Bunching Violets: An exploration into Queer Femmes' construction of identity and belonging
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This research seeks to broaden the dialogue surrounding queer presentation, identity construction and femininity. Specifically, I look at what it takes to externalize identity within a queer context, and how femmes subvert heteronormative femininity. The intersection of femininity and queerness provides a unique case study to understand community recognition and the nuances of self-performance. Focusing on the act of queer subversion within heteronormative dichotomies, this thesis shows how gender’s inherent flexibility impacts the presentation and perception of queer femininity. Through nine qualitative interviews, I find that queer femmes engage in consistent membership negotiations by externalizing their queerness physically and verbally. Among participants, passing was an unintentional result of heteronormative norms rather than an underlying intention to cater to said norms. I argue that my participants’ femme identities were a valid and functional expression of their authentic selves.