Bisexual, Queer and (bewitchingly) Femme. These words that are often used, or seen as, derogatory or marginalising labels make me feel empowered. Each one of these words - bisexual, queer, femme - make me feel confident in who I am, and sexy from the surface of my skin to the core of my being. So why do three words, which make me feel so strong, also unwillingly carry such prevalent connotations to sexism & co? Or, more accurately, why do sexists think that these words are negative and therefore use them in hateful speech?
Much of the power I have found within labels such as these is reclaimed power. Words which in the past, or even currently, that have been used to humiliate, degrade or make others feel or seem “weak” lose their negative power once reclaimed by those who were targeted by them. Terms which were meant to put me within a box get burst open from the inside out, spraying positive and empowered biodegradable confetti everywhere. Their power is taken from them and transformed into something beautiful, courageous, and (let’s be honest) hella sexy energy.
Being bisexual, queer, and femme can be kind of “confusing” to your average sexist & co. I place the word “confusing” into quotations because it’s hella not once the lens of bigotry is removed. The lens of bigotry includes but is not limited to;
Finding Queer people a threat (because it forces them to consciously think about their chosen normative role in society and their perpetuation of what “should” be the “norm”).
Thinking Femme’s exist for their perverse consumption (rather than acknowledging and accepting that Femmes are sexy for their damn selves, and for the pleasures of other women, with absolutely no desire to be gawked at by sleazy men - let it be known that Divine Femme Energy is a force of nature not to be reckoned with).
Seeing Bisexual women as going through a kink based “experimental phase”, whilst waiting for their knight in shining armour to rescue them (rather than grasping that bisexuality is a constant state of being, not a “phase” and that regardless of how many bisexual women are with men, that that relationship will never be “heterosexual” as her bisexuality never ceases to exist). *clicks tongue loudly on the roof of my mouth*
Just like any other intersectional feminist, I’m pretty damn sexy and utterly hellbent on fighting against sexism. Therefore I believe in calling out this sort out bigotry when the circumstance presents itself where I actually feel safe enough to be able to do so.
Challenging sexism can be not only uncomfortable but also extremely unsafe for women. To openly challenge sexism is to also question the superiority of men within a society built to make them reign. Calling out and trying to dismantle that patriarchy can be terrifying to men who heavily benefit from the privileges they have been handed, and that which they perpetuate. Before tackling sexism, I first consider my safety and whether I could be subjected to violence for merely standing up for myself and others.
I talk often to other women about the frustrations that come with being a woman. These frustrations are little to never routed from our physical being, but rather come from what it is to be a woman in society. A society which sexualises us with the male gaze whilst simultaneously shaming us for having a sexuality of our own. We are allowed to be sexual objects, but not allowed to FEEL sexy. We are told that our worth is valued in how attractive we are to men, but that any sign of self-love is a vain and un-admirable flaw. Self-love comes from within. Self-love is what makes you feel sexy from the inside, and what makes you radiate on the outside. Self-love is contagious as it passes from woman to woman and empowers us all. This is what sexists fear, and this is what sexists really want to smother. The structure of sexism is built on oppressing women to the point where our sense of self-worth is based entirely on whether we make men happy.
Where we seek our own perceived sense of happiness through the validation of men. When we break it all down and strip it back, we realise that true happiness lies in our own sense of self-worth and finding self-love after a lifetime of being told how undesirable a quality it is. Self-love and love (platonic or otherwise) between women is truly enlightening. It lifts the veil of smoke created to blind us from seeing our true power and allows us to cultivate and foster that power.
This newfound power allows us to radiate through the smog, attracting other women to our light. Our collective light becomes stronger and stronger as we share our knowledge on self-love, and enable ourselves to grow individually and as a whole. When the veil of smog lifts we can see the role that sexism has played in our lives, and how it has never served us. We can understand and visualise the structure that sexism is built upon, and have the knowledge and power to begin dismantling what has been built to oppress us and start reclaiming our power. Together we can see how powerful, radiant, and damn right sexy, us women truly are.