Thursday, August 23, 2012

All in the Femme-ily

[thanks yaara]
Haaaaay snatch-snackers!

What's happening?  

TONS is happening 'round these parts. (Heh.)

Over here, as I write this righthissecond, I'm looking over at CJ, who is doing this:

She is honest-to-god asleep like that. 

If I were a better person, I'd wake her up and take her shoes off and tuck her in instead of photographing her and posting it on the internet.

CJ's real tired. 

She's real tired because she's been packing up her apartment and her studio. 

In a few days, she's moving awaaaaaay, off to teach letterpress at Rutgers for four months.  

I'm really proud of her! 

And...feeling a little dreary about it. 
[thanks Rye K.]

I mean, four months is not a big deal, and we can visit back and forth, and fergawdsakes, we've been separated longer than this before - remember when I had that job for two years where I traveled to a different city every day and never came home?

We've been through all this before. 

But man, we move a lot.  

So far, I've moved from Pasadena to Green Bay to Minneapolis to Italy to Minneapolis to Taipei to Minneapolis to Seattle to Minneapolis to Chicago. 

That's only 10 full-on location changes, but when you throw in moving to different houses and apartments within each city...hmph. 

It's starting to get old. 

CJ has moved 35 times.  Don't even ask. 
This time, it's me that's staying put, but sometimes I wonder how anyone ever buys a house, or even just looks around at the city they're in and goes, "You know?...This is it. I think I'm home."  

How do you know you're home?  What if you love lots of places? How do you decide where to settle?  How do you pick? 

So many places are wonderful!
[Dolores Park]

How on Earth can you commit to a location???

Incidentally, I have these exact same questions about committing to human beings, too.

But! It's easy to distract me. 
When I was moping about CJ moving away, she said, "Cheer up, baby. Isn't the Femme Conference in a few days?"  


Why yes!!!  

OMG, faggettes, the 2012 Femme Conference just happened in Baltimore, and it. was. epic.  

Three whole days of close to 400 femme queers wandering around a hotel together, attending classes and having coffee and going to lectures and generally showin' off their swag.  

So much good style!!  So much cuteness!!  


It was soooooo wooooonderfuuulllllll.
[ via rhiannon-random]

At Femme Con, I learned, among other things, how to:

- do my own drag queen glitter eye makeup

- politely ask someone at a play party (I found out very late that a 'play party' means 'a sex party' - WHY DOES NO ONE TELL ME ANYTHING??) if they want to, um, do stuff

- bootblack 

- fix my bike

- seriously disable a large attacker while wearing heels

- make the Largest Earrings on Earth by putting both giant hoop earrings and a large dangly earring into the same hole in my ear, thus creating MASSIVELY HUGE hoops with a giant swinging centerpiece.

[thanks Anna R]

Skillz!  Knowledge!  Community

I wanted to make out with everybody, and - good news! - everyone at Femme Con wants to make out, too! 
[who sent me this great photo?  email meee]

There was, um, an awful lot of smeared eyeliner at the coffee shop every morning, gheys.  

By the end of the third day, you couldn't go anywhere without bumping into at least one homo you'd either: kissed, wanted to kiss, squealed with over outfits at the clothing swap, seriously discussed femme dynamics with, or seen having a vulnerable moment in one of the workshops.  

You would've loved it.  It was fucking magical.  
[via yeswecancan]

But I didn't go to the Femme Conference for purely selfish reasons. 

I didn't go to make out with femmes and rip off their fashion ideas (yes I did.)

No!  I went for Serious Research Purposes. 

I went to Femme Con with a singular goal in mind:

Figure out femme gaydar tipoffs. 

[via serenadeofaneclecticloversmirage]

I wanted to see hundreds of femmes gather in the same room and try to finally come up with some dammit answers.  

For you!  
For your benefit, not mine!

Because y'all are always writing me plaintive lil' letters, asking sadly about femmes.   

Where are the femmes? What about femmes?  How can I tell between straight girls and femmes?

How do you find them?   
[thanks Celeste]

As if femmes were delicate and elusive Narnian fauns, only coming out under a Spring's full moon to dance around a clearing in the forest with their reedy pipes until daybreak. (You know you didn't dream them because of the cloven footprints.)

"Sure," you taunt me, "gaydar spotting tips about butches and bois and sporties and tombois is easy....but what about the femmes? Not so easy now, is it??"

[thanks Raquel - via sugarcoatedrenegade]
Guise, so many letters.  

So many sad, starved, femme-deprived, hungry lil' dykes, desperate to find the girlygays.  

So I bought my plane tickets.  I reserved my hotel room.  

I went to Femme Con to seek Truth

And maaaaybe make out.  
If there was time. 

With me was my trusty equipment: one notebook, one camera, and one black fountain pen.  

I would capture the essence of Femme Gaydar if it was the last thing I ever did.

