*pre-amble note: in my view of the world, the identity of femme is not conflated with cisgendered women. Femme is a gender identity that is embodied by people who ID in every which way. I also believe it is not our job, as queers, to police who may identify as femme or not.
For a while I’ve been contemplating what it means to have femme friendships.
I’ve never really had a lot of success with this. Without mincing words, I’ve found a lot of femmes really competitive, often snarky, and often hard to get to know. A bunch of them already have their friendship circle carved out, and if you’re not totally suave and up on the lay of the land they can eat you alive – or have a little gnaw on you and spit you out. And yeah, the stereotype of the ice queen alpha femme who bitches out your shoes and politics in the same breath isn’t prevalent without reason. They aren’t fauns. They do exist, and people do worship them (not my scene).
This trait – of fierceness – can be totally useful when turned against those who intrude uninvited and damage our loved ones, but it can be terrifying to come up against as a fellow femme. Especially when you just want to play nice and have tea. Oftentimes it is so damn intimidating that you don’t even approach.
Around the time of Camp Betty, I said to a Melbourne femme that I didn’t think I had any good femme friends. This was probably exaggeration – who doesn’t amplify self pity when talking to someone in a sibling community? – but it wasn’t so far off the mark.
But since Camp Betty I’ve been doing two things. I’ve been ever so slowly making tiiiiny advances into friendships with some of the femmes I regard as People to Know. Not because they are well placed (fuck social climbing) and not because they are the cleverest, the shiniest, the most well groomed. They are people I’ve sought out because they are kind, witty, and welcoming. They seem to get that you can be fierce and be accessible as well.
The second thing I’ve done is get over myself, stop being a blinkered git, and realised that there’s a bunch of femmes and femme-curious people within my reach. I’ve started giving them a lot more love. It’s a little rich to complain about a lack of connection, when you’re not even reaching out to what’s within your grasp.
I’d like to see a lot more femmehood among us, though. We have the capacity to link across our community instead of becoming these distorted symbols who are fetishised and worshiped and ultimately isolated from each other. I know it feels nice to be the centre of mystery – I mean damn, can you even really define femme? I know I can’t – but mystery can get kind of lonely.
And everyone knows loneliness is for suckers. Leopard print hugs are so much better. Scented leopard print hugs.