I am planning to write a series of posts about butch/femme and maybe I should have started with one about my own identification as femme or sex as a femme or whatever. But I didn’t. I started with something that required me to go back and define my own identifications as I progressed. Footnoting got annoying and so I left big things for another time. I’ll answer your questions but also write more later.
I hope it’s alright that I’m reposting these here…. Should the author oppose to the repost or the linking, I trust she’ll let me know.
If femme identity is only constructed during sex with butches, will your memoir be a sort of academic pornography? Also, does that mean we are only a certain percentage queer femme, determined by length of time engaged in butch/ femme relations divided by sexual lifespan?
I’ll start with the second part. I don’t think that femme identity is only constructed through butch/femme relationships or through sex with butches. I’m a queer femme (involved in some butch/femme model) in public, in private, at school, at work, even when I’m not with a butch at the time. I construct it when I get dressed, put on my makeup, carry my body, interact with women, interact with men, perform, fuck, speak, and write.
However, I don’t think that I am actively performing my femme-ness (eesh) when I’m sleeping with other femme-women. Some butches and femmes would oust me from femme for ever sleeping with non-butch people. My identity doesn’t get suspended, I just perform it differently.
As for the first part. I really hope my memoir will be pure pornography. Doesn’t that sound much better? I certainly think so. Ideally it will only be academic because I’m receiving credit for it.
Isn’t the very idea of a ‘femme memoir’ dependent upon a revisionist critique of your sexual identity?
Definitely. I’m not sure that memoir can ever been anything besides a revisionist critique. Even if I were to, say, publish diary entries or photographs or something– they would still be phrased through the present. There is an imperative to retroject femme identity to birth, isn’t there? (The way dykes walk around talking about how their parents knew they were gay at 5. Which, honestly, is just as fucked up as when the parents draw those kind of conclusions.) I’m confident about being a realized femme though. I believe you can become a femme and it’s not just a matter of- say- recognizing you always were one. I am certainly not planning to write a memoir about “how I came to identify as femme” and go along explaining everything as if it were a step toward a forgone conclusion. I am calling it a femme memoir because either I will be focusing on how/when/why I have identified as femme and interacted with the world.
p.s. If you haven’t already, don’t google “erotic memoir.” It will only make you unhappy.
Wow. Well, at least the bar’s set low?