It means whatever you want it to mean, darling

So, Sincere “women and femmes” Kirabo included a link for the “femmes” part: a link to What We Mean When We Say “Femme”: A Roundtable. So let’s read it. It’s guaranteed to put us off our dinner, but let’s read it anyway. It’s from July, so not too out of date yet.

Femmes. We live in different places. We’re different ages. We have different gender identities. Some of us are people of color, some of us are white. In this representative sample, we are Autostraddle writers, or artists, or musicians, or educators, or all of these things. The only thing we have in common is that we’re queer and that, in our own deeply personal way, we breathe life into the word femme.

So the word is meaningless. It doesn’t name anything, because of the infinite (and oh so impressive) variety of femmes. Femmes have “different gender identities” but they’re all femme – can you make sense of that?

Come on. “Femme” is French for women; it’s a subset of lesbians; it means girly, or feminine. Except – wait! – it means that but in a special, new, complicated, thrilling, woke, correct, impressive, don’t you wish you were as cool as we are way.

When did supposedly leftist politics become so entangled in personal vanity and peacocking? When did it become just a way of saying “I’m special and you’re not”?

This shit is about as left-wing as Bonwit Teller.

But like so many other differences, we don’t agree on what the word femme means to us. This is the beauty of gender fluidity. We live in a world where it is totally possible to claim the same word as someone else and completely disagree on what the word means.

It means everything! And nothing! It means so everything and nothing that we can have round tables about it, and bore each other senseless discussing it!

But above all, it means we get to tell women how fucking conservative and useless they are, and to get out of our way.

There are people today who are angry, they think that only women should call themselves femme. They think that if you’re not a lesbian or bisexual woman and you’re calling yourself femme, you’re contributing to an erasure or appropriation of the history of lesbian and bisexual women. These people are talking in a really binary way. In my observation, it seems to be a generational thing. But the people who are most affected by these opinions are trans women or transfeminine people, and I feel like if trans women and transfeminine people are telling you that you’re doing something fucked up, cis women should listen to that.

Of course you do. That’s the whole point, isn’t it – telling women they’re wrong, and fucked up, and the wrong generation, and just generally awful, and should shut up or better yet go away and die. And it’s so radical and woke and wonderful to say that. It’s the best political idea ever.

On the idea that an older generation of people think only women should claim the word femme: I’m 36 years old and I find that kind of restriction on “femme” to be abhorrent and willfully cruel. No femme friends of mine — and I’m lucky that they are numerous — believe anything like that, and many of them are my age and older still. If they did, I’d dump them on the spot! The “erasure of lesbian history” narrative is weak and fearful, that’s all. If it takes you longer than a millisecond to know the answer toDo I want to be weak and fearful or do I want to be kind?, then I haven’t got time for you.

Right? Right? Right? Women are so shitty, aren’t they? They’re just the worst. We all hate them. Femmes are much better than those shitty horrible women people. Ew.

On a more positive note, I think of femme today becoming more inclusive as an acknowledgment of what already was rather than a new reclamation. It always feels new once you realize who you are and choose not to hide it! I’d love it if we all welcomed non-cis femmes into the light with open arms and a friendly “What took ya so long?” knowing full well the answer, and knowing how brave you have to be as a femme in this world.

Yes!!!! Let’s hate and banish all the cis women, and welcome all the non-cis femmes, so that there just won’t even need to be any women any more. They can just do all the cooking and toilet scrubbing, and let the rest of us get on with being awesome and woke.


Damn, that’s only about a tenth of the way down the page. I’m not going to read all this shit.

But that’s where we are now – we’re at the point where people are calling themselves “femme” and shitting on women in the same breath. We’re at the point where people are pretending it’s the height of social justice to do that. We’re at the point where the Social Justice Coordinator of the American Humanist Association (really) rewrites Women in Secularism so that it’s about “women and femmes.” Maybe in a week or two it will be renamed Femmes in Secularism.

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