To The FemmeMobile! Away!

{October 12, 2010}   Femme: Not just for ladies!

Something I find interesting is the idea that the term femme is used for queer people of either sex. Though, really, it’s not just the fact that the term is used that’s interesting to me, it’s how it’s used.

I saw a gay guy the other day, and I smiled as I watched him dance and thought, “Man, he’s femme.” Not femminine, not flaming (though, let’s face it, if a guy’s femme he’s probably the Human Torch), not flamoyant, but totally femme. Which, of course, got me to thinking.

I have this really neat study (which I am going to talk about some day, I swear!) on femme women. One of the biggest points they came to was that femme women had a different power dynamic in their relationships than feminine women. Whereas feminine women are the less equal party, femme women tend to be the more equal party (if that makes any sense). Q has said as much in different terms; that of the two of us, I’m the one who wears the pants (har har har). It made me wonder about femme men.

See, as I watched him twirl around the dancefloor, I really couldn’t say he had any sort of extra power. Obviously, I can’t really know that — but when I thought other femme men I’ve seen, I couldn’t say that any of them had any obvious extra power. Now, it could just be that I’m not a gay man and so I don’t see it. Or it could be that I wouldn’t see it regardless. Or it could be any of a million things, and I don’t know any of them. (And just for the record, I am in no way saying these guys don’t have a power-edge, just that I don’t pick up on it.)

In my mind’s eye, when I think of a femme man, I pull up an image of a guy who wears clothes that show off his figure — but aren’t what anyone would consider fashionable. (The guys at two-stepping who wear denim cut-offs with their cowboy boots come to mind!) But they all carry it off. I mean, there are guys there who wear the exact same thing, and somehow come across either as unfashionable or just faggy, but not femme. Then there’s the guys who come across femme. And I don’t know what the difference is! It doesn’t seem to be a power play, despite hte self-confidence, but as I sit here writing this… well, I think maybe it is. They’re certainly swishy in a look-at-me way, and am I any difference when I’m feeling sexually powerful? It displays differently, and yet now that I think about it, it might be the same thing. I notice other female femmes most often when they’re in what I think of as femme garb — feminine or not, it’s often brightly colored and unusual in some way — and… well, they have that femme-fatale, “I’m sexy and we both know it,” air. It’s almost a slink, or sometimes a strut. The femme guys are dressed unusual, if not at all feminine, and do have an “I’m sexy and we both know it,” air, even if it’s more somehow open-faced coy (I know that’s a contradiction in terms; work with me, here! I don’t know how else to describe it!) and not so slinky femme fatale.

I suppose the same could be said about butch, now that I think about it. Both are essentially hyper-masculine, the difference being that hyper-masculine looks different on the different sexes, since the ‘normal’ levels of masculinity are different in them, too. (Women typically being… not masculine. >.>)

So maybe, now that I’ve written this all out, femme is the same — or similiar — in both sexes, but we display similiar things differently. Hmmm. I might have to pay more attention when I go dancing this weekend. 😉



ulla says:

i’ve heard and read gay guys being described as butch and femme – esp in stuff like personal ads.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

et cetera
%d bloggers like this: