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Old 10-27-2012, 01:58 AM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blush View Post
To say that a femme and a straight woman both shop at the same store, or share similar life experiences and are therefore more alike than they are different seems to be an over simplification.
That would be an oversimplification, and I don't think that's what Payne meant if you are reacting to that.

I do think that there are straight women and feminine lesbians who are thoughtful about femininity and creative in their efforts to live as healthy powerful feminine beings. That doesn't mean that they are just like femmes.

The reason that the first femme conference was organized is that some femmes went to a conference on femininity and found that their experiences WERE different than many of those they saw represented.

I also think that seeing how we have changed since we came out is different than repudiating our former selves. Haven't you met lesbians who have done that? Everything about their lives as a straight woman was a compromise, a loss, inauthentic and lesser. And maybe for some women that is true. But for some there is a strong sense of continuity of self between their straight lives and their queer lives.

Truly the points I make in that paper, assuming you are responding to that, are not directly relevant to the discussion. And I don't think they are easy to argue. I think we'll just end up saying, it depends on the femme. We're all different.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:06 AM   #62
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Default McCarthy and the Hays Code.....

First I'll say I don't identify with June Cleaver, never have. I don't keep house, bake cookies (except for charity events), etc. I often jokingly refer to myself as a failure of a femme because while I love my makeup, shoes, fashion and glitter I'm not June Cleaver!

I choose to spend my time on academics and work and yay for me no one expects otherwise. (In fact everyone would probably think I'd lost my mind if I wasn't knee deep in books, research and obscure medical facts) I usually hire a housekeeper and I make a mean phone call for reservations or take out. Some days I wear pearls and I rock some 50s dresses, but I have no love for the 50s or the history behind why it produced the images it did.

In my experience there are two things to be mindful of about the images/movies/TV that came out of Hollywood in the 50s and 60s and even the 70s.

First McCarthy and the House Committee on Un-American Activities played a huge part in art and culture from that era. To deviate was to be investigated and that investigation could and did ruin a lot of lives. Conversely there are some incredible queers and allies who thumbed their noses at McCarthy and survived, but that wasn't the usual outcome.

Second from Hollywood directly was the HAYS code. Women could NOT be seen to deviate from "loving their man the right way" unless the production ended with their death or suicide. An excellent example was the movie Queen Christina with Greta Garbo. For the first 3/4 of the movie we see a strong gender bending portrayal of a character and then to make sure it got past the sensors you'll see an abrupt shift to the Queen falling in love with a man and throwing it all away for him.

June Cleaver and Leave It To Beaver fall smack into both of these lovely oppressive codes. (Referred to as the HAUC & HAYS codes in our queer studies department) For Leave It To Beaver to have the run it did June had to be the way she was, same with Mary Tyler Moore, etc. I Love Lucy had more leeway, but by the end of EVERY episode she "loved" her husband.

Both of these codes also dictated how characters of color and LGBT characters were portrayed, neither in a good way. Hollywood is littered with amazing acts of defiance from that era which are really only seen on close inspection. Numerous marriages were blatant covers to protect the sexuality of many actors, directors and artists.

What anyone does in their own house, bedroom etc. with the "50s ideal" is their own thing. I won't judge cause chances are I've done or do some things that will make someone go all kinds of sideways. BUT I will say I prefer that when people make the choice to idealize anything that they are educated and understand the reality behind the glamour.

Your mileage will probably vary and pardon the typos it's 1am.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:42 AM   #63
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I think it's time to visit the Housekeeping Monthly Good Wife's Guide from 1955: Printed May 13, 1955

The Good Wife's Guide

  1. Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have be thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.
  2. Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
  3. Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
  4. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.
  5. During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  6. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.
  7. Be happy to see him.
  8. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
  9. Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
  10. Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
  11. Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.
  12. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  13. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
  14. Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
  15. A good wife always knows her place.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:49 AM   #64
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Default Be a little gay.....

Hey i got #3 down pat!
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:11 AM   #65
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Default Jumping off from the Good Wife's Guide post

So, let me start by saying I have never taken a women's studies course and have zero academic background on this era....so thank you to Martina and to pinkgeek for bringing in some of that context. I appreciate it greatly.

