Fit for a FemmeCon

For some, being femme can feel synonymous with being alone or unseen; exploited by the wrong people and under-appreciated by your own.  Femme is roaming the streets with eyes and gait and lace and garters suggesting “I’m one of you” to everyone when only a precious few see her for who she truly is. Femme manages to stay beautifully, resiliently afloat in a world where she is told, as Kate Bornstein eloquently said in her keynote address last Saturday at the Femme2010: No Restrictions conference in Oakland, “sexy is evil and cute is dumb.”

Earlier this year – in February, to be exact – I answered a call from FemmeCon for new members to help organize the 2010 event. The call said they needed more femmes of color, more moms, and more folks with experience running events. I am very much all of those things. “I have an obligation here,” I thought, and the next thing I knew I was a full-fledged programming committee member and, just as suddenly, had agreed to run a workshop on femme blogging and social media with the delightful Bevin Branlandingham of FemmeCast and Queer Fat Femme.

I really had no idea what I was getting into. I’d heard of the conference before but had never attended; joining the programming committee was a perfect primer as I got to sift through the initial batch of workshop proposals that would eventually be selected for the program. We had six months to make shit happen whilst balancing work and family and sex and education and our 84,000 other homo-centric obligations and activist causes.

Those six months whirred by until it was very late on Thursday night of last week — less than twelve hours before my presentation was scheduled — and I was in the back of a town car, zigzagging across San Francisco with greasy pizza in a box dinner and freshly-printed copies of my materials on the backseat next to me, trying not to vomit as I’d just realized that the room I was presenting in seats, like, 84,000 queers. HOLY SHIT.

The next day, heavily-caffeinated, I talked myself off the ledge of nervousness and found myself in a hall to direct my workshop with around two dozen incredible femmes and femme allies. Among them was keynote speaker Kate Bornstein – whose heart as is as big as her tongue is sharp, quick, brutally honest, and laced with words arranged more beautifully than your own heart can bear – and folks from far-flung locations such as as Philadelphia, Madison, Portland, and Maine.

I quickly made the decision to clamber off the big stage down to the folks in the audience, because it was just ridiculous not to (partly due to it being more conducive to actual dialogue and partly because I don’t like being up on big stages all by my lonesome). It was a great group – smart, and candid – so we focused on the pressing issues around privacy, anonymity, and how to be most effective across myriad social media avenues without feeling overwhelmed. We covered the DIY aspects of blogging as well as the more abstract ideas of what it means to create and participate in the blogosphere as femme.

When it ended, I felt relieved and triumphant and very happy to get immediate, positive feedback from those who had attended. It was definitely a luxury to tuck my workshop away so bright and early, so that I could relax and spend the rest of the weekend completely focused on the remainder of the conference.


Here’s a list of the fantastic workshops I attended, in case you’re curious:

Country-Western Two-Step Workshop
Chiara Manodori and Haley Ausserer

Quit Fucking Taking Us For Granted: How to Survive the Movement as a Femme
Savanna Kilner

Queer Femme Porn Panel
Dylan Ryan, Courtney Trouble, Judy Minx

Femme Mamas
Celestina Pearl/Dana Rosenberg

Femme2010 Short Film Festival

Strap-On Satisfaction: A Femme’s Guide to Giving & Receiving Pleasure
Greta Carey

Tips for a World Class Marriage/Relationship
Molly McKay, Davina Kotulski

I’m not going to get into the meat and bones of each workshop; I’m not going to lie or sugarcoat my own personal experience at #femme2010 (the conference had an official hashtag on Twitter, and reading the tweet history is kind of an awesome experience all on its own). It was extremely well-done and  left me exhausted at the end of each day (or night, as it were), longing to be tucked in at home with my wife and my kid and my pups, wrapped up in the soothing comfort of the familiar, even though all I had to cross to get to them was a silly little bridge – not states or discrimination or perhaps worst of all, a closet.

Here’s the thing.

