In these extraordinary times we have decided to visit the wonderful and charming Venice. We did go there because we wanted to take advantage and see the city without tourists. We have been there before and have seen it packed with hordes of them. But this time it was different. We do understand, that for the business are these times difficult, but we think, that it was once in the lifetime opportunity.
We don’t want to tire you out with the details of our visit, but we thought you might like the photos of our outfits we wore in Venice. Hope you would enjoy it, as we enjoyed the visit.
Take care, be yourself and don’t waste your time with people who do not deserve it. Vlasta & Michaela
Just a few pictures from my birthday. We went out to dinner with the kids yesterday and during the day we walked through Prague, stopped at our favorite restaurants, had some drinks and during the time we exchanged several outfits, as you can see. Michaela baked me Pavlova’s amazing cake, and I got beautiful flowers from her. The last stop was in our favorite restaurant Tiskárna, where we had our wedding reception a year ago.
We have seen Tosca at The State Opera yesterday. The performance was breathtaking. And we finally enjoyed the opportunity to wear evening dress.
Due to the covid pandemic, the performance was moved from the spring term, and took place in a slightly modified mode. The individual groups of visitors were separated from each other, including separate entrances. We thought for a while if we should go at all, but in the end we were glad we did. Even though the performance was sold out, in the end one third of visitors did not arrive. So even the social distancing was artificially created.
Sunday, May 9, 2021
Become the Transgender Woman I Am Today
|Corey and her mother|
Q: When did you first know there was something different about me?
A: The second you were born. As soon as they pulled you out, the room went very quiet and all noises sounded gargled, as if I was underwater. It was a euphoric moment and when I looked over at you—this baby who I just naturally delivered, who I didn’t have a name for because I was confused throughout the entire pregnancy about whether or not you’d be a boy or girl—I said to myself, This child is different. I didn’t know why, in particular, but there was a definitive moment when I made that distinction, and that feeling stayed with me.
Q: When did I start playing with toys traditionally considered ‘for girls’?
A: I don’t know if you remember our garage in California, where we lived until you turned seven. Half the garage was a playroom, and my old Barbie dolls from the 60s and 70s and their clothes and accessories were in the playroom for your brother, Matthew. He didn’t play with them, but you did. You started asking for your own when you saw them in the store and wanted more—evidence of that can be seen below, in a home video where a relative gave you a Batman for Christmas and you were so disappointed, saying, “I didn’t want that!” That’s also around the time when you first asked for a dress.
Q: When I asked you for a Cinderella dress at two, what was your reaction?
A: My first thought was, “Where can I get one?” For me it seemed natural; I didn’t even question it. I already knew you were different—your mannerisms, behaviors, energy; everything was different. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when you asked. The next person I talked to happened to be my friend, and I asked if they had an old dress from their daughter and she said yes, and gave it to me… It was what you wanted and that’s what I did.
Q: What has been your greatest achievement as a mother?
A: My children… they’ve grown, experienced the world, graduated college, and are out on their own, thriving.
First, happy Mothers day to all the mothers. I am speaking, not on my day to speak, but here goes:
To my beautiful kids; my greatest achievement. I am so proud of you for thriving, all doing so well and being so accepting of me. You are the best! I love you!
Friday, May 7, 2021
I remember vaguely my small country church having a "Womanless Wedding.". I must have been very young. Had I been older I am sure I would have volunteered (demanded) to be a flower girl. I do have a very limited memory of attending but any detail escape me. I believe it was only done once.
Fact - Being a bride is the intimate display of femininity.
However, there was a time past when it was popular. NPR has an article on its popularity and other bloggers including Stana (Femulate) has posted historical photos of their popularity. So my question before I get to the article, did you ever participate? That will make a great story - Please share.
June 16, 2015
By Linton Weeks
NPR History Dept. A FRESH LOOK AT AMERICAN HISTORY
The flowery month of June and the whiff of wedlock is in the air.
Definitions of marriage in America keep expanding, but for most of the country's history, the word "wedding" has called to mind images of a woman in a white dress and a man in a black tuxedo. And traditionally, June was the most popular month to get hitched.
