Femme Zine

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there used to be a group in unceded Coast Salish territory (Vancouver, BC) called the Femme Affinity Group (FAG). FAG did a series of compilation zines around femme identity, and they were amazing, empowering, community building, inspirational works. i recently came across the extra back issues and realized that the third zine was compiled 10 years ago!

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i loved working on the FAG zines, and i think it’s time to do something similar again. FAG’s not active anymore, but femmes still are! we still need community, we still need empowerment, we still need support, we still need all of the benefits of writing that reflects our realities.

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i’m looking for submissions of writing or imagery around the theme of femme identity.

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some ideas:

– what does femme mean to you?

– has your identity or your definition changed?

– on being a non-binary or gender queer femme

– femme as a gender identity, femme as a sexual identity

– femme tops, femme bottoms, femme switches

– femme and kink, femme and age play

– asexual femmes, aromantic femmes, celibate femmes

– how femme intersects with other aspects of your identity

– how femme is limited by other aspects of your identity

– practical tips on how to how to express femme identity while respecting other belief systems (anti-capitalism, veganism, not appropriating other cultures in our expressions of femme)

– what does femme community mean? what do you want from it? do you feel included in it? what are your hopes and dreams for community? how can we support femmes who aren’t included/prevent cliques? how can we work towards a stronger community?

– how your version of femme is influenced by your personal history

– what struggles do you experience as a femme?

– what are the joys of being femme?

– femme and feminism

– femme and sex work

– have you always been femme?

– how important is your femme identity to you? is it integral, or peripheral?

– how do we fight again femmephobia and femme invisibility?

– how are femmes affected by toxic masculinity?

– how are femmes affected by toxic femininity?

– butch/femme, femme/femme, femmes and relationships in general

– femmes of colour, qtpoc femmes, black femmes, indigenous femmes

– power femmes, fierce femmes, femme daddies, femme mommies, gentle femmes, grandmafemmes, soft femmes, hard femmes

– being a dis/abled femme, a neurodivergent femme, a mentally ill femme

– femme role models

– femme self care, supporting ourselves as femmes

– femme as art, femme as performance

– differences between femme and feminine

– anything else you’re inspired to write about or create about!

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SUBMISSION DEADLINE: March 15, 2016

(Deadline extended!)

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please send submissions or any questions to amyamydameATgmailDOTcom

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please include a short bio with your submission, and contact info/website/IG/etc if you’d like it included. if you’d like to submit anonymously, that’s cool too!

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submissions are open to anyone who identifies as femme, regardless of gender/sexuality/presentation.
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multiple submissions are welcome. if you have an especially long piece, or artwork that won’t reproduce well in b&w, please contact me and we can chat about it!
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i’m not going to judge submissions on any merit other then how it’ll reproduce in b&w (keep that in mind for artwork please!), but if your piece is oppressive in any way (racist, misogynist, fatphobic, transmisogynist, classist, ableist, cissexist, etc) it won’t be included. i honestly haven’t decided what i’ll do if i receive any submissions that try to define who is allowed to be femme, and i’ll consult with other femmes if that does come up.

submissions can be edited for grammar/etc if you’d like me to, but they don’t have to be. please write your own story in your own words!

submissions do not need to be written specifically for the femme zine, as long as you can give permission for it to be reprinted.

I’m not able to provide payment for submissions, but everyone will receive a copy of the zine. this zine is not a for-profit venture, and will be provided free of charge to those who are unable to donate towards the printing/mailing costs.

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about me: i’m a white queer AFAB genderqueer femme with disabilities who’s doing this because it’s something i want to see happen. i especially welcome submissions and feedback from people who have different backgrounds than me, femmes who experience the world differently.

Drawing the Line

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What I’m doing:

I’m working on a project for the Queer Arts Festival this summer that is exploring the concept of (former and current) role models and heroes, and what happens when they “cross the line”.

What makes us stop considering them a role model? It’ll differ for everyone – my line is different from your line, your line is different from the next person. Not everyone will agree on what’s problematic. Someone who’s no longer a role model for you might still be for someone else. Some people might be okay with having a role model who is inspiring in some ways but shameful in other ways. Some people might write the role model off after the slightest infraction.

Sometimes a role model stands for something that many people respect – like the fight for marriage equality – but that many others don’t have respect for – because they might feel that there are bigger issues for the queer community to focus on, or that the gay marriage movement has a tendency towards assimilation.

And sometimes a role model isn’t even chosen by us, but is assigned to us by society, like when cisgender people assume that all trans people look up to famous drag queens, regardless of how transphobic they might be, or when straight people think that all queers should be fans of gay writers, regardless of how biphobic or misogynist they might be.

How do our heros/role models change as we grow, as our politics grow? What happens when we’re intersectional, but our role model isn’t? How does the constant access to our role models via the internet, in ways that are entirely unprecedented, change our opinions of them? When we can read blog comments that they leave for others, when their speeches are live-tweeted? What happens when we grow up and realize that the heroes we had as teenagers represent the opposite of what we stand for as adults? Those are all the questions I want to ask with this project.

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What I want from you:

I have my own opinions, but I can’t speak for anyone but myself.

I’d love to know who your current or former role models are. And I’d love to know why – why they were your role model but aren’t anymore; why they’re still your hero, regardless of things they might have said or done. A role model can be any public figure that you once looked up to – a musician, an artist, a politician, an actor, an activist, a celebrity, etc. It can even be someone who wasn’t actually your hero, but was a role model to other people. Maybe you’ve had a problem with them all along?

