Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hard Femmes Stand Up

yvonne fly onakeme etaghene

It’s Sunday afternoon, the first in March. Listening to the Onliest on myspace getting lifted. Went dancing last night with my peoples. Cut up a rug for real. Been meditating on lots of things: these ideas up in me double dutch with each other, play tag, run relay races. My mind be runnin on roller skates in the rain: faaaaasst. Here are some thoughts…

I identify as a hard femme, a femme aggressive, a fierce femme. This means I am fire, sometimes I wear stilettos and always I don’t take shit. I like my lip gloss poppin, my lip gloss cooool. Sometimes I rock boxers, baggy jeans and kicks if I’m feelin that way, but mostly my clothes and body language/mannerisms are femme. When I dated men (oh wait, there was just that one guy), I always wanted him to be a woman—I wanted him to kiss me, hold me, listen to me like a woman…I’m sure you can see how this was an exercise in futility for all parties involved (lol.) My first sexual experience was with a woman, my first and second and third and fourth (and so on and so on) relationships were with women. I kissed boys, tried to make it work but it didn’t and it wouldn’t. I eventually realized I was not the bisexual dyke I thought I was but just a dyke. Old school butches have at times challenged me identifying as a “dyke” because their definition of “dyke” was “butch”, but my definition of dyke was and is “a woman who loves women proudly, fiercely, passionately.” A sista like me loves butches. Now if you know me you know I adore all kinds of gender identifications from hard femmes like me to soft butches, androgynous beings, soft femmes, folks who traverse the gender spectrum with a flow easier than water, trans folks and on and on but for me, as far as what I’m attracted to, nothing beats the flyness of a butch. Hands down, no question, no contest.

Because all my firsts were women (except that first kiss I had with Eugene at our eighth grade dinner dance), when men would try to holla, I just did not fit into their idea of what a woman “should be”. I didn’t have enough experience with boys or men to know what was “expected of me.” I was too independent for their idea of independence and would not allow them to sweep my dykeness under the rug or bed they kept trying to rush me into. I was bored and unsatisfied so I left. It was the masculinity in the men that I liked, not the men themselves. I love how masculinity looks on a woman’s body—how it flows, hangs, its hard edges, soft curves. Even when I’m around or dating butch women, my hard femme fire can become an issue, as the way I am femme is not based on the heterosexual norms some butches (and femmes and queers in general) subscribe to. Straight women are not my role models for how to be a dyke (!) and thus when I’m with a butch women I do not treat her like a man, despite encouragement to the opposite from society and/or the butch I’m dating. It’s tough on us queers sometimes—the media demonizes us, caricatures us or doesn’t represent us at all. We are thirsty for images of our colored, queer, woman-loving selves in the media (the L Word don’t count y’all) so sometimes we may look to the (most likely) straight relationship we grew up watching our parents have, or we look around our heteronormative neighborhood, in the books we read or films we’ve seen for some sort of example of what we do in relationships. And then we impose these straight ideas on ourselves and our partners/lovers/fuck or cuddle buddies/girlfriends. I don’t want a man with a pussy. That’s not what this dykeness is about. Some “educated queers” feel that the whole butch/femme model is always a mimicry of heterosexuality, they look down upon it and formulate complex critiques about the problematic nature of what they assume to be dykes adopting unhealthy straight relationship models. I say life isn’t that fuckin simple people! Butch/femme isn’t just straight in drag just like gender isn’t just boy or girl (check one), you feel me? Choosing to fuck and love and flirt in a butch/femme context can be unhealthy just like any other way of being or having any other “type” when you cruise for a new partner can be unhealthy. We have many, many labels to choose from but so many of us shun labels because we feel them to be confining, restraining, too big or small to hold our spirits, our everyday loving, our quirks, our humanity. True indeed, I understand not wanting a label, but more than that, I embrace the labels I wear, I wear them vibrantly, naming and claiming my peoples, who I am and who I want around me.

I’m a hard femme, through and through, proud and fierce. Holla back y’all.

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