New Femmedagger Book and Femme Conference News

Hi everyone,

I am packing up my bags and headed to Baltimore for the 2012 Femme Conference. I will be presenting a workshop entitled “Failing at Femme: Insecurity, Competition and the Language of Femme Exclusion.” Here’s a bit about it:

The queer femme continuum, with its marked categories of low-femme on one end and high-femme on the other, reproduces a standard and familiar ranking system. Tied into this ranking system is an implied level of failure and success. That we may have worked so hard on rejecting certain body type ideals and yet reinscribe the oppressive notions that there is one type of successful femme, does not show that we are unsophisticated as a community, but rather, that we as femmes must do more work to interrogate our own insecurities. Our insecurities about how well we perform what I call “the femme artifice” reflect the insidious nature of a culture defined by youth, whiteness, thinness, and one, quite narrow, definition of beauty. To put it all in clearer terms, I believe we are all aware of people who do not identify as femme because they don’t wear heels or makeup, or perhaps because they think they aren’t “girly enough” and to this I will argue that we must broaden our notion of femme to allow for myriad presentations. Femme as a radical gender identity must hold space for masculine femmes, for genderqueer femmes, for femmes who do not identify as women, for femmes who do not or cannot uphold one particular notion of femininity and so on. And it must do all of these things if it is to distinguish itself as an identity of openness and acceptance. We all bear the potential to see ourselves as failing at gender performance. In this workshop, I hope to create an environment in which myself and others can be honest about both the exclusionary language and practices of a femme identity built upon impossible and oppressive ideals.

I’ve also released a new zine form of my blog, featuring published and previously unpublished work, a preface and coming in at a whopping 92 pages!

You can purchase it here:

Published in: on August 14, 2012 at 12:12 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. this is amazing, i can’t wait to read your post about how it went. it was this kind of dialogue i was searching for when i attended femmecon two years ago in oakland. i am a feminine “femme” cis-woman (so you’d think it would be straighforward), but i have never truly identified with the word, perhaps in part due to succumbing to ideas that to be “femme” means to “get it right”- the right hair, the right makeup, the right shoes, the right fashion. and then on top of it, in the redefined queer context, also the right politics and the right attitude, that being loud and FIERCE, another label i would like to broaden for myself, as a soft-spoken but thoughtful and opinionated person.

    i recognize in myself a defensiveness in relationship to femme, like an “i will reject it/them before they reject me,” but what is “it”? who is “them”? i would like to work towards a place where whatever label i choose or don’t choose, it is not based on whether i feel good “enough” or am reaching some real or imagined standard. and i think the place to start is to talk with more people whose stories relate to mine.

    will look forward to your book!

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