Femmethology Contributor Miel Rose

Gender has always felt to me like something essential and deep and hard to put your finger on.


Femmethology Contributor Cherry Bomb

My whole person is about contradiction, which is a difficult lesson to learn, and an even harder lesson to live.


Femmethology Contributor C.T. Whitley

My femme identity upholds the beautiful parts of my birth sex as female.

Femmethology Contributor Caitlin Petrakis Childs

How do you define your femme identity?
I am a queer intersex woman who purposefully and thoughtfully creates and plays with a feminine gender that was consciously created by and for me. My femme gender is smart, sassy, tough, glamorous and fun. My shoe collection consists of tons of heels (4″+ please!), skate shoes and lots and lots of boots. My style varies between classic pin-up burlesque bombshell, punk rock riot grrrl and the always trusty jeans and t-shirts. My armpits are always hairy but I shave my legs most of the time. Bikini Kill’s self-titled EP changed my life, yet Britney Spears is one of my favorites. When I grow up I want to be a combination of Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls and Ruth from Fried Green Tomatoes. My femme identity did not come easily or quickly, and I had to work through a lot of my own internalized femme phobia and misogyny to get here. My identity as a femme changes and gets deeper and more complicated daily. I love contradictions. I love the surprises people hold and the way that opposites can co-exist in one person.

How do other identities you have not only intersect with femme but also contradict it?
As an intersex person, I have often felt different from other femmes. So much about femme identity and femininity is linked to being penetrated vaginally (I was born without a vagina) and often to having children (I was born without a uterus too.) Being a femme woman in a body that was initially assigned female but finding out when I was a teenager that my body didn’t quite fit that narrow category definitely informed my views on my own gender identity. Many assumptions are made about me and my body because of how I present my gender, because of my time as a sex worker, etc.

What are some joys of being femme?
There are so many! For me, my identity definitely does include the inclusion of performance and this leo loves to perform! I love to dress up and embrace my exhibitionist side. I love thinking about femininity critically and mindfully in a way that incorporates my feminist, queer, anti-capitalist, anti-racist politics. I love to surprise people and challenge them when they find out I am queer and femme and smart (you’d be amazed how many people think that feminine = dumb.)

Femmethology Contributor Lisa R. Papez

How do you define your femme identity?
I find it’s all too easy to fall into the stereotypical expectations of what makes a femme a femme. Nobody can take away my identity, and so I do my best to define my femme identity by simply being myself. I don’t wear skirts and heels very often, but I love to feel pretty. I prefer headbands to a perfectly hair sprayed ‘do and tinted lip balm to lipstick. My femme identity is wrapped up in little girl idealism and all things pink and cuddly.

How do other identities you have not only intersect with femme but also contradict it?
Rather than intersecting and contradicting, all those things that make up my identity are interwoven and interconnected. Being a femme and yet not being terribly interested in makeup, hair, and the latest fashion trend like so many of my counterparts is contradictory. The sense of personal power and self-confidence that my femme identity elicits is not exactly congruent with the softer, submissive, little girl side of that identity and yet the two balance and enhance each other. I like to describe myself as an eclectic, pagan, naive, wise, young, old, confident, shy, grounded, flighty, fluffy, dark, serious, silly, calm, excitable, flirty, loyal, romantic, innocent, naughty, queer, passionate femme. I am available as-is with no warranty implied or otherwise. Take me as I am or not at all.

What are some joys of being femme?
For this femme, there is absolutely no greater joy than embracing my softness in the arms of a butch who is simultaneously soft, strong, hard, and safe. There are other joys, such as the amazing sense of fellowship (or perhaps femme-ship) in a gathering of femmes over tea (or cocktails), sharing our joys and our sorrows with each other. It is uplifting to feel comfortable enough to be courageous about being myself, to be among others who cherish me for who I am without trying to place me in any stereotypical box – and I am grateful for that joy every day.

Femmethology Contributor Ann Tweedy

How do you define your femme identity?
I think of my femme identity as being tied to presenting myself in a feminine way, in terms of clothes, mannerisms, etc., while at the same time rejecting oppression of women and of femininity.

How do other identities you have not only intersect with femme but also contradict it?
I identify as bi and queer. I often run into the stereotype in the LGBT community that bi women are all feminine (which isn’t true), so I match that stereotype. However, a lot of people mistake me for straight, so you could say my feminine appearance is seen as contradicting my queerness.

What are some joys of being femme?
Dressing up to go out. Friendships with other femmes. Being appreciated by butch women. Turning heads. Fucking with stereotypes.

What role does writing play in community-building for you?
I’ve connected online through my poetry with other queer women. I’ve made some very important connections that way. I’ve also connected with all types of other poets through poetry readings (straight/gay/bi/male/female/transgender). These essays are my first published prose (besides legal articles), so I’m exciting to find out what role this writing will play.

How does it feel to be part of the Femmethologies?
Great!! I feel really lucky to be able to tell my story and hear others’ stories.