Hey, you always have good opinions abt gender stuff so i was wondering what you think. Im a lesbian and i guess im what you might call low femme like i'll wear stuff like dungarees with a floral top or like a flannel over a lace dress. I 100% believe i couldnt care less what straight men think of me like they dont play a role in my life at all, if i want to look cute its for my gf/other women. Am i lying to myself and is the only way that could be true to stop wearing makeup and dresses?
Your phrasing is a little unclear here (when you say “am I lying to myself” I’m not really sure what you are referencing) but if you are asking whether I think there is anything wrong with personally enjoying makeup and dresses, then no. I think it is one thing to maintain an ideological critique of femininity and makeup especially, and another to act like people are required to live out their politics to an extent that makes them uncomfortable even when this makes absolutely no material gains. Feminists have tried this before- mandating androgyny in feminist, especially lesbian feminist, circles, such that butches and femmes were mandated either underground/in the closet wrt that aspect of their lesbianism, out of feminist circles, or just out of existence altogether. And it just resulted in a lot of uncomfortable women repressing ways in which they wanted to express themselves. It doesn’t do any useful work, and even if it did, it hurts people in the meantime. Having to maintain a very androgynous wardrobe instead of one I’m personally comfortable calling masculine would make me extremely uncomfortable, point blank.
I think there’s this idea that seems to be a bit too common among feminist lesbians that femmes are just ditzy and stupid and don’t have ANY feminist politics of their own or have not considered any of this, and it’s absolutely wrong and a horrible thing to claim about them. Almost every single femme I know tried very hard to make herself comfortable with either androgynous dress and behavior, more typically butch behavior, or more feminine behavior, and THEN came around to femme identity after a lot of thinking on it in a way that was just felt right and comfortable for them and that’s a good thing. On top of that, the femmes I know personally are some of the most critical of makeup, femininity, etc, the most resentful of its effects on women, and not thoughtless drones worshiping at the altar of feminity. The same claims are made about butches and masculinity, and they’re not true in either case.
There’s also this idea that femininity (here meaning a set of actions, behaviors, certain dress styles, etc, rather than the social system) is a single thing, and that the way femmes engage with femininity (and not all even see themselves particularly as feminine women) is the same as how straight women typically do. But not only do femmes typically behave totally differently than straight women (and again, they’re a group of lesbians who are all individual women with their own personalities, etc, just like every other group of women) wrt things like attention paid to men, comfort taking up social and conversational and physical space, very different fashions that flag as gay to other lesbians, etc, but I almost never miss femmes who are directly interacting with me, because they just don’t seem at all like straight women to me. They move differently, they talk differently, they show a different sense of comfort with me, and while straight women flirt with me all the time it’s totally different when it’s coming from another lesbian in a way you just feel. And the idea that the way femmes move, dress, do pretty much anything, has to be connected to men. I don’t put on clothes that I think will make me sexually appealing to men, and it makes no sense to assume that femmes do that either. So no, I don’t think you’re fooling yourself about what makes you feel sexy or attractive or for whom you want to look nice at all.
So if you’re worried that you are politically obligated to give up any elements of how you move or dress that make you comfortable, that’s not true and you shouldn’t be made to feel that way. You life is not a game of political chess, wherein your decisions are objectively good or bad politically and you’re obligated to try to win politically or something like that. It’s your life, and your goal should be to live it comfortably and happily, and whatever helps you do that (including dresses, or ties, or anything else) without hurting anyone else is a good thing. I’m not femme obviously so if you want I can refer you to a couple of friends who are and who’ve written some about that aspect of how they see themselves and they’ll have much more informed perspectives. I am sorry this is so long but I wanted to make sure I gave you a full answer. Sending you lots of love and I hope you figure out what makes you feel most comfortable!