top 10 things I love about femmes

August 28, 2007  |  essays
  1. Strappy sandals, roman sandals laced up the ankle, legwarmers, flowery skirts – the legs, the legs, the legs

  2. The moments of subversion when I expect gender to be aligned with compulsory femininity, and I am surprised

  3. Delicate jewelry, fingernail polish, pierced ears, garter belts, purses, glasses

  4. The way she walks in high heels

  5. The under-the-eyelashes fuck-me look

  6. The feminine curves of cleavage and the clavicle

  7. The struggles with not being visibly out, which also brings the privilege of hearing what people say when they don’t know someone queer is listening

  8. Holding the door open, holding your umbrella, ordering for you, pulling out your chair, that moment when you take my arm, carrying your heavy burdons, cradling your delicacy …

  9. The examination, overhaul, and eventual reclamation or rejection of “traditional femme hobbies”

  10. When a boy actually turns you off … but I turn you on

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6 Comments


  1. i really appreciate this!

  2. I dunno that there's much to envy about not being visibly out, Sin. I mean, yeah, we can "pass as straight," but a lot of us don't want to, nor do we want to go through our lives constantly outing ourselves to every asshole who hits on us because he's under the mistaken impression that our feminine presentation is for him. When you're a femme, deflecting the attention by telling them that you're queer often just eggs them on further: "Oh, baby, why don't you invite your girlfriend," or "You just haven't had a piece of me," or "I can change your mind, baby, I like girls-who-like-girls, why don't we have a threesome?"This is not a pleasant struggle to face on such a regular basis. Personally, when this happens in my life, I feel incredibly unsafe, exposed, and vulnerable in a very real, physical sense. It's not an experience I care to share with anyone, because it's not an experience I care to have to begin with.

  3. The struggles with not being visibly out, which also brings the privilege of hearing what people say when they don’t know someone queer is listening

    Interesting. You love this? The frustration of not being seen by other queer people, of having to sit uncomfortably while people make homophobic comments (or put myself in an even more uncomfortable position by challenging them), of deflecting unwanted attention that I know I wouldn’t have if I was less girly. I rarely think of it as a privilege. Is there something redeeming about it that I simply haven’t noticed yet?

  4. linaria: maybe I should clarify – I don’t love the struggle it has put my friends & lovers through, but I do love being able to support and lend visibility to femmes through discussions of this issue, or by simply being my butch self next to them.

    and, truthfully, I am slightly envious of femmes ability to pass as straight sometimes, my lovers & friends occasionally have fantastic stories about subversively surprising the homophobes around them.

    I guess moreso than “oh I love this,” I mean, this is a part of femme identity that I see, I acknowledge, and it’s an interesting complicated struggle, and I love that I can be a part of it.

  5. in regards to the discussion about being visibly out, may I suggest my most recent post about being out vs. being out there, where I talk about choosing to be out there with my identity, even though I *can* and usually pass (even when i don't want to).essinem.blogspot.com

  6. I, too, just heard some really nasty homophobic comments on the plane the other week. I had a real zinger for that asshole about 15 minutes later. Would he have said it if I was visibly queer? Probably not.I do love #10, though. I was at a wedding the other week and a (male) friend of a friend (who was quite attractive, for a man) was giving me the sex-eye and all I could think was, "not on your life, buddy."

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