How Many Generations Does It Take to Escape Abuse?

“A man could, feasibly, sacrifice his coffee break raping a woman. That woman would then spend her entire life dealing with it. So would her daughters. So would theirs. This distribution of power is not acceptable.” — Inga Muscio, Cunt: A Declaration of Independence I think about my mother’s mother. First married at 18 toContinue reading “How Many Generations Does It Take to Escape Abuse?”

Is Softness a Critical (per)Form(ance) of Femininity?

In Kathleen McHugh and Lisa Duggan’s 1996 Femme-inist Manifesto, they wrote: “Fem(me) science questions the dignity and wisdom of anyone who would wear pink without irony, or a floral print without murderous or seditious designs.” Of course, some of us unironically wear pink and/or floral — an arguably “soft” aesthetic. Does this mean we areContinue reading “Is Softness a Critical (per)Form(ance) of Femininity?”

The Future is Soft: On Soft Femme, Hard Femme, and Femme Theory

Sometimes when I talk about softness, emotions, earnestness, and vulnerability I’m talking about them as a reaction to what I see as the privileging of hardness, irony, and lack of emotion. Softness is part of femme for me, so sometimes I talk about soft femme in relation to hard femme. I have been asked ifContinue reading “The Future is Soft: On Soft Femme, Hard Femme, and Femme Theory”

What I Mean When I Talk About Softness

When I talk about softness I’m talking about vulnerability, openness, and flexibility. I mean soft like breathable fabric in summer. I mean soft like ripples on the lake. I mean noticing your reaction, how you feel. I mean acknowledging emotions. I mean admitting when you are hurt and that things hurt you. I mean usingContinue reading “What I Mean When I Talk About Softness”

Broken Pencil Death Match: Louisa

“Tonight we’re going to a party, and by ‘we’ I mean everyone. I know because I’ve been tracking the Facebook guest list. And maybe a few individual profiles. It’s going to be fun, I silently assure myself that night, when I’m back in front of the mirror applying my make-up. I wonder what boring hipsterContinue reading “Broken Pencil Death Match: Louisa”

Colour Coding: Creating Queer Bonds with Nail Art

**The following is a longer version of a femme flagging article I wrote for Shameless magazine. Check out the Shameless version, “Flag ‘Em Down” (and another story of mine!) in the Alternative Beauty issue, Winter 2015.**  Through history, queer folks have had come up with creative ways to communicate their desires. In the 1970s, gayContinue reading “Colour Coding: Creating Queer Bonds with Nail Art”

Disposable Women: Some Thoughts on Bowie, My Dad, and Sexualizing Young Girls

I remember walking through the mall with my dad (age 55) and he made some comment to me about a girl in short shorts. The girl must have been about 17 and yet my dad saw no problem with his leering at her legs (and making a sexual comment about them to me, his daughterContinue reading “Disposable Women: Some Thoughts on Bowie, My Dad, and Sexualizing Young Girls”

I Want a Comedy of Love: Yearning for Femme Healing, For a Soft Place to Rest

I’m tired of comedy that relies on making some specific person look stupid, gross, weird, other. I’m tired of your edgy, alienating sarcasm. I’ve never much cared to have a friend that makes “good-natured” digs at me, that tries to get a laugh at my expense. My sister once told me she hates watching TheContinue reading “I Want a Comedy of Love: Yearning for Femme Healing, For a Soft Place to Rest”

Resisting Pretty: A Hair Story

When I trim my bangs, I release my femme. There’s nothing that makes me feel more like myself, more powerful, and more femme than hacking off the overgrown fringe covering my forehead. I look back at photographs of myself as a little femme and see that I have always had the same hairdo as IContinue reading “Resisting Pretty: A Hair Story”

Emotional Labour of the Femme

My favourite photograph of us isn’t one that garnered tons of notes on Tumblr, or one from our first vacation to Nova Scotia. My favourite photograph of us is one I took myself. I’m seated on the toilet lid, wrapped up in a fluffy purple towel aiming the camera at my feet. She’s kneeling thereContinue reading “Emotional Labour of the Femme”