At FemmeCon, for one utopian weekend, femme is everywhere you look and it’s undeniable and good and presumed. You look around and the air is literally thick with finely-milled, shimmering glitter. Strangers say “cute shoes” and it’s not just another inane misinterpretation – it’s community, and what’s more, that stranger is about to blow your mind on a panel at the next workshop or during an impromptu conversation over brunch or between sessions.

You have no idea that in the next 24 hours you’ll become fast friends with a girl you’ve really enjoyed watching in hot indie lesbian porn for years.  You have no idea that you’ll meet a professor who uses your blog to teach her class on LGBT studies, or that you’ll be climbing into Lynn Breedlove’s little femme-mobile to get to and fro when your shoes and/or alcohol consumption won’t cut it.

You’ll find yourself in a random hotel room amidst piles of pretty shoes and an overflowing cabinet of much-needed snacks and booze.

You’ll find yourself two-stepping with lots and lots of different girls, all smiling shyly and murmuring “slow-slow, quick-quick” and giggling at the “sweetheart position.” You will lead or follow, but you will have to pick one or the other.

You’ll spend way too much money on irresistible wares handcrafted by other femmes, and then you’ll want to spend more.

You’ll find yourself nursing last night’s hangover over toast and marmalade and the life stories of people you’ve only just met – and you’ll find yourself telling your own for the first time in a good, long while.

You’ll find yourself screaming “FINGERBANG!” at a poetry reading, of all things. And then, a few heartbeats later, you’ll find yourself crying. A little. (Typical. Ha. Blame Missy Fuego.)

You’ll be handed brand spanking new, high-quality dildos and harnesses scot-free and you’ll have sexy lesbian porn stars autograph the newly-purchased porn in which they star.

You will steal away from all of this for a quiet moment of reflection and be thankful for the incredible art that permits you to do so gracefully.

You’re just not prepared for that kind of awesome until you see for yourself how much momentum can be built on the strong and lovely backs of femmes of all stripes for days and weeks and months and it’s finally happening right before your eyes, and the very first thing you do on a Sunday morning is watch a hot femme fuck a hot dyke on a hot bike going 50mph on a foggy San Francisco highway in a short femme film.

And you thank the powers that be that this. is. your. life.

Fit for a Femme and Queer Fat Femme and Puppy

Sure, FemmeCon is flawed. At the closing remarks on Sunday, the steering committee took responsibility for the conference’s lack of diversity and pledged to recruit more transgendered femmes, elderly femmes, more femmes of color and of varying classes for the 2012 conference. There were a few technical and scheduling glitches on the organizing side, and questionable haircuts on the attendee side. Alas, I was learning and evolving constantly, humbly. It was sobering, but in a way that flooded me with lasting wonder and inspiration.

I have always prided myself on being an open-minded person. This past weekend I learned that being open-minded only gets you as far as what you know or what you may think you know, but being sincerely open-hearted? Well, my dearest darlings, I hate to sound trite, but that will give you the world.

Aja Aguirre is a perpetual late bloomer from SF who writes about style, fashion and beauty for Autostraddle. Her award-nominated style blog, Fit for a Femme, takes on both coasts' signature styles and draws on her experience as a personal stylist. Check out Instagram for her latest looks, and Twitter or Tumblr for QPOC Speakeasy x Femme Power vibes.

Aja has written 45 articles for us.


  1. Totally explains why my gay-dar was going crazy last weekend. Oakland is usually pretty gay but when I walked out of my apartment to get some coffee, I was overloaded. Hope y’all had fun!

  2. Thanks for sharing. Sounds like a fun event.

    At the risk of putting my complete ignorance on permanent display, I have a question for you, though. The poster notes that the event seeks “to explore, discuss, dissect & support queer femme as a transgressive, gender-queer & empowered community.” Can you explain to me the intersection of femme and gender-queer? Is the idea that within the queer community, femme is not the expected gender presentation? Or is there more to it than that?