I hopped off the plane, got my rental car, and drove into the confusing swirl of Baltimore's endless and utterly nonsensical one-way streets. 

Arriving at 3 p.m. on a Friday, I was just in time to get cleaned up before the femme-on-femme speed dating event.  Yaaaas!! 

I ran upstairs to my room, put on big hoop earrings, threw on an extraordinarily tight dress, and bolted back downstairs. 

Speed dating! 
For femmes who like femmes! 
[thanks Allison]

It was the best possible starting place for my research. 
The room was overflowing with dykes, and the deal was this: you got three minutes with each person.  

Just enough time to size up everyone's style!

I got out my notebook.  I couldn't wait to analyze.  
My three main questions were: 

What do we, as femmes, share, gaydar-wise? 

What are our style common denominators, our markers? What marks us as femme? 

How do we 'flag' queer? 

[thanks KarinaR]

Buuuuut then my first three-minute date sat down. And then another. 
And another and another. 

And fuck, everyone was gorgeous.

Cute baby femmes.  Older glamorous femmes.  Punk queerfemmes, transfemmes, tattooed femmes.
[thanks Jules & Amy]

I was overwhelmed with the sheer fashionable masses.  
These girls looked good.  Holy shit.  

I became nervous.  I babbled.  I did not take notes.

A girl gave me her number and I sloshed coffee all over my dress in alarm. 
[thanks Ana W.]

When speed dating was over, I shakily went up to my room to collect myself.  

I threw myself down on the bed, annoyed with my piss-poor researching skills. 

What was I doing flirting?  I had notes to take! Theories to form! 
I didn't have time for extracurricular conference dalliances, I needed answers!!
[thanks M.]

Well. The three days of the conference flew by.  

There were caucuses for femme sex workers, for femmes of color, for deaf femmes. 
Classes about loving your body and dance workshops and classes for femme-allies and classes about fashion and workshops about fucking while femme. 

By Saturday afternoon, as I sat in the auditorium during the keynote speaker address, I was so into the conference that I'd lost my head completely.  

Who cared about Science, I loved and wanted to do everyonnnnnne!!
[thanks Dylan]
I'd forgotten my main objective for Femme Con, as well as left my gaydar notebook in the room upstairs.  

And then, as if I was waking up from a warm, vanilla spice-scented dream about cleavage, I suddenly looked around the auditorium and realized I was surrounded by everyone attending Femme Con at once in one place, and the time was now to figure out how one might spot femmes outside of the fuzzy iridescent shimmering circle of the conference.

Panicked, I dug frantically in my bag for something to write on, and ended up taking notes on this:

[don't act like you don't carry dirty lesbo alien fiction around with you]

I started scanning the crowd. 

Here are my notes.
[what organized notes!]

Annnnd...the data's been gathered.  The results are in. 

It's as I suspected.

Just like all gaydar style tip-offs, there is no definitive femme "look." 

We knew that was coming, though, right?

Femmes, like all dykes, come in every possible gradation and variation, from high-high-high femme to punk to stealth femme to anything and everything else.

I did notice that, as a people, we femmes display a decided preference for gigantic hoop earrings - earrings that really could not get any bigger. 

With a bit more funding, I could probably crack the genetic code for this preference in a few years.  

But - horrors! as I scrutinized the crowd, a thought occurred to me: 

The queers at the Femme Conference self-identify so strongly as 'femme' that they had flown in from all over the country and world just to be with other femmes. 
[thanks Patsy]

These weren't ladyqueers whose taste in style casually leans toward the more feminine end of the clothing spectrum.

These were the people who label themselves as femme and are deeply proud of it; people who think about the politics of how they dress every time they reach for a tight boobie-shirt!
[thanks Ivan I.]

Hmm.  Hmm.  The data results might be skewed.  M
y only observation subjects were Femme Con attendees. 

But do not despair! 

Lift up your hearts and be glad, m'hearties!  
We don't come away from Femme Con 2012 empty-handed!  Certainly not! 
[thanks Maria J]

I learned three very basic femme gaydar tipoffs this weekend.  They are: 

#1: Lots of femmes have a particular, extreme love for anything that seems to have vintage, rockabilly, or burlesque roots.  

[via tessmunster]
This involves, among countless other things:

Bandannas tied in cute knots on the head, like Rosie the Riveter. 
(I counted thirteen hairstyles incorporating tied bandannas! this is a thing!)

- Brilliant red, matte lipstick. 
The classic femme lip color of choice!

Liquid black cat-eye liner.
[thanks pea and seven]

- Lip and monroe piercings.
(From where I was seated, I counted seven lip or monroe piercings in my direct line of vision, not including my own.)

- High-waisted skirts, shorts, and pants.
What better way to show off your femme curves?
[thanks Nikki May]

Large, chunky, vintage-looking pairs of glasses. 
Dykes love smart girls.  Glasses make you look smart. 
The end.  
[thanks Zoe]

- Wedge heels. 
Wedge heels are adorable and make your legs look longer while still providing a sturdy-ish, walkable base from which to kick asses with.

