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WE’RE YOUR BEST GIRLFRIEND AND YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE
August 18, 2012 12:02 PM   Subscribe

Right now Baltimore, MD plays host to FemmeCon, a biannual gathering for those who "seek to explore, discuss, dissect, and support Queer Femme as a transgressive, gender-queer, stand-alone, and empowered identity and provide a space for organizing and activism within Queer communities". Some of the issues faced by queer femme culture include femme invisibility in larger queer culture, the lack of non-stereotypical role models, being classed 'femme' by default, dismissal as "too much", as well as intersectional issues of femme with race, gender, and disability. In the meantime, femme subcultures such as tomboy femme, hard femme, and FEMME SHARKS as well as femmes in specific regions come together for inspiration, expression, power, creativity and support from each other - as well as from appreciative butches.
posted by divabat (111 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite

 
Not having come out in a place where I'm in the midst of a lot of other lesbians, I feel like I observe these things like someone who was adopted and really wishes they knew how to cook all the amazing-looking dishes of the country of their birth, but really they only like Kraft macaroni and cheese anyway. I think it's delightful and awesome that people can rock whoever they happen to be, and maybe someday I'll visit that place from my land of "I wear lipstick and skirts because career services told me I wouldn't find a job otherwise but meh it's not that bad".
posted by gracedissolved at 1:05 PM on August 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Once people follow a role model, that role model becomes a stereotype. "Non-stereotypical role model" is a contradiction in terms.
posted by LogicalDash at 1:05 PM on August 18, 2012


I'm completely confused. What is a "Queer Femme"?
posted by Outlawyr at 1:10 PM on August 18, 2012


From the fourth link:

Femme is a term used by many feminine-identified queer people—including lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, genderqueer, and other queer folks of any gender—though not all feminine-presenting queer people self-identify as femme.
posted by rtha at 1:13 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm completely confused. What is a "Queer Femme"?

Is that a serious question? A lesbian woman exhibiting stereotypically feminine characteristics, ie wearing skirts or dresses, heels, makeup, etc., See also: lipstick lesbian. See also: Dyke vs Femme.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:28 PM on August 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


That beautiful ode read by the amazing Ivan Coyote at the final link just blew me away.
posted by Anitanola at 1:30 PM on August 18, 2012 [10 favorites]


Or not even necessarily lesbian-identified; could be bi, or queer.
posted by rtha at 1:31 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


it really disgusts me that all these gender groups insist on establishing a "safe" space of their own. shouldn't EVERYWHERE be safe? all things like this do is deepen the divide between a particular demographic segment and the rest of society. we're all in this together.
posted by RTQP at 1:32 PM on August 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


RTQP, that only works if all the gender groups can get cooperation everywhere. They try, but you may have heard of the problems they encounter.
posted by LogicalDash at 1:36 PM on August 18, 2012 [10 favorites]


Huh, this is quite interesting. Baltimore never ceases to inspire and amaze with what goes on around here.
posted by josher71 at 1:38 PM on August 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Maybe it should disgust you that people who are not white straight males need safe spaces because we're facing street harassment, sexual harassment, employment discrimination, sexual violence, beatings and rape at a rate that would likely cause you to stay home an cry were you subjected to it. But thanks for the derail.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:38 PM on August 18, 2012 [63 favorites]


darling bri--I do not think so and it appears to be a legitimate question. After reading this post, the agenda, looking up definitions, googling images, reading the initial entries in several "queer femme" blogs I have decided it is either/or: Unknowable, if you are it you know it, hopeless complex, ridiculously simple or a reified concept. As far as I am concerned--way to many words to explain something which might mean it is either very complex or one is trying to define something which is essentially undefinable.
posted by rmhsinc at 1:41 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


it really disgusts me that all these gender groups insist on establishing a "safe" space of their own. shouldn't EVERYWHERE be safe? all things like this do is deepen the divide between a particular demographic segment and the rest of society. we're all in this together.

Highest Number Of Anti-Gay Murders Ever Reported In 2011.


There may be better places for your disgust than people who are victims of violent hate crimes establishing safe places for themselves.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:41 PM on August 18, 2012 [36 favorites]


the way i see it, people are people. it's a mistake to create these cloistered little communities, because it just fosters an us-vs-them mentality.
posted by RTQP at 1:42 PM on August 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


the way i see it, people are people. it's a mistake to create these cloistered little communities, because it just fosters an us-vs-them mentality.

Your thinking is wrong and privileged.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:43 PM on August 18, 2012 [42 favorites]


I wouldn't be so blunt, but you seem to have ignored previous comments and are now in the process of blaming queer people for their need to create safe spaces in the face of growing violence against them, and this is a viewpoint you rather badly need to research and reconsider.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:44 PM on August 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


you're presuming i'm not queer myself.
posted by RTQP at 1:45 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


it really disgusts me that all these gender groups insist on establishing a "safe" space of their own.

So we should just wait around until the world is safe for everyone. Or, perhaps, while we are working to make the world safe, we should just ignore the particular needs of our own communities/selves, because otherwise....something bad? I don't get your point.

If you'd said "It disgusts me that all these gender groups are forced to establish spaces where they won't be abused and denigrated," I'd grok you more, although I might still take issue with the phrase "all these gender groups."
posted by rtha at 1:45 PM on August 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


you're presuming i'm not queer myself.

Yes I am.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:46 PM on August 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


your ignorant presumptions offend me
posted by RTQP at 1:48 PM on August 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


If I'm reading this correctly it seems this is largely about recognizing a subset of the multifarious intersections of self-presentation, gender identity and sexual orientation within the LGBTQ community at large (i.e. the woman who had a really rough date where her date was like "woah naw you're too femme for me") perhaps moreso than society at large?
posted by Matt Oneiros at 1:48 PM on August 18, 2012


I'd like to have a con for those of us who wearied of tippy-toeing through the political minefield, resigned our memberships in the culture clubs and Do Not Identify, but I have no idea what we would talk about. The weather, I suppose.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 1:50 PM on August 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


Bunny--if you are trying to thwart discussion and/or asserting the upside down power of a victim and genuinely oppressed you are doing a good job.
posted by rmhsinc at 1:51 PM on August 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


your ignorant presumptions offend me

Interesting evasion. In fact, I don't care what your sexuality is. It does bother me that you came into this thread and expressed a viewpoint that I have previously exclusively heard from people who are privileged offended by the fact that people who are disempowered occasionally want places where they can feel safe and connected to people who share their experiences, and it bothers me that you felt no need to back that up with anything other than a specious argument that this is what causes people to break into separate tribes, rather than the very real, and documented, fact that LGBT people in this country are targets of murderous violence.

