Femmepire Records is a series of interviews on femme identity. Click here for the elevator pitch and first interview.
Here's Jolie O'Dell:
In a few words, define femme.
One who skews traditionally feminine in gender expression.
If you don't have a definition, what do you think of Google's: "A lesbian or a male homosexual who takes a traditionally feminine sexual role."
ROFL -- no. "Sexual roles" and "gender expression" are two different things. Donna Reed with a strap-on is still femme, even though definitely not in "a traditionally feminine sexual role."
Do you identify as femme? Why?
Yes, because I enjoy playing dress-up in a traditionally feminine way that actually conflicts a lot with my social roles and sexuality.
Regardless of your previous answer, do other people identify you as femme? How do you feel about that?
Yes, they do. I'm okay with being seen as "femme," not with being seen as "traditional."
Do you feel like you have to try harder to be read or seen as queer? If so, how do you deal with that?
In the right crowd, most people see the kind of high femme I do when I'm out on the town as a form of genderfuck in itself. To be so femme as to border on drag -- wigs, opera gloves, gaudy jewelry, fake eyelashes -- and to still be defiantly queer in my attitudes and orientation, that's kinda fun for me. In a "straight" crowd, it plays a bit differently, but they still get the idea that something, somewhere, is being fucked with.
How does your gender affect your sexuality, if at all?
I don't let my vagina get in the way of who I fuck. Some of the queerest experiences I've had have technically been girl-on-boy sex. But when I'm wearing a strap-on and making some twink bounce up and down in my lap calling me "Daddy," I think we can safely classify the experience as queer.
And when I'm with ladies who love ladies, the whole vagina thing really helps.
Do you feel constricted in who you date/sleep with because of your appearance?
If you could make up your own category to describe your appearance/gender presentation, it would be: ____ and why?
Ladydrag. Girliedrag. Something like that, because I like to take femme to a camp level.
What prompts you to present the way you do? Is it something you consciously think about?
I definitely think about it a lot! I used to try to be a bit butch (see above), even cross-dressing in three-piece suits for special occasions. But because of my face and my voice, it just didn't go over well; everyone, gay and straight folks alike, thought I was trying too hard to express my queerness.
So I went to the other extreme. And to tell you the truth, it's ever so much more fun than butch -- for me, at least!
Lesbian representations on TV/movies are almost always femme. Do you feel like this contributes negatively (or at all) to your life/gender presentation/identity?
I don't think so. Hopefully, most people realize that TV/movies represent the reality of exactly no one and no scene.
What are some resources/websites/books/movies you look to for inspiration about femmeness/queerness?
RuPaul's Drag Race, Audrey Hepburn films, all kinds of '50s and '60s media, Gendernauts (EXCELLENT documentary I found many years ago that really shaped how I feel about gender expression), dating, and fucking lots of different kinds of people in the queer gender spectrum -- real life experience is the best resource of all.
Oh, one of my huge influences over the past couple years has been Japanese and Korean girls and their concept of Eoljjang (Google Image that shit), dolly faces with big, batting eyelashes and huge, colored contacts and hair extensions. It goes beyond genderfuck and gets into agefuck, racefuck. It's bitchin' and Barbie-like, and when it's done with self-awareness, it's its own form of drag.