Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Queer Fat Femme: What it means to be femme

“The concept of femme that I employ doesn’t have anything to do with my partners, it doesn’t mean that I insist on butch/femme or heteronormative relationship structures. It doesn’t mean I’m passive in bed. It doesn’t mean that I need to constantly wear dresses and makeup and have two hours to get ready. I’ve had some pretty lengthy getting dressed sessions, to be sure, but I’m pretty comfortable in jeans, slip-ons, and *gasp* even men’s clothing. As simply as I can put it, femme is my gender identity and a political stance.

It has a lot to do with:

1. How I feel very emphatically female, regardless of what I wear, how I present or how I behave. It resonates with me on a level that is difficult to explain. I think femme is/can be queerly gendered.

2. How I enjoy putting on outfits and presenting in a way that is flamboyantly feminine, almost to caricature. Sometimes above and beyond caricature. It’s a persona that I put on which acts as both a critique of forced stereotypical femininity and a celebration of the choice to be feminine without doing so unquestioningly, as the result of socialization.

3. How I feel that certain manifestations of femininity itself are often ripped down altogether in feminist/lgbt/queer politic and make a point out of openly defying those who don’t like or don’t want to understand “girly.” Or those who think that anyone who doesn’t make the same choices that they do can’t be a feminist. Feminism isn’t about how you look, and neither is femme, really.

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