Femme Embodiments of the Other Part 1
April 23, 2017
Mainstream media and the fashion industry may have more femme portrayal than other queer identities, but at what cost?
The majority of femmes we see on TV and the runway do not represent the vast diversity within the femme community. Over sexualized and dressed for the white male gaze, heteronormative / heterodominant beauty standards dictate how our favorite TV characters walk, dress, and act.
To help dismantle the heteropatriarchy, we are starting this series — a collaboration between myself and Theologian & Ethicist for the Movement of LGBTQ lives, Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza — to bring more femme voices to the table.
We aim to feature a diverse range of femme identities including those with non-normative / counter normative sexual orientations, immigrants and undocumented folks, people of size, people of color, people with disabilities, nonbinary folks, people of trans experience, people from working class backgrounds, people of faith who wear religious garments, and more.
Our goal is to expose the deep intersections that frame identities of femmes by highlighting the ways in which femmes are impacted by the logic of dominance that is so often illustrated in hetero-normative-patriarchy. The “logic of dominance” is a way of describing the concepts that inform the thought patterns and resulting practices that further expose a supremacist ideology. Femmes are often those who are most impacted by the logic of dominance and the white male (masculine) gaze in that the narrative is that femmes are to be consumed by male-bodies and masculine folks. When we actively begin to dismantle the logic of dominance that has a parasitic relationship with the logic of white supremacy, we also address the internalized misogyny and sexism that often is at play in these logics.
Sabine Maxine Lopez is the Owner of Patty Wack Vintage, founder of A Tribe Called Queer a Stylist, Photographer, and Curator of Clothing+Art+Events. Sabine has been collecting vintage for well over 15 years and decided to turn her passion into a business, with the launch of her Etsy online shop in 2013. She has styled and shot all of her PWV Look Books to date and her work as a stylist was chosen to be featured on the runway at Queer Fashion Week in 2016. Sabine founded A Tribe Called Queer on Instagram because she realized that she wanted to shed light on queers that make a positive contribution to the community. That passion also inspired her to create and curate the Queer Bazaar, an event that features local queer vendors and is hosted at various queer owned businesses.
Can you describe a time when you experienced discrimination due to your gender presentation or physical appearance?
I have experienced discrimination in some form or another all of my life. As an afro-latina growing up in the 80's, people didn't know what to think of me. Being light skinned with fine curly hair, black folks didn't necessarily accept me. I was teased in high school by the only other black girls in the predominately hispanic school I attended. They shamed me because I didn't have black hair. On the flip side, I was called the N-Word by my own hispanic relatives. It was very confusing for me in terms of my identity. I didn't know where I belonged. I also developed very early and have been curvy from age 12 on. Though my weight has always fluctuated, I've been called fat all my life. Even when I was a size 8 which is crazy to me! I believe society has done an amazing job brainwashing people to believe that women should look a certain way.
What empowers you to live authentically despite society’s ongoing policing of femme bodies and surveillance of what a femme should be?
My motto in life is to live authentically... in every possible way! I know that I am powerful. I know that I am beautiful. I (have learned to) embrace my curves. I am proud of my heritage and where I come from. I am brutally honest. And I am also adamant about speaking up and letting my voice be heard! I am not the type to sugar coat my feelings, and i'm often called a bitch because I speak up. Society doesn't want us to have a voice. They want us to sit down, shut up, and follow orders. Well I am not the one. I'll never surrender.
How do you use style as a means of resistance?
I feel like my style has always been a form of resistance. As a welfare kid, I got so jealous of my cousin because she always had new Guess clothes and fresh shoes. I had to rock Payless and hand-me-downs. It wasn't glamorous. But as I got to high school, I learned to get creative with my clothing. Shopping at thrift stores and re-working pieces to make them my own. I would get called weirdo and stared at because of my outfits. But I didn't care because it was an outlet for me. As an adult, clothing is definitely my form of art and resistance. It is the most immediate form of self expression. Besides your haircut, people see your outfit before your face. As I hit 35 last year, I had the emergent need to no longer work in the oppressive environment that was my office job. So I quit after 11 years. Since then, my hair has been several bright colors and i'm not afraid to look queer. It's been a fun process blending my new and old self. I'm enjoying this new style journey!
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: www.qwearfashion.com