So instead of discussing what your sexuality is (or not discussing it), why don't you try to make a case for your opinion?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:51 PM on August 18, 2012 [21 favorites]


Bunny--if you are trying to thwart discussion and/or asserting the upside down power of a victim and genuinely oppressed you are doing a good job.

Horseshit.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:52 PM on August 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Mary Ellen Carter, I would be at that con. We'd have little to discuss. Instead, we should focus on making new friends through silly group games.
posted by RTQP at 1:52 PM on August 18, 2012


HI. THIS FUCKING THREAD IS WHY PEOPLE NEED SAFE SPACES.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:53 PM on August 18, 2012 [58 favorites]


[Everybody just chill the fuck out promptly, thank you.]
posted by cortex at 1:55 PM on August 18, 2012 [17 favorites]


your ignorant presumptions offend me

Right back atcha.

Your presumption that people who create/participate in particular groups are the problem (in setting up us vs. them dynamics) is offensive. Your presumption that these same people are perhaps not also working in larger contexts in order to make the world safer so that everyone can participate in a variety of communities in safety is also offensive.

Your presumption that people who have a particular thing in common (gender presentation, appreciation of particular comic book characters, political affiliation, love of '65 Mustangs, whatever) are, I don't know, too busy talking with one another to make new friends is also offensive.
posted by rtha at 1:55 PM on August 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


This is a really great post with some fascinating links, and I think it would be great for people to maybe focus on those (especially as the original post doesn't even mention creating a safe space).

I especially found interesting the femme invisibility, hard femme, and lack of femme models links (which last lead me to Ivan Coyote's (mentioned upthread) writings, which I also found worth reading). [If it matters, I'm a straight white guy, so I'm obviously looking from the outside in, but those are the links that I found interesting].
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:56 PM on August 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Kinda off-topic, but: The article "Highest Number Of Anti-Gay Murders Ever Reported In 2011" is careful to note that hate crimes are generally under-reported and that the "increase" may in fact be linked to better legislative support for prosecuting hate crimes and increased LEO awareness of how to deal with hate crime -- from the article -- "We feel that it's not an actual increase in violence but that there are reasons this kind of violence is being recognized for what it is," Jindasurat said. "One big reason is that now its more acceptable to talk about LGBT communities in general."

Hate crimes are a serious problem but I think (if this was the intent) using the article's inflammatory title to maybe imply that things are getting worse might not really be what the article represents with it's content.

posted by Matt Oneiros at 1:56 PM on August 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


People make groups. It's what we do. It doesn't have to result in treating people outside those groups terribly. The fact that I do in fact belong to a D&D group might be a thing that makes life feel better for me, as a nerd who operates in some not-very-nerd-friendly circles, but I don't, like, judge my coworkers negatively for not playing D&D. Multiply that times a lot for people who are things that get a lot more negative treatment.
posted by gracedissolved at 1:56 PM on August 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd like to have a con for those of us who wearied of tippy-toeing through the political minefield, resigned our memberships in the culture clubs and Do Not Identify, but I have no idea what we would talk about. The weather, I suppose.
Movies! Books! Food! Everything!
posted by byanyothername at 2:02 PM on August 18, 2012


the problems won't stop until we stop labeling people by what private parts they have/lust after, and treat each other as ~people~, full-stop. all i'm really trying to express is frustration that the LGBT community seems to be intent on forging an identity separate from the rest of humanity.
posted by RTQP at 2:04 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Listen, you put it out there, you get a response. Sorry if you don't like it, but that's what comes from expressing a viewpoint in a public sphere. I have asked you to expand on your viewpoint, and you are free to do so or not do so, but it's worth noting that every time there is a discussion of women or blacks or LGBT people having a conference, or a magazine, or a history month, there are people who instantly pop in to say "Why do they get that? That's not fair! That's what the problem is!"

These same complaints are never leveled against, say, Octoberfest or St. Patty's day, and they get really exhausting, but they seem to communicate that people who are targeted, disadvantaged, or in some other way part of a disempowered group are acting poorly in doing what everybody else on earth does. And this is never really backed up with anything, just a "it's my opinion."

You can perhaps understand why this gets really fucking exhausting after a while, and why people might respond badly to it. And so you out it out there, you might expect some people to put it back at you.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:05 PM on August 18, 2012 [23 favorites]


I've always found femme culture fascinating. This is the first I've heard of hard femmes or shark femmes, at least by name; most of the writings about femme identity I've read so far have been firmly I Am The Femme-est or I Worry I Am Not Femme Enough. Of course, I did know there are femmes who aren't in either of these categories, and it's cool to learn some more about them! Thank you for making this post.
posted by mismatched at 2:06 PM on August 18, 2012


I'm catching a weird vibe in this thread that if some of us don't know who these people are, but are curious to learn more, there must be something wrong with us.
posted by Brocktoon at 2:06 PM on August 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


bunny, what an absurd comparison. who gets turned away from an oktoberfest or st. paddy's celebration? everyone is welcome. not so at a convention like this....
posted by RTQP at 2:08 PM on August 18, 2012


Really? I'm not seeing anything in the links about anybody getting turned away at this event.

Perhaps you would provide a link. In fact, the information I am ready explicitly states that they have tried to make the event as inclusive as possible.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:12 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am reading, rather.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:13 PM on August 18, 2012


i certainly could attend this convention, but as a gay white male, i'd feel like one of the first negroes walking into a white high school after desegregation.
posted by RTQP at 2:13 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


all i'm really trying to express is frustration that the LGBT community seems to be intent on forging an identity separate from the rest of humanity.

Yes. And if those black people had stopped segregating themselves with their ghettos and their food and their weird hair and their funny vernacular and that crazy music, we could have skipped that whole civil rights debacle.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:13 PM on August 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


Nthing being blown away by Ivan Coyote's writing. (I'd never heard of Ivan Coyote, but I was curious, so I clicked the link, and despite Brockton's concerns it opened for me just fine.) What I've read so far: Butches of Belfast and then some, I see your spit-polished boots and your barbershop hair. Sometimes gritty concrete particularity is the best stuff for political coalition-building, as well as for prose.
posted by feral_goldfish at 2:15 PM on August 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


i certainly could attend this convention, but as a gay white male, i'd feel like one of the first negroes walking into a white high school after desegregation.