Here's my gut reaction to that 1955 "be a stepford wife" guide....

I think men, in general, were scared. WWII saw women stepping out of their former roles in massive numbers. Women were working out of the home, and not just as teachers and nurses....we were welders and truck drivers and machinists and every other thing that had been previously perceived as "men only."

And we did it well.

Women provided immense labor towards keeping the war effort, and the nation, moving...and we did it by doing things that men (in general) thought we could not do. I imagine that scared the crap out of them, because suddenly we were showing (not just saying) that we could do everything that men could do, and that we were their equals.

I don't think it's too big of a jump to say that seeing women perform work that had been percieved as too hard, too dirty, too whatever for them, was no less frightening to men than seeing former slaves learn to read and write was to former slaveowners. The biggest backlash towards any group has always happened when they try to step out of "their place."

I think the 1950s was about backlash, and men (and many women, too) trying to stuff women back into the box they had jumped out of.

I absolutely adore images of women from this time.


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Last edited by JustJo; 10-27-2012 at 07:20 AM. Reason: another thought
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:25 AM   #66
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JustJo
Absolutly
I've had the thought in my mind to do research on the rate of suicide among women during that transition time when they were put back into housewife role after being in the work force. I did a little work on that when I was in college (women's studies major here) but didn't come up with much, but that was "back in the day" when there wasn't much available in online research and my work was more in letter writing, phone calls, library books. I might revisit that.
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:59 AM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by easygoingfemme View Post

The Good Wife's Guide



--Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

--You have no right to question him.
Ugh. I can't even.

I find these examples of male privilege still so prevalent today...in the workforce, everyday interactions with some men etc.-- that arrogant (implicit or explicit) attitude of his words are FAR more important than mine, and who am I to contribute/question his authority on this subject? Just listen (to him).

In fact, I think some students (high school) don't question a male teacher's authority/knowledge half as much as they do female teachers (we have discussed this).
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:22 AM   #68
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Default Disclaimer...head still a little mushy but gonna give it a try......

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Lady_Snow View Post
[CENTER][SIZE=4]

June Cleaver gets brought up a lot in our community as a Femme Role Model, a Femme Achievement Heirarchy, Femme Wife Model, How Femme Should Behave.


How did society/this forum come to that conclusion? What is the attraction? Is this part of your kink? Is it edge play for you if kink is involved? Is it a power dynamic? Does it get your juices flowing? Are you wondering how this came about? Do you even care who she is or what she seems to stand for? How does this affect you as a Femme of Color?


I love how in this community we break down things and examine them throughly and listen to one another without personalizing it or having to crap on someone/someones when we do.


Let's dismantle this and talk about all of it the good the bad and the ugly but please, please when we do let's do it in an adult manner and not take jabs at one another.

Discuss.

I'm loving this thread and the honesty that is flowing through it. It's nice to see hard topics, addressed without rancor.


1: I think, society and this forum have come to that conclusion for a number of reasons. Most have already been address here but for me, it's as simple as....it's what society knew. How are people supposed to want something that is outside of their realm of normal? Which is why I thank god that there are members of society who step out of the pack and say NO!!

As for this forum....well, unfortunately I think because of MANY years of trying to claim space for people who are *different,* we've created many different types of thinking about what is right, not right, acceptable or nonacceptable for *us*

Also, I feel that because of the expectations we place on others like us, but NOT us, we've created a rift, even between each other. What I mean by that is some folks have strong feelings about what it means to be a woman and what SHOULD be expected from a woman, especially a gay/lesbian/put your word in please. Because of the fight they went through to be accepted for who they are, some may have gotten so far away from the original issue, they've allowed it to start again. Just in a different package. I have a hard time with getting those thoughts out on a good day, today it might be even harder for you to understand my meaning, if so...PLEASE ask, I'll try again.

On the flip side, some of us keep the narrow messages society has shoved down our throats, even as we try to navigate through our life in this gay woman/add your word, world. It's hard for some to seperate what has been taught to them thier entire life, just because they realize they are gay.