- Leopard-print or polka dot anything.
'Cause leopard print and polka dots are the shit, doi.   

*Note!* You can obvs identify as femme without liking any of these things, and you can identify as femme without identifying as female. Femme is not really about the trappings. Shit, hunnybun, you can identify as anything you want, or not identify as anything, forever and ever, amen.
But you know that.

[sara and micaila, via  number1musthave]

#2: A lot of femmes like pretty things mixed with a little bit of nastiness. 

[that's a cool piercing, via jennycash]

Something to balance the sweetness, you know? 

Like a soft, pale sweater with an obvious black bra showing underneath, or a delicately made-up face with a tough-looking facial piercing.

Like ripped fishnets, or a put-together suit paired with a streak of purple hair, or a cute, candy-colored vintage dress with serious stomper boots on underneath. 

A mixture of hard and soft.  
Classic red lipstick and black eyeliner paired with a septum piercing. 
[thanks Tea S.!]

This kind of style mashup was the fulcrum upon which the femme style at Femme Con turned. 

Soft yet fierce, like a flowy sheer skirt paired with a torn, hand-patched jean jacket. 

Gentle mixed with angry.  
It was fucking great.  

That hard n' soft style for femmes also went perfectly with the Official Haircut of Femme Con 2012:

The undercut
[via fuckyeahundercuts]

Folks, the undercuts! There were so many!  

An undercut, if you don't know, is when you shave a part of your head underneath some longer hair, thus allowing you to look punk yet ladylike. 
[thanks Hazel W. and Tiger]

Flattering on almost everyone I've ever seen, it's an extremely common haircut for femme dykes, and I counted 22 undercuts in the first few hours I was at Femme Con (before I got totally distracted by hot girls and forgot about counting.)
[via pepperedminds]

Finally, #3:  It is all, all, all about eye contact and confidence.  

There is no one way to tell a femme, just as wearing plaid doesn't automatically make you a dyke.

But the femmes I met had a proudness about them - they were proud of themselves; proud of being fiercely femme in a queer culture that values, prizes, and recognizes classically masculine-type traits as the tell-tale markers of gayassedness.

[thanks Cate]

They were not sorry about liking glitter and they were not going to fucking go change into jeans if that's what everyone else was wearing to the bar. 

These were steely femmequeers, wrapped in deceptively soft packages.
(Source: terrysdiary)

These were the girlyqueers who come out over and over and over again, every day, all the time - when men assume their clothing is for the benefit of dudes, when their own community calls them fag hags or accuses them of passing and taking the easy way out or questions their right to be in queer spaces, when other dykes assume they're weak or submissive just 'cause they're wearing a dress.

These femmes were not "passing" for straight. 
They were doing everything they could not to pass. 
[thanks Asia]

While I recognize that it must sometimes be dangerous and often take a lot of patience to "look gay" - i.e. have short hair and dress in a way that society perceives as "looking like a lesbian" and have to deal with strangers and assholes staring and making comments and assumptions day after day... 

haaay, it is also difficult and more than a little sad to be an active member of a queer community that doesn't see you or recognize you as one of its own until you somehow 'prove' your gayness. 
[thanks Connie L. hey girl hey]

When I looked at the femmes I met this weekend, most of them held my gaze for a second longer than normal. 

Most of them were rocking Serious Femme Outfits. 

All of them looked like they could break up a fight, fuck you silly with a strap-on, and put up their own damn shelves. (If they wanted to.)
[thanks Sarah C]

There was the confidence of dykes - real live dykes! - who just so happen to wear skirts and still know how to get you off so hard you're seeing stars.  

These femmes knew who they were, and what they liked, and how to get it. 
[via toridori69]

I bet if you met one of the femmes I met this weekend on the street, they'd maintain eye contact with you just a fraction of a second longer, shake your hand firmly, and have their head up. 

There's strength behind those liquid-lined femme eyes, and I was so so proud to be among them this weekend. 
[thanks Elizabeth]

The femmes are out there, homos, and they want you to see them! 

[thanks Ann]

Go get 'em!!


  1. So this is why I rocked crushed velvet pink tops and spiked leather collars in high school? Perhaps I wasn't as "under the radar" as I'd hoped haha. Please excuse me, I have to go hunt for lesbian paranormal erotica now. It sounds strangely intriguing.

  2. Yaaaayy! I've been waiting for something to tell me how I get spotted... but then there was that confidence thing again. I can't tell you how opposite of confident I am. I practically wilt when someone makes eye contact with me. I can't help it! I mean, I'll shake your hand firmly and look you in the eyes and keep good eye contact when I'm talking to you, but I can't do that shit when I'm just looking at you and don't know who you are. Like those people on the streets when you're walking to the grocery store? You know, complete strangers? Seriously, I can't make eye contact with someone across the room for more than a split second and the best case scenario for me is when I look at someone and they don't look back at me at all. I also have a strange aversion to wearing things that show off my body in any way. Except for maybe shorts. But even then, I get all weird and self-conscious. Scratch that, I'm self-conscious pretty much all the time.