How odd. Every lesbian event I have ever been to has been absurdly welcoming. Do you have reason to believe that you might need a national guard escort to keep lipsticked lesbians from assaulting you?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:15 PM on August 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


i certainly could attend this convention, but as a gay white male, i'd feel like one of the first negroes walking into a white high school after desegregation.

This got at out loud WHAT for me. Yup. Your anxiety about lipstick lesbians possibly giving you side-eye at a convention is totally comparable to being physically and verbally attacked, threatened with death (you and your family), and having to live 24/7 in a community of people who either have contempt for you or are enraged by you.

I was typing a comment about how this thread is very hostile and then I saw that and now I myself am just vibrating with anger and I am going to go away from it.

Shame on you, RTQP.
posted by prefpara at 2:23 PM on August 18, 2012 [43 favorites]


the problems won't stop until we stop labeling people by what private parts they have/lust after, and treat each other as ~people~, full-stop. all i'm really trying to express is frustration that the LGBT community seems to be intent on forging an identity separate from the rest of humanity.

I'm forging an identity that is partly made of things I feel I am. Is that okay with you, or am I not allowed to forge my own identity? Am I a bad person for wanting to get together sometimes with other people I have things in common with, to talk about those things?

It would also be nice to know if you railed against the identity that is imposed upon me by others: by men, by straight people, by religious people, by white people. Do you?

Incidentally, the St. Patrick's Day parade in NYC was notorious for years for not allowing gay Irish groups to march in it. That is by definition unwelcoming.
posted by rtha at 2:25 PM on August 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


[Serioulsy, RTQP and Bunny, drop it now. If you're not trying to come on way strong, RTQP, it's what's happening and you need to stop making this thread about your argument.]
posted by cortex at 2:25 PM on August 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


On the small island where I live now, I do not need to create a "safe space". The whole island is safe for my partner and me. It's great! When I lived in College Station, TX, you bet your ass I had to find a safe space to avoid, if not violence, then the threat thereof. If your experience differs, that's great! I'm glad you've never been threatened with rape or chased through alleys. When things like that happen regularly, finding comfort with people who accept you is not "othering" anyone. It is finding a place where you can be yourself without having to constantly be on guard.
posted by kamikazegopher at 2:25 PM on August 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


Will do.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:25 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Looking at the tomboy femme tumblr, what's the difference between that style and just "tomboy"? Or in some cases, "butch"?
posted by desjardins at 2:30 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bri--the civil rights movement did not primarily make progress because blacks gave up trying to be black or by ceasing "segregating themselves with their ghettos and their food and their weird hair and their funny vernacular and that crazy music"--the civil rights movement made significant progress because of the concentrated efforts to include as many people as possible and the concerted efforts of white ministers, Catholic priests, Jewish rabbis, liberal college students, lawyers of every strip and color, housewives and courageous blacks and whites who sacrificed their social and economic security, safety and lives to support that change. If you want your freedom, your rights and your power it is found by being embraced by those who are not you. While it makes a great deal of sense for any group to strengthen their own identity and core that should not be confused with getting your rights and safety.
posted by rmhsinc at 2:35 PM on August 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


I find it odd that RTQP felt he'd be so unwelcome at this event, my first thought as a gay male was that I would love to attend this. The idea that any group founded on the premise of sexual identity awareness would be hostile to outsiders on the basis of enforcing conformity seems preposterous to me, these are people who are just glad to see and be seen as their true selves, whatever those may be.
posted by hermitosis at 2:41 PM on August 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


FEMME SHAAAAAARKS!!!!!!!!
posted by geeklizzard at 2:49 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


desjardins, there is a more boyish end to tomboy femme too, but as a jeans-sneakers-and-t-shirt-wearing lady with long hair, I really like that term (and "hard femme" too, which I just recently learned about) because it describes a more complex identity than just "tomboy" or "femme" alone. Some of the more boyish tomboy femme tumbler photos may be of folks who choose the "femme" label because of something other than the way they dress--relationship roles or something like that maybe.

I think the femme community is great about accepting variations on what "femme" means; whether it's about a social role, or a way of dressing, or whatever. And also about accepting a broad variety of people, including femme-identified gay men. Until recently I had a very "ugh, it's THOSE girls and their makeup and heels" impression of femme, but I've had a bit more exposure to femme communities recently and have been super impressed. In general, they are so welcoming, and there are really interesting cultural ideas coming from some of them.

For me personally, I appreciate safe spaces like this conference that acknowledge queer femme identities specifically because it means I don't have to defend my sexuality from the Spanish Inquisition. ("But your hair is so long! Surely you must like men. You are only in this gay bar with your gay boyfriends, right, straight girl?" is more or less how it usually seems to go.)
posted by snorkmaiden at 2:53 PM on August 18, 2012 [16 favorites]


"transgressive, gender-queer, stand-alone, and empowered identity"

uh huh
posted by Yakuman at 2:54 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


The "lack of non-stereotypical role models" link is really interesting. Something that always comes through is that whatever fits our current society's definition of "feminine" is relegated to a lower position, whether purposefully or not, sometimes even by those claiming to defend women (and who do indeed have other valid points to that end). For instance, yesterday a friend posted about Architect Barbie. That article mentions critiques of the Barbie depiction of a woman architect, some because of... the pink. Because apparently real women architects don't wear pink, especially in dresses, as don't women in IT. Apparently.

It's been mentioned often enough on MeFi that the link probably isn't necessary, but pink used to be a boys' color, denoting strength. And this here woman, who currently works in IT, wears pink, purple, burgundy, blue, etc. dresses to work very often, plus I grew up around architects and drafter/designers... some of whom also wore dresses.

It's very strange to see that even when defending real women – because indeed, most of the women I work with dress along more masculine lines – it works along the lines of devaluing someone else, usually those more feminine. From the article: "I had no femme role models who looked and thought like me, who were brash and confrontational but still painted their toenails."

