|[thanks Sydney Burgess]|
Who wants to hear a delightful childhood story?
Mmkay here we go:
One time, when I was about eight years old, I was doing my routine weekly inspection of the top shelf of our bathroom closet.
The top shelf was so high that you had to climb up the other shelves to get to it.
The climb, though tactically difficult, was worth it.
That's where all the most interesting things in our house were.
On the top shelf of the bathroom closet, there was:
1) My mom's perfume collection from when she was young and used to travel.
The collection was a massive, jumbled box, all glass clinking together and peeling Sanskrit labels and delicate crystal stoppers and decades-old essential oils dripping stickily onto the bottom, slowly leaking.
Patchouli and lavender, Chantilly and Shalimar, sandalwood and Chanel.
The best one, though, was a little suede drawstring pouch.
When you opened it, a cut-glass, jet-black vial slid out onto your palm, and on the front, in fancy gold cursive, was my mom's name.
It smelled like violets and mystery.
2) An odd, metal machine that you strapped to your hand and plugged into a wall.
Mom said it was "for massages" but it felt really awesome when I put it on my crotch.
3) A flat brown box that had 100 eye shadow shades inside, including a green glitter color called "It's Poison, Baby" and a gold glitter shade called "24-karat Bold".
4) Some really fucking sharp tweezers, a wobbly hot water bottle that smelled like new tires and felt interesting when you draped it on your face, and some sharp, pointed wooden sticks that Mom called "orange sticks".
They neither smelled nor tasted like oranges, no matter how much I sucked on them.
5) An endless, ever-changing array of jumbles, odds and ends, and dangerous/private stuff Mom thought we didn't know about.
There was new stuff up there all the time.
Keeping up was exhausting.
This time, as I blindly groped around up there, my hand landed on something small and cylindrical.
I grabbed it and jumped down from the shelves.
It was cool-looking.
A plastic-and-rubber thingy.
It kinda looked like a big version of the shots they give you at the doctor's.
|[thanks Chelesa P.]|
I pulled out the stopper.
It made a satisfying popping noise.
I pushed it back in.
The stopper slid smoothly down the tube, pushing out a jet of air.
Obviously, this was an ideal thing to put water in.
I shot it, experimentally, a few times out the screen window.
It shot an even, clear jet.
I was laying on the bathroom floor, using the plastic syringe to squirt streams of water into my mouth, when my mom came in.
Mom: Krissie, don't just lay on the floor like that, I almost stepped on you!
What are you doing?
I showed her.
Me: See, I have really good aim. Watch.
Mom: Where did you get that?
Me: Top shelf.
Mom: Do you know that's for enemas?
Me: What's an enema?
Mom: Give that to me right now.
Mom never actually told me what an enema was, but I figured it out in college, when I got a job at a group home.
Y'allfags, the mysteries of childhood often solve themselves as we become adults.
But not all answers become clear.
Why do they call it an orange stick, anyway?
It's just like lesbians!
As we grow into our lady-bonkin' ways, the sometimes-mystifying behavior of lesbians, as a people, often explains itself.
When will lesbians stop wearing visors? When? When?
I think the topic of femme invisibility is one of those prevailing lesbian mysteries, don't you?
Sluts, I got a lot of emails last week about femme invisibility.
Apparently there's about a million femmes and girlydykes out there who are sick and fucking tired of not being noticed.
|[thanks Cate Uys]|
And to them I say: OMG gurrrl I so feel you!!! <3 <3
Let's have us that cozy lil' rant, shall we?
Alright. If you've never heard of it:
Femme invisibility is a lesbian phenomenon in which a feminine-looking lesbian has difficulties in convincing the dyke world at large that she's gay, or being seen by other lesbians at all.
This can come in lots of forms.
A group of butch dykes at a homo dance club who think a femme is a fag hag and won't talk to her.
A boi in class who thinks a femme is really cute but doesn't approach her because she looks straight.
A lezzie bartender who ignores a femme's drink order because "she doesn't belong here, the straights have their own bars."
And it's been a problem for a long-ass time.
Ever been flirting heavily with a motorcycle dyke in a lesbian bar for half an hour, only to have her sigh wearily, get up, chuck you under the fucking chin, and say, "You cute little straight girls. Always messing with my mind" and walk away shaking her head?
Ever try to get into a dyke dance night by yourself and have one of the girls working the door say, "This is a lesbian night, you know that, right?
Isn't it fun.
What exactly do I need to do?
How could I be gayer for you?
How, oh how, can I prove myself worthy of your exacting, pure lesbian standards?
|[thanks Cate Uys]|
Homos, the queer community has expanded exponentially in recent decades.
We queers pay so much lip service to being inclusive that the stringent policing of rigid boundaries within the community always takes me by surprise.
We, of all people, should understand that there's more than one way to be gay, right?
And yet - homosexuelles often have a preconceived notion about what lesbians "look like," and anyone who doesn't fall in line with that gets denied access to the lesbian club.
Straight until proven gay.
Perhaps I could walk around with a girl sitting on my face.
But even then, you know, I do wear dresses.
I'm clearly not to be trusted.
|[thanks Janelle Taggart]|
Just for the record, this is the Basic Lesbian Stereotype:
a) Short hair
b) Men's clothing/baggy stuff/sportswear
c) No makeup
d) Short, unpainted nails
e) Very minimal jewelry
f) Flat shoes.
So that's how Lesbian looks.
Thank god we cleared that up.
Let me just toss out all my dresses and heels and tight skirts and perfume and lipstick and lacy slips and nail polish.
Oh wait, no, I don't want to.
