I'm going to refer to things that have been said to my actual face.
When asked, I identify as Femme. I will often say Sparkle Femme due to my love of all things sparkly. I may sometimes say drag queen femme because sometimes all I want to do is look like a shiny mini drag queen with a fabulous wig on. Occasionally I will say Femme with some Butch flavor.
Recently, I had an acquaintance balk at my varied use of the moniker femme.
That irritates the ever loving fuck out of me on so many levels.
On a surface level I feel like my very individual feelings and expression of my gender are not up to debate. They just aren't. I spent a lot of time in my younger years arguing with people over whether or not I could or should be femme, what femmes do and don't do. Fuck that I am too old for that bullshit.
On a deeper level (which at the time I did not have the spoons to explain) I feel like my use of, wearing of and performance of my moniker has been hard won.
When you look at something like tumblr for instance most of the femme iconography is similar. Thin Pretty White Ladies from various time periods. If one looks at me there are many attributes to this archetype of femme that I do not and will never have.
Too often those icons line right up with the Western Ideals of beauty and frankly I'm uninterested as I've written about before.
Firstly I am a black woman. More over I am not a "racially ambiguous" Black woman. My skin is not lightened in pictures, I don't contour my nose with make up or plastic surgery. Sometimes yes I wear my hair straight but there is no mistaking that I am a Black woman. I have been either desexualized because people "just aren't into Black girls" (no not just John Mayer..lots of people have said that to me) or I am hypersexualized because the color of my skin and the texture of my hair is exoticized and othered until I am a fantasy object.
Secondly I am a fat woman. I am the "type" of fat woman who has alternately been labeled as easy because I have big ass titties or completely of no sexual value whatever because I have a fat belly. As far as a lot of people might say either no one would ever want to fuck me because I'm fat or I will fuck any and everyone because I am fat. Desexualized or hypersexualized.
Thirdly, my choice to present however I am presenting on a given day is up to no one but me. I have certain outfits that make me feel a little Butchier than others. For some reason the combination of my burgundy Docs, a certain pair of pants and a V neck sweater makes me feel some swagger even though yes I probably am wearing a fuck load of eye liner along with it. When I was younger I frequently enjoyed wearing a super femme outfit and knowing that underneath I had on boys underwear and was packing a good sized cock. These things are not up for political debate as to whether or not I should be doing them.
For me and my interior and exterior self, femme is a place of power for me.
For me, living in my skin when I walk out of the house with my face made up and a swing in my hips I am coming from a place of interior power. I don't have to follow anyone's guidelines for that.
In the grand scheme of my personal gender identity and how I express it, none of it comes from without. When I say I feel like a total dude, I mean it. I mean it from the inside and I am okay with that. I am fine. I am not confused nor am I gender dysphoric.
I understand that how I do things may make another person uncomfortable but in all reality that isn't on me. The onus to work that out is on the person who is uncomfortable for whatever reason. I don't expect anyone to accept me all the time no matter what, yes it is nice when that happens but not everyone is going to and that's okay. What's not okay in any instance is for anyone else to try and fix me or my labels.
Leave them alone.
I will not stand to have the ways in which I identify rearranged by someone else.
The real truth is that I am a Black Fat Femme who sometimes likes to be a real swinging dick.
In my heart I am still just as gender fluid as I was when I was 6 years old and believed that part of puberty meant I could pick whether to be a man or a woman or a penguin.
In my heart I will make my outsides fit my insides on the day.
Some days that means crazy make up and weird clothes. Other days it means boots and my v neck sweater.
If your expression is different than mine it is not an issue that needs perusing. As far as I know no one is a clone of me and my thing and that's okay. That's great.
I don't care how anyone else identifies.
However we can talk about it and what these things mean to us. We can talk about the variances in how I do femme and how you do femme. Or how you don't do femme.
We can talk about the idea and experience of being comfortably gender fluid in your heart and fairly gender fixed in body.
I don't like feeling some nebulous pressure to argue these things for no other reason than we all do them differently. Sometimes the talk around these things feels like that to me. As if by some weird invisible ruler once we get past a certain amount of similarity we MUST start arguing about who's experiences and presentation is valid.
I don't like that and I don't think it is necessary.
I believe we can learn to navigate talking about these things while remembering that not everything is going to resonant with us personally and not everything is going to make us feel good or similar and it's not that big of a deal.
Different isn't bad it's just different.
And now darlings I think I'm done. I want some tea and to look at lipsticks on the intertubes.
OH before I forget I dropped a link in my sidebar to my fiction collection. If you want to use the graphic for a link somewhere here is the code:
Don't worry about hosting the picture yourself I have plenty of bandwidth.