I’d like the positive and the negative – a line or two about why the person is a role model, and a line or two about why they might not be or maybe shouldn’t be a role model anymore.

The project will include some words from people who suggested role models (as well as allowing viewers to participate during the festival), so full sentences are appreciated, but not required. It’s anonymous, unless you chose to give me your name, in which case it’s entirely confidential. I understand that criticizing someone who is popular, even when it’s valid criticism, can feel unsafe or nerve wracking, and I want to make this as comfortable as possible.

Are you in? Here’s the survey!

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What else?

If you’re not into filling out the survey, for whatever reason, that’s cool too – but would you mind forwarding this on? Sharing it on your facebook or twitter? I’d like to cast as wide a net as possible – I don’t want to only hear from people who agree with me on everything!

#feministselfie

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amyamydameV2_2
Title: #feministselfie
Dimensions: 12″ x 9″
Materials: cotton thread, cotton and silk fabric, cotton batting
Techniques: free motion machine quilting, colour discharge of commercially printed fabric, hand quilting

exhibited in 2014 Queer Arts Festival community exhibition, Vancouver

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personal note:

though i rarely post them online, selfies took on an important place in my life mid 2013 when i started a long distance relationship. when you don’t get to see people regularly, you naturally want pictures of them! my lover asked for photos almost daily, often specifically asking for images that i would not normally take, such as pictures without my glasses, or with my mouth open. when the hashtag #feministselfie became common, i had been thinking a lot about how my near daily selfies had affected my view of myself and changed my comfort level about different aspects of my appearance.

also, the necklace, earrings and glasses shown in the image are ones that i wore regularly for an extended period. most of my accessories have changed since then, in the year and a half since the piece was started. i especially enjoy this piece as a portrait of a specific place and time.

the commercial fabric, with women’s symbols/feminist symbols repeated throughout, is a random print that i have come across on two separate occasions (previously used here), and it seemed perfect for my selfie background. i used bleach to discharge the colour, since it originally had a black background with bright pink and purple symbols. throughout the piece i handquilted around some of the women’s symbols with 50wt aurifil cotton thread. in person they are slightly visible, less so in a photo.

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artist statement

Selfies allow us to see ourselves reflected in a world that has spent decades trying to pretend that we don’t exist. Fat people, POC, queers, gender variant people, people with disabilities; when do we ever see ourselves portrayed positively in mass media? Selfies (self portraits taken with the front-facing camera on your cell phone) can be radical, empowering and revolutionary.

Selfies allow the subject/photographer to control how they are viewed – for many people, this is the first time in their lives that they’ve actually liked pictures of themselves. After years of trying to hide in group photos, resisting our relatives insistent “smile!”, selfies allow us to present ourselves to the world the way that we see ourselves most often, looking back out of the mirror.

the hashtag #feministselfie was born out of community outrage. in November 2013 a pseudo-feminist website posted a diatribe against selfies claiming that selfies were a cry for help, that people who take selfies are perpetuating a misogynistic world where women, or those viewed as women, (who take the majority of selfies) are valued only for their physical beauty – in short, it claimed that selfies were anti-feminist. 

the online community exploded with #feministselfies on twitter and thoughtful, inspiring blog posts. People posted about seeing people of their skin tone as beautiful for the first time in their lives; about seeing other masculine of centre people as attractive and realizing that they could be attractive too; about the role of selfies in their journey to body acceptance; about showing people with disabilities as full people instead of a cause to fundraise for; about portraying alternative beauty in a way that was more than conventional beauty with a few piercings or tattoos added.

The Femme and the Bearded Lady

exhibition

amyamydameV2_1

Title: The Femme and the Bearded Lady
Dimensions: 42″ x 66″
Materials: cotton thread, cotton fabric, cotton batting

life size quilted portrait commissioned for the 2014 National Queer Arts Festival exhibition, Second Helpings, San Francisco

“Second Helpings is a queer intervention into American popular culture’s understanding of the fat body as a deviant body. It is a visual art exhibition, an evening of performance, and a platform for ideation around how, as a queer community, we can deconstruct and reassess body politics to foster a collective understanding of fatness that empowers and heals fat-bodied people emotionally, sexually and politically. ”

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artist statement

What if, instead of being a barrier, quilts were to show what was underneath them? What if, instead of hiding, they displayed?

 In our current political climate of assimilation, we are faced with the message that “homosexuals are just like straight people” on a regular basis. That may be true for some people, but it isn’t the case for many queer identified people. We’re not just gay, we’re queer, and that means we aren’t going along with the status quo. We fight daily against mainstream thoughts  – gender roles and expression, beauty standards and what is attractive, what it means to build community, how our sexuality should be expressed, how our sexuality should be tamed…

 What if, instead of shutting up, instead of hiding ourselves and our loved ones, we made a point of expressing ourselves and our feelings in a public way? What if, instead of covering shameful nudity, the quilt showed the non-conventional beauty below it?

 The Femme and the Bearded Lady portrays two bodies nestled together in sleep; their affection and attraction obvious. Both bodies are fat, both are queer. One body is commonly read as female, despite identifying as genderqueer, and the other is commonly read as male, despite identifying as a woman. As the LGBT community becomes more and more mainstream, mainstream beliefs are found more and more within the LGBT community. Both bodies experience fat and gender through the lens of a society which believes them to be unattractive, unhealthy and undeserving of love and lust, while simultaneously denying their gender and queer identities.

femme  and bearded lady in progress

in progress