These ideas about what a lesbian "looks like" have got to go.
Not only are they outdated, but they're screwing with people's opportunities to get laid, and that must not be tolerated.
There are so many out queers now.
We all look so different.
How can this still be happening??
And the worst part of this?
Lots of lesbians love femmes.
I mean, really fucking love them.
The girlier the better!
Get that manicure!
Wear those heels!
Match those bras and panties!
Buy that $34 conditioner, then get your good-smelling ass over here!
Femmes are beloved by plenty of dykes.
Femmes are thought to be rare.
So how come I got hundreds of letters this week from femmes telling me how tired they are of being ignored and unappreciated?
And you know what else?
I also get tons of letters on a regular basis that plaintively ask, "Where the hell are the femmes? How can I find them?"
|[thanks Raquel M]|
Don't you think it's interesting that we're all right here, looking for one another, blindly groping up on the top shelf and grabbing onto whatever we find?
We're all right here!
And the lesbians who love femmes!
It's just seeing each other that's the problem.
|[thanks Mona Anton]|
As a femme lesbian, I, um, like queer women.
I only like queer women.
But queers - especially those who "look gay" - think I'm straight.
If I'm by myself, lesbians look at me and then right through me, like they're waiting for a real lesbian to enter the room through the portals of my eye sockets.
Interestingly, there is a time when lesbians notice me and read me, correctly, as femme.
Annnnd that's when I'm with CJ, who "looks like a lesbian."
I'm only gay and part of the club when I'm on a "real" gay girl's arm, and even then you never know, right?
Well, I think it's bullshit.
|[Liz S. from zac-e-wannabe.tumblr.com]|
I don't wanna borrow someone else's key to the lesbian club.
I want my own dammit key.
And why does it matter?
Why do I care?
Because I love being gay.
I'd love for other lezzies to instantly read me as 'gay.'
But I ain't cuttin' my hair.
|[Sara Lynn Sterling of brooklynshoutout]|
And I do enjoy, with my femmeness, some perks.
Lesbians who look stereotypically dykey wear their sexuality on their sleeve.
They're coming out all the time, whether they like it or not - to strangers, on the street, at work, in meetings, at restaurants.
Everyone assumes they're gay.
And while that makes it easier for us to find them and pounce, it has got to be exhausting to be so visible.
Femmes are, both terribly and wonderfully, invisible.
We can choose when we'd like to come out.
We slip in and out of social situations, have no problem getting hired for jobs, and don't get stared at on the subway.
|[thanks Krista Hargreaves]|
When we walk down the street, we can be fairly certain that no one's thinking, "I'd like to take a baseball bat to that fucking queer's head."
So we aren't constantly on everyone's gaydar.
But...what if we want to be?
How can we get other dykes to see us?
How can femmes help other lesbians find us the way they naturally help us find them?
Non-femme dykes have made it fairly simple for us to spot them.
But how should they know which ones of us like pussy?
While I find it incredibly frustrating to be excluded from the lesbian club, time and time again, I do understand part of the problem here.
1) Other lezzers have no way of knowing.
Femmes at work, at school, or at the club might very well be straight, born-again Christian girls with huge boyfriends and 11 hulking brothers.
2) And, while it's rude to assume that femmes are fag-hags... an awful lot of straight girls go to the gay bar.
And they're welcome there, as they should be!
But...they look like femmes.
And that makes things tricky for lesbians who'd like to approach.
No one likes rejection.
Everyone's afraid of being shot down.
|[thanks Lindsey O'Brien]|
I only have a few suggestions.
Femmes could try:
1) Coming out to everyone (as long as it's safe).
Casually dropping at work that you're a lesbian.
Making sure friends know.
Telling any and all dyke friends.
Word travels fast through the lesbian gossip superhighway, and if one muffdiver knows you're a femme...guess what?
Pretty soon everyone in town will know.
Give it a few days.
2) Wearing something gay.
Tried, trite, and true.
Funny, ironic lesbian shirts.
Slap a teeny rainbow sticker on your laptop and go lurk at a gayelle coffee shop. This has been working for Tawnya for years.
We're sick of being invisible - we could try being more visible.
Some queers are visible 100% of the time.
This just about being noticed.
Yeah, some people think it's cheesy to have a 'woman' symbol button on your backpack, but...what if a little cheesiness lands you the hottest girlfriend ever, who never would've approached you without seeing it first?
|[thanks Kassandra Dower]|
3) You know that confidence thing that lesbians have? Confidence goes a long way.
Direct eye contact. A little smile. Nothing huge.
4) Being brave.
It's awful to always have to be the instigator, but everyone - I mean everyone - likes to get hit on or flirted with.
Especially in front of their friends.
If you see a hot lesbian, try talking to her.
Amazingly and fortuitously, extreme awkwardness sometimes comes across as "cute."
My entire dating life is summed up in that statement.
|[thanks Samantha Tiews]|
But it's not all on us.
It's not just the femmes' responsibility.
Dykes who love femmes! Wake up!
Look at us! We're looking at you!
See a cute, straight-looking girl glancing at you a little too often?
Talk to her! Suss her out!
Maybe she thinks you're cute, or maybe she's never seen a girl who looks like you before.
Either way, um, growth for all!
Y'allfags, I'm not sure if there's any real way to solve femme invisibility.
I would love to be a clearly visible, femme lesbian.
However, I don't really know what else I can do.
|[thanks! Tara by Mandy Dwyer]|
How can we fix this?
Who's got a story about being an invisible femme?
Who's got suggestions for how to be more visible?
Maybe together we can crack this.