So, there's no better time to reminisce about a once-popular community ritual — still perhaps practiced occasionally — that would seem to be on the edge of extinction: the womanless wedding.
|Photo from Femulate |
A role-reversed wedding party in 1984.
Pore over photos of womanless weddings of the past, and you will usually see men in gowns and dresses playing the roles of everyone in a wedding party — including bridesmaids, flower girls and the mother of the bride — at the comic events. Brides sometimes had beards or moustaches; flower girls were portrayed by grown men. The pretend nuptials often raised money for churches, charitable causes or civic organizations.
Participants dressed as women — and even some dressed as men — took liberty to 'ham it up,' kissing audience members of both genders, flashing garter belts, adjusting whatever passed as breasts and, in general, just being naughty," writes North Carolina State University historian Craig Thompson Friend in his 2009 book Southern Masculinity.
"The participation of local civic and economic leaders," Friend writes, "became crucial to the success of the womanless wedding."
It is a "most unique and attractive entertainment," the Houston Post reported on May 27, 1917. "Some of the most prominent men in the city will be in it. It is filled with fun from beginning to end and every city or town in which it has been given there have been record breaking audiences, even standing room being at a premium."
The phenomenon seems to have started in the South, but spread quickly across the nation. A womanless wedding in Bloomington, Ill., in the spring of 1918 raised around $225 for the Red Cross, the local Pantagraph observed.
Small towns hither and yon — from Aiken, S.C. to Galena, Kan., to Clayton, N.M. — staged the burlesque-esque shows. "Many in the community were more than willing to pay admission to see their male neighbors in ridiculous female attire," the Encyclopedia of North Carolina notes.
In fact, the Forest City Courier of Nov. 30, 1922, estimated that more than 1,000 people attended a womanless wedding in the North Carolina community to raise money for the local Parent Teacher Association.
Big cities — such as Miami and Pittsburgh — also featured the follies. So popular were the performances that scripts were developed around the idea, and the do-it-yourself theatrical productions were passed along from city to city. Some of the stagings included impersonations of notable Americans, such as Henry Ford and Charlie Chaplin.
A 1928 community production in Lead, S.D., the town's Daily Call reported on Feb. 1, featured one well-known fellow "in a frock of daring brevity and scantiness" and another as the famous actress Theda Bara.
In Newport, R.I., the city board ran into some political obstacles in May 1931 because several aldermen missed a key meeting to participate in a womanless wedding, the Mercury reported.
Even during World War II, when there were fewer men in America's communities, the spectacles continued. In Luverne, Iowa, folks raised $146 for the USO in the summer of 1943 with a combination womanless wedding and rooster sale, the Mason City Globe-Gazette announced.
|Another Photo from Femulate - circa 1950|
Had any photos from my church fundraiser they
likely would have looked like this.
The practice continued throughout the second half of the 20th century, though perhaps with less frequency — and certitude. There are depictions of womanless weddings — staged not that long ago — still to be found on YouTube.
'Ritual Of Inversion'
Over time, there were also spin-offs of womanless weddings — staged mostly at churches and community clubs — called Manless Weddings.
Actresses would impersonate the bridegroom, his father and other males, sometimes including some famous folks. At one manless ceremony in Kingsport, Tenn., the local Times reported on Oct. 6, 1926, a woman pretending to be Babe Ruth made an appearance.
So, when all the "I do's" are said and done, what were womanless weddings all about? In his book, Friend suggests that the womanless wedding was a "ritual of inversion" created not to undermine, but to reaffirm community values.
"In mocking the very ritual they found most central to communal stability," he writes, "organizers and participants in womanless weddings raised questions about the society in which they lived. In the play, they called attention to real social change and its effects on marriage."
But, Thompson adds, "even as it reversed and violated the ideal, the womanless wedding replicated and buttressed reality."
As that reality receded into the past, so, too, did the widespread practice of womanless weddings. With an increase in same-sex couples and new visions and revisions of what it means to be an American family, womanless weddings have become quaint and antiquated.
As Stephanie Coontz, professor of history and family studies at Evergreen State College tells NPR: Womanless weddings "are not very compatible with a world where same-sex marriage is increasingly accepted." [too bad]