Tag Archives: femme

Flutterby femme.


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I seem to have become a femme in jeans, t-shirts and hoodies. With short hair and body hair and no makeup. Hikers and no heels.

I can still look like the stereotypical femme and sometimes I even enjoy it. Maybe once a month I throw on a dress. Often I do, but resort to jeans before I leave the house in frustration at the impracticality of the thing. The discomfort.

But I traded handbag for backpack about a year ago, and yeah I’m still femme – but I don’t think I’d enjoy going back to catching the bus because I can’t walk to the markets in my heels.

I like mud and sweat and wearing the same dirty t shirt for days. I like feeling very capable in this skin, and I personally feel more able when I’m low fuss. I like being about wrangling mountains and children and baking. I am not saying being a lipstick wearing femme stops you from doing these things, but for me, it isn’t comfortable doing both.

I’m cool with it. My identity lives in my heart, not on my skin. I’m just manifesting it in a different way. I don’t think I will ever be read as femme as easily, nor as butch or a boi. I understand that how we appear influences how we are socially digested.

In a queer culture where the need to be read, to have a physical codification system that marks you out for easier connection, for pride and presence, I am a little amorphous. But for myself, I’m perfectly at peace being this way. I get shit done better in hikers than in heels. There, I said it. Right now my premium is placed on efficiency, and while I’m sure I could learn to change a tyre in platforms and a fifties vintage gown, I’m not up for it right now and don’t see the point. Power to you if you can. That’s cool. 🙂

Maybe next year I’ll take up skirts again full time. Use hairspray. Wear fake lashes. Maybe, maybe, maybe not. I’m ok with flirting with identity markers, and very rarely inhabiting anything. Right now it’s all for effect, an occasional piece of theatre.

Fluttery butterfly femmes don’t land on the same branch forever.

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Femmes are friends, not food.


*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.


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