(S pointed out to me that though it was really traumatic for me, I didn’t really get my feelings across about being dumped by the girl with the bandanna.)
I am a femme. I identify as a femme, and I was raised by a femme. Never did my mother suggest or mention that other people thought we were less-than because we were femmes.
So in college, I continued to wear dresses and do my make-up and my hair and wear heels. And I thought the girl with the red bandanna liked that. She said she did, anyway.
The small group of lesbians on campus weren’t like me, though. They all had short hair and wore men’s clothes. They were the kind of women I was attracted to. The problem, though, was that they really, really disliked me.
They made fun, both to my face and behind my back, of my heels, and my hair, and my dresses. They called me names, they made me less than. It was worse than being invisible–I was visible and ugly. I was everything they were trying not to be, everything a Good Lesbian shouldn’t be.
The girl with the red bandanna left me for one of those. A ginormous, shaved head butch with a wallet chain and biker boots.
From me, a fire engine lipstick femme, to a butch who hated femmes. Or, at least, this femme.
It crushed me, and it made me ashamed of being a femme. It made me hide. It made me cry. It made me think there was genuinely something wrong with me because I wasn’t a Good Lesbian. Those women doubting my identity made me doubt my identity.
I stopped wearing dresses, I stopped wearing skirts. I traded thigh highs for men’s jeans.
And I lost me. For a long time.
But I’m older and wiser, and that little group of bitter lesbians is long behind me. I’m a femme. I’m a proud femme. I’m a femme in a butch-femme relationship, with someone who likes my heels and make-up and long hair, who appreciates the femme in me with the butch in her, right down to my stockings and lace.
But damn, it was a rough road to get to this place. I’ve been ridiculed by lesbians old enough to know better. How stupid to make us fight to be Good Lesbians, when you have to fight just as hard to be the person you want to be. Don’t you see the irony?
- Megan Evans: Tackling Femme Invisibility (huffingtonpost.com)
- Feminist discussion group: Femme identity & femininity (umsuwomyns.com)