It definitely doesn’t get acknowledged enough: consciously femme folks are fucking badass, amazing, courageous people fighting an important fight for gender equality. Being femme can be a radical act (whether it is intended as such or not), and I think that often gets forgotten.
Y’see, as a non-binary person, I know that people see me as being somehow radical, or on the edge of some sort of movement to change the way gender works in society. And in some ways I embrace this. I am happy to be in a position to call into question a lot of assumptions about what gender is or what it means. But at the same time, I am very much one of *those* non-binary people: I am white, middle-class, skinny, AFAB, and vaguely transmasculine – if there is a normative version of genderqueerness (and there is), I am it. To some extent, I’ve very deliberately crafted of sort of sexual invisibility for my (public) self – I *hate* being sexualized by strangers, y’all. I really do. And my presentation is, ultimately, extremely safe.
Femmes, though; y’all I don’t know how you do it. I know that the world we share is one where feminine people are very often seen as consumables, as commodities, as existing for other people’s viewing (and consuming) pleasure. I know that for me the difference between wearing pants and a skirt represents (easily) a ten-fold increase in the likelihood of facing harassment. I don’t doubt it is the same for all of you.
I know that by being unabashedly femme, you increase the likelihood that you will be seen as unworthy of leadership positions, that you will be talked down to, that your path will be harder in all kinds of tiny little ways that are maybe hard to see individually but that add up to being treated as less-than in all kinds of ways.
And I know that by also being your awesome self at the same time, by being worthy, by insisting upon your worthiness, by simply *being* you are revealing the lie of the inferiority of femininity. You are at the lead in making the world a place where people can be feminine without being looked down upon, without being seen as submissive or powerless. You are bringing power to the feminine, and that is so fucking important.
Because yeah, a lot of women are making it in the world by sort of playing along with masculine power displays and being one of the guys, and that’s great too, in it’s own ways. Not only men can rock suits and wield that sort of power. But I’d hate for equality of the sexes to be one at the cost of everyone having to give up on glitter and frills and awesome nail art and all things girly. Because girly things are freaking amazing, and everyone should feel like they can be girly without somehow hurting their chances at a promotion, or without being accused of asking to be harassed, or having to deal with any of the millions of microaggressions associated with the entire idea of girliness all of the time (all of which happens to femme folk of all genders).
Even if this isn’t your goal exactly. It doesn’t matter. Either you’ve seen through the lie that feminine things are bad, and are just doing the things you love regardless what anyone thinks, or you are actively fighting against the idea that a person can’t love frilly clothes and wear flashy glittery make-up, and own all the pink things, and be powerful at the same time. You are so awesome, no matter what!
So yeah, I love y’all. And I’m going to leave you also with a love letter from Ivan Coyote, because Ivan Coyote:
And also this amazingness: