July 5th, 2004

Subject to Change

*This was originally posted in my own journal. I am posting it here because epilady has asked me to, and if you have seen her bridal costume you surely must know resistance is futile. Despite what it says at the bottom feel free to comment, I wouldn't post it here and expect anything else.***

So many lj conversations trying to nail down the elusive nature of "femme." This is femme - This is not femme. I've even seen "Tutu's are not femme" and then a fairly amusing post-modern explanation of why.
The problem I've always had with the "femme is" "femme is not" conversation is that somehow someone's feelings always end up hurt - there's always some person who is erroneously labeled as a femme or as a not femme who feels misunderstood.
Once, a friend of mine got deliciously girled up for a Halloween evening of sexy fun with me. Her partner at the time - my friend who is a hunky ftm - was supposed to go out with us but opted to stay home at the last minute.
She nearly knocked my head off with her boa when she got into the car she was so furious with him. "How I am supposed to present my gender and be understood as queer without him!" She fumed. I quietly pointed out that as a single and newly out queer femme I had to do exactly that all the time. And that I never really thought of it as a burden until she said so.
But my friend had some reason to feel nervous. The one thing I will say about femme definitively is this: I am hard pressed to find a single high femme who hasn't felt deeply hurt at one point or another by the treatment she's received at the hands of dykes.
Many dykes are mean to us. (And here is a hearty, loving, embracing shout out to those of you who don't want to climb in our pants, don't want us to strip for free for your fundraiser, don't really get why we'd want to glue sparkly red eyelashes on, and still manage to treat us as friends and equals. You are rare but you exist and your kindness is a warm, sweet thing I carry with me always.)
Here is another thing: femmes are not always nice to one another. There are widespread myths about scarcity of resources (ie people to fuck.) Plus, we're performative. We want you to look at us. Yes, we do. We want you to look at us the most - even more than that other girl. Some of us can tame it down - but in some real way femme demands attention.
When we are friends you best watch out because femme friends are a fierce, whirling-dervish kind of thing.
So there I am saying: what femme is. But other than those two things I'm hard pressed to prescribe a uniform for femme.
I hope you perform your gender differently than I do. I hope you are starchily opposed to gender performance and find it to be hetero-normative and regressive and such. I hope whatever the hell you're doing is working for you. This works for me.
Mostly, I hope at the end of the day you will do your very best to be an accountable and thoughtful human being. I hope you will be as respectful of me as I will try to be to you.
I have been skewered by femmes and dykes and trannybois and straight religious christians and abortion doctors and nuns and my family and every kind of "survivor" imaginable. So from here on out the rules are as follows:
I only pledge allegiance to myself and those I know to be solid by my own, unique definition.
I welcome and appreciate your unique identity but identities similar to mine will win no privileges because I am far more concerned about the quality of your character.
Believe me, I really and truly get it. Identity is important. I am not disputing it. But in about ten seconds the world's gonna get really scary and I would like you to maybe point your guns (ie your fierce intelligence) toward the enormous genocidal elephant in the living room.
And while you can undoubtedly jump through the holes in this argument I'm going to leave it here. Because I like it - even in it's unfinished state.
And no comments for this post: if you feel very strongly about something said here, either in agreement or spitting mad disagreement you may make a collage of your feelings and mail it to me.