    1. Omg yes. I am the master of the duck-n-blush when I make eye contact with a cute girl. Gahhhhh.

    2. But lady, you can turn that Gahhhh upside down with one simple motion:

      After you duck-n-blush, do your best to get your chin back up, make eye-contact and pop a small smile.

      All the girls well MELT. Own your demeanor and use it to your advantage!

    3. Thanks Anonymous fir that tip, i'll definitely use it!

    4. Anonymous, that just melted me THINKING about it. aaaaahhhhhhhh cute shy lady-face

    5. Seconded, I melted upon reading too!

    6. See I'm always paranoid that I might be flirting with (and totally creeping out) some straight girl.

    7. Ugh, I totally agree with Kiyo! I've got everything but proper confidence. I have to work on that. In the meantime I'll try to use the Anonymous tip!

  3. Yay! So glad you had fun at speed dating! It was amazing to see SO many femmes there.

  4. but what about in san francisco, where EVERYONE dresses like femmes, cause hipster queerfolk admire and respect lesbians SO MUCH?!?!?!

    even the trannies in the stro are stealing femme style. . .life is getting confusing and now i barely drink anymore. halp!

    1. Here in Colorado, every girl has at least one carabiner, and the hippies have that casual confidence and more-than-occasional butchiness.

      Woe, woe, woe. I'm in a school for clinical herbalism, and every other girl is SOOOOOOO hot. And queer-looking. Everyone wants to hike, talks about woman-power, can break a sweat without caring. There is asymmetrical hair. And they are ALL straight. Every time one mentions a husband or a boyfriend, I cry a little and wonder what is happening to my gaydar.

    2. Don't cry, they might be bi! It really sucks when you mention an ex boyfriend and you can see the girl you're flirting with think, "oh well I guess she's straight"

    3. Agreed on the SF comment! I moved out here for school and was psyched that there might be an abundance of other femmes, but it turns out a disappointingly high number of them are simply hipsters and I feel like a creeper. I wonder if there's a real life version of The Planet floating around somewhere, where they're all hiding and sleeping with each other and I just don't know it yet.

  5. Not my cup of tea, but keep rocking it, femmes.

  6. haha oh my god this is me in a nutshell. leopard print, bright red lipstick, black cat eyeliner, a chiffon red dress with flower detailing paired with a black leather jacket...


  8. LOL @ the image! YES. me: nail polish definitely omg i have a tumblr for nails!, liquid liner for sure, animal print love, cute glasses forever, WANT candy hair!, big ass earrings almost every day, HAIRBOWS or flowers yes (TODAY MY HAIRBOW IS LEOPARD PRINT), wedge heels, bandanas at home, straps that show, OBNOXIOUS PHONE CASE, glitter eyes, lips all day (except today im dying bc i forgot it!)...

  9. Best post ever, thank you very much!
    I laughed when I realised that I am wearing a leopard print kaftan!

  10. this is why i just flirt with any girl i'm attracted can just never be sure. also, +5 for tiny bows.

  11. Great post!!! I love the pride and independence of being a femme and am glad your research proved shamelessly quirky to be a trait of the femme, because I wear it proudly!!

  12. Hey girl! I full on admit to eye contact being #1 "you-must-be-a-gaymo-grrl" clue! During my presentation at FemmeCon on THIS VERY THING (Femmes and Fashion)I think I demonstrated my (very awesome) eye double-take. It's eye contact, quick look down and back again with a knowing smile.... Works every time! ;)

    PS: I also wanted to make out with everybody and now I am oh so far away! (come visit!)

  13. As a femme... this sounds weirdly spot on. I don't have any piercings or undercuts but I'm all about vintage crap and confidence. I now know how to spot my own People, so that we may have nightly gathering in the forest. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

    I wish I could have gone to FemmeCon :(

  14. Dresses with pockets: super dykey and super femme at the same time! I think that should be a gaydar sign.

  15. ZOE! omg. love that pic - one of the more awesome queer ladies I have met.

    Anyhoo, great piece krista. I can't really offer much else because you're right there's not really many ways to fucking put a huge arrow above ourselves and be like "I AM QUEER AS HELL I PROMISE" though a tshirt might work that says that, but i don't wear tshirts lol.

  16. Today I saw a cute girl I thought was queer at Whole Foods, and because of this article, I stopped and thought "what is it that makes me think she's gay?"

    I came up with:
    -shortish but feminine slightly messy hair (low maintenance)
    -GLASSES as described in this article
    -wearing a dress (probably even plaid or something like that?)
    -in the "beauty section" at a *Whole Foods*

    so sad that I missed Femme Con!!!