    • I think there’s more to it than that, absolutely, and it’s a great question. I think it’s more that many different types of gender presentation can be unexpectedly femme.

      When I walked into that conference, my ideas of the range or spectrum of femme were a sad fraction of what they are now.

      I didn’t know how many radically different kinds of queers strive toward femme or the fact that for some, femme was never handed to them on a silver platter. I never had to try femme on and fuck up and fail and try again and face judgment for it – I was just blessed with it.

      The truth is that I feel like kind of a dick for not having earned it with blood, sweat and tears, the way other femmes have. I have so much respect and admiration for these girls, I truly do. I want to hug them all and give them my lipstick and let them borrow my shoes, hand to God.

      It’s really liberating and sobering to walk away from the conference with a new, hugely expanded view of femme. It means my family’s a lot bigger and cooler and has even more heart than I thought.

    • Here’s a passage from “The End of Genderqueer” by Rocko Bulldagger that I really like. It helped me make the femme-genderqueer connection.

      “My own personal definition of genderqueer: (1) A person who is painfully deliberate and consciously political in their gender expression. (2) Someone who identifies with efforts to subvert oppressive power dynamics by undermining traditional gender expectations. (3) A person whose gender presentation is overdetermined by traditionally gendered signs—somebody who displays excessive femininity or masculinity. Conveniently, this definition could potentially include me, my girlfriend, radical straight people, all our transsexual friends, and any one else who actually wanted to identify as such.

      Why doesn’t my definition focus on being in the middle, or outside the male-female binary? Because I want to pull genderqueer back into my own camp, where I first met it, as one of many pragmatic political identities that aspiring queer revolutionaries can use to explain who we are. I want genderqueer to be a true “umbrella” term that includes all of us who fuck with gender, who have gender on the brain, and who never take gender for granted.”

      and I just found the essay online here:

      • Genderqueer means you feel like you are neither female nor male, or you are both.. It shouldnt be a personal definition… If you get rid of genderqueer and redefine it how are people supposed to describe how they feel? When they are not trans but do not feel their own gender… Then when they come out to someone, people wouldnt understand and thats just frustrating.. I dunno I feel like the person who made this definition didn’t feel genderqueer in their life. You can be gender queer and not overtly masculine or feminine.

        • I like genderqueer as an umbrella term, as something with multiple meanings, just like how I think of queer. Even if we do think of genderqueer as being an identity that lies in the middle of the “poles” of masculinity/femininity (gender rather than sex), there are SO MANY DIFFERENT POSSIBILITIES of being genderqueer that identifying yourself as that word doesn’t fully explain your identity.

          I think genderqueer opens up the possibility of looking at gender as an individual thing, rather than as a set of labels that can be applied to a large group of people and mean the same thing for everyone.

          Genderqueer is used mostly WITHIN the queer community, so chances are that if you’re coming out as genderqueer to someone unfamiliar with gender is a spectrum, you’re gonna have to use more than one word anyway.

          • If its going to have multiple meanings.. It should have the original meaning in it…

            There are not “SO many meanings of being gender queer” in the original definition. There are feelings like you are neither female nor male, or feelings of both.. thats two.

            I dont feel like my gender identity should be associated with someone who is just you know.. really butch. They already have a term for that. Its like saying oh well bisexuals are really just lesbians, I mean they both like girls right? oh but wait they are no where near the same.

            They should instead create a new word if they want to create this new definition.

          • Also, when being genderqueer is hard to describe anyway they shouldnt make it an umbrella term, it gets rid of that group of ppl, they become invisible. There is no other term to describe them and no community as they do not fit into the trans community.

          • I understand what you’re getting at re: community. But I also don’t think that someone’s identity is compromised because another person is using the same term for their individual identity, which is slightly different.

            I think it all boils down to words, a lack of words. I DO think there should be a simple word to identify girls who like girls, regardless of who else they like, and so on. It’s one of the reasons I use queer as much as possible. I feel like the queer community is always in a trap of invisibility vs. inclusion. It IS important to raise awareness of different kinds of people. Strict labels raise visibility of a strictly defined group, but there’s always going to be people who don’t fit into those labels if we give them a set definition.

