Yes, you heard it here first: Sublimefemme declares the birth of Femme Theory! In this post I talk about defining femme genders and answer the question that has been keeping you up nights: hey, what is this blog about anyway?
I have a simple answer for that question: my project is to theorize femme genders. Of course, femme style, beauty and pop culture are all absolutely crucial to the project of Sublime Femmeness too. But theorizing femme is the overarching theme that links all of my posts. Analyzing lesbian genders and making the complexities of femme visible is vital work that matters to me personally and politically. Although I’m a queer theorist and a professor, the questions I explore in this blog are never merely “academic,” not to me.
I try to use all of the tools of gender and queer studies to shed light on femme genders because—both inside and outside academia—queer femininity has been and still tends to be misunderstood and/or overlooked. As queer women, lesbians and even femmes, I think we inadvertently buy into cultural stereotypes about femininity without even realizing it. For example, I’ve encountered the notion that theory could not possibly explain (and in fact is an affront to) the mystery and beauty of femme. (Ugh. I’m allergic to idealized visions of femininity; however, they do have the effect of making me dust off my second-wave feminist books and read them with greater appreciation.) Or, there’s the notion that femme doesn’t require serious intellectual inquiry because it’s less complex/transgressive than butch genders. Or my favorite femme myth–the notion that femme is just about clothes and appearance.
There are so many misconceptions about femmes; really, I think we’ve just begun to scratch the surface of queer femininities. Which is one of the reasons this is such an exciting moment for femmes to be writing, making art, and out there in the world doing our various things! I appreciate all of the amazing femme bloggers I read and love, and I’m grateful to all of you who have been reading and commenting on my posts. Thank you for all you’ve taught me.