It's a bit the same for straight "feminine" women too. Madonna is kind-of there, but otherwise, this type of woman tends to get plain old ignored. It's something that speaks to the post from a little while ago where another woman was considering using goddess symbolism as a way to explore feminism. But hey, even goddesses are ridiculed, even when it's pointed out that it's symbolic, not literal. As if we're – as a society, that is – still so wrapped up in power as the goal, because that's what patriarchy has as its core, that we can't even accept symbolic equality. One's gotta be STRONG and SMART and RIGHT, the other one's gotta be weak and emotional and who cares what she thinks really she's just a woman-or-can-be-dismissed-as-such we have better things to do.

It is nice to see increasingly more people aiming for agency ("empowerment" generally means this too, though it can mean something more along the lines of "power"), which is more apt to foster egalitarian thinking, allowing for the acknowledged, shared existence of everyone, than power, which is always hierarchical and thus will always want someone beneath them. It's hard to get off the drug of power and superiority. It can be done if/when enough people realize that even those it supposedly and apparently benefits (when viewed with the lens society dictates, that is), aren't truly enriched by it – "enriched" as full, aware, responsible and loving human beings.

On preview, emphasis mine: If you want your freedom, your rights and your power...

Genuinely? As a tomboy-femme (though not queer) woman? I'd just like to be able to live my life without an exhausting amount of societally-minded people thinking they have the right to tell me how to live when I haven't asked, and without assuming what I want, especially when it's something so poisonous as power. From that same article about queer femme role models: “We are often seen as heteronormative, apolitical, less radical, and less queer in a community where being visible and valued depends on being masculine or androgynous.”

How hard is it for others to look at someone being who they are and saying, "Cool! It's awesome how different people can be! I'll bet s/he has loads of interesting experiences" instead of "OMG doing it wrong" or "Psh, boring, I can tell who she is just by looking at her"? On another preview, I feel the same as snorkmaiden: because it means I don't have to defend my sexuality from the Spanish Inquisition. "But your hair is so long! Surely you must like men. You are only in this gay bar with your gay boyfriends, right, straight girl?" is more or less how it usually seems to go.
posted by fraula at 2:59 PM on August 18, 2012 [19 favorites]


too fucking cute. those kids be ready to solve some capers and shit.
posted by twist my arm at 3:01 PM on August 18, 2012 [11 favorites]


Privilege is a weird thing.

I used to share a house with a femme friend and while she was coming out I accompanied her to a lesbian club so she wouldn't have to go alone. As a straight white male it was the most uncomfortable and unwelcome I've ever felt in my entire life.

Sometimes it disgusts me how lucky I am.
posted by fullerine at 3:05 PM on August 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Princess Darth Vader is the best thing on the internet (via Hard Femme).
posted by Infinite Jest at 3:07 PM on August 18, 2012 [12 favorites]


but as a gay white male

...queer culture already represents you pretty good so you understand how that largish umbrella category might not adequately address the needs of more marginalized groups?

i'd feel like one of the first negroes walking into a white high school after desegregation.

...oh.
posted by twist my arm at 3:13 PM on August 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's sorta like how electronica has like a thousand different "genres" that all sound the same.
posted by ReeMonster at 3:14 PM on August 18, 2012


It seems to me that the way this works is that, except for some important exceptions, smaller groups may exclude larger groups. So the irish may exclude non-irish but they cannot exclude gay irish. Exclude sounds excessively negative though. If they don't want me around I can deal. They can drop by WhiteGuyWithGlassesDrinkingVodkaTonicPlayingSleepingDogsCon I am having tonight at my place if they want though, probably going to be the best con all year.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:20 PM on August 18, 2012


What kind of haircut do you have, Ad?
posted by Brocktoon at 3:29 PM on August 18, 2012


For what it is worth I have never felt less judged by others than at our local tri-pride event. It is refreshing. Every other event people try to size one up to figure out how one fits into the group. That one day a year, people just accept one as belonging simply because one is present. I wish the other 365 days were so humane.

I am saddened that we still at a place societally where bunching up for protection against hate and fear is needed, but I am heartened that welcoming events like this, and others, exist to bring a bit of light to the dark and show the way forward.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:30 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


If they don't want me around I can deal.

sounds like the con exists so queer femmes can get together and talk about issues that affect them-- visibility, identity, fall 2012 do's and don'ts, etc. pretty sure if those topics interest you it'd be ok for you to be there.

the idea of exclusion is being brought up in this thread by folks who are projecting and assuming a hostility in the very idea of this cons existence (?). not sure where that defensiveness is springing up from, but it's a nice way to make it so that queer femmes have to justify themselves to outsiders right from the outset.

i know it'd make me feel super warm fuzzy and safe.
posted by twist my arm at 3:36 PM on August 18, 2012 [11 favorites]


It seems to me that the way this works is that, except for some important exceptions, smaller groups may exclude larger groups.

Who's being excluded? The Con is for people who "seek to explore, discuss, dissect, and support Queer Femme as a transgressive, gender-queer, stand-alone, and empowered identity and provide a space for organizing and activism within Queer communities", according to the OP. It doesn't say that only women, or only Queer women, are welcome. The website specifically mentions "our commitment to making the Femme Conference affordable and accessible to all femmes and allies" [emphasis mine] and "We hope to attract people of all genders who are interested in a deeper understanding of Femme identity"

Seems pretty open to me.
posted by Infinite Jest at 3:39 PM on August 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


"But your hair is so long! Surely you must like men. You are only in this gay bar with your gay boyfriends, right, straight girl?" is more or less how it usually seems to go.

does this for reals still happen? femmes usually have to come out to me with a clue-by-four, but that's just out in the normal straight world. anybody in a mostly-gay place would certainly get the benefit of the doubt from me.

anyways, it's ignorance if it does (still happen).
posted by twist my arm at 3:41 PM on August 18, 2012


Ok, I didn't mean to imply they are excluding me. I am just saying it is ok if they are.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:41 PM on August 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


cool. that's a good attitude to have and i wish more people were live and let live like that.

it's like we're not 8 years old anymore. your older cousin is not keeping you out of the secret awesome pillow fort just to make you cry!
posted by twist my arm at 3:44 PM on August 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Lipstick Lesbian is usually thrown around as a term to denote "fake" lesbians, LUGs (Lesbian Until Graduation), etc. Visibly opting out of what's attractive to guys is seen as a credibility marker, i.e. that you're not just using other girls to be more attractive to guys.

Problem is, some girls like pink, like skirts, like being stereotypically female, and still like other girls. This is a thing, it does happen, and there's nothing wrong with it. Except it does complicate the signaling, thus the tension.
posted by effugas at 3:45 PM on August 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


I also don't think they are somehow hostile. That is why I said I think the word exclude is unnecessarily negative. But I also acknowledge that they may be incredibly welcoming to me if I chose to attend.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:45 PM on August 18, 2012


definitely talking about RTQP's craziness upthread when i said "hostile", which has been quashed. but i feel like your comment was a miniscule level 1 in i dunno, contrariness? and his was like level 6 or more.
posted by twist my arm at 3:52 PM on August 18, 2012


Do the Femme Sharks ever rumble with the Femme Jets?
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:53 PM on August 18, 2012 [12 favorites]


it really disgusts me that all these gender groups insist on establishing a "safe" space of their own. shouldn't EVERYWHERE be safe?

Well, yeah, but that's not quite the point. Even if that wass the case, these conventions would still happen because it's nice to be around like minded people and just like minded people sometimes.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:54 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ok, I was just defending freedom of association. I definitely don't want COD kiddies showing up at DrinkVodakaAndPlaySleepingDogsCon 2012 no matter what kind of haircuts they have.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:57 PM on August 18, 2012


the problems won't stop until we stop labeling people by what private parts they have/lust after, and treat each other as ~people~, full-stop.

I don't even see colour.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:05 PM on August 18, 2012 [26 favorites]


i certainly could attend this convention, but as a gay white male, i'd feel like one of the first negroes walking into a white high school after desegregation.

That's a sad way to feel, but I'll bet money that unless a person was all fighty, anyone would be welcomed. I've been the total outsider in similar spaces, and have never felt other than welcomed. You have to be ready for a lot of "huh, so why are you here?" conversations, but there's nothing wrong with that.

Anyway, it's not a parsing of identity that I know much about, so I'm enjoying the links and learning something. It's not an event I'm likely to go to, but I could see my partner going and having a blast.
posted by Forktine at 4:06 PM on August 18, 2012


i certainly could attend this convention, but as a gay white male, i'd feel like one of the first negroes walking into a white high school after desegregation.

That hasn't at all been my experience as a straight white male actually going to similar conventions, centered around identities I don't share, often obviously so. In my experience, it's pretty much the opposite of what you're suggesting. When people come together to share experiences of alienation and fighting alienation, they tend to be in both emotional and intellectual spaces that allow them to be most welcoming.
posted by scottreynen at 4:38 PM on August 18, 2012


Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me about Ivan Coyote. She's a real national treasure.
posted by saucysault at 4:47 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


twist my arm, it totally does still happen to me! Not in lesbian spaces, but in a generally mostly-gay place, or particularly in spaces that are more gay male oriented, it does still happen. :(

I had a really interesting chat a while ago with a straight girl who likes to shave her head. Our experiences were opposite but very similar. It really sucks that choice of hairstyle can possibly be any kind of big deal, but there it is.

And on preview, National Treasure is the perfect way to describe Ivan Coyote. I'm excited to see comments from people just discovering her in this thread! Spread the Ivan Coyote love!
posted by snorkmaiden at 4:54 PM on August 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I never understood this assumption that gay men are supposed to be effeminate and gay ladies are supposed to be man-like. How can it be that odd for a man to be masculine or a woman to be feminine? Just because you're attracted to ladies doesn't mean you're not still a lady yourself. Some ladies like short hair, other ladies like long hair. Some ladies wear pants, other ladies don't. I don't get it.

This is not to say that I don't understand gender-performance-non-compliance either. What I don't understand is the assumptions people make.
posted by bleep at 5:18 PM on August 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


random excerpts from ivan coyote youtube link (transcribing, so my punctuation is all over the place. apologies), but you should watch it for the heart-felt delivery:

i'm not sure why i can tell that you are not straight, but i can. maybe it's the way you look at me. please don't stop looking at me the way you do. all of my life you see i have been told that i am ugly. i am less than. i am not a man. i am unwanted. until you came along i believed them.

i would never say that the world is harder on me than it is you. i would never say that. sometimes you are invisible. i have no idea what this must feel like, to pass right by your people and not be recognized, to not be seen. cuz me i cannot hide. unless i'm seen as something i really am not. and this is not more difficult, it is just different.

...

i promise i am not just staring at your tits. i am actually trying to look you directly in the eyes but you are almost 8 inches taller than me. please see the above note regarding your 5 inch heels.

at the same time i would like to mention that while i was trying to look you in the eyes i could not help but notice your lovely new pendant. i am sure it really brings out the color of your eyes-- if i could see them.

...

thank you for smelling so good.

thank you for holding my hand on the sidewalk during the hockey playoffs. i know it is probably small-minded of me to smile wicked at all the drunken dudes in jersey smoking outside the sports bar in between periods because you are so fucking hot and you are with me and not them, but i can't help it. that's right fellas-- you want her, but she wants me. how do you like them apples *wink*.

thank you for wearing matching bra and panties. i do not know why this makes my life seem so perfect, but it does.

thank you for being the daughter my mother always wanted. you are so smart, and so successful, and you dress so fine, that you almost make up for her having me and my sister for her real children.

thank you for reaching out in the dark at the movie theater to grab my hand in the scary parts. it makes me feel like i am strong, that i can take care of you, even if there is no such thing as vampires, and you do so much yoga that you can probably easily kick my ass.

...

i want you to know that it is not always easy to love me, that sometimes my chest is a field full of landmines. and where you went last night, you can't go tomorrow, there is no manual, there is no road map, no help line you can call. my body does not come with instructions, and sometimes even i don't know what to do with it. this cannot be easy, but still you touch me anyway.

posted by twist my arm at 5:23 PM on August 18, 2012 [15 favorites]


Personally, I just wanted to say thanks to divabat for this post! So many great links, great reading.

I'm just lately coming to terms with the fact that despite finding nearly all my role models for gender expression within the LGBT community, I'm still just pretty much straight. (Many of my LGBT friends have dubbed me a queer straight girl, but that feels an awful lot like co-opting someone's identity.)

Discovering femme culture has really allowed me to discover my own femme side, has allowed me to love pink and glitter and big silly skirts, and to combine that love with my more stereotypically masculine interests in ways that delight me, i.e. upholstering my motorcycle seat in hot pink metal flake vinyl.