    1. "in the "beauty section" at a *Whole Foods*"

      Made me crack up so much. I gatta go shopping at whole foods more. (I'm more of a farmers market gal)

  17. I'm not super femme, as in I don't wear dresses or lipstick, or fit the outline here or most of the stereotypes BUT I do LOVE heels. Specifically, the wedge. I do not do stilettos or pumps or platforms with a separate heel (I don't know the term for it?) That feels too delicate for me. The wedge is hard and strong and makes me feel tall & hot. Plus it looks damn good with pants or skinny jeans. So Krista, you're correct. Femmes love the wedge!

  18. When I saw my super queer friends today they immediately jumped at me asking if I had read the new effingdykes. They said it was ALL ABOUT FEMMES. And then they looked at my GIANT hoop earrings, tight pants, rosie-the-riveter hair bandana and bright pink lip gloss (I maintain that this too is a common and very queer color). Who doesn't LOVE being a Femme?!

  19. girlygays! :D you are totally don quixote, krista. also, "stealth femme" is the swooniest of phrases to me for some reason.

    it makes me sad the degree to which people who do not fit lez stereotypes are expected to prove their queerness. femme woes! let's just embrace the fact that we have to develop some stellar charm and flirt game in lieu of strong markers. still, walking around a 50,000+ student body and making eye contact like it's my calling, i rarely get that jolt of gay recognition... it feels like i'm just looking at a bunch of straight people.

  20. 1. Great post! Femmes = swoooon

    2. What the HELL is happening in Ana W's picture with the fire?!

  21. It's SO TRUE! I've spent the last few months trying to be less Femme-ish so maybe I won't keep missing the cute gay girls...BUT ITS FINE! YES! And I TOTALLY want an undercut...busting the wedges and lipstick out of hiding as we speak!

    1. Your comment made me really happy :D YAY FOR YOU AND FEMMOSITY!

  22. So, what is Miley Cyrus trying to tell us?

    1. ThANk you! A bunch of straight chicks are chopping off their hair now... :(

      At least closet gays have an excuse to cut their hair because dykey cuts are becoming a trend. First steps to comin out start with your hair I always say!

    2. "when a woman cuts her hair her life will change for the better" -proverb

  23. Loved this post! The part about femmes having to come out again and again, and about not feeling welcome in queer spaces because they don't 'seem' queer really struck home with me. I'm bi, and often feel like I unnerve both straight and gay people because I don't fit either box. I'm also not strongly femme or butch, but have days of being both - sometimes I go super-butch, sometimes I'm the uber-femme of Femmedonia. Again, it unnerves people. And I so, so, *so* painfully get the point about coming out repeatedly. It's such a fucking drag. And people accusing you of 'passing' or wanting to 'pass' just because after a while you just don't have the energy to correct the overwhelming number of people who assume you're straight.

    Anyway, loved this article. I know it wasn't exactly about me, but it resonated with me all the same, so thanks :)


      It's about all of us. Krista is a fairygod lookin' out with bunnylove and geesegrins. :]!

    2. Helen: YES. It is overwhelming to try and consider going out to meet people, in the very limited time available, and getting stuck or shunned or snickered at because I don't fit. It's not really a question of trying to pass (though I feel like I have to do that some days) but jus lacking the strength to code myself correctly in a way that makes sense to everybody else.

      Is there anyplace we can go and not get judged? Bonus points if it's in the Midwest.

    3. @Brooke - You made me grin like a goofy dog xD a good way. I flippin' love this blog.

      @Easy - I totally get what you say about lacking strength some days. I just can't be arsed a lot of the time xD As for a place we an all go and be judgement free, I suggest we commandeer an aircraft carrier, sail out into international waters and declare ourselved Queertopia. It's the only way.

    4. @Easy: the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival every August. On the menu are Butches who love Femmes (and approach them!) and Femmes who love Butches (and approach them!). If you haven't been, it's hard to describe the level of "glamping" (i.e., glamorous camping) that we Femmes achieve. Best week of the year for this "invisible" femme.

  24. This was a lovely, lovely post. I am bi, and a high, high, high femme who basically dresses like a time traveller from 1946. Because I am so ultra-feminine and also like boys people (both gay and straight, male and female) are constantly assuming that my interest in other ladies is limited to what gets me male attention and goes no further. It's beyond frustrating, and since I'm not about to change the way I dress for anyone other than myself it's almost enough to make me just give up on dating anyone of any gender ever.

    The only problem I have is the (admittedly lovely) picture of cleavage from terrysdiary. Terry Richardson is a HUGE creep that the fashion industry tolerates and even celebrates because of some stupid reason that's not entirely clear to me (maybe they like harshly-lit photos and blatant narcissism?). Please don't send the message that his creepery and model-molesting ways are acceptable by posting his photos, even if you aren't paying for them. Your blog is better than that.