            Not all femmes are female bodied, and some people may strongly identify with their femininity, and therefore femme, as well as masculinity. The same person can identify with butch AND femme AND andro. And that’s pretty genderqueer.

            Are we having a healthy debate? Because I hope we are. You’re making me think.

          • We are having a healthy debate, no worries no anger here.

            “The same person can identify with butch AND femme AND andro. And that’s pretty genderqueer.”
            Yes but in the original definition its a mental thing, you can be genderqueer and have no one aware that you are. Just like a transman can look femme and still be a transman, they just have yet to transition. Looking genderqueer just makes feeling genderqueer easier. Some people even have body dysphoria, similar to the trans community.

            Its like i can picture it, someone says their genderqueer you jump to conclusions about it being more mental than physical and really they just say that they like to look androgynous.

            Is that a bad thing? Well you get outed. Does it matter? Depends on the person.

            All im saying is why erase a label (which gives it more exposure) for something that already is misunderstood and has a small percentage of people who feel that way for people who already have labels to define themselves and who do not benefit in any way from finding words to describe the way they are feeling.

          • I think we have/had different understandings of the “original definition” of genderqueer. I don’t completely comprehend yours, but I think I’m beginning to. I’m not familiar with genderqueer being used to unilaterally define a SPECIFIC identity, but my experience with the term was that it encompassed a more fluid relationship with gender, whether performatively, cerebrally or sartorially. I think of genderfuck as a practice that anyone can do – like lipstick paired with a mustache at a party – and genderqueer as actually living that limbo.

            However, I don’t identify with/as genderqueer, so my experience isn’t intrinsically personal. But I really do need to buy Nobody Passes, because it looks amazing.

          • Basically genderqueer is different than genderfuck. While genderfuck anyone can do, genderqueer is bordering on trans.

            Lets look at a website, gives another explanation. you can check out their about section.

            Like i have mentioned before it is for people who mentally feel that they are not male, not female or they are both female and male at the same time.
            The definition is for people who do not fit into the boxes of gender, not because they dress like that but because they FEEL like that.

  3. I’m super jealous of you and every one else that was able to attend FemmeCon. I think I probably would have teared up upon entering.

    I recently started identifying myself as femme, after realizing last summer just how much I liked all those girly things I’d felt embarrassed/ashamed to like, and how I angry I felt when people linked femininity to weakness. There isn’t a big femme community (if at all) in my city, and part of me feels almost un-entitled to that word, like there’s some sort of femme bible that I don’t have and like I’m just a poseur.

    I feel like femme is so linked to feminism, and that we too often think of femme/femininity as being trivial, superficial or a sign of weakness, and that it’s so important to realize that femme/feminine women aren’t just blindly following the status quo, but have often thought about what their identity means in the queer community and the heteronormative world at large.

    Kate Bornstein spoke at my university last winter, and she’s such an open, inspiring speaker. Her words hit me harder and tighter than any other speaker I’ve seen, and I think about it almost every week.

    P.S. I’m in love with the dusky rose dress you wear in the first set of pictures.

    • It was pretty bloody emotional. Everyone kept saying how “raw” they were after some of the heavier workshops, and it wasn’t unlike in my self-defense classes where you knew that you had to look after yourself in the evenings and/or when the conference wrapped up.

      Bless your sweet femme heart for coming out as such! One comparison a friend drew was that we are very gentle and encouraging with our fellow butches and transfolks and the like, and it’s equally important to treat femme the same way. For instance, you’re not a poseur and you have just as much right to call yourself a femme as I do. 100%. Auntie Kate would say the same thing!

    • Thanks! I really identify with what you talked about in terms of femme not being handed to people in your response to Jessica, which was part of my hesitation to think of myself as femme for a long, long time. I’ve been masculinized by others primarily due to my height (six foot even), and it took a long time to feel like I didn’t look strange in a dress.

