To The FemmeMobile! Away!

{January 21, 2010}   Fiercely femme

A little less than a year ago, before I realized I was femme (before DK pointed it out to me), I was at a friend’s wedding. Now, her whole family is my friend, but her older brother, Danny, is my best friend for the last twenty years.

Man, that’s a long time.

He’s also gay. He came out to me when we were in our late teens/early twenties, though it wasn’t much of a surprise. By now, he’s been out and about in the gay scene for quite a while.

Anyway, we were at his sister’s wedding, and I was following the bridesmaids all over. There was everyone else, in pinks and florals, all these women in all these softly patterned dresses, long hair curled or pulled up but gentle around their faces. And then there was me, in my dress of awesome, which is a black underslip with a white overslip, whorls and dagger slashes of black and red over the white, with my short-ish hair all straight and slightly flared, slightly spikey.

Danny and I stopped in the bridesmaid’s changing room, waiting for various people. There was this giant mirror, and I glanced in it and laughed. I told him that wow, I really didn’t look like anyone else there.

Danny replied in an offhand manner, “Of course not. You’re fierce.”

At the time, I laughed and went with it. It wasn’t until months later that I found the first reference to a fierce femme, and looked at a woman who carried my energy. It was a moment of realization, of seeing myself, of recognition. It was intensely powerful.

Most times, I forget that. I read other femme blogs and read their version of femme, and it doesn’t dull mine or anything like that, but… it’s almost like, while I don’t forget it, it settles to the back of my mind. I let that fierce energy slide away from me. I shape myself to be more like other people, rather than myself.

Then I read something about a fierce femme — in this case, Sublime Femme Unbound’s post on Janis Joplin, Fierce Femininity — and it’s like a gut punch. I go, “Holy crap! That’s me!” I have a moment of realization all over again. It’s nice to see myself, or at least my energy, reflected in someone else. To know that people have gone before me down this path, and I can find a guide or a signpost if I need one. And I’m reminded again of my own strength, and where it lies, and for a little while — until I start to forget — I feel downright powerful in a more than self-confident way. In a way that makes my skin tingle and my chest feel full, my shoulders rock back and my chin lift, gives my smile an edge because I know what I can do, what I can accomplish, and how loved and strong I am.

Looking back, I wonder if Danny already knew what I didn’t, or if it was just a coincidence that he used that word.Ā  I’m inclined to think he could see what I hadn’t, yet. He’s always been observant that way.



Nezuko says:

I first encountered “fierce” as an adjective while watching Project Runway (Look, it’s a guilty pleasure, alright? Oh shut up. Just because I’d never be caught dead in girly clothes doesn’t mean I don’t like to watch other women wear them.)

Anyway, moving on.

There was this young, brash, entirely gay designer named Christian Siriano, who won the season and has gone on to be a very successful designer so far, but anyway on PR he used the term “fierce” to describe his edgy fashion sensibility, and anything he approved of. This coffee is fierce! That dress is so fierce!

I’ve since heard the term creeping into general usage. I kind of assumed it was a hipster gay men’s fashion term, which could indeed be the source of the word in Danny’s lexicon.

And it definitely describes you. Fierce.

JB says:

(*dies* I kind of think you liking to watch other people wear them is why you like femmes so much… ;-D)

Ahhh, that makes sense! I’d wondered where it came from. I like the use of it. ;-D And thank you! I like to think it describes me. *laughs* It sounds much better than, “Alpha dog.” ;-D


Jen says:

Ohhh, Mr. Siriano . . . I love that kid. You know, every time I think of the word fierce, his usage comes up. But I also think of Ani DiFranco and a now somewhat older song of hers, “Fierce/Flawless.”

The chorus:

There was light and then there was darkness
but there was no line in between
and asking her heart for guidance
was like pleading with a machine
and joy it has it’s own justice
and my dreams are languid and lawless
and everything bows to beauty
when it is fierce
when it is flawless

That song always made me think that beauty isn’t what we see on the screen . . . it’s the “fierce/flawless” beauty of what you put out there. What you put on the line.

I don’t know how that relates, but it’s what I think of when I think of fierce, and I think fierce femme is a great descriptor for you. I mean, I’ve only met you once, in California, with Trish and Jim and Ruthemma Maelie and that insane trip to the beach, but you had an energy about you that was infectious. Like . . . what you put out there is so amazing that things seem like they should just happen for you . . . “Everything bows to beauty when it is fierce . . .”

I dunno. I’m exhausted and rambling. See if I make more sense tomorrow . . .

JB says:

*grins and hugs!* Thank you. The more I wear it, the more I think it fits. And the more I grow and become comfortable with myself, the … uh, morer it fits! As I lose that manic insecurity I had before, what’s left is the fierce, I think. I hope. ;-D


Yes! Don’t forget, keep reminding yourself! Keep that feeling of self-empowerment and self-confidence alive! It’s totally awesome to see yourself reflected elsewhere, and you should definitely refill on that often enough so that you never forget who you are šŸ™‚

Also, I love the idea of fierce femme. I think, at times, she’s who I wistfully wish I could be, but really, I’m too soft, gentle, quiet to ever be fierce. Well, maybe I can be fierce once in a while?

JB says:

*grins* Tell you what, Alphafemme, occasionally I’ll loan you some of my fierce in trade for some of your gentle-softness! I’d generally rather bash in someone’s kneecaps than make dinner for my sweetie, and you know, sometimes I wish I were a little bit gentler and quieter. We can each borrow from the other once in a while. šŸ˜‰


Dark says:

The first time I ever heard ‘fierce’ in conjunction with ‘femme’ was Ivan’s love-letter to all femmes, and I remember thinking damn right.

That’s the femme energy for me, half the time. Self-confident, vibrant, head-up-and-strutting — fierce. Unashamed. Being truly yourself.

I love seeing that.

JB says:

I totally had to go back and re-read that, since you so handily linked it. *grins* I feel all warm and fuzzy (and fierce!) again. Thank you. šŸ˜€

I love feeling this! Now I just need to maintain it. (Though I notice since I’ve been emailing that butch back and forth, it’s sustained much better. Interesting.)


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