Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Femme By Default

So as I'm wandering the blogosphere, avoiding the job search, I come across this post by Sinclair and then SublimeFemme's response to it. Both, at the end, ask about us, as femmes. What are our femme markers, and along the same lines, how do we define them? Do we define them in relation to butch? How do we define femme for ourselves, and in what ways do our bodies or sexuality shape that femme-ness?

All very good questions, to be sure. And then I had a moment wherein I realized: I have no fucking clue. I have no fucking clue and it's driving me up the wall. How do I define my femme self? What about me makes me femme? It should be an easy question to answer, because I'm like Princess Psychoanalystica, especially when it comes to the workings of my own twisted brain. Yes, I do find myself that fascinating and I know it's narcissistic, thanks very much.

Every time I try to think about it, I shy away. I try to treat it like my partner treats butch: "This is what I am. If people don't like it they can fuck off. That's all there is to it." (Yes, that's a direct quote. I love my Ferret.) The thing is, that's how she handles almost everything; introspective she's not, as a rule. And I can't work that way. I have to think about everything, take it down to its component parts, analyze it, toss out a couple extra springs, and then reassemble it all before I'm satisfied. When I have an opinion, make a major decision, or claim a new 'label' for myself, this is what I do. 

But I didn't do that when I claimed 'femme'. I just kind of thought, "Okay, this is my partner, who's undeniably butch. I'm not a butch, or not as much as she, and I seem to have all the femme markers (which at that point to me were: long hair, acknowledgement of boobs, girly undies, and the willingness to wear a skirt sometimes). Femme it is!" I applied Sinclair's Dress-Up Test to the dynamic and called it good. Keep in mind, this was several years ago. I'd just been introduced to the idea of butch/femme. 
Shortly after this, Ferret and I split up, to go our seperate ways. We would not be lovers for a good four years. For two of those years, we wouldn't even speak to each other. Obviously, we reconciled our differences and now you couldn't part the two of us without a really big crowbar. Uh, metaphorically.

So now we've been together for some time. I've not been in any butch/femme relationships in that time. In fact, I tended to be slightly 'butch-er' when I was with another woman, and I wasn't all "high heels and low cleavage" with a guy. I've become "femme-by-default", and I don't know 
just what i consider my markers to be, or how I define myself as femme, other than in relation to my very butch Ferret.

Which disturbs me. I want to be femme on my own, not just because I'm with someone who needs me to be, so we balance out. It doesn't bother me to be the femme, I don't think. I just have to know I have my own reasons for doing it. So now I have to figure out what they are.
I need to identify my femme-ness and work out my issues with being one of them (you? us?).
Sadly, this post feels like "exploring my angst", and not so much about "coming to productive conclusions". Oh well, maybe that'll come later.

PS: I'm working on a post about women and symbolism. Check it out when it goes up (sometime soon!); it'll either be really cool and possibly a little original, or it'll be some half-baked random crap! It's a mystery!