femme resistance and compliance
March 4, 2015
I don’t often touch this topic since I find that there are many twoc who already aptly discuss the politics of femme resistance (like Morgan – labrujamorgan). But I’m finding rubato’s experiences and comments on femme intriguing and frustrating (not rubato’s writing but the ideas it is responding to).
The notion that femininity and such is reactionary and compliance to partriarchy is a thorn in everyone side pretty much placed there by radfems (who’ve taken to whining endlessly about ‘butch flight’ and the disappearance of the masculinity they love to worship in their own communities). Honestly, I do blame radfems for the popular notion that femmes are necessarily counter-revolutionary bc we uphold the patriarchy…
For me. Remembering this important bit of historical context for where the figure of the counter-revolutionary femme helps a lot in just not really feeling like I have to pay attention to most people’s critiques of femmes or the (stereotypical) accroutements of being femme. Ppl want to buy into bullshit radfem ideas about femininity and shit? They get put on my ‘dupes of radfems and probably transmisogynists’ list.
So many discussions of the problems with being femme fail to take into account race (something I know that many femmes of colour have talked about). They fail to take into account any number of overlapping and non-trivial oppressions (weight, class, etc and so on).
What interests me more is this… desire (and this def. comes from radfems) to frame femmes as necessarily conservative/reactionary/counter-revolutionary to the radical/revolutionary/subversive butch. Now. Of course on the surface this just seems like more patriarchy vis a vis the worship and adulation of masculinity and all things related to men. And, sure, this is an important factor (I mean, we all know that radfems fucking suck at patriarchy’s tit right?).
But it is this notion, which sadly Julia Serano has also noted in her book, that for whatever reason some identities are inherently more radical than others that interests me because… really? REALLY?
Like beyond the fact that I’ve had my FILL of white impossed binaries re: gender and shit, ppl really need to move beyond this really fucking simplistic idea that identity in and of itself is somehow ~radical~.
My dad is a SE Asian man. He is super duper anti-Black, fat-phobic, anti-Semetic, and literally votes conservative (I’m not joking. He votes conservative).
Are you telling me that just because he is an SE Asian man, that he is more radical than my white bf?
(Yeah, my bf is white and all that implies. Meaning, at the very least, that he is racist. But unlike my dad, at least he tries to do something about his position of power and privilege. At the very very least, he doesn’t vote for the party that is literally trying to prevent me from having equal rights. But my dad is more radical just for being Asian? NOPE.)
Radical is shit you do not what you are. Compliance and resistance are what you do not what you are by dint of simply existing in a certain way.
And don’t get at me about internalized whatever the fuck. We all internalize shit that we have to unlearn. ALL OF US.
This, in part, why it is so irritating when white ppl on tumblr will list ‘anarchist’ in their bios but not ‘white’. You are white but you aren’t ‘anarchism’ however much you believe in and subscribe to the ideology. One of those is an identity and the other is just a word to describe you.
But I expect to see yet another thing castigating femmes for wearing makeup (like each and everyone of us does, of course).
Anyway. Fuck ur frameworks.