Home' LOTL : November 2006 Contents 8
There’s no topic like butch and femme for letter
bait, and while our survey finds that gender role
identities may be in need of a makeover, the subject
can still cause a flurry of letter-writing. Here are
some of your feelings.
BE FAIR TO FEMMES
I just wanted to say thank you for your article
“The Femme Mystique” in the October issue. I
hate labels. I’m not clamouring to define myself
as femme, macho femme, feminine, girly, lipstick,
lipgloss or whatever label is currently hip, but I do
find that there is a certain amount of cynicism from
the lesbian community if you do not adhere to their
ideas of what a lesbian should look like
My girlfriend and I have been together for four
years. We both have long hair. We wear make up
and jewellery. Sometimes I wear a mini skirt. We
also attend every Blonde on the Rocks, spend an
incessant amount of time at OUT Video and support
the GLBT community whenever possible. However,
the support we receive from a community that is
based around tolerance and acceptance is almost
non-existent. We attract stares at straight venues and
glares at gay venues. I find it disheartening that in
both worlds, we are perceived as two straight girls
pretending to be gay for shits and giggles. I resent
my relationship being so undervalued by others.
While The L Word may have been criticised for only
representing the “femme” in its first two seasons,
my girlfriend and I – among others I’m sure – were
delighted to have women we could identify with. In
the same regard, I’m sure that women who identify
as butch, macho and even transgender, will welcome
Moira’s character with open arms.
I implore the entire gay and lesbian community to
remember that the principles of tolerance do not only
apply to straight people. You never know who might
have a Jennifer Beals poster on their wall...
Sway, via email.
I read with interest your October cover story. I am a
femme who goes out with another femme. It never
ceases to amaze me how people – gay or straight –
fail to recognize us as a legitimate couple who love,
live with, and fuck each other. Our lesbian friends
think we are narcissistic because we “look similar”
(i.e. NOT butch-femme or chapstick lesbians).
Straight acquaintances ask us all the time if we
are related. “You must be sisters,” they exclaim,
bewildered by the “similarity” between us. (It seems
they mistake same-sex attraction for a shared gene
pool.) And other people, especially strangers in the
street, make lewd and pornographic suggestions.
“Get me in the middle of THAT girl sandwich!!!”
one male passerby shouted recently. Yes, femme IS
a radical identity because apparently we live 24/7
as a vain, incestuous, porn star double act. Jeez, it’s
exhausting. Now pass me the nail polish, sweetie.
Jay, via email.
I was very interested to read your article on the
complexities of identifying as femme, as only
yesterday I joined pinksofa and was presented with
a list of words to choose from. It took me a very
long time to choose, and in the end I opted for the
catch-all of ‘queer’. I have long hair, look straight,
enjoy dresses, but I am most often found in trousers.
I work in IT and am the practical fixer in the house I
share with my gay male housemate. I am not afraid
My image of ‘femme’, and the reason I didn’t select
it in the end, is a girl always in skirts and makeup
but I think femme’s come quite a way from there.
The girls of The L Word are touted as mostly femme,
yet there isn’t that much skirt wearing and ironically
the most femininely dressed character (Jenny) cuts
her long hair short; something I have been very close
to doing just to stop being mistaken for straight,
even though it really wouldn’t suit me.
Whilst I still get asked if I ‘know what kind of night
this is’ when going to girl events, I think attitudes
are definitely shifting, and the emerging eclectic mix
of styles points to an exciting future.
Lanei, Enmore, NSW.
I am an American reader of your wonderful
magazine. Yes, femme is alive and well which is not
to say we don’t love our butch gals, too. I wanted to
alert your readers to the newly emerging visibility
of “fat femmes” here in the U.S. There are so many
beautiful, sexy, feminine larger lesbian ladies who
should also be proud of their sexuality. These “diesel
femmes” are now being catered to with a line of
intimate outerwear and camisole-type dresses to
show off their fuller feminine figures. Check out the
web site motherwit.com/dieselfemmewear
Kristy, San Francisco CA.
I love femmes. I live for them. But where are they
all? I agree with your cover story – femmes are
everywhere in popular culture but hard to find on
the lesbian scene. I certainly never get to meet any!
Tell me where to find them! I am tired of converting
straight girls! And dating my friends’ mothers!
Danny, Brisbane QLD.
The article by Deborah Singerman in the September
LOTL about her experiences of successfully
applying for permanent residency so she could
stay in Australia to be with her Aussie lover
was a particularly moving one for me. Because
of the interdependency category in Australia’s
immigration laws my American lover has also
been able to become a permanent resident and is
now an Australian citizen. And like Deborah we
too found the Gay and Lesbian Immigration Task
force (GLITF) particularly supportive in getting
us through the vagaries of the DIMIA application
requirements and their free advice every month was
invaluable. Coming up to our sixth anniversary I’m
grateful that while there’s much that needs changing
in this country of ours every now and then there’s
also cause for celebration.
Jean Taylor, Brunswick East VIC.
In a relationship,
role combo do
you prefer?: 20%
attract 5% 39%
bois unite! 35
% None of the
above. It’s just silly
roleplay, not real
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