January 25, 2010


I like surprising people. I like toying with notions of gender.

I am a feminine woman. I am not any incarnation of high femme, but I wear eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara. I paint my toes pretty colors. I like heels, but seldom wear them. I wear curve-accentuating clothing, but still love sleeping in huge baggy sweatpants. Feminine enough. I have natural nails; no French manicure for me, thanks.

I like taking on stereotypically male roles. I love the little jump-start surprise men get when a femme woman holds the door open for them. I love the discomfort men display when they can't decide whether to walk through the proffered open door, or to attempt to encourage the woman through instead.
I take secret delight in taking up more space than I need, as men so often do. Maintaining the "'own your space' butch sit" (see Roxy's blog) while owning a femme identity replete with cleavage, pink lip gloss and ass hugging jeans tends to create visible dis-ease in others.
If you've noticed, while walking, many men refuse to make way for a passing woman. This is easily noted in malls. Women will yield, making space for men to pass; a femme woman refusing to make space garners many strange looks.

Defining oneself requires some measure of defining one's gender and one's sexuality. Any possible assemblage of gender and sexuality is acceptable, but maintaining fluidity confuses people. My definition: I am femme, I am bisexual, I am a woman who chooses to perform gender in any way I wish. Performing gender my way is my fluidity.

I have had the pleasure of meeting many people who enforce strict roles for themselves. A slightly feminine lesbian acquaintance allows the length of her hair to dictate the role she inhabits. A longer cut exposes her submissive behaviors, allows her to let others take charge. A short cut yields masculine behaviors, brings out the "player" in her, gives her confidence to walk like she owns herself. This friend is discomfited when I pay for meals, initiate sex, or hold doors open for her. Because I am a femme woman, I am subverting her masculinity. This same friend prefers women daintier than I; it seems the smaller her partners are, the less threatening they become. I am not surprised that maintaining traditional masculine behaviors scratches her itch for gender definition.

I fully understand why a woman would choose to maintain a rigid, masculine gender performance, and why a man would choose a feminine one, but I take pleasure in loose definition.

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