Tag Archives: lesbian

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

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.

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

Lesbian Themed Movies & TV shows

10 Jan

This is a selection of movies and TV shows I love that have a theme of lesbian/bisexual romance, unrequited lesbian love or lesbian characters.

Movies
– Mulholland Drive
– Frida
– The Hours
– Kissing Jessica Stein
– Better Than Chocolate
– Fucking Aamal
– Heavenly Creatures
– But I Am A Cheerleader

TV Shows & Mini-Series
– Lip Service
– Tipping the Velvet
– The Secret Diaries of Anne Lister
– Affinity
– Fingersmith
– The Nightwatch
– Mad Men

Movies I would like to watch
– I Can’t Think Straight
– The World Unseen
– Fire
– Nina’s Heavenly Delights
– Daphne
– Henry & June
– Aimee & Jaguar
– The Kids Are Alright
– High Art
– Chasing Amy
– Bound
– My Summer Of Love
– Albert Nobbs
– Elena Undone
– Kiss Me

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Although I am an atheist I like the progressive Hindu view on same-sex love

25 Sep

I am currently in the research phase of writing a fictional novel set in 18th century India. I know this has nothing to do what so ever with science and lesbian scientists, but in my readings I have come across the progressive Hindu view on love, including same-sex love.

In the article, Same-sex weddings,Hindu traditions and Modern India in the Feminist Review, Ruth Vanita discusses how in modern progressive Hinduism and medieval Hindu texts there is acceptance of same-sex love. This acceptance is based on the idea that love is the product of attachments formed in former lives and that these attachments persist from one birth to another (rebirth) and that marriage is supposed to outlast one lifetime. That a couple in love, whether same or opposite sex, of a different class or caste, must have been lovers in a former life and that they are destined to be together. Through this belief, same-sex couples in love and wishing to marry achieve some acceptance. Some Hindu practitioners/scholars have suggested that same sex couples must have been cross sex couples in a former life and that marriage is the union of two spirits/souls and the spirit is sexless.

Although I am primarily an atheist (with some spiritual beliefs) and am skeptical about the concept of reincarnation, rebirth and past lives, the concept of love outlasting a lifetime and that two souls/spirits have been previously in love is an extremely romantic and wonderful view, even of it is not physically possible. And this concept and way to explain same sex love touches a cord with me. The feminist in me however doesn’t totally like the idea that same sex lovers were cross sex lovers in a past live, for the reason to explain same sex love in the concept of heterosexual love, but nonetheless this is an interesting concept.

I think that it is an extremely positive thing, that one of the world’s largest religions has, in some sections, an accepting view of same sex love. It would be great if Christianity and Islam were to develop a more accepting view (there are some areas of Christianity and Islam (Sufism) that appear to be a bit more accepting that other areas of these religions).

References
Vanita, R (2009) Same-sex weddings,Hindu traditions and Modern India, Feminist Review 91:47-60

Lesbian Lady Scientist & Writer

16 Jul

I’m a red lipstick wearing, pin-up girl loving alternative feminist, scientist and writer. I’m out and proud about my sexuality. I am engaged to my wonderful girlfriend of fours years. I love pin-up girls of the 1940’s & 1950’s, particularly the alluring mixture of beauty, subtle sexuality, femininity and confidence. I also admire burlesque (including retro style burlesque) and the Rockabilly culture. I like also the fashion and style of the 40’s & 50’s along with alternative fashion. I’m also a feminist who stands for many ideals including – equal rights, human & civil rights, animal rights, socialism, environmentalism & conservation, social justice, acceptance of all people, the end of war and violence and encouragement of scientific, health & medical research. Professionally I am a scientist and former research student (in medical/health research) and I aspire to become a fully fledged science, health and medical writer. My dream is to write about science for a female audience and specifically a lesbian/bisexual/queer/transgendered audience. In this blog I wish to explore being a lesbian scientist along with my other diverse interests.

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