  25. I have drawn one major conclusion from this post. CJ is really cute.

  26. You have revealed me. Dammit.

  27. This post is about me! I didn't know I was a category but I'm so glad that I am!
    I'm that girl with eyeliner and big fucking boots and leopard print push-up bras and those sally hansen nail stickers. I'm the one my butch friends ask to fix shit and put furniture together. I hold eye contact when bois won't. I fuck like a goddess. And I will mess your shit up if you start with me.
    ... If there are femmes like this in Melbourne, Australia... Come to DnM and make eye contact with me. Because I've been waiting for you my whole life!

    1. I'm in Brisbane but when I come for a holiday I'll come and boldly eye contact you for a little too long :)

    2. You sound WONDERFUL.

  28. As a bi girl who is ultra-high femme, being under the gaydar screen is really frustrating, and I think the point that there is no truly unified theory of femme queer presentation is A)entirely correct, and B)secretly makes me feel better for getting a Heidi Klum-style shoulder length bob instead of an undercut, and for dressing like the average straight girl (red lipstick and black liquid liner make occasional guest appearances) instead of the badass punk I feel like the community expects from its femmes. I'm only visible when I'm with my fiancée, and it makes me sad (not the fiancée part; that I'm pretty thrilled about!)--especially when I want to be out without constantly outing myself. Someday, though. I have faith. :)

  29. For me personally being femme feels a little bit like Drag. While I embrace my inner masculinity on most days - and my friends call me Johnny - wearing men's jeans and button-ups, I like to borrow from my girlfriend's closet once in a while. Especially when getting ready for a party with our (straight and bi) girl friends, I feel like dolling it up a little might be fun.
    I usually only wear black (on my femmey days): black skinny jeans, black army boots, a black long and wide top with a high front and a cut out back, a black circle scarf, massive golden vintage jewelry, red lipstick, black eyeliner (only on top of the eye, making me look half Asian), sometimes a slouch beanie or a fedora and of course my very natural confidence!
    Apparently I look really good in a femmey outfit, because I get hit on A LOT: by other ladies, by straight guys, even by gay guys. It's crazy! Sadly we also get harassed a lot more than usual, especially by straight males and aggressive butches, in a "I will sleep in the middle - after I've fucked you both"-kinda way.
    Also I found out that straight girls are really into the whole femme-femme idea. When they meet us drinking beer at a bar, they are absolutely fascinated about the fact that we are lesbians. How could we be lesbians? We look sooo straight and... hot! Do you mind, if I sit at your table? Do you mind, if I lean in really close and smell your perfume? Do you mind, if I touch your hair and giggle uncontrollably like a school girl? Do you mind, if I join you for... a beer... later at your place? It works every time... :D

  30. thank you soooo much for this! <3<3<3

  31. It seems to be a theme already, but us bi girls always get stuck! I'm relatively femme-y and kinda private, so since I date boys everyone always assumes that's all I'm interested in. I wish there was some way to deal with this other than constantly coming out to people or whatever.

    But thank you so much for this. I freaking love your blog. It brings spice to my life!

    1. Yes, this is me exactly! My style is very girly--long hair, sundresses, etc--so women never suspect that I'm bi. I have become a master of the sustained eye contact with women though... It helps! :P

  32. Femme con? That sounds like my idea of heaven and I had no idea it existed.

    1. And I love this post because most femmes I know (including myself) are like this. I still have horrible confidence though so I should work on that.

  33. I live in Baltimore. FemmeCon sounded super cool. It happened down the street from me. Baltimore actually has a lot of gay ladies, but in my experience not a lot of femmes. We're heavy on grungequeers and bois. I know a few lesbians who voice frustration with this. They're femmes who want to meet femmes. Some of these ladies are just bummed that they rarely meet people they're into. Other girls have gone as far as being assholes and complaining that "Baltimore lesbians are all gross." I tend to tell these people to pack their bags then.

  34. I like femmes. I am femme too. But I live at home and I'm 26. I think femmes like femmes that have their own place and a good job, not a literature degree and an ok job like me. I need a roommate.

  35. Tricks, being femme is already too much of a hard bitch to be shy with potential sexyfriends. Be the first one to make that eye contact. My formula is simple: spot the butch, run my eyes from the boots to the tips of her hair, let her catch you looking. Let her know that you see her, and that you are ready for her to see you, too. Then glance coquettishly away.


    1. I. love. this. So you're telling me this actually works? I'm pretty sure I'd blush. Is that okay? Or lame? The thing with a lot of femmes is we are naturally more shy/submissive (not all!!!) and this is *hard* for some of us to do. Its not that we don't *want* to! Its just that its really hard!

  36. So that's where my relatively recent desire for animal prints come from! And I love to see eyeliner on people(hopeless with my sensitive eyes :p). And alas, I live in Texas, so all the girls I've met who fit some of these criterias are straight. And the Bi ones tend to dress Emo-y. They're all nice, confident people though, so I suppose that helps with identifying them.. You can just ask though I'm shy about asking questions like those.

