What We Can Learn About Femme Theory from Legally Blonde

We may never agree on what femme means, except to agree that femme’s meaning is boundless. Indeed, much of femme writing so far has bounded beyond our previous understandings, has written into the space around femme. This writing has been important interjections, slicing in to the word and carving out a space to insert ourselves.Continue reading “What We Can Learn About Femme Theory from Legally Blonde”

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?”

Can Straight Women Be Femme? Visibility and the Mainstreaming of Femme

Zooey Deschanel has been an unabashedly femme role model of mine for years. Exhibit A: I ripped a page out of a magazine, framed it, and hung it on my wall because it was emblazoned with her quote: “I want to be a fucking feminist and wear a fucking Peter Pan collar. So fucking what?”Continue reading “Can Straight Women Be Femme? Visibility and the Mainstreaming of Femme”

It’s Hard Out Here For a Femme

Some of us cringe when we use qualifiers to explain our femme identity, or cringe when we try to drop the qualifier, knowing how it sounds to most other people. I know saying “I’m femme, but…” or using labels like “hard femme” or “aggressive femme” feels good for some femmes, but for me it always justContinue reading “It’s Hard Out Here For a Femme”