I finally set a date to record a short video based on the responses from masculine presenting women during the initial research for “Descendants of Hagar.”
I have started to work towards meeting the deadline of Saturday, July, 11, 2015. As a result, I’ve began reaching out to photographers, actors and local masculine presenting women I recruited to do the video. All but one woman, who has become a friend of mine, I haven’t text or called since initially asking if they would participate in this project. Looking back at previous exchanges via social media sites has been informative and affirming.
One, I didn’t realize two years had passed since I’d talk to some of them. I initially started planning for the video in August of 2013. I guess, because “Descendants of Hagar,” was released in July of 2013. It seems like just yesterday, when I was putting the final touches on Descendants and approving the publishing of the book. After the book was released, there were so many other responsibilities, I hadn’t anticipated. I am still learning about the business of writing for a living and marketing. Going forward that may become my pattern, to release a book and then market it for a year then release another.
Since Descendants was released, I don’t feel I created the main character, Linny. Linny has taken on a life of her own and has fans. Linny is a living breathing person who readers are finding at different times and emailing me to tell me how she touches them or touched them… It has been amazing to see how relevant Linny is to all women, gender presentation aside, in her complexity… I was actually afraid of a book club that hosted me because they were all straight black women in their 50’s… St. Louis is very traditional, old fashion, racist and religious. Still, even in that space they could identify with people trying to crush others with their expectations or being treated like children because we are women.
Second, reading messages I’ve shared between women on different social media sites regarding my research and intention to make a video based on it reminded me of my initial vision. This is especially helpful, as I am currently fine tuning a script and/or poem… I go back and forth. It might be both.
Third, reaching out to masculine presenting women supportive of and participating in the project brought me back to Downelink. Being on Downelink and reading our exchanges reminded me how amazing social media and the internet is for giving us opportunities to connect. I was also reminded of how small the world is. As I was contacting people, I could see what friends we had in common and how we were are separated by just a few degrees.
On top of all that, while reading our dialog I was reminded of how there is an absence of masculine presenting women’s voices. Or maybe I shouldn’t say their voices are absent, a lot of the books available are full of stereotypes. Like Black people, masculine presenting women often go to be entertained and find broad generalizations and stereotypical characters masquerading as reflections of them.
Four, in the process of writing and asking for help I’m reminded of my own power. I am reminded of the power of us all being gathered to create and address our community. The way people have been responding to my request to come through for the day has been so much love… and light… I feel more enthused to keep pushing. I feel obligated to complete this project just because so many women, again, are showing up to help me complete this work I believe is necessary. I am grateful they feel it is necessary.
I want to initiate or join discussions about the differences between masculine and feminine presenting women, though many of us are all same sex loving. I want to focus specifically on some of the challenges facing masculine presenting women, to reach some understandings and learn how to support them. More importantly, I want to address a lot of stereotypes we as a community have… I want to explore the spectrum of their identities as well as their similarities.
I’d been out and dating women for ten years when I began the research to imagine Linny’s character. Still, I had tons of assumptions and things I just didn’t know about masculine presenting women. Like how they are often sexually harassed by straight identifying women in work environments, but don’t feel supported enough to report harassment. I didn’t realize how intuitive and sensitive they are because they’re always evaluating how they are perceived. I didn’t realize how many women feel threatened by them at work and make it the masculine presenting woman’s problem. Over all, I learned a lot from their responses. I am still learning. My female gender presentation makes my life experience as a same sex loving woman completely different.
My goal is to tell one woman’s story in the project I’m working. The goal of the video is to let several masculine presenting women share a myriad of experiences, perspectives and concerns.
I will be posting more updates and giving more information as the video shoot gets closer. We’ve been discussing some remote videos. We’ve also got to finalize the script and get a basic idea of how everything is going to flow. Anyone in or around the St. Louis, Missouri area who is masculine presenting and would like to participate please drop me an email with your name and number.
Currently, the video shoot is set for July 11, 2015. It is an all day project because we have to take all the shots we need in this one day.
Below is the initial post, I made on Downelink in August of 2013 right after “Descendants of Hagar” was released. This example still holds true.
I’m Nik Nicholson, the author of “Descendants of Hagar;” a two-book series about a masculine presenting woman coming to terms with her gender. I am currently working on the sequel which is currently titled, “Daughter of Zion.”
I am shooting a short video here in St. Louis and am in need of a few attractive masculine types to read a script based on answers from my research. If you, or someone you know, fits this description please pass this message along. The video will be shot in late September or sometime in October.
As mentioned above, the script is inspired by answers from my research of masculine women.
The scene below is an example of what you might be asked to say:
Woman #1 “I am tired of reading books where the masculine woman is over sexualized.”
Woman #2 “I’m tired of us being flat characters; where our whole life is based on being romantically involved.”
Woman #1 “We are either pimps or this sorry-type dude trying to get a girl who doesn’t want us. She’s always the naïve, virginal and goal oriented girl next door while we’re always a complicated mess. That is, if we even have a story.”
Woman #3 “We’re drug dealers and whores. LOL!”
Woman #2 “We’re misogynists. We’re slightly abusive. But that’s not it at all. I have tons of respect for women. It breaks my heart when someone is talking crazy to a woman or trying to push her around.”
Woman #3 “If anything I have some strong captain save-a-hoe tendencies.”
Woman #1 “I hate when they make us super aggressive, or just reckless. I think a lot about my approach. How a woman might perceive me. Is she actually into women? How will my actions affect other areas of my life, especially If she works with me, or is in some other place I frequent.”
Woman #3 “The truth is I don’t even hit on woman, especially at work. Usually women are dropping hints and hitting on me. I’ve had women bring me food at work, straight women at that. I am not saying I can’t be aggressive, but on a daily basis I am a lot more restrained than the characters I’m reading.”
Woman #2 “My main focus is survival and becoming a provider. More than I think about dating I’m thinking about how I can sustain myself. I’m thinking about how I can remain independent. When I was coming up, I was having issues with my family and I knew I would be out of the house… My main focus was becoming independent, not finding a woman.”
Thank you for reading this message, I hope you will join me. If you are interested let me know and I will keep you posted. I anticipate that the shoot would take us a couple of hours to complete.
Love is life, live.
P.S. If there are any questions are concerns feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org