Posts Tagged ‘Femme’

I feel a little bad about it, but it seems I can never go through a cultural competence seminar about LGBTQ folks without getting annoyed at some aspect of it that I feel the presenter has gotten wrong.

A major one is conflating gender identity with gender expression. So many times I’ve had these trainings teach that gender identity is how masculine or feminine one is, or how much a person fits social norms for being a man or a woman.

NO!!!

That’s gender expression. Someone female assigned at birth may be very masculine and always wear men’s clothing while still identifying as a woman. That woman’s gender identity is “woman” but her gender expression is masculine.

Another person female assigned at birth may be trans and identity as a man, his gender identity is “man”, yet he may still have a feminine gender expression.

Essentially, these two thing can come in all combinations.

Gender identity is really nothing more than the gender one identifies as. The end. There are no rules for it, no qualifications one must meet. There is no test that will tell you your correct identification based on clothing, characteristics, or sexual orientation.

For myself, I am a cis women, and tend to be slightly more to the feminine side in terms of gender expression, though I often feel very mixed in terms of it as in many ways I am. I have many characteristics deemed masculine by society, an many deemed feminine. In term of appearance I’m pretty femme though I still sometimes prefer more masculine looks.

When it comes to how I feel about my gender I actually have a lot in common with many gender queer friends who are faab (female assigned at birth). The big difference though is that they identify as gender queer because of the ways they have felt out of place in terms of social norms for women, and for me despite the ways I have felt out of place in terms of social norms for women, I still identify as a woman.

That’s how it works! Gender identity is personal and based simply on what gender(s) you feel describe you best according to your own feelings and preferences. Often this matches up with gender expression, but it does not always an does not need to.

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I at least thought about writing this awhile ago and couldn’t remember if I actually did or not, but I tried looking and didn’t see any post about this, so I’m assuming it was one of those things I thought “I should write a blog post about that” and never did.

I’m fat. It would make perfect sense in dating for me to want to date people who have a preference for people with my body type. Yet whenever I come across someone who self-identifies as a “chubby chaser”, or says they want a big girl, a bbw, or whatever else, I tend to avoid pursuing anything with that person. I actually have the same reaction to women who say they are only looking for femmes/lipstick lesbians/girly girls/”a real girl/woman” despite the fact that I am also femme, and the reasons are actually very similar.

Finding Someone Sexually Attractive Does Not Equal Respect

Ok, this probably isn’t really a “reason” so much as a side problem- but it is bizarre to me how many people have a preference for something in a sexual/romantic partner without having respect for people with that characteristic.

I’m starting with this because this post was largely inspired by a woman I met from Tinder not long ago. The fat issue was actually one of the least offensive things during the date, yet it still was offensive.

I met this woman from tinder and almost immediately she starts complaining about how fat her ex was, and how she was so fat because she ate all the time, and she complained about getting fatter, and so she just needed to stop shoving food in her mouth then, and on and on about how fat her ex was as a negative thing. Which was really awkward for me as I’m sitting there quite obviously fat, yet wanting to avoid any confrontation over this because that’s the last thing I want when meeting someone from a dating app. When I meet someone from a dating app/website and things do not go well, I just want to be able to be polite until it’s over and then never talk to you again.

This would have been bad enough, but was actually worse to me given that right toward the end of our meeting she starts telling me how attractive she finds big girls, like me, and has always dated big girls except once she dated a thin girl but did not enjoy it or find her attractive.

… You prefer big girls like me, yet still use fat as an insult after breaking up with your ex? It’s a good thing up until things go bad and then you will have no problem using it as an insult?

This seems to be a not uncommon problem. I suspect coming in part from treating fat women as a fetish, and objectifying us with that, and not seeing us as real, full people because of that.

I said a lot of this applies to me aversion to women who say they only want a femme and the same does apply with that too. Just as some butch women may prefer dating a femme, they still can internalize negative ideas about traditional feminine characteristics.

I’d rather date someone who sees me and respects me as a person first and foremost rather than a sexual object.

They Tend to be Attracted to a Specific Stereotype

I obviously cannot speak for all “chubby chasers” or women who say they only date femmes, I can only speak to my experience with people who identify this way that has caused me to have a negative reaction to people identifying as such.

Also, in both cases my reaction is not to the preference, but the sort of person who states front and center- and there does seem to be a difference (in my experience) between people who just have a preference and are more likely to pursue dating/sexual relationships with people with those characteristics, and those who go out of there way to announce such, typically on a dating profile.

In my experience people who have that strong of a “bbws only!!!!!” or “femmes only!!!!” preference tend to have a very specific stereotype of what that means, and I don’t often fit it, and I don’t want to.

For example, from the times I have dated someone who preferred “big girls” they would often discourage me from working out, because part of the appeal of a “big girl” was being soft, not having hard muscle under the fat. There is nothing wrong with having that preference, but I don’t fit it, and more importantly I don’t want to and I don’t want to be with someone who tries to push me into fitting the stereotype they have of a big girl that they are attracted to.

The same goes for femmes. While I’m certainly more femme than androgynous or butch, I will not always fit the “girly girl” stereotype, I don’t want to always fit that stereotype and I am so incredibly not interested in a queer relationship with strict gender roles around the butch vs the femme in the relationship.

It seems I always run into these strict stereotypes with people who identify as “chubby chasers” or make a big deal about only wanting to date femmes, which is the main reason I tend to avoid wanting to get involved with people who identify that way.

I just posted on my facebook about being amused that I’ve pretty much become the stereotypical man-hating, lesbian feminist who wears combat boots.

And I was thinking more about this, and how I wear combat boots all the time these days- but but often with dresses and such. So being femme even though I wear combat boots I don’t look like the stereotype of a lesbian.

Which then got me thinking about being fat, which is often a stereotypical lesbian trait. The awesome Lea Delaria had some asshole comment on her twitter I think it was about how she was a walking stereotype being a fat, butch lesbian.

But I’m fat and femme. And these often feel like contradicting points to me. Even though they are not at all. But if you were to say “fat lesbian” I think most people would be more likely to picture someone who looks like Lea Delaria than Mary Lambert.

Speaking of which, how adorable are they! *swoon*

On the other hand I follow a lesbian page on facebook that primarily talks about femme visibility. It’s cool, but I notice a lot of the time there is stuff I just can’t relate to, because “femme” ends up being used to mean “conventionally attractive”, but the two are not necessarily the same thing. I’m femme. I’m attractive in my own way, but I’m not conventionally attractive. And the biggest part of that is because I’m fat.

#fatfemmeproblems

I’m just going to leave this there because I’ve been drinking and I’m not sure how to nicely conclude my rambling thoughts on this.