    I'm a minor so the undercut ain't gonna cut it, my mom would kill me... And I doubt it'd be very flattering. And omg Femmetopia, while I land on the side of femme(barely), I totally usually find Femmes hotter. Just unf. Lucky you. And CJ is all kinds of adorbs.

  37. Oh, and I know it's a big tent, so there's room for a range of opinions, but one of mine is that wedge "heels" are an abomination and I will never wear them, so help me Dolly.

  38. I get told that i'm not gay nearly every day, or that I don't 'look gay', the people who say this are not worth your time as they're clearly small minded as anything. Wear what you want, fuck who you want, act how to want to.

  39. this post makes me ache a little, as i usually feel like the only (gender)queer femme in this fucking tiny town.

  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. ^I commented with the wrong account! Though, I suppose I, too, am a dyke in the street...

  41. As part of the steering committee, I am so glad you enjoyed Femme Con! I saw you walking about the conference and wanted to say hi and that I love your blog, but I got super shy. No shyness in 2014!
    This post is great, I know feel completely empowered to learn how to tie my hair up in a Rosie bandana.

  42. My style could be accurately described as 'straight.' I sport a classy, athletic, but subtle style and have long hair. No one has ever asked me if I'm gay (except for a barista who happened to spot the equality sticker on my phone), and I exclusively get hit on by men. I've thought about altering my style to look more stereotypically gay, but I've decided that it's ultimately more important for me to just be true to myself and my fashion instincts. Lesson learned-- even if you think a girl looks 100% straight, but she holds your gaze in that way or, I don't know, is sending off gay vibes, go for it! I know I'd want you to :-)

  43. this was such a joy to read, i'm now on a vicarious high :)

  44. 90% of all the Femmes I know can be identified by this ... ESPECIALLY the burlesque/vintage/glasses thing. Totally agree =)

  45. Totally agree about hot pink being the other color of choice. Doc Marten maryjanes being the other shoes of femmedykes.

    Any suggestions for being soft and tuff with out being in ruffled plaid zone?

  46. What is the opposite of strait and square? What is curvy and round? Dykes with hoops! Wabam!!

  47. That thing is clutch, about Femmes at Femme-Con not necessarily being representative of all femmes. I've known so many queer femmes who do the retro-style, piercings, etc. thing... But I think I have to identity as a "lazy femme", 'cause I just don't have time or energy for those things. I'm just... kinda femme. But lots of things that talk about capital-F Femmes seem to forget the rest of us. :\

  48. Ahhhh I want that! Is there going to be a Femme Con next year? Girl, please please post an announcement about this next year!

    Yah, I agree with what everyone else said about the frustrations of being invisible. It makes you feel superfluous and shit, it's horrible. Currently living in a super conservative country, so I can NOT wait to return to Umreeka, wear tiny dresses, and go to this conference next year!

  49. so how did you like living in Taipei?

    Fan of your site from Taipei!

  50. Photo 24 of 53... I took that! How'd it get on here!?

  51. I loved, loved, LOVED your blog :)So witty and so amazing!

  52. Couldn't have said it better myself. I'm the type of femme that no one would ever even think was the slightest queer. And I DO try to hold eye contact with cute girls a second longer hoping they'll notce that I want them! I always have a firm hand shake to demonstrate strength. And I always go unknown iced by the gay community. I love your blog !!!

  53. I love all of you femmes just the way you are. I don't think any of you should feel you have to alter how you love to dress. The gods know I'll die in blue jeans, be buried in blue jeans & probably reincarnate in blue jeans. I think those who don't want to include you in the community are simply jealous of your fabulous fashion sense. Love, A Tomboi.

  54. Good article, but I cringed when you said Transfemme. I was at Femme Conference and my take away was that I no longer wish to identify with trans* anything and that I'm just gonna live my life as a woman and be connected to womankind. So my history be damned, I am just a Femme.

    1. Transwoman = Woman. You go, girl! :D

  55. I'm a lesbian without confidence. No wonder I'm invisible.

  56. Honest to goodness have to love this blog! YOU CANT BE WITHOUT IT! The thoughts that run through here.

  57. i think this has even been said here before, but seriously, femmes, if you want visibility, all it takes is the magical eye contact thing. that's literally all it takes.

