Thursday, May 03, 2007


So I’ve been dealing with some anti-femme attitudes and behaviour lately. I’m not really blogging to address those attitudes – I’ve mostly dealt with those things with the people concerned, or don’t have enough respect for the people concerned to let their attitudes affect me. I am blogging about it, as I am so weirded out that queers – as opposed to loony anti-sex, anti-everything ‘feminists’ would walk around with unexamined issues about femme…and I wanted to reflect on what it is that I mean when I refer to myself and my actions as femme, as well as create some space for myfemmeself to reenergise and reempower. All of these words are my thoughts, my opinions and refer only to my identity and are not meant to speak for other femmes – we are all too damn good at speaking in our own voices. I would love to hear feedback from other passionate articulate femmes I know that read this. So - I'll begin random snippets of ranting...

Actually, anti-femme bigotry isn’t any more fun for me to be on the receiving end of than sex workerphobia, sexism, racism or homophobia (and I believe anti-femme stuff is linked to both sexism, homophobia and sexworkerphobia).

F is for femme, and fierce, and ferocious and fuck you, you fucking bigot. I am not light weight anything. I am not weak, and I may be fluffy, but I am also as sharp and dangerous as my stiletto heels, baby. Femme is not necessarily easy, passive, bottom, pretty or brainless. Oh, and by the way, passivity and bottom themselves can be powerful valid spaces to occupy.

Femmes continue to fight sexism and homophobia and invisibility and be seen as non-feminist and non-queer and still won’t stop reapplying lipstick in our own totally gorgeous stubborn ways. Stubborn, defiant and glamourous? What’s not to love and respect?

Many things seen as being femme ain’t necessarily so…femme is NOT the same as feminine – femininity is a bunch of qualities that are traditionally seen as inherently female, or imposed on those seen as female, and punished if demonstrated by those seen as male. Femme is not default, it is chosen. Femme is not normative, it is transgressive.
However, I’m sure most people on the planet have unaddressed residue from the gendered behaviour that was imposed on them by their culture. Unexamined behaviours, such as avoiding assertiveness, by going in round about ways to get what we want, rather than explicitly asking for it –should be seen as evidence of a history in which women haven’t been encouraged to have needs or desires let alone pursue them openly. Traditionally, women used whatever tools where available to them, including manipulation, sexual attractiveness and misdirection. If we are still using those tools, then the pervasive nature of institutionalised sexism, rather than women should be blamed.
If femmes slip into unexamined, undesirable behaviours, that doesn’t mean that behaviour is inherently femme. If you are unclear of what femme is, maybe you need to do some reading, rather than just apply this term in arbitrary ways.

I find it strange and creepy that people who binge drink, smoke, probably don’t exhibit great self–care practices and may do more traditionally edgy permanent body modification will be okay about telling me how crippled my feet will be when I’m older if I continue to wear heels all the time….

Femme identity isn’t only about frocks, heels, makeup or other accessories – there are actually significant texts out there about it. The accessories are important to us as signposts, as metaphors, as armour, as come-fuck-me plumage for the mating dance, and as fun, but strip us naked, scrape off our makeup, and make us walk barefoot *shudder* and we’ll still be femmes
. Angry femmes, but femmes.

And I'll finish off with the femme allyship statement from the Femme 2006 conference:

Femme Ally Statement
Our femme allies stand beside us in support of our endeavours to be known, seen, respected and acknowledged; You know that we have always been a force in our community, you know that as femmes we have made our own journeys, fought our own battles, and always had your backs. You want to remind us of our value in the community when we grow weary because some see us merely as ornaments or trophies. You are not afraid of our femininity or our feminism or our need to be visible in our own right. You resonate with our power and know that it compliments and supports your own. <more>

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