What Is Freedom?


Happy Independence Day, darlings.

I like fireworks as much as the next girl, but I’ve never been the flag-waving type and I don’t do parades unless they have leathermen in them.  (You have to draw the line somewhere.)   So sorry kids, there will be no patriotic pinups of girl-next-door beauties here today.  Instead, I’m commemorating the holiday with a little bohemian flair!  

Although an unlikely 4th of July pinup, Janis Joplin for me embodies an iconoclastic spirit that is truly revolutionary.   As she sang, “freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.”  It’s a compelling political philosophy if you think about it.  We don’t need to become free, she seems to imply, but rather to remove the obstacles that keep us from realizing the freedom we already possess.  

OK, maybe Janis is not saying that exactly, but I like to think it’s an extension of her message. 😉  What does freedom mean to you?  How are you celebrating it?

The Politics of Femme Pleasure

Trying to keep down the cost of my fall wardrobe, I took some things to the tailor today and was rewarded for my frugality with a vision of my sexy tailor–wearing a gorgeous chocolate slinky wrap dress and 5-inch nude platform peep-toe pumps–on her knees at my feet marking and pinning my pants. Seriously, this girl is stunning. I may need to take a few more things over later in the week….

I’m sharing this highlight of my day with you because, well, I can’t stop thinking about my tailor. And because I’ve also been thinking about how much my own femmeness is dependent upon what I call “props”–costume, products and objects acquired to perform my gender (or the illusion of it). My gay role model, Oscar Wilde, points out that in modern society we’ve confused what we have with who we are. This extends to all facets of our lives. As long as we’re killing ourselves working, lusting after the next new and improved must-have gadget, and fighting each other at home and abroad, we can’t attain any kind of freedom, including the freedom to be queer.

Without a doubt, it’s important to me to make socially conscious choices in my life (be a frugal femme, shop union made & fair trade, be eco-friendly, give to charity when I can), but in my view these are individualistic solutions for global problems. If Wilde is right, the freedom to be queer–to develop our own individual potential and to experience beauty, pleasure and joy in our lives–depends upon creating a world in which value isn’t measured solely in terms of material things.

So, what’s a progressively-minded and fashion-forward femme to do? Revolt, of course! But stylishly. The philosophy of Sublime Femmeness is that any revolution without beauty is not a revolution worth having.

This post is my reply to Lady Brett Ashley, who threw down the gauntlet yesterday, and to Lucy. Both commented productively on my “Queer Luxuries” post, thanks!