Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Male femme in vision.

To show what I mean, here's a picture of an archetypal male femme:

That's Eddie Izzard, of course.

As far as I know, Eddie doesn't describe himself as a male femme. Instead, he creates his own personal labels: "an executive transvestite", "a male tomboy", "two lesbians trapped in a man's body", and other such esoteric and piquant nomenclature.

But "male femme" is also appropriate, I think. Notice that Eddie is making no attempt to pass. There's no sort of woman there, no disguise (for whatever reason) about who he is. There's just a man in women's clothes, looking good, feeling good, displaying his femme style. A femme man.

A male femme.

Got me? :)


  1. I'm trying to understand: your goal is *not* to present a passable image of "woman", but rather to be seen specifically as a "man", but one who happens to be femme? I.e., it wouldn't hurt/offend you if someone thinks you aren't passable as a woman (when you dress)?


  2. Hi Apple. No, I've never been particularly interested in passing. It may be a thrill to go out and get away with it, but I think that's mainly due to the element of danger. Actually I'm rather suspicious of the desire to pass in any case. Maybe I'll write about that in a future post.

    To answer your questions: No, I wouldn't be hurt or offended. And yes, I'd much rather be seen as a man who happens to be femme. Though for a true recognition the viewer would have to have some idea what femme means, and be willing to apply that to men (as well as women).

    My goal is simply... to wear the clothes I want to wear. I'm currently reading The Lesbian Erotic Dance by JoAnn Loulan, and there's a passage where she's writing about repressing her own femme in order to fit in with the (androgynous) lesbian feminist community of the 1970s:

    [I]t was so necessary, so important to belong, that I was willing to do anything, including getting rid of the female accoutrements that made me feel good, that made me feel pretty, that made me feel sexually attractive, and that made me feel connected with my real self.

    Although the context is different, and it's in no way her intention, I think she could be speaking for any male transvestite there.

    As for my own cross-dressing: I have virtually no male clothes at all, so I'm always cross-dressed to an extent. But mostly this in "stealth" style, wearing female versions of the clothes I used to wear anyway. That is: women's jeans, jumpers, t-shirts, etc; mostly in plain colours; avoiding low risers or plunging neck lines. It may look not quite right, but not so much so that anyone feels the need to comment on it. My shaved head probably helps there ;). My plucked eyebrows do get some comment (though nobody has yet followed that up with "why?"); and also my fake fur coat (though generally only to ask me if it's real).

    More overt femme dressing is more difficult. I've got to be feeling quite brave to wear, say, a skirt or heels in public, even in a relatively friendly venue such as a city centre gay pub. And I'm never brave enough to do it where I live. (Fear of the local "youths" giving me grief, for example.) The quote from a cross-dresser's wife at the end of my "femme and feminism" post is just as relevant – and scary – to me as most other cross-dressers.