(For more on the subject, Visible: A Femmethology, Volumes One and Two has some great writing on the topic. Features work from friends and acquaintances of mine, FWIW.)
posted by mollymayhem at 5:40 PM on August 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


As a straight kid growing up nerdy, I always, always, always bought the divide between smart and popular, nerdy and pretty. I didn't think that's how it should be, but I had a very fundamental belief that I was on the 'smart' side of that line and therefore *wasn't* pretty, couldn't *want* to be pretty, and would give up something fundamental about myself if I tried to be. The things that I liked that were pretty and girly felt like mistakes, or betrayals...I might turn into one of those fashion-obsessed girls and not grow up to be a Real Scientist like I wanted.

It feels wrong to label myself 'femme' since I'm not queer, but knowing queer femmes and reading explanations of femme identity has helped me in a big way. More than anything else, it's what helped me really make peace with femininity as a part of my personality. It's not the opposite of feminism, I don't have to be 'one of the boys', I don't give up credibility when I show up to work in skirts or with a ribbon in my hair.

It feels like something I don't want to trumpet too much, since there's so much cultural pressure to present pretty much the way I present. We need voices for the women and girls who *don't* want to do their hair or wear pink, and space for people of all genders to be able to circumvent gender expectations they don't want to meet. And then again...those things aren't wrong either, and that got lost for me for a long time.

My own femininity isn't revolutionary, but (male and female) femme pride has helped me to think about those aspects of myself in a positive way that doesn't denigrate other ways of being, or simply sink into a 'mainstream' acceptance of how I look or act. It helps me look at the ways I do and don't meet certain expectations of femininity at a bit of a distance. I can recognize the privilege that 'presenting femme' gives me (and the responsibility to watch out for that)...and I can also feel a sense of identification with other people who are like me in this way, across a spectrum of orientations and gender identities. I'm not (necessarily) 'more of a girl' than a dapper person with a buzz cut and a blazer who also identifies as %100 female, and I'm grateful to the whole concept of femme for giving me a way to understand tihs.

Thanks, femmes.

(on preview, mollymayhem and I are very much on the same wavelength!)
posted by heyforfour at 5:50 PM on August 18, 2012 [19 favorites]


mollymahem, for what it's worth, I wouldn't think of you as co-opting if you chose to use that term. Queer is a big ole umbrella that fits a lot of people under it.
posted by rtha at 5:59 PM on August 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


i want you to know that it is not always easy to love me, that sometimes my chest is a field full of landmines. and where you went last night, you can't go tomorrow, there is no manual, there is no road map, no help line you can call. my body does not come with instructions, and sometimes even i don't know what to do with it. this cannot be easy, but still you touch me anyway.

This is so beautiful it made me cry.
posted by winna at 6:09 PM on August 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


trust me, ivan had a hard time holding it together while saying it out loud in front of god and everyone.
posted by twist my arm at 6:11 PM on August 18, 2012


That was part of why it made me cry. It was an amazing mixture of humor and desire and appreciation and heartbreaking honesty. It was so brave and open.

Seriously, if anyone has read this far down and haven't went to watch that Ivan Coyote link, do so now.
posted by winna at 6:23 PM on August 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Personally, I just wanted to say thanks to divabat for this post! So many great links, great reading

Agreed! I loaded this page to follow some links to various delightful and ineresting expressions of sexual identity and found, instead ... such a strange pack of hostility and criticism in the comments. What gives? The post is lovely.
posted by ead at 6:47 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


FYI here's the full text of Ivan Coyote's gorgeous piece: Hats off to beautiful femmes
posted by nicebookrack at 7:01 PM on August 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


fml
posted by twist my arm at 7:08 PM on August 18, 2012


I don't always understand other people, but I understood Ivan Coyote.
posted by Mojojojo at 7:14 PM on August 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


mollymayhem, it's so awesome that there are queer straight girls like you to disprove folks who say that girls who are tomboys or women who have masculine interests must therefore not be heterosexual. Queer is a fine word to describe that in my book.
posted by snorkmaiden at 8:07 PM on August 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


mollymayhem, a lot of that resonates for me. I'm a straight girl so far (judging by past experience, though one can never say what the future holds) and I like functional, hard-wearing clothes; I don't bother with makeup; I quite honestly feel like a fraud in a dress; I'm more at home in a dog park than a nice restaurant. Though I clean up so well that, the last wedding I went to, the groom's father - who's known me since I was sixteen or so - did not even recognize me. I do all right, long as I don't have to do it often.

Presentation and orientation really have nothing to do with each other, and that's a lesson I have been lucky to learn from the many friends and chosen-family I have who are all sorts of queer. One of my besties, nicknamed Ace, who wriggles with glee when I call her the dykiest dyke to ever leave her birkenstock footprints all over a cat-fancier store, (we tease like sisters and she's fond of that term, so be assured I say it with hair-mussing respect) says that I am politically queer; to this day I am not sure what that means, exactly, but I'll tell you about how we interact, and maybe you can figure it out yourself.

It's funny to look at the two of us, Ace and me; she's got luxurious long curly hair down to her waist, and dresses in richly patterned batiks and corduroy; I have hair just long enough for a nubby ponytail, and I wear a standard summer uniform of jeans, functional tanks, combat boots, and my purse is a Soviet gas-mask bag that I got for a dollar from an internet army-navy closeout. I have the higher voice and probably more feminine mannerisms, but she's the one with the closed and quiet body language, while I make staircases rattle when I clomp up them. Which one of us is gay? Both? Neither? Can you tell? Does it matter? It shouldn't.

We're both of us just women, close as sisters, doin' our thing.. which sometimes involves her putting me up a tree to catch a cat. All of those things are there, history and labels and orientations and trauma triggers, and we know them, but between us it's as relevant as eye color, or what kind of shoes we've got on. Which is: not at all, really. We're busy being ourselves. Being people, just like anybody else.

To put things a different way, an analogy I gave her once: I will not be marching in the pride parade, as it is not a place where I belong, but if y'all need someone to man the drinks stand while you march I am on it.
posted by cmyk at 8:37 PM on August 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


I am a big man--6 1, 250 lbs, and i have a huge beard, and mostly dress in western gear. I still id as gender queer, and it has tken me years to know how to be a boy, or how to be a man. I love femme culture, I love Ivan Coyote, I love the book Butch as a Noun, and the territory--the land that has been explored, and has not, in my own interior landscape, and the clumsy one that occasionally overlaps other exterior landscapes, esp. with issues of Class, Race and Disability, is a set of impossiblities.

