My Journey To Femme Power
Words by: Dani Weber / Artwork by: Liz Andrade
4 page black and white comic in a muted color palette of tan brown, soft baby blue, soft powder pink and white.
Illustration of a person with short blue hair is walking across the page and waving to us. They are wearing a pink vest, an off the shoulder crop top and pineapple printed high waisted pants with boots. They are smiling! and saying…
Hey friends! I’m Dani… here to wish you a Happy Trans Day of Visibility!
I’ve struggled a lot with not feeling “trans enough” — because I’m genderqueer, because I’m afab and femme, because my identity does not adhere to colonial understandings of gender. But, I know I’m not alone…
I know this because of femmes whose visibility and stories have inspired and helped me to find my femme power! You’re not alone either… So join me on my journey to femme power!
The narrator from the first page, Dani is now shown in a close up view at the bottom right of this page, they are reading a magazine called “Teen Queen” and is saying…
As a teen, I didn’t know queer was even an option. I knew I desperately wanted to date people and at that age I thought that meant I had to attract men. Masculine men. Cis hetero-masculine men!
Next to this speech bubble, a younger version of Dani is shown with long flowing hair taking a selfie. They are dressed in a pink dress and pink high-heeled shoes. Behind them is a road sign pointing off to the right that says “Exit to Guyville” and far back in the distance is a silhouette of a muscular male physique flexing.
…Of course, the teen magazines told me — the best thing to do was to dress ultra feminine! I believed hot pink, lip gloss and mini skirts would transform me into a beacon of feminine sexuality, and that I would attract men like a magnet!!! that didn’t quite work…
Next to this speech bubble, young Dani is shown holding up 2 pink dresses looking as though they are trying to decide which to wear.
Similar to the previous page, Dani is close up and in the lower right corner of this page narrating…
And then, I found radical feminism! I thought I’d finally found my people… but this brand of white feminism and trans exclusionary feminism just didn’t fit. I tried to work within it…I denounced anything “girly” as weak and banished pink from my wardrobe… But, this wasn’t me…
Next to this speech bubble a slightly older Dani is shown with their arm crossed. They have an asymmetrical haircut and are wearing a muscle shirt with a bandana tied around their neck and a pin in the chest of their shirt that has the symbol for woman on it.
Behind Dani is 2 road signs. One says “Wombyn Only” and the one below it says, “Danger: Wrong Way! Turn Back Now!”
Then I met some amazing queers of various genders who embraced ‘femme’ as an empowering gender expression. I realized I was queer too, and that we could reclaim femme, even though the patriarchy makes it both mandatory and disrespected.
The same Dani from the previous drawing is now shown talking to a group of people. Everyone in the group is smiling. Dani is standing to the far right in a discussion with a genderqueer person with long pink hair who is wearing a tight fitting dress that shows the outline of their large belly. Behind Dani and their new friend is another pair of people conversing. One of these people is a very tall white trans woman with a short haircut, a thin body and a baggy sweater and pants. The other is a short black woman with her curly hair pulled back into a high ponytail atop her head. She is wearing a pink halter top and high waisted shorts with boots. She is holding assistive cane.
Page 4: (final Page)
On this page current day Dani (our narrator) is standing on a stage. Behind them bright neon lights spell out their name in large letters. They are shown standing tall and saying…
I realized that I no longer wanted to measure myself up against the western conception of ‘woman’, but I also wanted to reject the demonization of femmeness! I want to reclaim femme for whatever it means to me! I want to be “Dani”. I was keen to express myself as femme not because that’s “what women do”, or to attract a certain type of person, but because it’s what Dani does.
The last drawing on this page is in the lower right corner, narrator Dani is waving goodbye and smiling. They are saying…
This has been my journey, so far… Your story may be similar or completely unique! I’d love to hear it because, you’re beautiful! I see you and I love you… Later, friends!
Dani Weber is a passionate advocate for diversity & safer spaces. Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, they now work as an LGBT+ rights tour guide in San Francisco whilst educating on social justice issues through writing, workshops & public speaking. Pronouns they/them, she/her.
Follow Dani on Twitter and Instagram at: @diversity_now.