Femmes

Posted by – April 30, 2009

I’m not one & I don’t understand them, somehow like a teenager who doesn’t understand the boys or girls he ogles. They are a mystery: a perfect, empowered, complicated mystery.

I have had, like so many tomboys and masculine spectrum and androgyny-leaning and genderqueer sorts, the kind of frustration with femininity that is about me & about the world & its expectations, but one day while listening to a femme talk about intentionally trying to look like a dyke so that others would know she wanted to date women, I had one of those revelatory moments. I explained why I was smiling to her: that I had experienced the reverse, trying to fem up my naturally dyke-spectrum gender even though i wanted to date men. We both had a moment of why is this shit so absurdly stupid along with a little and why are there always uniforms and prescriptions that go along with desire?

I don’t know the answer but I do know I have mocked femininity like the injured tomboy I can be, but this book – so full of longing and coolness and love and desire and girlness and attitude that I feel once again something like that teenaged boi or grrl utterly confounded but this time, a little in awe.

This book Visible: A Femmethology Parts 1 & 2, edited by Jennifer Clarke Burke and published by Homofactus, is full of the narratives of the people who call themselves femmes, and they ponder such a range of questions: the obvious ones about invisibility and identity – especially relevant to readers here when that (in)visibility relates to having a trans-masculine partner — to the femininity of a self-confessed “stopped pretending to be a male to queer to femme female” trans person. They are full of gender theory, concerned about community, biphobia, butch-femme dynamics and too many other things to mention. It gives me hope that even I, one day, can overcome being a jerk and punching those girls I like in the arm instead of just telling them how awesome & fabulous they are.

Thanks femmes, for making me look again at femininity. You can read more at www.Femmethology.com.

2 Comments on Femmes

  1. divadarya says:

    Everything in the world is against me being a femme, and yet femme I am. The culture also subjects femmes to the same oppressive crappy expectations that it subjects all women to. I look forward to reading more…

  2. VeronicaMoonlit says:

    Ditto to what Darya said.

    :-) My sister bought me this for my birthday, thank you Helen for posting about it or I might not have heard about it.

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