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Femme Problems 126: Friends and Frenemies

By the time I graduated high school, I earned an “A” in Haters 101. I was never born with that inner desire to fit the mold, so I was largely accustomed to the haterade the cool kids threw at me as I walked by in my JNCO jeans and black lipstick. Those idiots didn’t matter. I had much bigger wars to wage. After scraping together enough scholarships to send myself to college, I thought I had left the paltry trivialities of high school behind. I was wrong.

In a world that largely marginalizes our community, and women in general, it blows my mind that so many women claw all over one another as they stew together in the LGBTQ melting pot. Venturing to the gay bar is an anxiety-stricken excursion of sorts for many of us who either feel alienated by a group of former friends turned frenemies or simply want to avoid the drama that accompanies frenemies altogether. Of all the various subgroups in gay culture, it has been my experience that we lipstick loving, nail-filling femmes are the most catty, ill-willed felines of the entire litter.

Maybe it’s the heat from our hair straighteners, or the twinge we feel from our newly worn high heels, or maybe it’s the blistering aftermath of our recent bikini wax…but something has got to give. What ever happened to “love thy neighbor as thyself?” Because if that’s really what everyone is out here doing, we have some serious self-esteem issues to work through. Femme group dynamics have gotten out of control.

Sure, I’ve had my share of cat fights back in my baby dyke days, serving as an impetus for gay bar avoidance myself. But over the last few years, I’ve grown. I’ve matured. Dare I say…I’ve changed. It’s time we all let bygones be bygones and focus on the issues that really matter, like how we’re going to earn equal pay in the workforce, fight LGBTQ discrimination and oppression, and raise a family with the same social liberties and protections as our straight counterparts. We have our differences, but we also have our common experiences.

If we could all retract our claws long enough to share in our struggles and offer some solutions, perhaps the future would be a safer, more welcoming femme-friendly place.

And I know that some of us are out here doing just that. We are working hard for our community. Yet it is those who give the most that often get the most backlash. When we find success, they wait to celebrate our adversity. When we find love, they anxiously await for it to fail. Just recently I received a few less-than-encouraging comments regarding the way I chose to ask my partner to marry me. Here I am, living in a time I never thought I would—a time where I have the privilege to ask my girlfriend to marry me—and there are people out there who choose to throw shade on a moment meant for love and light. #icant.

I think my frenemies and “femmenies” are really missing out on some beautiful aspects of the human experience. The bonds of femme friendship can be stronger than any I have ever known. Not just anyone will come over with a bottle of wine and listen to you cry over your cheating ex all summer long. My friends are my family, and I would never back-stab or otherwise take them for granted.

I strive every day to offer the kind of support and solidarity that we each need and deserve. I treat those in my community with a mutual respect, even if they’re calling, tweeting, posting, and texting behind my back. Sure, this is a pervasive problem all women can relate to, but how about we start here, with us, and then hope the girl power spreads from there? Such is the naive hope of one fed-up femme.

In the end, it’s hard to know who you can trust, and who will be there in the end. It’s difficult to distinguish between a friend and a “femmeny.” But like Drake says, “I’m doin’ me. I’m livin’ life right now, and this is what I’m gonna do til it’s all over.”

And that’s all that any of us can do.


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