Even if I have the nickname moose, I will throw glitter in my head, wear the leopard print scarf, and refuse to eschew ornament.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:22 PM on August 18, 2012 [15 favorites]


Ad hominem: "It seems to me that the way this works is that, except for some important exceptions, smaller groups may exclude larger groups. So the irish may exclude non-irish but they cannot exclude gay irish. Exclude sounds excessively negative though. If they don't want me around I can deal. They can drop by WhiteGuyWithGlassesDrinkingVodkaTonicPlayingSleepingDogsCon I am having tonight at my place if they want though, probably going to be the best con all year."

His haircut is irrelevant. The fact he drinks vodka, instead of gin, tonics is the reason he is AN ABOMINATION IN THE SIGHT OF MAN AND GOD AND A SINNER, SINNER, SINNER is all that matters.

Just sayin'.
posted by Samizdata at 6:10 AM on August 19, 2012


http://tomboyfemme.com/

I love this style *_* It's hard to pull off - a lot of the time you need either a slim/androgynous body or a very expensive haircut, or to spend a lot of time balancing masculine and feminine accessories - but it's so hot when it's well done.

I think people who look/dress/are more obviously gay-for-women have a harder time in wider society, but an easier time picking up chicks, most of the time. And I think this trade-off is fair. I also think that the more closed off the place you are living in is to even the idea of non-straight people, the more obvious you have to be to signal your desire and prevent misunderstanding (that you are straight when you are not). But that shouldn't stop anyone from presenting themselves in a way that feels the most true to themselves, and makes them feel the most attractive to those they would like to attract. I love the idea that you can dress feminine, and not be hiding anything. (E.g. I'm dressed feminine, but look at my haircut/my rainbow pin/the venue I'm in/just ask me, I'm not ashamed of my sexuality, if I feel like it's any of your business I will tell you.)
posted by subdee at 6:33 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a hairy-legged straight girl who loves pretty floral dresses, I am super glad that this con exists.
posted by nonasuch at 6:57 AM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


They can drop by WhiteGuyWithGlassesDrinkingVodkaTonicPlayingSleepingDogsCon I am having tonight at my place if they want though, probably going to be the best con all year.

I worked on SD for 3 years, so I have seen many, many versions of that con happen while it was being created. My slightly femme-y lesbian friend wants to play it - I am *intensely* curious to know what she makes of it, since she is pretty far from the target audience. That game has male gaze in much the same way Cyclops from X-men does.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:23 AM on August 19, 2012


but it's so hot when it's well done.

i didn't wanna say anything cuz they seem youngish but... this.
posted by twist my arm at 10:09 AM on August 19, 2012


This straight-ish, tomboy-ish, femme-ish girl right here would very much like to go to this con. Any idea where it might be held next year, so's I can start planning?

(and because my caffeine has not kicked in yet, therefore I am inarticulate like whoa, big ups to mollymayhem, heyforfour, and cmyk for voicing my thoughts better than I can right now. Also Ivan Coyote just totally kicked me in the heart.)
posted by palomar at 10:58 AM on August 19, 2012


Looking at the tomboy femme tumblr, what's the difference between that style and just "tomboy"? Or in some cases, "butch"?

Being femme (or butch) is not primarily a fashion statement.
posted by Wordwoman at 11:11 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I remember the first time I saw the Ivan Coyote video. Honey, you are singing the song of my heart.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:05 PM on August 19, 2012


Hi, queer femme here. I love Ivan Coyote, and all the butches, bois, genderqueers, and other people who see us for who we are and do not render us invisible, or use awful, derisive terms like "lipstick lesbian." Most of us who identify as queer femme do not identify as lesbian. Those would generally be lesbian femmes, though you pretty much have to ask to know who identifies as which.

I'll tell a story here, if y'all don't mind. If you do, just skip on down to the next comment.

I have always, from the very beginning, had female masculinity at the center of my sexual attraction. I remember clearly broad-shouldered, short-cropped Georgia crossing the swimming pool at summer camp in one powerful, graceful dive. The older woman Ivy, at 19, who stood so close teaching me archery that I could swear she was breathing down my neck onto ... well, tingly places. I remember Hunter, likewise broad-shouldered and close-cropped, a track star at my high school and a gorgeous sight to behold as she strode through the pale green hallways.

I didn't know from queer or lesbian or gay. Gay was my mom's old bald friend, with his yappy little dog and his Streisand albums and art deco. Lesbian was completely unknown, and the articles in my sister's teen magazines assured me that crushes on other girls were a completely normal phase that I'd grow out of.

I tried to be hetero. Got married, had kids, the whole 9 yards ... got a girlfriend on the side (with my husband's wholehearted encouragement until he realized I was a lot more intimate with her in every way than I ever was with him). I left my husband and came out to my family, but I didn't have any community yet. The only girls I knew who slept with girls did not partner with them and didn't know anyone who did.

I went back to college, and found Lesbians. In my very first class, on my very first day, there were three of them right there! And I was cleverly wearing a Melissa Etheridge concert t-shirt to signal myself one of the tribe. It worked. The cutest one of them was just several months later my life partner. She was a Lesbian, and she knew lots of other Lesbians, and I came to know them too.

The thing was, they all had something like a uniform. They wore unisex t-shirts and men's jeans and shoes, and only wore makeup if at all when under pressure to please -- holidays with uptight family, or weddings, or job interviews. None of them had long hair like me, or wore makeup every day, or cared about accessorizing their outfits beyond "brown belt or black? leather or metal watchband?". None of them walked like me. None of them looked like me. When we went out, people would ask why they brought a straight girl to the bar, and they wouldn't talk to me. They'd stare, sometimes, but not talk.

They (she, especially, my ever-so-helpful partner) told me the rules. "Lesbians don't carry purses," they'd say, which was fine because most days I just carried my school backpack, so that was easy enough to give up. "Lesbians don't wear makeup," so I cut down to just foundation and maybe a little eyeliner. "You don't look like a lesbian with all that hair," so I gave in and let my partner direct her stylist into chopping it down to nothing, after all those years of growing it out. "Lesbians don't wear shoes like that," so I ended up with a pair of men's New Balance that I was forever tripping over and made my feet look so much uglier than my svelte boots had. All these rules, they had, in order to fit in.

