Word on the street is that y’all femmes want to see more coverage in the style department. We’re gonna make that happen!
Hi, I’m Looking for the Femme Section
Although Autostraddle’s fashion editors have always been femme-of-center, our style content has often focused more on masculine-of-center styles because queer websites are uniquely qualified to provide that kind of information. Mainstream fashion isn’t especially interested in butch swimwear, finding the perfect (cheap) suit for a non-cis-male body or how to shop in the boy’s section as a petite genderqueer. We’ll keep doing that, of course.
But we also need to accept that fashion for straight women ≠ fashion for femmes. It’s crucial to give femmes the same space and respect for what they put on their bodies as we do our masculine-of-center or more androgynous readers.
We can all agree that it takes strength and bravery to embody who we are through the clothing we wear. Femmes, especially younger femmes, need to know that coming out is not synonymous with tamping down the spark of femininity. Femme is about taking that spark, nurturing it into a fire, and then fanning the damn flames until a brand new kind of femininity rises up from the ashes.
The Femme Buddy System
And even when that happens, the glorious and grueling work of being femme is never-ending. Self-acceptance and coming out endlessly are two sides of the same coin, but that’s what it costs us to be seen.
It’s part of who we are. We work constantly to wrestle ourselves away from the gross male gaze in a cruel heteronormative world full of patriarchal bullshit while simultaneously striving to be our best and shiniest, most uncompromising femme selves. Being femme almost always means existing in a strange twilight of invisibility. It can get, frankly, lonesome as hell. There are no easy solutions or remedies for it. Society likes to troll femininity hard. Everyone knows that. Add being queer, or trans, or a woman of color, or having a disability into the mix and the stakes for simply leaving the house start to skyrocket. But the thing is, loneliness kills. We need each other.
Femmes may always feel just a little like outsiders in both straight and queer spaces, but I’ll tell you what: We don’t take camaraderie for granted. Even if we’re running on fumes, we will take our last ounce of energy to make sure another femme feels seen, or help her up when she’s down.
If being at the helm of a space carved out for femmes for eight years has taught me anything, it’s this: We’d be lost without each other. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we still get lost. Permanently.
Y’all? I don’t want to lose any more beautiful femmes.
Don’t Just Stand There, SHINE
I’ve talked about Fit for a Femme being a kind of lighthouse, and now I want to make a bigger, better lighthouse right here, for every femme. So tell us what you want, what you need, tell us what your high hopes are and we’ll do our best to be here for you.
Final note for non-femme identified style enthusiasts who want in on the style suggestion action: We’ll introduce a YNH style form (similar to the beauty one we launched last week) moving forward that you’ll be able to use to ask for the style coverage you want, so keep an eye out for it!
Y’all are always welcome to email me for any style/beauty needs or special requests at firstname.lastname@example.org.