Femme is Home

Within the queer community, femme is often reduced to simply outward appearance, but a dress does not always make a femme. It is difficult to formulate a clear, concise definition of femme because femme at its very core defies simplicity. For me, femme is a way to proudly own my femininity and express all facets of myself, soft and flowing complete with rough edges and bursts of color. Femme allows me to subvert the prevailing notions about what femininity is and who it’s for. My very being is a ‘fuck you’ to the idea that women doll ourselves up to snag a husband. Femme is liberation. But femme isn’t simple. I’m a sassy Appalachian femme; a stubborn, never-backin’-down Aries femme; a feisty short-haired, edgy femme; a compassionate, pleather-wearing vegan femme; a flirty, shimmying belly dancer femme. I’m a femme who loves stompin’ it out in heels as much as I love retiring to the couch in my PJs for an evening. I am at once graceful and goofy, serious and silly, always passionate, oftentimes to a fault. I walk with a femme swagger that can hypnotize. My femme identity is much more than simple femininity. It’s not just a costume but a performance emanating from my core.

(The bulk of this post originally appeared in an earlier post of mine, The Complexity of Butch and Femme. I edited and condensed it down for a fellow Tumblr femme, vivelesfemmes, who is putting together a queer (southern) femme zine project for a class.)


6 responses to “Femme is Home

  1. I like this. I’m trying to figure out what precisely femme means, since I seem to fit into that category too. It seems it’s sort of… up to us to define, right? Or at least it should be!

    • It is indeed up to each individual to define femme for themselves and perform femme however they see fit. It’s also up to each individual to decide whether or not they want to identify with femme (or butch or stud or genderqueer for that matter). I hear lots of arguments against femme insisting ‘I’m feminine but I don’t want to label myself.’ And that’s fine. But for many of us, femme resonates deeply and we choose it as our identifier. That doesn’t make us more or less than someone who rejects labels, it just makes us more…us.

      Femme isn’t easy to define and I think that’s a good thing. We’re not as easy to put in a box as many would suggest we are. I think one thing that rings true for the majority of femmes, though, is that we find power in our femininity.

    • Yes, it’s a tricky one 🙂

      The best definition I’ve read is by Elizabeth Marston in the recent Persistence anthology. I’ve quoted part of it here: http://malefemme.blogspot.com/2011/06/so-what-is-femme-2.html

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