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Back You are here: Home Sex, Gender & Sexuality Diversity - [Archived] ISGD Trouble in a tutu: Who else but femme?

Trouble in a tutu: Who else but femme?

TutuFemme is not a Pussy. Although she may look like the cat that got the cream, she’s much more like the vagina dentate, writes Serena Mawulisa.

11 June 2011

Who but Femme would have the audacity to use the gender expression most despised by queer and mainstream communities — femininity — as a very queer, defiant social performance?

Who would take the risk of not being taken seriously by wearing too much lipstick or a too-short skirt, only to continue being smart and challenging, knowing that those paying attention will see and eventually understand?

Who else but Femme performs femininity with a raging hard-on? Who but Femme does frou frou with such ferocity that all sense of "realness" or "passing" or all notions of gender as innate are called into question?

Make no mistake about it – Femme is nothing but trouble in a tutu.

Who else would do soft and fluffy with such incisive knowingness — with such agency and such sharp and witty edges? Who calls into question the idea that femininity always has to be code for passive, weak or brainless or that it has to be a default position?

Who else but Femme feels most powerful and free when walking in six-inch stilettos, a tight-laced corset, a hobble skirt, hologram false eyelashes so large as to be vision-impairing and an elaborately heavy wig?

Who else truly gets that fashion and style are opportunities for using creativity, to invent ourselves in empowering ways? Who else knows that artifice, glamor and restraint are forms of body modification and body play that offer new growth and ultimately, new awareness of our bodies and selves?

Who else but Femme competently walks a tight rope of invisibility as queer within and outside of the queer community, constant unwanted sexual attention from straight men (amongst others), and hostility directed at femininity all on knife-blade heels?

Who, despite navigating all of this, can still do the emotional and social labor of smoothing the ruffled feathers of those around her and making everyone feel nurtured, while hearing this very vital contribution scorned as "women’s work" and being dismissively called “Mummy?"

Who wears her apron like armor, drawing others in to warm their hands at her hearth, and kicks the asses of anyone who dares to mock domesticity and the power of caring?

Who else but Femme identifies with heterosexual men who are fetishistic crossdressers? Who else fervently nods with recognition when hearing descriptions of the first feeling of silk against skin, the first stretched arch in never-before-worn high heels and the first revelation of the power of blush against cheekbone?

Who else but Femme watches drag shows, frowning with concentration, “Hmmm, I wonder if I could pull off the stewardess look?” taking the odd style note in the tiniest of notebooks: “Note to self: acquire Bond Girl bikini?" Who creates connections and affinities with femmes of all anatomical and chromosomal variations, starting with complimenting their choice of shoes?

Who else but Femme could pack a pretty, sparkly cock, in a matching color to her frock and accessories, under her suspender belt, and fuck the pussy, throat or ass of some lucky person, without being remotely concerned that this practice could be considered a challenge to her identity as femme?

Who else can do drag, with a spectacular Salvador Dali moustache drawn on with waterproof eyeliner, a three-piece suit in a shade that compliments her skin tone, and stylish cufflinks and look damn sexy and somehow still damn girlie in the process?

Who else knows that femme is a whole spectrum in of itself, and isn’t so fragile that it needs to be tended by rigid assimilation and policing, and that this breathing room allows all femmes to get glossier, glitterier and resonate with collective femme strength?

Who else but Femme knows that when she is being penetrated, she is also engulfing?

Who else but Femme knows that Come Fuck Me shoes have heels meant to be deep-throated?

Who else knows that whoever wears the pants isn’t always on top, and that femmes who go after what is joyous and life-affirming are always in a position of power, whether on top or on the bottom (or bent over in a change room of a lingerie shop)?

Who else knows that when the Goddess stated “All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals”, she particularly had femmes in mind?

Who else but Femme knows the huge number of femmes who are erotic professionals of one sort or another? Who else knows that even if she isn’t a whore herself, the whore stigma affects her and all others who present themselves in ways that flag femininity?

Who else gets that sex negativity and gender oppression create the condition for the repression of sex workers and other erotic professionals? Who else accepts that in order for all of us to be free to make choices in relation to our own bodies and to present our femme sexuality in aggressive ways, the whore stigma has to be challenged?

Who else but Femme is an expert in making connections among different types of oppression? Who else but Femme knows that femmes are busy folk, with multiple sites of identification and thus many other areas of liberation to organize?

Who else but (so many) femmes work towards size acceptance, animal rights, challenging racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism, anti-Semitism, among other areas of concern? Who else knows that all aspects of ourselves, our lives and our communities are important, and that femmes in our diversity don’t restrict our activism to issues of gender?

Who else but Femme critiques the so-called antidote to the binary gender system — androgyny, calling it the compulsory mono gender system, and asks how one option gives anyone greater freedom?

Who else screams at the top of her lungs that restricting difference is not the answer to discrimination? Who else but Femme knows that life without the choice of wearing lip gloss would be pallid and uninspiring? Who else can see the importance of uncensored self-expression, including personal gender expression as a vital part of liberation?

Who else but Femme names the contempt with which femininity is treated for what it is — a remnant of misogyny?

Who else but Femme knows that femme is a queer gender category, and although femme uses femininity as a tool and reference point; femme isn’t the same thing as femininity? Who else will go ahead and defend femininity anyway?

Who else but Femme knows that straight women who may not have an articulate critique of enforced gender roles should still get to enjoy their stilettos and frocks just as long as they want to?

Who else really understands that our culture only ever stands a chance of dismantling its nasty traditions of sexism and homophobia when it starts validating and honoring femininity?

Who else knows that picking on femmes, straight women or anyone else based on how they present themselves as gendered beings isn’t going to change anything about how oppressive imposed gender systems can be?

Who else but femme knows exactly how much of a bad strategy insulting anyone is when you want them to join your revolution?

Who else but Femme refuses to allow masculinity to remain immune from critique as weak and flawed? Who else is just as quick to see the limitations in restricted emotional range, violence as a solution to problems and few opportunities to express doubt or fear - features of imposed and strict codes of masculinity?

Who else will insist that focusing all your critique of the binary gender system on the damaging effects of long-term stiletto wearing is missing half the picture?

Who else but Femme is as earnest about and committed to style as she is to substance?

Who else cares passionately about social justice and about matching her shoes and her purse?

Who else knows that the surface concerns don’t negate the deeper issues?

Who else does silky yet provocative femme performance at parties, when walking down the street, when dancing, when flirting, when fucking and when delivering a lecture?

Who else, indeed, but Femme knows that wearing pink chiffon doesn’t erode brain cells, that wearing sensible shoes and earth colors is no guarantee of intelligence or political conviction, and that you can be all kinds of trouble while wearing a tutu?

FemmethologySerena Mawulisa, a.k.a. whoretic, is a high-femme, queer dyke whore, sex-worker activist, performer and genderphile in nosebleed heels – like Barbie, she can't walk in flats. She thinks that femme has the capacity to challenge sexism and homophobia with beauty, humour and camp.

This is an extract from Visible: A Femmethology, Volume 2, edited by Jennifer Clare Burke. Published by Homofactus Press.

 

Comments   

0 #2 rosalyn 2011-07-17 21:46
Who else indeed :-):-):-)
Awesome
Quote
0 #1 Jenni Paul 2011-06-19 13:28
LOVE THIS ARTICLE!!!:-*
Quote

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