In that instance I think it's lack of experience? Lack of knowledge? or they just haven't opened thier mind to the many OTHER ways of navigating their world. Or, in that same instance it could just be plain ignorance, feeling like their new gay world should conform to their narrow minded views of how the world should work. Some have created a wierd....level system. You're only a real femme if.....you're only a real butch if.....and if you only do A....three times a year, you're on the bottom level of whatever id applys. Some are just plain stuck in thier superior than, mode and don't know it, or don't care enough to change it.

For me, I know i don't hold anyone of any gender up as a role model. I've had a wierd growing up and for some reason, the people in my sphere I may have admired for a reason or two but i can't say there has been one single person, real life or fantasy world that I have said.....um, i wanna be you. Or maybe I'm just stubborn and selfish and figured my way is the best way. So for me. I don't understand either side of the coin when it comes to people believing they can tell me what should happen in MY WORLD. I'm not like my Mother, I'm not like my Father, I'm not like you or you or you!! And, why the hell would I feel I have any right or it be any of my business to tell you or you or you....how YOU should be, or YOU should feel??? In my brain that make no sense. And it pisses me off when I see that happen.


I think I need to take a break and go get more coffee. I'm out

I have my answers to the other questions you posed Snow, so I'll be back. hehe


j
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Old 10-27-2012, 11:07 AM   #69
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This thread is producing some incredible thought provoking stimuli for me. Many I may respond to as time passes, but which would now take more time and words than I have available. What I like best is Lady Snow's courage (which she generally seems to have in abundance) to just say out loud (write out loud?) what is so often argued about on other threads. That "femme" is queer.

Straight women are not "femme." I would go further to say (though I know this ideas truly lights some people's fire) that a person is "femme" only if she is attracted to butches. The terms grew up together and IN MY MIND are inextricable linked. There are lots of wonderful feminine appearing lesbians, attracted to other wonderful feminine appearing lesbians. But to me they are not "femmes". For me "femme" carries a political aspect to it that disassociates it, (but does not alienate it) from straight women or feminine lesbians. Straight women do not face negativity for being attracted to men. They may be hassled over a particular guy they are attracted to, but not the attraction to men in general. Feminine women may face all kinds of negativity for being attracted to other feminine women, but they do not challenge the norms of society in the ways that a femme butch coupling does.

Outsiders may see the pairing as hetero-normative, but the couple is, in fact, merely responding to their own attractions. Within the couple, they determine their own dynamics. Femme may be an auto mechanic and Butch may have the children. Femme may be the high powered attorney and Butch may be the stay-at-home partner, meeting Femme at the door when she returns from her hectic day in the courtroom with a flute of Champagne, wearing nothing but a jockstrap. (oops, slipped into my own personal fantasy with the jockstrap image, LOL.) But they still live (and love) the butch femme dynamic. They challenge others to re-think what they have previously defined as "male" and "female." in a way that other pairings do not.

As a child I never liked the "Leave it to Beaver" show, (two stupider boys never existed, and Dad was pretty much of a whining pain in the butt.) I never liked June Cleaver, and I never thought she was particularly feminine. I did not aspire to that particular style of beauty. It was too straight-laced for me. Now that I am an adult, looking back at the fifties and early sixties, I look at Ms Cleaver, and see the public image of many butches of the day. Short smoothed back hair, tiny earings, little or no makeup and the manliest dress they could get their hands on. Dresses were required attire for any female worker outside of a factory. You had to shut up and fit in or be unemployed. Home was the freedom place ... and the gay bar. I am single since the death of my darling, and I am registered on. well, lots, of dating sites, (lesbian dating sites.) Many of the women on these sites closely resemble June Cleaver.


For those of you who found Ms Cleaver's perfection to be challenging or daunting, remember - it is much easier to be perfect when you only have to do it for 1/2 hour per week.


Keep writing, my beautiful femmes, you are so smart.

Smooches,
Keri
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Old 10-27-2012, 11:19 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by Martina View Post
That would be an oversimplification, and I don't think that's what Payne meant if you are reacting to that.

I do think that there are straight women and feminine lesbians who are thoughtful about femininity and creative in their efforts to live as healthy powerful feminine beings. That doesn't mean that they are just like femmes.

The reason that the first femme conference was organized is that some femmes went to a conference on femininity and found that their experiences WERE different than many of those they saw represented.

