Femininity isn’t femme: Appearance and the contradictory space of queer femme belonging

This chapter examines feminine aesthetics as a locus of belonging in queer femme communities via examination of two independent studies on queer femme identity. Analysis of these studies through the lens of belonging reveals that while some queer spaces offer a more utopian imagining of femme, the lived experiences of femmes reveals a contradiction about who can and cannot be seen and counted within femme communities. The findings of this analysis trouble the discursive construction that separates femme femininity from other feminine embodiments, and suggests that femme belonging might sometimes inadvertently contribute to femme exclusion.


McCann, Hannah & Killen, Gemma. (2019). Femininity isn’t femme [in Tsalapatanis, A. (Ed.), Bruce, M. (Ed.), Bissell, D. (Ed.), Keane, H. (Ed.). (2019). Social Beings, Future Belongings. London: Routledge]

ANU Gender Institute member author
Gemma Killen
Field of Research
Behavioral Sciences 
Social Sciences
PDF icon Femininity isn’t femme.pdf88.43 KB




ANU, Gender Institute

Date posted

Friday, 20 March 2020

Updated:  7 November 2012/Responsible Officer:  Convenor, Gender Institute/Page Contact:  Web manager, Gender Institute