      You mentioned in your post something about a conference in 2012 – Is FemmeCon only every two years?

      • I feel you, sister.
        I just came out to myself as femme as well. For me it’s not all about the girly stuff I like, but about everything anyone in the queer community, especially in the community in my city, would perceive as heteronormative, and then taking these things and turning them into something of my own and something queer.
        And I truly believe one can be a femme just for oneself. It’s an area thing as well, I believe. Where I am, close to no butch-femme culture exists at all.[I was recently in Portugal and just amazed by how many beautiful butch women I saw there (and will be going on about this for ages). There’s totally no point in me writing this here, just wanted to say. Yay Portugal!] So, here I feel mostly like: If there’s no such thing as butch, there can’t be such a thing as femme. And if you’re femme, go blame yourself if only straight girls find you attractive.
        This is bullshit.
        Be the femme you want to be. In my member picture I’m wearing only men’s wear, still femme. Even though I like butch women I am not only a femme if I am with a butch. I love women to fucking much to limit the type of women I like to only butch women. Still femme.

        Oh, and I’m very tall as well. Not quite as tall as you are, but I am, but that’s not weird, it’s hot. 😉

        And I like your point how we see feminine things as weak, when in fact, femininity is strong.

        • I like everything you say; let’s be friends. I think femme is also about problematizing femininity, and analyzing it specifically AS femininity rather than as a norm/default position for women.

          Isn’t passing WEIRD? Like, I have the power to come out to new people I meet when and how I like (which is a privilege), but it’s also annoying to have to come out all the time, and I find I experience homophobia VERY differently than more andro/butch friends.

          And I’ve seen femininity shamed not just in queer communities, but by hetero friends as well. Often, it’s women who don’t personally identify as feminists, but feel the need to identify themselves as strong/independent women by differentiating themselves from “those girly girls”, which tends to connote a certain kind of behaviour around men, and in general, negative traits. It’s a strange line, because I feel like (a certain kind of) femininity is still heavily endorsed by mainstream culture and big companies, but in my day-to-day life, it’s often looked down on.

          Note to self: GO TO PORTUGAL. Also, I clicked on your blog link, and while I’ve read that Ivan Coyote poem before, I’ve never seen it performed. SWOON.

          • Oh yes, lets be femmy friends.
            I read your blog today, too. 🙂

            Passing is no a thing I generally like. “Sideswiping their stereotypes” (as in Ivan Coyote 😉 ) is nice, but not to be recognized by people can be so hard. I literally have to out myself to almost everyone, there’s only few gaydars I’ve set off so far.

            Also, sidenote about my area: last night wasn’t my night for chatting up anyone, but it was the first time I was at a local queer party in a dress and suddenly there were more women in dresses [and butchy/andro women] than I ever noticed? A girl in the bathroom even gave me a compliment for my dress (and the “rad tits”, thankyouverymuch). Weird thing, that.
            (Otherwise the “hot” type of women that is very, very in here is the sporty spice ones, and they dress alike much. I can’t say I’m not attracted to it, but sometimes it’s boring.)

            Do you get the feeling too that you should be careful about how feminine you are dressing? Like: don’t wear too much make-up too often, don’t wear heels too often, don’t wear really high heels…blablabla.
            Cause that’s what I thought about when I read your comment. I know my friends love me, but there’s something like a shame about being some sort of a “bimbo”.

            Touchy subjects, altogether. But I’ve started to see this as some sort of a path towards being more comfortable with myself and my body type. I’m rather curvy than skinny and have to say that I’ve never felt so comfortable in my own skin and so in control of what I look like and AM looked at like as now, most of the time anyhow, since I’ve taken on the term femme for myself.

            Epic, sorry.

          • I actually kind of like meeting people and dropping hints to make them figure it out – where you both KNOW, but neither of you has said “gay” or “lesbian” or whatever else.

