As is standard for me, despite my intense interest in all things "US Weekly" "The Hills" and Nicole Richie, I’m always about a year behind in my participation in all things pop culture. Oh. It’s not to say that I’m not *aware* of existence of things like roller derby. I mean, I had a Tivo Season Pass to the "Rollergirls" just like everyone else. But it took me a year afterwards to actually attend a roller derby event.
This weekend, we carpooled with some friends up I-93 to watch the Wicked Pissahs battle it out with the Nutcrackers. It rocked. It was girls in black eyeliner and pearls and pink ribbons and tattoos battling it out on roller skates.
It’s held in a Shriner’s Auditorium. So in addition to the multitude of people running around with tattoos and goth wear and skates and what-have-you there are 60, 70 and 80 year olds walking around in full-fezes.
The Shriner staff folks were *incredibly* nice and wonderfully chatty in a way you don’t normally find in New England.
Now, while I’ve heard the arguments about how roller derby is all just "packaged porn" designed pretty much solely to play into the patriarchy’s vision of "tough girl". And while I can definitely see that argument, I thought roller derby rocked.
As a femme, I thought it rocked hard.
And maybe I thought it rocked hard in the same way I’m a sucker for thinking the "L Word" rocks hard… because frankly, I’m pretty starved for images of myself. Not that the "L Word" represents any lesbian world that I’ve ever known, and not that roller derby represents any femme identity that I’ve ever personally been a part of. But I’m so starved for images of lesbians that I can pretend that I wanna be Bette when I grow up, and I’m so starved for images of powerful femmes that I can go to sleep dreaming of circling a roller derby track in a stunning display of pearls and pink while I bash the hell out of some opponent.
I walk in a world that is defined by the masculine. The patriarchy is pretty much everywhere I look, and even in my own queer community where I am only visible as "femme" when I hold hands with my butch girlfriend. Which is what I love about these girls in their nurses uniforms with torn fishnets and rockin out those pink ribbons because they’re being *seen* as femme all on their own without the counterpart masculine.
The only weirdness of the evening were the two state troopers walking around with shaved heads and full uniforms. The Girl and I were standing around talking closely and holding hands when one of them came up, very near to us, held his arms straight out parallel to the floor, clenched his fists and then flexed his muscles bringing his arms back to his waist.
It was a totally unconscious, totally noticeable move on his part to flex his male authority in the face of our queer femaleness.
I think he thought there was too much girl in the room.
Too much femme.