17.9.07

shifting gears

i promise you will hear nothing of my NYC trip for at least the next week. i swear! not a peep!

I received another anonymous comment last week:
How do you find that hetero standards of femininity are different than queer standards? (If a separate 'queer standard' exists at all)

Just curious.


I've been trying to think through that question, but I don't think I've come to any conclusive answer. Perhaps what I meant by "heterosexual femininity" is really just Western standards for feminine beauty. Thin, pretty, well-kept. But Jennie's right - the standards are bullshit, no one lives up to them and they're harmful! That's been one of the major themes in my Womens Studies classes, and in my own social activism. (Social Activism? Telling women they're beautiful no matter what, that it comes from inside - telling them to be who they are, to find out where their beauty originates and express it the best way they know how. Telling them to fuck the media and flaunt their curves... and doing that very same thing myself).

But that still doesn't explain to me why I feel infinitely more comfortable in the gown of femininity now, than I did before I began this rebirth. My best guess is that it's because all... many... gender expressions are "acceptable" within the queer community. Wearing femininity now isn't about trying to prove myself... (wearing dresses and skirts to hide the fact that I'm "unfeminine" in other ways. commenting on handsome boys just-frequently-enough to keep questions at bay. hiding my feminism lest i be labeled a man-hater. [i do these things less and less. it's getting better])

Now, wearing femininity is about being myself. loving myself. Being femme is about communicating queerness to others, even though I'm still trying to learn how all that works. By being femme I'm healing a lot of wounds that I had tried to cover up with shapeless tee-shirts, slack jeans and sneakers. (don't worry, I'm sending them all to the thrift store!) I'm taking back my femme power from the patriarchy that told me femme is synonymous with powerless.

Which, by the way. Exactly how does one get a "date"? I believe it has quite a lot to do with not working an overnight shift, that's for sure.




So I guess I do and do not have an answer to the question.

4 comments:

D. said...

In my (limited) experience, butches are no less picky than straight men. Hair done. Nails done. Fly outfits. A well-maintained figure. Etc, etc. The same things men prefer.

I did not understnd myself before I came to understand myself as femme. Though I always loved fashion, I felt rather silly presenting a blatantly feminine appearance. It seemed a overt plea for male approval/attention. These things were desirable...but, also, not?

After I acknowledged and accepted my attraction for butch women, femininity became fun. I finally understood the motivation behind my high-maintenance friends. We all revel in the accoutrements of feminitity, but differ in our target audience.

I greatly enjoy your blog. I am working on being the best femme, and best person, I can be, and it's nice to meet another person on the same journey. (Did that make sense? You know what I mean!) ANyway, thanks for answering my question so thoughtfully! Hugs from Baltimore.

--D.

Ms. Avarice said...

all i get is one letter! ;) just kidding.

so i guess we're kinda on the same page, eh?

I think I still disagree slightly... perhaps the standards are not exactly different in the queer community, but perhaps we hold one another less and less to the standards. I think Feminist queers are serious about confronting stuff like body image and gender theory and accepting people the way they are... I suppose that's different from whom we may become attracted to... But I think it affects the types of people we tend to love.

My answer is unfinished. Ask me again when I obtain my Bachelor's in Women's Studies!

Shannon said...

Have you ever read anything by Shar Rednour? She's fabulous in person, but her books are great as well.

D. said...

Miss Avarice, you may very well be right. I cannot honestly say I move in any larger gay community. (Which is something I should remedy.) I can only speak for the individuals I know.

You are lucky to be visiting NY on the weekend of the fifth-- the annual LGBT hip hop festival will be going on then. The website is

www.peaceouteast.com/bio.html

Can you f-ing IMAGINE the studs that will be there?


Shannon-- per your suggestion, I did a quick amazon search and ordered "the Femme's Guide to the Universe." I am so excited to read this!