I also think that seeing how we have changed since we came out is different than repudiating our former selves. Haven't you met lesbians who have done that? Everything about their lives as a straight woman was a compromise, a loss, inauthentic and lesser. And maybe for some women that is true. But for some there is a strong sense of continuity of self between their straight lives and their queer lives.

Truly the points I make in that paper, assuming you are responding to that, are not directly relevant to the discussion. And I don't think they are easy to argue. I think we'll just end up saying, it depends on the femme. We're all different.

I wanted to bounce off on this a little.

I was at the Queering Femininity conference in Seattle when all of the hullabaloo went down and was one of the original founding members of the Femme Collective.

When we all heard about the conference,we were so excited about the possibility of convening with other Femmes. In our misunderstanding, we heard "Queering Femininity" and thought "Femme Conference". It couldn't have been further from the truth.

There were about 20 of us who were part of a larger tightly-knit circle of Femmes who made the journey. I roomed with WickedSuzi and another Femme. When we arrived, we quickly discovered that not only was the conference NOT a Femme Conference but that Femininity was basically being used as a cash cow for the organizer. (a Transman)

While he made no bones about the fact that he was there to make money, it felt gross to us on a lot of levels that the conference was #1 very expensive and #2 racist and classist as shit.

There were several women of color there who had either been part of the steering committee and had been summarily dismissed or had outright quit over concerns about racism and white privilege that were not being addressed. I watched as one woman of color put up a hand written manifesto on the wall as you entered the large conference area where our main speaker, Minnie Bruce Pratt, and watched two minutes later when a white woman, one of the organizers, came and scribbled some "Nu-uhs" on it.

I watched as one of the women of color later boarded the stage to talk to Aiden, the main organizer, and laid down on the stage and asked him to step over her to demonstrate what it felt like to be a woman of color at this conference. I watched in HORROR as he did.

I went to some of the only workshops I found palatable. Needless to say, "Stalking the Wild Butch" was not one of them. I listened as Gay men claimed "Femme". I listened as Straight women claimed "Femme". I listened as a Transman claimed "Femme".

I watched thousands of dollars change hands at the registration table and I watched as at least 2 young Femmes were denied entrance for not having enough money.

Needless to say, Poochie, Kenya, Marjorie, Eve, Heart, and many others convened on that Sunday after all of the "festivities" in the lobby of the hotel and came up with a plan to do it better and to do it without harm.

The first 2 Femme conferences that I worked on weren't perfect but I do still wholeheartedly think that the intent was good.

Point to all of this is that I think Femme is co-opted in a lot of ways. By people, by movements, and in ways that are really harmful to us.

I think Femme gets co-opted when it is compared to straight woman or when it is seen as Stepford pussy.

I think it is co-opted when it is seen as a way to make money or a way to further your "organizing" career with no real interest in making the Femme community better or more accessible.

I think Femmes have to constantly and consistently shield ourselves from that kind of shit and I think it can get really tiring.

I don't know what my point was now but I think it is something about how we have to keep demanding space that makes us feel honored.
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:11 PM   #71
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Can I ask two questions???


And please know that I mean NO disrespect, there is absolutely NO judgement, and I admire everybody for doing what they feel is authintic in their life.


1- When I saw Snow's first question. It seemed real simple to me. As evidenced by my response.

My question......how do we go from what *I* feel is a simple straight forward, the world was stupid, some people are still stupid answer, into a discussion of the feminist movement and the power players and et al.?

I know that sometimes I don't get down and dirty with things, but for me, the most simple answer is the most logical solution kinda thing?? Again, there is no judgement. I strictly want to understand the line of thinking. Cause maybe a little part of me feels I should go there too. you know? I really do. When I was in law school we had many courses in which we had to dig into the minds of others and I think I still have a hangover from that.


2- Medusa's last post help me formulate this question that has been bouncing around in my head for a while. Thanks Medusa!!

As a femme, I enjoy, love, need the bonding with other femmes. I love talking about what makes each one the femme they are. I like hearing histories and being invited into their lives and understanding what made them the femme they are today. However, I'm not understanding why we as femmes need to completley tear apart the meaning of femme, try to understand and put constraints on what *femme* is, is not, should be, could be...etc. Or Medusa are you talking more about just bonding discussions on a larger scale. Because I understand those. Obviously, I've never had the gift of being able to attend a conferance. And I sure am glad I missed that first one you described. I'm not nice.