            Strangely enough, I haven’t been to a queer event in my city for quite a while, but the last time I went to a gay bar in a dress – not just a jean skirt and t-shirt, but full on ruffly dress – I felt like I was on trial. It was probably all in my head. I remember a lot of compliments from gay men.

            I can’t wear heels, so that’s not something i struggle with in particular, although I wish I could. With makeup, I have this underlying fear that people will think I’m not comfortable with myself. But when I lived in fear of being femme and didn’t think I deserved it, I was a LOT less comfortable than I am now.

          • Dropping hints can be fun, though not really when there’s men you actually genuinely like hitting on you. Naaaah.
            Coming out to straight people as a femme is great, because it totally fucks with what they think queer women “have” to look like. But I don’t like never being seen by my own folks. There are some two, three people who just noticed… but standing in a room full of lesbians and being asked if you’re ok with all the homogayness going on around you is like…ouch?

            I think you wrote something important there – the “all in my head” part. Maybe a huge part of it is getting over our own heads and restrictions. And the rest will follow…

  4. it looks like you worked hard and had a lot of fun!

    i don’t think i know anything about being femme other than what i’ve heard bevin say (and she’s incredible) but this makes me think i should definitely learn more.

  5. Aaaahhhh! I heard about Femmecon about a couple of weeks before it was on, and when I read the lineup for the cabaret shows I thought it was the most perfect performance lineup EVER. It’s like the nexus of awesomeness in burlesque/performance art all descended on this one place. I was so jealous that I couldn’t go (being in Australia and not having a mysterious benefactor chime in with $2000 on the spot).

    Neither femme nor butch fit me, partly because I feel they come from very different ideas of gender presentation to what I was raised with (Malaysian-Bangladeshi) and neither really spoke to me. (Though for some reason I tend to be labelled as “femme” quite often, if anyone even guesses I’m queer! But that’s another rant.) But I looked through the conference schedule and lineup and loved the fact that there were all these avenues for discussing gender and sexual identity however in the spectrum you identify, all these issues that I wish I had people to share with down here, just so much openness. Wow. Lucky.

    Hopefully I’ll be able to make it in 2012 (if the world doesn’t end by then!). <3 and thank you for the work that you do.

  6. I’ve been waiting for this post!
    How lucky are you, to be a part of this? It’s an awesome concept, that there are enough femmes out there to carry a conference of this magnitude. We’re decades away from something similar in SA… being surrounded by femmes in such a space, receiving such positive affirmation and recognition, and learning about the diversity within our own small sub strata sounds pretty priceless to me.

  7. I so wanted to be there! Of course, I attend college in the Bay Area but I’m back at home now 🙁 Why does the world have to work this way?

    It sounds like the 2010 Femme Conference was amazing and I am sure that it will keep getting better and better. I will make sure to up the number of queer women of color by going next time : )

  8. Sounds like it was fantastic. Maybe 2012 can be on the east coast! I’m a femme mom, too. Maybe next time we can have a good hour of processing about the assumption everyone makes that we have husband.
    I’m intrigued by your discussion of people taking great measures to become femme, or feel femme. I had no idea. I mean, I joke that I went through a butch phase when I first came out, but it was short and felt so wrong. Growing up, I always played with makeup, hair, and dresses, so femme always felt like the right label (especially after my failed attempt to look butch). Bless their hearts, indeed!

  9. I am so mad at myself for missing this! I don’t even have a good excuse. Thanks so much for the recap and your insight! I definitely won’t be missing it next time.

    I don’t know if I would 100% identify as femme, but coming out as queer was actually a huge step for me to be comfortable with my own femininity (and the dresses, skirts, and make-up that came with it) because it was the first time I felt like I had control over that identity as opposed to it being forced upon or expected of me. I could express that part of me on my own terms.

