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queer authenticity

i haven't livejournaled in a looong time, so i'm just going to free-associate thoughts.

I was at the drag march yesterday. I wasn't even remotely in drag proper, and it brings up the question of how exactly does a habitual cross-dresser do drag? Drag exagerates/lampoons/critiques/plays-with signifiers of binary gender by loudly calling attention to transgression. Binary gender doesn't really appeal to me, so i guess i'd have to be a kindof genderpunk drag-queen: quasi-femme glammed-up with but with combat boots and perhaps a half-shorn/half-long wig or something.

Oh wait, that's how i want to dress in real life.

I'm becoming aware of how much I vibe off other people's gender schemas. They treat me like a guy, and i let myself resonate with their expectations, and act more masculine, and that reinforces their own vibe of me as masculine.

The solutions  are to spend a lot more time making myself look & sound more androgynous (which is really hard!!), and/or completely ignore other people's genderings of me as male, and behave in a gender un-schematic way (which is also really hard).

I really need to stop hating on masculinity though. Cuz by hating masculinity i'm being hateful against myself.

It's equally cruel to tell myself that all i am and all i can ever be is masculine, and that i'm so sexist/male/masculine-enculturated/gender-schematic that all my attempts at feminine performance amount only to inauthentic ways to escape having male-privilege.

I tell myself that a lot. Fuck that. I don't need people's other people's approval or a linguistic label to validate how I want to express myself. Performance builds into identity, and identity is what informs performance.

Underlying that statement is a lot of ongoing angst about queer authenticity. Topic for another night's post.

Femme vs feminine:

I don't know how others use these words, but to me "femme" denotes the voluntary and critical use of stereotypically feminine signifiers. It's a term that comes from the lesbian community, and there's a danger that when men use it in a more generic sense, it will overtake and erase the specific significance it has in the lesbian community. There are words like "nelly" or "queen" that derive from the gay male community itself, and that are maybe more suited to describing feminine men.

I personally really like the word as a self-descriptor though. But that's cuz my introduction to queer culture came by way of lesbians, and well, I still haven't really found my place in queer male culture.

Femme (for me) is about feeling pretty by both playing into dominant cultural messages, and keeping one's head and heart way above them. It's about sometimes feeling ugly/undressed if I wake up too late to put on makeup or tuck myself so I can fit into a dress, and also being to be equanimous with that feeling without identifying with it. It's about doing things that I don't expect anyone else to do (shaving legs, wearing makeup), and somehow hoping that my doing it doesn't reinforce norms about what is and isn't feminine.

It's about utterly and absolutely refusing to ever wear heels, no matter how absurd I may look wearing a halter-top dress and guy
's shoes.

It's a dangerous flirtation. Too often I'm looking to image as a substitute for substance. Putting on eye shadow is kindof fun: one gets to choose colors and blend them, and yeah. But do I really have to spend time curling my lashes? Ya know? Do I really have to wear makeup every day just to feel pretty?

Things I do like: wearing subtle makeup when I'm forced to wear masculine-typical clothing for work or my school uniforms. I also feel that wearing makeup with feminine-typical clothing helps soften the gender-fuck blow of the sight of my body in a dress. I still look absurd to mainstream eyes, but there's more internal consistency in what I'm trying to achieve.

Things I don't like: feeling that my body is insufficiently feminine. Taking more time on clothes and makeup than on meditation and excercise.