It concerns me for a couple reasons if we are trying to label and define *femme.* But that's just me. And I really want to understand how other think about that?

Another note....I do COMPLETLEY agree that in the past, present and future, people have and will, display horrible bigotry towards people that are not *them*. The others I guess I'd call it. I believe that whatever group has been *othered* should stand up and call that bullshit out real quick and in a hurry!!! Actually, I feel that even when not in the *othered* group, if dumb shit behavior is displayed, you (general) should call it out. But I have concerns about how some of this sets up an us-vs-them sorta vibe which to *memememe* can be just as harming.

I'm not going real deep into my thinking because I really want to see what *you* think about my questions. Cause to me, that's WAY more interesting that thought i live with daily.

Or maybe this should be a different thread. Oh well, I just thought I'd through it out here and see.



j
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:14 PM   #72
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I grew up in an unconventional home. My Mom and Dad were Hippies.. My Mom was raised beyond privileged and my father very poor. My mother informed him, she had to have her hair done every week and a housekeeper was expected. He complied and provided everything a princess could ask for.

First there was Mrs. Grimm (elderly) who made me say my prayers at night and gave me nightmares. Then came Georgia, an African American woman who cared for my sister and I, while my parents were busy living their life-style from the ages of 4 till about 10. In between a few others who didn't survive the household. Then came Olivia imported (pretty gross) by my parents from Mexico who still holds a place in my heart, that is deep and filled with admiration and love. She taught me how to love. She was 19 when she joined our family and when I say joined... She became part of us. My mother said, I ruined her.

I am not a caregiver in the sense of *June* - I do not cook and only eat, because I have to. I am lazy, beyond lazy when it comes to household prettiness. I do not prepare meals for my partner and honestly.. Could care less if my partner prepares meals for me - I don't care about food. I do want to be taken care of -- Honey, please take the garbage out and mow the lawn, so I don't break a nail. I am okay with this. Sometimes I just feel inept.

I have some pretty fucking dynamic Femme sisters here, and I am just in awe of them. They cook, they clean and they are oh so pretty while doing it - yet... These Femme's who I have mad respect and love for, are the most dynamic and powerful Femme's I have met, thus far. I can close my eyes and see a few in an apron, and it makes me smile. This does NOT diminish who they are as Femme's - They DO NOT live the 1950's stereotype - unless of course it is their kink!

This is a hard topic for me. It makes me angry and I feel repulsed, in part by me. I am not even a little bit June. I don't even have the ability to pretend to be June. Even if it were part of my kink - I couldn't do June. Nobody ever taught me how to be that woman - Olivia tried, but I failed. I was taught by Jimmy and Keith (they took me in as a runaway) how to do laundry. When I was in Australia, I was on the phone with Snow... Remember? DJ (Dreamer) was at work and I decided to be domestic. I was doing our laundry. Seriously.. Australia is still 1950's. I couldn't figure out how to hang the clothes on the line. I think you were impressed Snow (lol). I felt really proud and excited that finally - I could do something *Femme* like for my very very *Butch* partner. That little feeling of inept inside of me went away for just a moment... Until DJ came home and said honey - how cute you are! What an interesting way you hung my socks! Seriously baby? Seriously?

And it's not my parents who taught me to feel shame, or the straight women in my life... Sadly - It is my community who has instilled this sense of shame as a Femme, because I did not do (all that is femme and june like) for my partner. It is the Butches I have dated, that have judged me and some of the Femmes as well. And then came my strong fabulous Femme Sisters who whispered in my ear and reminded me, that who Julie is (me) is perfect the way she (me) is.

Julie

EDITED: As a side note. I was jealous of my friends who had *June Cleaver* households. I still am a little bit. I feel like I was denied a rite of passage, even though - the thought of this, repulses me.



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Old 10-27-2012, 12:44 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by femmsational View Post
However, I'm not understanding why we as femmes need to completley tear apart the meaning of femme, try to understand and put constraints on what *femme* is, is not, should be, could be...etc.

