Femme ain’t something I do to earn men’s approval. Femme is the practice of inhabiting and possessing aesthetic beauty for my own pleasure and affirmation. Femme is subverting dominant notions of “beauty” by centering my own personal gaze.
As a little girl and young woman, I was denied access to pretty things even though I was powerfully drawn to them. A filigris can literally take my breath away, pastels nourish me, and sparkling jewelry makes my heart sing. I had to hide even just my appreciation of those things, but now that experience is finally mine and I am drinking that in so deeply.
PS as a trans woman, femme is also a matter of survival.