The other day, I was talking to a straight friend of mine from out west about an essay I had written on femme identity. As I was about to dig into the subject matter, I realized that he might not know what femme was. I asked him if he did, and he said something along the lines of having heard the terms “butch” and “femme” before but had no real sense of what they meant. (Sidenote: We certainly need to do better than the crap-ass definition featured on the t-shirt at the top this post. Ugh. If you can't read it, it says, "Femme: A lesbian who takes a passive role in sex.")
Anyway, that’s when it occurred to me that we need to be more out there doing social canvassing to spread the word about femme—especially about the fact that femme stands on its own and doesn’t need to be linked with the common companion term “butch” in order to make sense as an identity. That’s not to say some of us don’t get hot for butch love. Some of us do. Some of us love femmes. Some of us love across the spectrum (like me). Some of us are asexual. Anyway, I digress!
Your mission this month, if you choose to accept it, is to take some time to sit down and define femme for yourself in a sentence or two. Seriously, only a sentence or two—that bit is important. Then (…and this is the fun part…), tell at least one different person each day that you’re femme and what that means about the way you walk through the world.
In order for this to be effective, you need to have what some people call an elevator speech: really clear, concise points that you’ve worked out in advance. Feel free to wing it if you’re the improvising type, but I think it’s safe to say that most of us don’t necessarily shine our brightest when we’re put on the spot and we haven’t thought things through ahead of time. This is a good exercise for visibility, but it’s also really awesome for clarifying your vision of yourself and the broader identity of femme. I can’t wait to see what your brilliant femme minds come up with!
If you need some inspiration to get your juices flowing, check out this, this, this, this, this, this or this. If none of that is good fodder for you, try reading (or re-reading?) Femmes of Power and Brazen Femme.
If you please, post your definitions of femme here so we can inspire each other, cross-pollinate our ideas and get some conversations going!