It concerns me for a couple reasons if we are trying to label and define *femme.* But that's just me. And I really want to understand how other think about that?

j
I think it's a bad idea to insist on some kind of public definition for femme although we all have our own. I think femme exists. We can attest to that. It can be named. But defining it will inevitably exclude. Iamkeri's definition is exclusionary. It would exclude me, for example. There are some amazing discussions about what it means to be African American. Finally, it comes down to being subjected to the kind of racism we in this country reserve for that group.

We can talk about what it MEANS to be femme, and I think those conversations are valuable. They include descriptions of our sexuality, our aesthetics, our politics, our humor, our experiences with invisibility, and so on. They will vary widely. That is the stuff out of which some sense of what femme means comes. And it should stay as unformed as that. IMO. As Judith Butler says, you have to risk a little incoherence for connection to be possible.

Part of allowing for incoherence means that the cooptation that Medusa decries is even easier. I don't favor policing our boundaries. People will coopt femme. That stuff happens, and policing it is pointless. If you start policing such things, you will end up policing one another too -- and excluding.

In a way, this discussion is very uncomfortable. I have no stake in arguing with Iamkeri. I have read her posts and respected them for a long time. I respect how she lives her life. But she just told me I am not femme. I had an emotional reaction to that even though I grant her definition no authority over me. I think these conversations are valuable, but they are not without risk. I think, femmsational, you are acknowledging that in your expression of concern.

But they are also valuable. That thread about femmes fucking femmes was very helpful to me. MY personal perception lately has been that the way femme is here has been narrowing a bit. I am so not going to take that on. If my feelings about that had remained unchanged, I imagine my partipation would have waned. That thread gave me a real lift, opened things up for me. I appreciated it.
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:53 PM   #74
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Hi Julie! I am glad you got your coffee. I have my tea.

If I can paraphrase your two questions:

How do we go from the 50s sucked to a larger discussion of feminism?

Why do we have to break down femme?

I hope I have those right.

I think that taking any conversation to a bigger picture place is always helpful and, to me, fun. There are many times that I don't understand what people are talking about and am limited, especially in writing, from grasping the point. Sometimes I might figure it out months later! Heh! So I think that there can always be meaning beyond what seems to be a simple discussion. The fun part is that meaning might be vastly different for different people.

As far as why break down femme? For me as a latecomer to femme this ongoing discussion has been enormously helpful. I love hearing how other people experience femme. I do not always agree. It does not matter though because I have learned I can still be femme even if I don't agree with how others do it! That was a big deal to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by femmsational View Post
Can I ask two questions???


And please know that I mean NO disrespect, there is absolutely NO judgement, and I admire everybody for doing what they feel is authintic in their life.


1- When I saw Snow's first question. It seemed real simple to me. As evidenced by my response.

My question......how do we go from what *I* feel is a simple straight forward, the world was stupid, some people are still stupid answer, into a discussion of the feminist movement and the power players and et al.?

I know that sometimes I don't get down and dirty with things, but for me, the most simple answer is the most logical solution kinda thing?? Again, there is no judgement. I strictly want to understand the line of thinking. Cause maybe a little part of me feels I should go there too. you know? I really do. When I was in law school we had many courses in which we had to dig into the minds of others and I think I still have a hangover from that.


2- Medusa's last post help me formulate this question that has been bouncing around in my head for a while. Thanks Medusa!!

As a femme, I enjoy, love, need the bonding with other femmes. I love talking about what makes each one the femme they are. I like hearing histories and being invited into their lives and understanding what made them the femme they are today. However, I'm not understanding why we as femmes need to completley tear apart the meaning of femme, try to understand and put constraints on what *femme* is, is not, should be, could be...etc. Or Medusa are you talking more about just bonding discussions on a larger scale. Because I understand those. Obviously, I've never had the gift of being able to attend a conferance. And I sure am glad I missed that first one you described. I'm not nice.

It concerns me for a couple reasons if we are trying to label and define *femme.* But that's just me. And I really want to understand how other think about that?

