Dawn | Fashionably Femme | Queer Identity in Academia and Beyond
Welcome to Femme Features. Femme Features is a blog series featuring femmes from all nooks of the LGBTQIA community. These rocking folks are activists, educators, bosses, parents, entrepreneurs, and all sorts of amazing human beings. Join us as we explore femme identity as so much more than a label, but truly a way of life. You can check out all of our queer femme fashion, lifestyle, and activist profiles here.
Meet Dawn, an academic and truly unique femme with an amazing sense of style. Bright colors are her thing and I’m loving it! If anybody read my post about Impostor Syndrome then you already know that I use style to defy the overall perception of queer and what queer identity looks like. With a similar mindset and an awesome story, Dawn is a truly wonderful person who I am proud to feature. Let’s read on.
Dawn, Queer Identity in Academia and Beyond
When I first came out as queer I often felt the need to alter my fashion in order to be seen in the LGBTQ community. I found that I finally had the confidence to be out, but I didn’t feel that my feminine style would be accepted as I navigated queer spaces. Initially, I found myself feeling like I needed to add less feminine pieces to my wardrobe to fit in. I began wearing long shorts and t-shirts, darker colors, and less jewelry. However, as I found comfort in myself and my identity I began to feel more free to wear what felt true to me in the moment.
As a researcher who studies gender expression, I am always aware of how the way I present myself affects how others perceive me. Although my feminine style is usually not read as queer, I’ve learned that there are so many of us out there who take pride in our femininity and use it to be true to our queer identity. Even though my style often means my queer identity is invisible, I prefer to be true to my sense of self and also use my style to defy people’s perception of what queer looks like. When I come out to someone who reads me as straight, I enjoy watching their expression as their assumptions about what a queer woman looks like is forced to change as they take in my feminine appearance.
My style can be described as bright, colorful, and fun! I’m not one to shy away from neon colors and bold patterns. I love stand out pieces that reflect my mood and personality. I rock bright lipstick and purple hair. I love long necklaces and mixing metals. Another signature part of my look is my nail art. Although having painted nails isn’t typically seen as a part of queer female style, I enjoy the comfort and relaxation I find in painting my nails. Also, how manicured they are tends to be a reflection of how hectic my life is at that moment.
Whether I am hanging out with friends, presenting at a conference, or teaching, I like to be true to who I am and incorporate my style into how I present myself. Whether it is a bold patterned button down under a blazer for a presentation, or bright pink lipstick with a neon shirt and jeans to grab dinner with friends, I use my fashion to show my personality and represent queer femininity. And I no longer feel less queer as a feminine woman.
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