i’ve been trying to write about what it means to me to be femme and i can never figure out how to do it. this has been sitting in my drafts for a few days, but i think my thoughts are at least mildly coherent
being femme is about subverting femininity. examining it in its entirety and deconstructing it, choosing specific aspects of it to perform exclusively for women while denouncing and rejecting the rest. with me, there’s an air of confidence that comes naturally with being femme, with performing femininity solely for the attraction of other women and disregarding men entirely.
women don’t love each other like men love women. women don’t lust after or seek women in the same way that men do. many things that women find attractive in other women, men find ugly and repulsive and deem them as imperfections and flaws. the way that femmes present themselves aligns with the way that women find other women attractive, not the way that men find women attractive.
femmes are not “basically straight girls.” as a femme, i do worry sometimes (re: often) that when in public, other gay women will not be able to tell that i’m a lesbian no matter how hard i flag. and while it’s true that straight women probably can’t tell that i’m a lesbian, i know that gay women can. i don’t walk like a straight woman. i don’t sit like a straight woman. i don’t interact with women like a straight woman does.
and i think a lot of people fail to realize that being femme is being gender nonconforming. when femme is seen as synonymous to feminine, this assertion seems entirely incorrect. but when a woman is performing femininity exclusively for other women, when she’s stripping it bare and hand-selecting the aspects of it to embrace, how is that conforming to gender expectations?
i can’t reiterate enough that being femme is not just about presentation. obviously, presentation plays a large role, but it’s by no means the only thing. it’s more than an aesthetic. being femme is part of my identity. it’s how i experience lesbianism and how i experience womanhood.