Archive for the ‘femme’ Category

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the femme question(s)

January 3, 2007

This blog is called saltyfemme. And since I started it six months ago, I have yet to write a single entry on what being femme means. That’s for a number of reasons, the primary one being that identity talk/politics seriously bore me to tears, the second one being that it’s intensely personal. But I feel some responsibility to write some of this down, because I have these conversations in my head, and I can write, and I keep a blog with the word femme in the title, and so…

I’d like to begin working on a longer piece about femme identity – I’m hoping that this entry can provide some sparks for that essay (or at least serve as a brainstorm). And the format: questions! Because life is full of them, and because I want to try and cover all my bases if I can.

1. What does it mean to identify as femme in a world where women and therefore femininity are considered ‘other’?

2. How do I synthesize the following two thoughts: 1) there are many femme-identified women in the queer community, 2) I feel completely alone in my gender identification.

3. What does being Jewish have to do with being femme, generally speaking, and for me specifically? What do I learn from the stories of femme Jewish writers? (see Joan Nestle, A Restricted Country)

4. Butch and femme genders in the US prevailed mostly in working class, POC lesbian communities in the 1950’s and 1960’s (see Kennedy and Davis, Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold). What was the connection between butch or femme identification and class during this time? (the answer to that question, actually, is in the book I just cited, and it’s really interesting). What does it mean for a middle-class white woman to identify as femme in 2007?

5. How do I, as a femme, connect to butch/femme lesbian history? What *is* butch/femme lesbian history if so much of it happened behind closed doors?

6. Why do people assume that I am boxing myself in when I identify as femme when I feel that it is totally liberating? Why is any label considered limiting?

7. What does femme identification have to do with feminism? How can I feel that they are inextricably linked while others think that femininity is the antithesis of feminism?

8. Why is femme not the opposite of butch?

9. What makes femme identity queer?

10. Why is there still stigma in the queer community about femininity? And is this true in all queer communities, or just in white queer communities? Does femininity have the same stigma in black queer communities?

11. My queer community is made up, for the most part, of female-bodied masculine identifying people (that was a mouthful of queer PC talk but that’s who I am and how I talk), transmen, and people who identify as women but not particularly feminine or femme. I wonder if this is true only in my community or if it is relevant in a larger context.

12. Finally, how do I counter all the countless myths and stereotypes that exist about femmes and femininity?

So these are my starting questions. I don’t know who my readers are, but if you’re out there, whether I know you in person or not, I would love your feedback before I embark. Please don’t suggest books, I’ve read lots of them and I’m pretty full of theory and academic jargon. Too full, in fact. I’m looking for personal stories and creativities, either from femmes, femme-lovers, or people who think femmes or femme identity are ridiculous and want to (respectfully) tell me why. If you’re out there, take a moment, and speak up.* Please reply in the comments. And thank you.

*Blogs and the blogosphere are nothing if they are not interactive. I’ve been struggling with this a lot lately, and I wish for my blogging to strive towards the interactivity that I experience when I take part in grassroots activism. Talk to me!

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femme puppet!

August 21, 2006

Abby Cadabby should make the femmes proud. I think so, anyway. Abby is the newest, girliest addition to the Sesame Street cast. And a fairy, to boot! I know, I know, I should stop seeing everything with a queer lens. But this is a really good one. She could never replace Miss Piggy (the ultimate high femme) but she seems fabulous in her own right.

The pink and sparkly Abby, who flutters around with dragonfly wings and a magic wand, is decidedly more girlie than her peers… “Abby, being a fairy, allows us to teach diversity and accepting of other’s differences, because we don’t have a fairy on ‘Sesame Street,'” (executive producer Carol-Lynn) Parente said. “She’s able to show everyone what it’s like to be a fairy and what it’s like to be magical.”

Contrary to expectations, I won’t go into a long and detailed rant about why Abby is queer. Suffice it to say that she sounds like a sparkly femme to me. And she’s so effing cute! Go Abby. More here and here.

Thanks again to Feministing for the linkage. (An excellent site to add to your rss reader, IMO)