Another note....I do COMPLETLEY agree that in the past, present and future, people have and will, display horrible bigotry towards people that are not *them*. The others I guess I'd call it. I believe that whatever group has been *othered* should stand up and call that bullshit out real quick and in a hurry!!! Actually, I feel that even when not in the *othered* group, if dumb shit behavior is displayed, you (general) should call it out. But I have concerns about how some of this sets up an us-vs-them sorta vibe which to *memememe* can be just as harming.

I'm not going real deep into my thinking because I really want to see what *you* think about my questions. Cause to me, that's WAY more interesting that thought i live with daily.

Or maybe this should be a different thread. Oh well, I just thought I'd through it out here and see.



j
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:16 PM   #75
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I think that teasing apart Femme was part of my coming out process but that teasing apart Femme can help us get down to bone of who we are even as we're more settled.
Like, I've been out and identified as Femme for about 15 years.
My Femme looks very different today than it did 15 years ago partly because I've been exposed to other Femmes and partly because I've figured out that the "glittery babygirl" thing didn't *have* to apply to me.

I don't want to put constraints on what Femme is. I want everyone who identifies as Femme to be exactly the Femme they are without all the bullshit from outside.

What I find in my personal life is that I *do* fence Femme. I do dismantle and reclaim Femme in ways that feel empowering to me.
Part of the act of fencing might come across as un-fencing if that makes any sense. I fence (protect it) by reminding the younger Femmes in my life that they don't need to wear certain things, be certain things, they can just be who they are. I protect Femme by turning shit like "Femme needs Butch to exist" away at the door. I protect it by speaking up when I see Femme being used as "dating pool" instead of honored individually.

I also do not always agree...or maybe the better word for me would be 'identify'...with how other people claim Femme. Like, I see Femme as a Queer identity. It's hard for me to see Straight folks partnered with other Straight folks claiming Femme and even harder to try to identify with it. Doesn't mean I try to tell them they can't claim it, just means I don't resonate with them like I do Queer Femmes.
And that's where I remind myself that I don't get to or have to police that.

Redefining Femme, teasing it apart, reclaiming it, etc. can come with a price if we aren't super careful. I've seen conversations about celebrating Femme actually narrow the definition of what Femme is and I don't want that. I want my sisters, and even those who aren't sister but who exist in the same space, to feel honored in whatever form they take. I'd like to look up one day and see that Femme is so expanded and stretched that old femmes, fat femmes, differently-abeld Femmes, Femmes who fuck genders other than Butch, Femmes of Color, Femmes who don't have conventional beauty privilege, and Femmes who feel 'othered' don't have to keep having conversations and convincing people that they are Femme without the caveat. I don't know a way to say that any better right now but it's something akin to exploding our conception of "normal".
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:23 PM   #76
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Thank you all for being willing to answer my clumsy questions.

I love all the different thinking processes I'm seeing.

I'm sorry Snow if you feel I've hijacked your thread. Let me know and I'll try to start a different one!!


j
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:26 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by iamkeri1 View Post
This thread is producing some incredible thought provoking stimuli for me. Many I may respond to as time passes, but which would now take more time and words than I have available. What I like best is Lady Snow's courage (which she generally seems to have in abundance) to just say out loud (write out loud?) what is so often argued about on other threads. That "femme" is queer.

Straight women are not "femme." I would go further to say (though I know this ideas truly lights some people's fire) that a person is "femme" only if she is attracted to butches. The terms grew up together and IN MY MIND are inextricable linked. There are lots of wonderful feminine appearing lesbians, attracted to other wonderful feminine appearing lesbians. But to me they are not "femmes". For me "femme" carries a political aspect to it that disassociates it, (but does not alienate it) from straight women or feminine lesbians. Straight women do not face negativity for being attracted to men. They may be hassled over a particular guy they are attracted to, but not the attraction to men in general. Feminine women may face all kinds of negativity for being attracted to other feminine women, but they do not challenge the norms of society in the ways that a femme butch coupling does.

Outsiders may see the pairing as hetero-normative, but the couple is, in fact, merely responding to their own attractions. Within the couple, they determine their own dynamics. Femme may be an auto mechanic and Butch may have the children. Femme may be the high powered attorney and Butch may be the stay-at-home partner, meeting Femme at the door when she returns from her hectic day in the courtroom with a flute of Champagne, wearing nothing but a jockstrap. (oops, slipped into my own personal fantasy with the jockstrap image, LOL.) But they still live (and love) the butch femme dynamic. They challenge others to re-think what they have previously defined as "male" and "female." in a way that other pairings do not.

