Archive | March, 2013

Female Identities & Expression I find Attractive and/or Inspiring

27 Mar

Female Identities & Expressions I find Attractive and/or Inspiring –

Unconventional
Non-traditional
Hybrid of stereotypical / traditional feminine and masculine traits
Subversive
Transgressive
Traditional femininity performed with empowerment and awareness (Empowered Femininity)

The Butch Identity – How I React

22 Mar

I was contemplating this morning, how the butch identity (as expressed by individual women I observe in daily life) sometimes makes me feel uncomfortable.

This is no means meant to be offensive. I am sincere believer in everyone, whether gay, bisexual or straight, being able to express themselves. And I am an advocate for embracing the diverse ways to express gender identity and sexuality.

I think for me, it is because the butch identity expressed through clothes, haircut and mannerisms is something that I have rarely encountered first hand. And I am not really attracted to the butch identity. I periodically self identify myself as femme or “semi femme” (my own term), but I don’t want this femme identity (for myself) to be defined and characterised by an attraction to the butch identity.

I am attracted to women who are “womanly,” a term I coined to describe a strong, tough and confident persona, a strong female sexuality, sensuality, a womanly figure, and a combination of some stereotypically “female” and “male” traits. It is a complicated definition!

I think the uncomfortableness comes from being aware (as a lesbian) of such an obvious expression of sexuality. I am someone who likes to talk about my sexuality, but most of the time, I don’t feel the need to “broadcast” it to everyone under the sun. However, there are times, when I do just want to wear a t-shirt or have an imaginary sign above my head saying “I am a lesbian, and I am proud of this.” It sounds like I am in two minds!

As there is a positivity to the obvious expression of sexuality by butch women, I want to reduce this uncomfortableness. I am educating myself further on the butch identity and the concept of female masculinity.

Feminism and Playboy Magazine

21 Mar

I have recently been reading a number of scholarly articles looking at feminism, Playboy Magazine and Playboy playmates. It’s very interesting to read academic journal articles discussing how Playboy is perceived and how the content and display of nude women is viewed and how this could be re-worked.

Lipstick Lesbian Identity

21 Mar

I am intrigued as to whether there as been any academic study/research on the lipstick lesbian identity. Have researchers surveyed women who identity as lipstick lesbians? Have researchers discussed how these women experience and express their sexuality or issues such as harassment from heterosexual males or the assumption that they pass as heterosexual? I have read a few blogs and websites regarding this identity and these issues, but I have yet to see any papers. I am going to dig further.

My Bisexual Heroines / Idols

21 Mar

Here is a list of famous bisexual women that I greatly admire and that influenced the understanding of my own sexuality (first bisexuality then lesbian sexuality). There is such a strength and sensuality in these women’s personas and how they expressed their sexuality. They embraced their sexuality and love for women. Interestingly, these women are from different eras to mine, i.e. the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1960’s.

– Anais Nin
– Frida Kahlo
– Dusty Springfield
– Virginia Woolf
– Marlene Dietrich

Empowered Femininity

21 Mar

Empowered femininity

I think retro style pin-up girls (neo pin-ups) and burlesque (neo-burlesque) dancers embody this sort of sex appeal.

Heart, soul, beauty, personality, elegance, confidence, strong sense of female sexuality, femininity etc.

Pin-up girls (especially those by Vargas and Gil Elvgren) had a huge influence on me. In the Pin-up girl there is an awesome combination of sex appeal, femininity, elegance and self awareness.

Femme Fatales from film noir movies and detective novels as well embodied this with their strong sense of female sexuality, glamour, toughness and an element of “deadliness,” hence the name fatale.

Lesbian Pulp Fiction Novel – Journey to A Woman – Ann Bannon

20 Mar

This is the first (and only – I really want to get my hands on some more) lesbian pulp fiction novel from the heyday of pulp fiction (it was published in 1960) I have read. I love the cover art for this novel. Although this a re-release by Cleis Press from the 2000’s, it still evokes something of retro lesbian romance.

I have had a long fascination with the artwork of pulp fiction covers, especially those depicting beautiful and glamorous femme fatales, and lesbian romances. There is something fascinating and enthralling about the style, colours and scenes depicted. And I have to admit I love the kitschness in the titles and scenes. There is a sexuality, but no actual sex is depicted, and terribly titilating!

Links
Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey_to_a_Woman

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Femme Identity continued

20 Mar

Following on from my post Femme Identity, I am curious to know the opinions of other lesbians (femme, butch and non-identified) about this gender identity and how this is perceived.

I have a very positive view. And I particularly admire when femme identified lesbians state that their gender identification has little to do with who they attracted to, but rather how they wish to express their sexuality. Personally I think the femme identity is empowered femininity, a form of femininity (expressed through feminine dress, hair and make-up) expressed along with a strong statement regarding sexuality, and an embracing of and power over their own body, image and sexuality, which is feminist.

I find the neo-burlesque and a neo-pin up movements expressions of empowered femininity. These are subcultures, lifestyles and fashions where modern women, feminist women, can embrace their femaleness and express their female (and lesbian) sexuality in a way they want to, and not solely for a male (or female) gaze. I love that these movements embrace fashions, performance and some ideas from by-gone eras, but also incorporate elements of sexual freedom, equality and alternative fashions (such as tattoos, gothic fashion, vintage fashion and fetish fashion).

Femme Identity

19 Mar

I have been reading recently a paper about femme identity. The paper entitled, the Misunderstood Gender: A Model Of Modern Femme identity by Heidi M. Levitt, Elisabeth A. Gerrish and Katherine R. Hiestand was published in the journal Sex Roles in 2003. The paper surveyed a number of femme identified women about how they saw themselves, their identity and sexuality. The paper also discussed the lack of scholarly study on the femme identity (there is a lager body of work on the butch identity) and a general misunderstanding within the lesbian community and heterosexual community regarding this gender identity.

I found the paper very interesting and positively affirming of my own feelings about femininity and lesbian sexuality. Although I don’t identify solely as femme (I sometimes think of myself as a “semi femme”) many of the views and feelings reflect my own. There was one difference though, I don’t define myself as a lesbian woman attracted primarily to butch women. I am attracted to who I am attracted to, namely women with strength, toughness, beauty, sensuality, a certain difference. I love glamour and dresses and make-up, but I this doesn’t define my attraction to this or the opposite, as in the butch identity.

Reference – The Misunderstood Gender

16 Mar

Sapphicscientist's Blog

I was thinking about Dana Scully this morning while getting ready for work, and what an inspiration she was to me when I was a teenager. I was reminiscing about my teenage years and my daily bus ride home from the coast to my home in a small town among rainforest on a mountain. And thinking about those times, Scully popped into my head. Her character on the X-Files inspired me to pursue science, and specifically forensic science (and forensic pathology) as a career. My career path took an alternative path and headed towards microbiology, research and now administration in scientific and university environments. But I still credit the figure of Scully – analytical, scientific and strong, for me being a scientist. And as a teenage girl who knew she didn’t look like and was not like everyone else, she was an inspiration – a pretty redhead who wore suits…

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