Feminine trouble: The removal of femininity from feminist/lesbian/queer esthetics, imagery, and conceptualization

Yael Mishali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article utilizes the femme figure to examine the ways in which feminist, lesbian, and queer paradigms encourage and at times even pressure women to reject femininity in order to be included in these domains, and to expose the femme's potential in turn to put pressure on the boundaries of gender and sexual categories. While lesbian-feminist politics of the 1970s as well as radical feminist theories of the 1980 drove many femmes to convert to androgyny, other influential lesbian and queer representations and discursive models similarly led to a privileging of butchness and female masculinity and corresponding stigmatization and indeed exclusion of femininity and femmeness. The article argues that the denial of the femme is grounded in a reproduction of the dichotomy between feminism and femininity and the coupling of lesbianism with masculinity, both of which are based on misogynistic premises, and suggests a reconceptualization of the femme as a position which challenges not only the heteronormative sex-gender-sexuality continuum, but also some of the feminist, lesbian and queer trends aspiring to subvert it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-68
Number of pages14
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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