As a child I never liked the "Leave it to Beaver" show, (two stupider boys never existed, and Dad was pretty much of a whining pain in the butt.) I never liked June Cleaver, and I never thought she was particularly feminine. I did not aspire to that particular style of beauty. It was too straight-laced for me. Now that I am an adult, looking back at the fifties and early sixties, I look at Ms Cleaver, and see the public image of many butches of the day. Short smoothed back hair, tiny earings, little or no makeup and the manliest dress they could get their hands on. Dresses were required attire for any female worker outside of a factory. You had to shut up and fit in or be unemployed. Home was the freedom place ... and the gay bar. I am single since the death of my darling, and I am registered on. well, lots, of dating sites, (lesbian dating sites.) Many of the women on these sites closely resemble June Cleaver.


For those of you who found Ms Cleaver's perfection to be challenging or daunting, remember - it is much easier to be perfect when you only have to do it for 1/2 hour per week.


Keep writing, my beautiful femmes, you are so smart.

Smooches,
Keri



-------------------------------------------------------------------

I'd like to touch on my personal perception of Femme, Femme is my gender, it's an evolution from dyke. My gender (Femme) isn't tied to butch, it really isn't tied to anything other that it's my gender presentation. AND because my Femme/gender varies I am comfortable with it because of the very fact that Femme is variant.

So with that thought process I am comfortable in my gender and I can express it fully from one end of the spectrum to the other and not skip a beat or worry about being *less than* when doing so comfortably in the real world. The only time I catch myself questioning my Femme "status" is online, but that's on me for letting others words fuck with my head.


I am Femme period. That means I am Femme as I sit here in my pajamas with my nappy hair pulled back, no make up, crusty ass feet cause I need a pedi, my hair all kinky and unruly and I am Femme.


That also means I can get up, shower, slap a dress on (I only wear dresses here no because it's Florida and it's fucking hot) and go to the store in flip flops no make up and I am jamming on my tunes as Femme.

Which also means when I am at work be it with stains all over me or a bit more cleaned up I am Femme.

I am Femme each time a piece of leather hugs my skin and I am Femme when applying my falsies and I am Femme when my thick cock is bursting from my hips and wiggles as I walk to my bed.


Femme, not tied to anything but me Snow... Who happens to be Queer and who came to her Femme via Queer experiences and Queer models I looked up to. I knew I was born Female yet I knew I wasn't *straight* (and what I guess I should say is heteronormative) that's why *I* feel that Femme is Queer because I know of no other woman who gets it when I say

"I'm Femme"

As a Femme I embrace all other Femme's and do get upset and riled up when a *straight* (hetero) woman is used as a Femme icon that I as a Femme should up hold.


I can't, she's not Queer, gay, lesbian, trans, bi she is a woman who's life is so different from mine and always will be our small similarities as women born into female bodies ties us via the ism highway.


I have that same bond with butches, but that doesn't make me butch.
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:33 PM   #78
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Ouch.

I just read Keri's post.

That one stings.

I don't think Femme needs Butch to exist. I think I'm a Femme no matter who I fuck.

And I think that Femmes who fuck Transmen and other Femmes are still Femmes.

And I think that Femmes who don't want to fuck anyone are Femmes.

I don't think gender is defined by orgasm.
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:38 PM   #79
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If June Cleaver defined femme for me, I wouldn't consider myself a femme.
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:39 PM   #80
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This almost reminds me of a long ago post in which...
If you are in a sexual relationship with a Stone Butch - You are not a Lesbian!
If I don't eat Pussy - I am not a Lesbian. (sorry for being crass - but this is the statement that was presented).
If I don't fuck my partner - I am not a Lesbian.
Stone Femme's who do not touch are merely women who gain pleasure and are selfish!

Julie (Femme - Lesbian - Woman)
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“Sometimes only one person is missing and the whole world seems depopulated.”
~ Alphonse de Lamartine - 1790-1869



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I Love You ~ I Love Us
May 17, 2014
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