Friday, July 02, 2010

Cherchez la femme

Consider this a confession and a love letter to my fellow queers.

Now so we're all on the same page here are my terms.

Queer- whatever flavor of not heterosexual or asexual. For simplicity I'm not going to use every label I can think of because I don't feel like it.

Femme- used here today to describe my own presentation and for simplicitys sake, we'll use this meaning from Merriam-Webster.
a lesbian who is notably or stereotypically feminine in appearance and manner

I'm not strictly lesbian but yeah.

Okay.

So usually a few times a year I go through and clear out my feed reader and whatever other of that sort of thing. I found myself yesterday unsubscribing from a number of Queer Femme oriented spaces, blogs etc.

Every now and then I go through this series of emotions and frankly I'm feeling too old and too tired.

Just lately it's been being tired of seeing the same cis-gendered thin white women as the icons and paragons of femme.

Now when someone presents something to me as being subversive and supposedly shocking or going against some grain especially when it comes to beauty standards and they proceed to show me the same shit that is every where else but trying to show it through a lusty queer gaze it does not move me.

As a woman of color I've felt like this since I was a teenager.

I remember one of the first times I spoke up a friend of mine was in college and putting together a collage thingy for a presentation in one of her classes. Her theme was queer femininity and while we were talking about it I felt uncomfortable in a way I couldn't quite put my finger on.

At some point it dawned on me that every idea and image she used as being this subversive oh HAY look what the queers can do was pretty much the same that you might find as mainstream images of femininity.

I didn't (and don't know) take issue with using the "norm" as these images it's the presentation.

Don't tell me how subversive and alternative you are if well you're just not.

Putting the words queer or femme on something does not make it instantly outside of the mainstream.

Is there anything wrong with cis-gendered thin white femme folks? Not a damn thing.

What's wrong here (and what bothers me about so many of the spaces where I feel like I'm supposed to be like "YAY FEMMES" and I'm more like "oh....") is that if you're going to tout yourself as some kind of alternative, have some alternative there.

Or if you want to host or lead one of these spaces think about your wording.

Instead of YEAH THESE ARE FEMMES! Why not be honest and say, YEAH THESE ARE THE FEMMES I AM INTO!

It's a subtle difference but it's an important one to me.

In my heart and outside of my activist rawr brain, it hurts my feelings.

It hurts my feelings to feel entirely invisible and powerless when confronted with the hugeness of this and the knowlege that while yes I exist, the people who are doing these things don't see me in any real way.

Naturally there are often lip service paid to this issue.

If you've read me for awhile you'll know that I've had the same criticisms of a lot of Alt and Fetish photography.

At some point it seems dumb to me that for something that's supposed to be Alternative or outside of the norm, there are yards more of cis-gendered thin white women.

Sometimes I've gotten angry about these things but as I get older I just get tired and feel hurt.

This is why when I first heard of things like The Real L Word for a second I was all "SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE LESBIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANS" then I watched and....my erection flagged.

I have had to make the decision that rather than trying to be supportive and have some sense of solidarity with people who frankly I clearly have nothing in common with I just won't.

So if I unsubscribed from your blog, if I stop reading you it's nothing really personal I have made the decision that if I'm going to take in images and words for my own pleasure, I'd rather find things that fit less with the mainstream ideas about femininity and find some that speak to me.

In a minor health note.

Some of you sweethearts have inquired about my health and it floors me that so many people care.

I'm not in dire health straights or anything. I'm having a particularly hard time with not just regular insomnia but a couple of my other actual diagnosed sleep disorders. And when I sleep this little/badly I get worse migraines. I get worse migraines I can't sleep blablabla.

I've been dragging my feet about finding a new doctor, honestly the one I want to go to is just not located in a good spot but it's to the point I may be willing to take actual sedatives despite my hatred of them just so I can get some real restful sleep.

The sleep thing has been declining since early May/late April-ish and yeah.

I'm basically okay except that this level of exhaustion makes me extra crazy.

And yes I say crazy because I do in fact have actual crazy!brain and yeah.

I'm at a bit of a crossroads and I'm not certain how I'm going to handle this particular roadbump.

So yeah.

There we go.

Now my darlings it's a holiday weekend here in the US and Uniballer and I have some cash so there are going to be cupcakes and possibly thrifting.

I love you guys and thank you for coming here and being awesome.

Homo Out.
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1 comment:

sublimefemme said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to let you know that I very much appreciate these criticisms. I'm sure you know Leah Laskshmi's Femme Shark Manifesto--it's a piece I have returned to many times as a way of reconnecting with a more radical vision of femme. For me, femme is not just about what we look like but what we do in the world to change it for the better.

Here's a post of mine you might like:
http://sublimefemme.wordpress.com/2009/01/14/beyond-femme-realness/

Thanks again for the important critique. I hope you continue to discuss these issues. I'd love to hear more about your femme icons!

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