FtF: Female to Femme
| Our Rating:
L Factor: Lesbian Film
Short Take: What does it mean to be femme in the 21st century? This documentary looks at the construction of femininity and the identity of femme lesbians.
Duration: 48 min
MPAA: Not Rated
|Director: Kami Chisholm, Elizabeth Stark
Starring: Meliza Banales, Bitch, Veronica C. Combs, Jewelle Gomez, Leslie Mah, Lady Monster, Masha Raskolnikov, Guinevere Turner
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What does it mean to be femme in the 21st century? Through interviews with performers, musicians and academics, this documentary looks at the construction of femininity and the identity of a group of lesbians who choose to dress in a way that is not often identified as ‘queer’ to the dominant culture. In fact, as Cornell English Professor Masha Raskolnikov laments, femmes are largely invisible, except to other ‘counter culture insiders.’
Several women talk about their transitions into being femme when expectations may have been that lesbians must be androgynous or butch. Actress Guinevere Turner (The Watermelon Woman, ‘The L Word,’ Go Fish, The Owls) brings it home when she talks about starting to carry a small bag and finally an actual purse (and not being afraid to call it a purse).
Discussion of the lesbian feminist reaction against anything that looked like mainstream femininity gives the film the historical grounding sometimes missed in other conversations about lesbian dress. Different types of femmes, like fat femmes and high femmes, are also topics.
Interviews with rock stars Leslie Mah (Tribe 8 ) and Bitch (Bitch & Animal), novelist Jewelle Gomez, and many others join femme burlesque footage and a parodied femme support group to bring a range of issues to light. (AB)