And I caved. I caved on nearly every last one, except my colorful socks. Such a silly thing, but I hated those awful white athletic socks that look so tidy in athletic shoes on those feet that were no longer mine.

They taught me of queer history, and how once upon a time, lesbians had to be butch and femme in order to appear on the street together in relative safety, and weren't we glad the 70s had come along with feminist lesbians to free us from those tired old heteronormative roles.

Years passed by and I wore the unform, kept my hair mostly trimmed, fit in with the lesbians so that I could avoid the stares and whispers, gossip, and accusations of "lipstick lesbian" that I was now privy to, courtesy of my camoflage. Then came Jen. Jen carried a purse and wore makeup every day and had hair below her shoulders and didn't wear or even own a single article of men's clothing, and she laughed off the taunts and the helpful instructions. "Lesbians don't carry purses," I parroted to her, ever mindful of what it took for me to fit in. She laughed, "This one does!"

For various reasons, my partner and I split and I found myself dating again. Again, but in a sense, for the first time. I tossed out those awful shoes and bought a purse and makup and began to feel more authentically myself again. The very first person I dated identified as butch, and told me butch and femme weren't dead; there were others out there like us. And I looked, and lo and behold, I found.

These were My People, in a meaningful way. And there were all sorts of flavors and identities and genders and sexualities. There were butches, bottoms and tops and bois and grrls and female-identified and male-identified. There were femmes, in lipstick or leather, heels or sneakers, packing guns or strap-ons or powder compacts. There were transmen, straight and gay and femme-loving. There were transwomen, both butch and femme. And I loved them all. Some physically, some intimately, some spiritually.

Years have passed and I still encounter those lesbians and their kin with their same old rules on a regular basis most of the time when I am in queer space, both public and private. I overhear the most godawful queer-hating and trans-hating things from some of them, and sometimes I speak up and sometimes I don't. I hear them denigrating my adored butches, my beloved transmen, my fabulous femme sisters, and I don't want to identify with that, and with them. So I am queer. Queer means I get to make up my own rules. Femme is simply who I am.
posted by notashroom at 4:07 PM on August 19, 2012 [25 favorites]


And, while other cons are ripping themselves into shreds over who has the most comprehensive sexual harassment policy, these wacky kids have a SCENT-ual harassment policy!

"Excuse me, but your Anaïs Anaïs is making my eyes water, and that's oppressive."
posted by gsh at 4:41 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oooh, The Lady Ms. Vagina Jenkins is performing. I love her work.
posted by notashroom at 5:08 PM on August 19, 2012


It's sorta like how electronica has like a thousand different "genres" that all sound the same.

Compare 30s Dixieland jazz to 40s big band jazz to 50s cool jazz to 60s free jazz to 70s jazz fusion to 80s smooth jazz to classically-inflected jazz today.

Does all jazz sound the same? It uses similar elements through all these.

Compare 50s rock and roll to 60s psychedelic rock to 70s prog rock to 70s hard rock to 70s/80s glam rock to 80s yacht rock to 90s grunge to 00s rap rock.

Does all rock sound the same? It uses similar elements through all these.

Compare 1930s gospel to 50/60s string-laden soul productions to raw 60s funk to 70s p-funk to disco to jazz-funk to the 80s electro influence (like Prince) to 90s hip-hop to the slick "urban" stuff you hear on the radio today.

Does all funk sound the same? It uses similar elements through all these.

Compare early 90s jungle to modern "liquid" drum and bass to the general insanity of breakcore.

Compare late 80s drum machine house to late 90s disco inflected house to the whole minimal nonsense.

Compare 2-step to dubstep to dubstep more recently, which is often charmingly named "brostep".

Compare Eno's 70s ambience to 90s dark industrial stuff to 90s chillout.

Having a little trouble with the last four sentences? That's okay. I've gone into sub-sub-genres when I was just doing sub-genres for the other ones. If you can tell them all apart from each other, then we're getting somewhere, but all of those could conceivably come under the umbrella of "electronica". I could add rave, "trip hop", plunderphonic stuff, hardcore, IDM, and so on.

Similar elements are used through them; drum machines, synthesizers, samples, repetitive beats. Some share stylistic elements; usually because one is descended from another. But if you go beyond a very surface examination, differences will arise. Maybe they're not gigantic at times - most house is pretty similar if you're hearing it from the next room, for example - but if you're immersed in something then there'll be a wealth of small details that one can pick up on.

Why am I digressing like this in a thread about femmes? Because everything is like this. Femmes, knitting, beer, goths, school boards. We put them into little useful categories because they're often not pertinent to our lives. The example of beer again, for instance; I've had little experience with it, and would be hard pressed to tell any two apart in any particularly descriptive manner. But that does not mean there aren't subtle differences which are important to the people who drink beer, and within the whole beer subculture; merely that I'm unable to pick up on them effectively due to my lack of immersion within that space.

And so you have these variations as within the post - tomboy, hard, shark, regional. They mean little to me; but I suspect to the people who interact with them every day they have a definite and relatively clear-cut importance. Maybe it's not a -good- importance; take high-school cliques, with their own subtle details. But it's irresponsible to say they all (metaphorically) sound the same; it's not what's playing, but how much you listen.
posted by solarion at 6:14 PM on August 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


but none of them use instruments, therefore all same, qed
posted by en forme de poire at 10:55 PM on August 19, 2012


FEMME SHARKS RECOGNIZE THAT FEMMES, BUTCHES, GENDERQUEER AND TRANS PEOPLE
HAVE BEEN IN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR SINCE FOREVER.
THAT BEFORE COLONIZATION WE WERE SEEN AS SACRED
AND WE WERE SOME OF THE FIRST FOLKS MOST VIOLENTLY ATTACKED
WHEN OUR LANDS WERE INVADED AND COLONIZED.

No matter how tired it gets, this noble savage shtick just won't die.
posted by gertzedek at 1:01 PM on August 20, 2012


gertzedek: the Femme Shark manifesto was written by women of colour.
posted by divabat at 1:57 PM on August 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


No shit.
posted by gertzedek at 3:17 PM on August 21, 2012


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