Femme Identity

What is Femme?

What is Femme?

As a femme identified person and someone perceived as female I have encountered a great struggle to find voice and place for myself in my queer community here in Portland. I have had friends who were more androgynous or masculine identified express to me that they dislike being around femme identified people because of negative experiences they’ve had with people trying to force them into more feminine identities.

With respect to my friend’s experiences I have largely remained silent when they use intentionally or unintentionally femme-phobic language and generalizations and when they tokenize femme identified or femme perceived people based on an experience with a few individuals. I have also remained silent because the times I have called my friends out on their marginalization of my identity they have retaliated by refusing to acknowledge that they are marginalizing anyone or by saying they weren’t talking about me as a femme—as if, because they like me, I am an exception to their blanket statements about feminine people despite my identity. This has made me feel that my femme identity is invisible to them.

That is a little of the experience I have had with interpersonal oppression as a femme identified person. The systemic oppression I have experienced overlaps with the oppressive patriarchal society I find myself living in; in my work history, walking down the street in revealing clothing, constantly finding that being in queer safe spaces in my community means being in largely masculine dominated spaces, etc. What really pisses me off about the patriarchal oppression I have faced as a femme is people assuming my experience. This has taken the form of people assuming my privilege level and background plus assuming my level of awareness about oppression based solely on my femme expression. People have assumed of me that I experience straight privilege because of my femme identity and have oppressed me within the queer community based on this assumption. If I do get perceived as straight within the straight community I am automatically sexualized for my feminine appearance and have my boundaries pushed by straight men who force me into uncomfortable and dangerous situations. My queer identity and experience becomes invisible in the straight community and I am marginalized as a perceived woman instead.

How do we see Femme identity in media?

Because I so strongly strive to recognize the privileges I do have in our society in order to be a better ally, these assumptions have cut me deep and on many levels. Identity is a very sticky web for me sometimes. I experience the oppression of a woman although I am not female identified, I experience the oppression of a femme and generally feminine person, and I experience the oppression of being gender non-conforming. But despite the obstacles it brings, my identity is so precious to me. Faerie gender and femme identity may seem ridiculous to some but it is the result of a long and tedious self-discovery process that has helped shaped me into the person I am.

I encourage you all to take a few moments at least to consider with me how patriarchy has impacted your life or the lives of people you know. Also, how might patriarchy affect gender perception and identity even within the queer community?

Happy Faerie Magick!

-Darwin

For more of Darwin’s writing check out fae’s blog on wordpress.

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Introducing Darwin, the Faerie

Aren't I cute

Name: Darwin

Age: 20

Gender Identity: Faerie

Sexual Orientation: Pansexual

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Likes: People, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Myself, Pink

Dislikes: Grits, Busses being late, The way peanut butter gets stuck in your teeth, bigotry.

Hello folks! My name is Darwin. I am a femme identified gender queer currently residing in Portland, OR. I use Faerie pronouns which are fae or faerie instead of he or she. To use that in a sentence (although my friends have tried to dissect the grammar of my pronoun usage way more than I have), “Darwin went to the store and fae bought some rice milk.” And then I used the rice milk to make delicious chocolate chip cookies for all of you!

Anyhow, I am going to be a regular contributor to our fantastic blog here. The reason I wanted to write for Chatpdx and Chatmosphere is because I am a self-identified youth who cares about youth issues, in other words the issues I encounter as a queer youth everyday navigating our society and my communities. I am particularly interested in writing about how important I feel it is to be an ally to my peers and to have them be an ally to me. I feel that learning to be an ally to yourself and others is a fundamental component of helping create safe spaces and safe people for youth to share their experiences in and with. Sharing our experiences is part of growing and learning as individuals and communities. I hope that you will all ponder with me, think about, and discuss what being an ally to yourself and others means to you and looks like within your communities.

I also will be writing a lot about gender identity and journey. My gender has played an instrumental role in shaping how I view the world and it’s been instrumental in shaping my interpersonal experiences. Some days my gender is too complicated to think about. Some days it’s as simple as what shoes I want to wear. I feel that with gender, as with all identities, we have socially acceptable constructs of what that looks like forced upon us from birth. I feel that no matter who you are or how you identify, gender can affect you. Again I would encourage you all to think with me about how gender impacts your life and the way you view things, how you interact with people and so on.

So gender and ally-ship are two issues I am currently thinking a lot about and will probably be writing a lot about. There are other identities that factor into my life as well that I may share with you all. As a youth, which for me means as someone in constant change, transition, and growth, I am constantly thinking about my identities and my perceived identities, my oppressions and my perceived oppressions, my privileges and my perceived privileges. I hope you all will venture with me over the course of my writings in considering how all of the above mentioned things are in play within your own lives and how they shape your views of the world. You are all amazing incredible people, faeries, etc. Stay safe and take care of yourselves! Happy Faerie Magick!

-Darwin