    Sometimes it’s weird because I think I look “straighter” now than I did before I came out. But who gets to say what straight looks like, anyway? My lack of an alt-cut is not because of inhibitions. I just don’t want one. My long hair can be just as queer. Femme can also be deliberate, political, powerful, and freeing.

    • I’m totally with you on the middle paragraph – for me, that’s one of the reasons I identify as femme (not that you need to!), because it shows a conscious claiming of my own femininity, rather than “I’ve picked up these patterns because, as a woman, it’s what I’ve been told to do.” I think about gender all the fucking time. The way gender fits me just happens to be similar to what’s expected of me as a person with a vagina.

      And weirdly enough, I was OBSESSED with rainbows from ages 13-17. Like, I wore rainbows EVERY DAY. Then when I came out at seventeen, I got sick of rainbows. Seriously, I was so much gayer before I was gay.

  10. What an incredible event! I wanted to go sooooo badly. While invisibility has its upsides, it is so often just plain lonely and frustrating. Perhaps I’ll see you there next year!

  11. this looks incredible! i’ve never heard of femmecon before, but after reading this, it sounds like it’d be right up my alley. i can’t wait to attend someday! (by the by, that dress you’re wearing in the first set of photos is GORGEOUS.)

  12. femmes are beautiful, heart, body, and soul. that is all. i know there is sooooooo much more to it, but right now thats all the words i have. oh yeah, @Brietta, your last paragraph of your last comment made me LOL, for real.

  13. There are lots of East Coast femme orgs, like Femme Mafia and Femme Family, very worth checking out here:

    As far as I know the next FemmeCon is in 2010, but I do know there’s a Femmes of Color caucus or conference happening in Oakland in 2011. When I get more info on that, I’ll post it here.

    Tiara, I owe you an email! Also, you’re amazing.

    I never feel compelled to play down my femme, but that’s just me. The fact that I probably am dismissed or discarded by some for the way I appear is fine; people either learn not to judge others negatively by their looks or they don’t. It isn’t my problem, and I think many of us are constantly perfecting the art of suspending judgment – I certainly am.

    If I muzzle my femme, it benefits no one.

    I just popped over to Midwest Genderqueer’s recap and I totally get it and it makes me sad. I wish femmes weren’t so scared or resistant to how broad femme can be, and I really wish they’d refrain from the false assumption that ANY femme gets to say whether or not someone else is femme or gets to claim femme. That’s garbage, straight up.


      Ha, I have the opposite problem – I almost feel like I’m expected to draw out some mystery aspect of myself that’s not there. Like I’m not butch enough or not femme enough so I’m not queer enough, apparently. I usually just say I’m gender-presentation-meh.

      • that’s probably much healthier for your feet anyways!

        lessons, community, inspiration, whatever
        is really needed when your friend, who you dearly love, blurts out “I hate this butch/femme thing, queer is in” after you proudly told them you had just been called “lipstick femme” (it’s an exaggeration but still ok) for the very first time by your most recent casual butch hook-up.


          1. News flash: Butches exist plenty w/out femmes.
          2. News flash: Femmes exist plenty w/out butches.
          3. Sidenote: Sometimes butch/femme matches up nicely, but not always.
          4. RULE: Generalizations are usually shitty and inaccurate.
          5. RULE: Dismissive judgments are usually shitty, at least.
          6. Dictating your pairings of sexuality and how you present it aesthetically (if at all!) by what is or isn’t “in” is not a little vapid. It’s not like you wear lipstick for street cred or so the cool kids will let you into their club, for crying out loud!

          I’m sure your friend is lovely, but they’d do well to try a bit harder to respect others, and for heaven’s sake certainly a dear friend!

          Dissing your femme is as rude/ignorant as dissing their queer!

          • That made me smile, a lot.

            I’ve had a pre-formulated answer in my head all the time, I’ve just been too lazy to pen it down, but it reads quite similar to what you said.

            I think a lot of people are too careless when it comes to saying stuff like “I hate/dislike…(insert: in general)” when they really mean “I don’t like that for myself”.

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