  58. This comment has been removed by the author.

  59. I love this blog :) i'm in my last year of high school and i'm from italy and i swear this description of femmes couldn't be more clear to me: apart from undercuts, tattoos and piercings, this is exactly my style. but i've never, NEVER run into someone like me. many people tell me they love the way i dress and they say that i'm very very girlish (i have this curly, big mass of blonde long hair, and i like cute little dresses, long and short skirts, strange jewels...), but they would never ever say "this is a lesbian". In my country dykes never wear skirts, they all wear tracksuits and jogging shoes, they like rap music, and they date girls who are really similar to them. I like the velvet underground and i've never met a girl i physically like, and to be honest dyke girls don't even consider dating me. "yes, she looks beautiful, but does she really like girls? I mean, she looks so straight... I don't think we would get together very well, she wouldn't understand me... " Aargh girl I DO understand you, why don't you just try to know me? And all these annoying boys who keep asking me "are you sure you like girls? I think you may like boys too, don't you want to try?". No I do not. I like girls. Sweet, cute, sparkling, girly girls, who I see walking down the street and who I also know personally, but who have clearly written on their forehead "STRAIGHT"

    1. Hmm, this comment is from a year ago but in the hope that you see this I must comment - Caterina where are you in Italy? Believe me young one there are absolutely other femmes there, who would be happy to date another femme. I spent a couple of years in Italy (went there straight from Northampton MA, so I was bound and determined to find the queer scene) and it's there, just a little covert. Use the internet, use the cultural associations, and do not assume that every person you meet is straight (that is super counterproductive and untrue, though in moments of frustration it can feel that way) - femme culture is there and you will find it. Have faith!

  60. Caterina: It's a little not quite right to ask people to stop stereotyping femmes as strait and promote visibility when stereotyping other femmes as strait.

    How do you know that some one is hetero based on appearance when people think your hetero based on appearance? Same issue.

  61. Krista, could you please put a "subscribe by email" form on your blog?? I keep returning hoping for new posts, it would be easier to get updates by email. More exciting that way :)

  62. Dear Christ, thank you for this. My undercut and denim vest and studded push up bra and tight ass galaxy skirt and sweaters covered in kittens have helped so much.

    Gotta get me some bandannas, though. I've never even thought of that.

    Now to find me a cute dyke who will wear inappropriate amounts of leather with me.

  63. "haaay, it is also difficult and more than a little sad to be an active member of a queer community that doesn't see you or recognize you as one of its own until you somehow 'prove' your gayness."

    AMEN. I don't even identify as femme, but damnit - summertime makes me want to wear dresses, so sue me.

    1. Creeping profit sucking overhead has cut into share payouts, but we remain vigilant and prune the bush every now and then.
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  64. this post got me thinking a bit.>>>>

    M is hawt...will she agree to marry me?

  65. I was at a queer dance party in Chicago a few summers ago, wearing cute grey sailor shorts, a silk blouse, wedges... there may have been a pretty purple hat involved, placed softly on my long chestnut hair, because that was kind of my look that summer. Anyway, this woman came up to me and the equally super-femme I was chatting with and asked if we "actually" liked women and I replied I ONLY slept with women, why was she asking? She said she was curious because of the way we were dressed, then turned and left. It's bothered me for years. If you're reading this? Fuck. You. for whatever you were thinking about me, because it sure as shit wasn't very open-minded, and you definitely didn't appreciate my sassy hat to the extent you should have.

  66. Oops, I am guilty of all of the femme traits (except the undercut).

  67. I love your blog :) It's people like you Krista who keep the dream of equality for everyone alive. And for that I am grateful.
    Keep up the good work.

  68. Hey Krista -- It was great chatting with you at femme-femme speed-dating!!! :-)
    I love your observations about Femme Con...

    After the conference, I was still thinking a lot about how people were defining "femme" there. There were some things that just didn't sit well with me... So I started writing and then I talked with my friend Maggie and we worked together to turn it into a guest post on The Femme Show blog:

    Krista -- If you wanna check it out, I'd love to hear your thoughts!
    And everybody else, too!

    Yay for lots of conversation about queer femmes!!!!!!
    -- Janie

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  70. Great blog, i'm definitely subscribing and I LOVE femmes!

  71. Hi there Krista,

    I absolutely adored this post. Femmes are out there, every day, every minute, every second and they are definitely not narnian fauns - haha loved this part.
    Anyway, I am what you call a baby dike from my mentality cause I only started dating women altough I am biologically older... but I definitely am lesbian and a femme that could've sprung out of your 'scientific' observations: i love burlesque and i dress that way, i wear bandanas tied into knots and i wear bows, big bows in my hair, i love wearing high waist skirts and shorts and jeans and everything that is high waist, i have tattoos, i wear red matte lipstick and of course i have an undercut and i loove leo prints and to mix something cute with something a little nasty. I AM YOUR femme lesbian that u described in this post :D. and i had to laugh so hard so often while reading this post because every description fits me perfectly. nevertheless unfortunately i am from germany and i will never attend this femme con, also i would love to. being a femme here is definitely different from being a femme in the US, I assume. but i hope this is gonna change soon and i hope as well to attend this femme con at least once in my life - that would be hilarious! all these gorgeous women that like women in one room. I can't wait :)!!!

  72. Oops, and by the way, I LOVE YOUR BLOG!! :)

  73. omg, i'm like one walking talking femme cliche. thanks for the heads up! ha x