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Femme/Feminine Lesbian Invisibility?

27 Oct

A Saturday night a few weeks ago some of my  boylesque/drag king classmates performed at our local lesbian night club. It was a Rocky Horror Picture Show themed night and a red and black outfit of corset, fishnets and high heels was obligatory to arrive in (costume change came later). I got the occasional glance and look up and down, but no one approached me for a chat or my phone number. My intent was not to be chatted up. I am happy in my relationship and I’m not seeking other partners. But it is a nice feeling when a fellow woman (i.e. fellow lesbian) finds you attractive and you don’t have to indicate that you too are a lady loving woman. It is something I have wanted since coming out ten years ago. 

Do I give off a particular vibe? Unavailable? Unapproachable? Straight? Bi-curious? Do other lesbians see me as straight? Do I, though my feminine and glamorous style and long hair, pass as straight? Is this a case of femme/feminine lesbian invisibility?  

Do we need to do more for femme visibility? I think in the lesbian press and online there is definitely representation of femme/feminine looking lesbians, but do we need to change our own internal perceptions and the lesbian community’s perceptions around ‘what lesbians look like?’ Is there a certain presumption that lesbian women should be inherently ‘dykey’ or alternative in appearance? Do we need to address our own ways of spotting other lesbians? And……. perhaps our own internal doubts and les-phobia around ‘I don’t look gay’ Food for thought….

  Image courtesy of Curve Magazine

 
Image courtesy of Curve Magazine

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Disparity – Representation of Butch and Femme Identities

4 Apr

An interesting observation.

I have recently read a few papers / articles / blog posts on femme identity. Interestingly the papers state that the butch gender identity appears over represented in academic literature on lesbian identifies. These papers discuss the butch identity as being an obvious expression of lesbian sexuality.

In contrast, I have noticed that there appears to be an over representation of feminine looking women in lesbian TV dramas and movies (not that I have watched lots of lesbian movies). This also covers the issue that shows such as the L-Word (which admittedly I have only watched a few episodes of) having mostly feminine looking characters and actresses. I have seen this issue covered in Lesbian magazines at the height of the show’s popularity. It is interesting that in lesbian dramas within a mainstream mostly straight society tends to portray lesbian women as feminine in appearance and dress. Is this because to mainstream and straight society a feminine lesbian is more accepted and acceptable? Does the lesbian fantasy as peddled in heterosexual male porn feed this too? Is the image of a butch women, because it is so subversive, visually powerful and perhaps emasculating, something that mainstream and straight society does not want to see on TV, or the production companies don’t want to include in their shows.

My partner and I have recently watched the first and second series of the BBC lesbian drama, Lip Service. We loved the series and thought it was an interesting, funky, alternative and positive representation of the lives of lesbian women. In the series, along with feminine characters (albeit rather alternative and Indy) there are some butch women represented. Which I think is great. And this gives a more balanced view of different lesbian identities, styles, modes of expression and simply diversity.

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.

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