Being a queer femme woman means you’re outwardly feminine and fall somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum. It’s great because you get to totally embrace your femininity in the form of lipstick, high heels, or whatever else being a femme looks like for you. But despite looking and feeling like a total babe, there are a wide range of struggles that are unique to being a girly girl who, well, likes girls.
You’re virtually invisible in the queer community. Femme invisibility is so real that Huffington Post started a campaign a few years ago with the hashtag #WhatFemmeLooksLike. This campaign showcased a variety of people in the femme community including men, trans folk, and non-binary people. For femme women in particular, though, you’re invisible in the queer community because you may “look straight.” Alongside your gender-bending peers, your love for dresses is generally categorized as heterosexual.
No one knows you like girls. When you’re in public, it’s likely that dudes hit on you and women don’t. People (like the woman painting your nails) also regularly ask you, “So, do you have a boyfriend?” Everyone just assumes you’re straight. It must be the long hair; I guess people think that you can’t like chicks if you have long hair.
You try out dressing butch but feel awkward AF. A lot of femmes have done this. You like girls and you want it to be evident when you’re in public that you like girls! Maybe you’re going to a queer coffee shop or out to a club. You try to wear something butch like baggier pants or a flannel but you feel like a total weirdo. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that style, you just much prefer sparkly heels and your full face of makeup.
You wear something quirky to let girls know you’re queer. Fine, you’ve tried the butch thing and you accept that it doesn’t work for you. Still, you need to have some sort of sign that you’re into chicks, so you wear a weird rainbow studded belt, shave half of your head, or maybe even get an LGBTQ tattoo. Anything that lets your freak flag fly is often an indicator that you’re not quite straight. Or at least that’s what you’re hoping, right?
People assume that because you’re femme, you’re only into butch women. There’s some weird misconception that there can only be masculine and feminine energy in relationships. You’d think by now we’d have smashed that heteronormative BS, especially with trans and non-binary people gaining visibility in our culture. But, nope, sometimes even your own friends who know you’re queer assume you like butch women because you’re “the girl,” right?
If you date another femme woman, someone asks who “the guy” in the relationship is. So annoying, what does it even mean when someone asks who “the guy” is in the relationship? Is it who takes up the traditionally patriarchal BS role that women (and men) have been trying to smash for decades? Because that’s not a thing. No one is “the guy,” that’s the point.
You don’t know if a girl you’re talking to just called you “cute” or “cute cute.” Every queer femme woman has the struggle of trying to figure out whether a girl is calling her “cute” or “CUTE cute.” If it was a guy calling you cute, there’s a 90% chance he’s hitting on you. It seems to be, though, that when a girl is calling you cute, there’s like a 10% chance she’s hitting on you. Still, if she’s cute herself, you’re hoping she thinks you’re cute cute!
Friendships with your queer gal pals get a bit blurry. Perhaps it’s just the queer community; we’re all touchy-feely with one another. Especially with two femme women, there’s generally hugging and overall tenderness towards each other. This is lovely until you find yourself thinking, “Wait, I think I’d have sex with her. Or am I in love with her? Does she like me like that?” Queer gal pals are great… until you’re unsure where you stand.
You sometimes feel like an undercover queer. In locker rooms at the gym, if you dressed more butch or had a more masculine flair, it may be obvious to the women around you that you like chicks, but you blend in as just another one of the girls. I bet sometimes you feel a bit weird knowing that a girl would cover up more in the locker room if she knew how much you love boobs. Not complaining, though!
Crushes assume you’re straight, so you have to make the first move. Straight men and women can chat with a stranger at a coffee shop and it’s not at all weird if it’s assumed they’re flirting. Especially when you’re a femme woman flirting with another feminine woman, it’s not so clear-cut. The other person likely assumes you’re straight, so you have to take it to the next level and make the move if you want to let her know!