The problem with being femme is so much more than any other lesbian label, stereotype or identity. It is complicated in its own nature. I know you are either thinking there is not a damn thing wrong with being femme or you just produced a list a mile long in your head before you even finished this sentence.
The Free Dictionary tells us femme means:
1. Slang A person, especially a lesbian or a gay man, who exhibits stereotypical feminine traits, often in an exaggerated way.
2. Informal A woman or girl.
Right. See? The very first stigma is right there in print, in the dictionary of all places.
So to be femme is to be feminine in an exaggerated way.
What the hell.
I think I might even be more confused about this labeling thing. I am not sure how exactly I am more or less exaggerated than any other woman. Yes, typically I am perceived by the general public as a straight soccer mom, shopping for juice boxes and dropping my husbands suits at the dry cleaner.
I get that. I really do. I used to be exactly her.
I was the typical heterosexual soccer mom. However just because my life partner changed doesn’t mean I did.
Except in terms of how my community labels me.
I still wear dresses and cute strappy shoes. My hair is still worn long and I wear make up and pretty things to adorn myself regularly.
Out of curiosity I did a quick google search for the typical lesbian stereotype; this is what I found. (by the way be careful what search words you use in public …. yikes!!)
They all like / play sports.
No. We actually all do not. I hurt myself more often attempting to be sporty than I do walking around in stilettos.
They don’t shave and we all have really short hair hair cuts.
I most certainly shave and this untamed mane is all natural.
To be clear: no unwanted hair anywhere and this is most certainly not a wig on my head.
Or how about the classic “they all dress like men” …
Actually … I don’t wear anything from the mens section unless I’m wearing an oversized shirt and lounging about the comfort of my own home.
They are all aggressive and crazy. “Lesbians will ruin your life.” (you can’t make this stuff up)
Sorry … I don’t actually have an argument for this. I feel like this is a fair generalization of women in general. I can think of quite a few men who would whole heatedly agree – a scorned woman is nothing to turn your back on.
Straight, bi, lesbian, trans. We are all just a little crazy.
We are not however all the same and to categorize any such person into a defined set of traits is utterly ridiculous and incredibly unfair.
Does anyone actually identify entirely with their societal assignment?
Butch. Femme. Chapstick. Boi. Dykes (all seemingly 100 of them). I’m sure there are many, many more, none to which I can distinctly subscribe. I have read articles, looked at charts, taken silly quizzes and tried to figure out exactly what all these things require.
It is a bit dizzying. Perhaps my “exaggerated” feminine traits are in the way of clarity.