I’m currently reading the book Becoming Dangerous, an anthology about witchcraft and femmes. There’s a few entries there exploring the intersection of femme aesthetic and magick1, whether the armour of lipstick or the power of color.
This resonates a lot with me. I previously discussed a bit about how I feel about my femme identity, but one thing I didn’t touch on is how it feels to put on makeup or clothing, to walk and talk feeling beautifully queer.
To put these deeds into the language of magick feels inherently right. I’ve always used deliberation when choosing what I want to present that day, so to use that as a tool of the mysticism and the divine speaks deeply.
After all, femme already is a deliberate social construct. One is not born femme, it’s never assigned by a doctor or parent. It’s owned, taken into the inner self as an identity that resonates on a frequency only you can hear.
To be a femme is to transform yourself, and to cast spell with that transformation is to tap into that power, and to use it to change the world around you.
It’s powerful. Intoxicating almost, a feeling of being alien and gorgeous. It’s warding against the world, protection to able to meet the stares with a smile. Let the eyes jump to you in fascination, and flick away lest they attract your attention.
It’s a token of respect. Here I am having put in this effort, to have done this because I care about you. I offer my time and energy to be beautiful as a blessing. I hope you appreciate it.
It’s a ritual. The vanity of cosmetics and mirror is my altar, a place to work my glamour and write myself as I will. Concealer, color correct, powder, it’s all the steps in a spell every femme writes herself.
It’s art. Choose your colors, pick the shape of your eye and highlights. Cast an illusion by transfiguring your inner world into outer reality. Is your world fiery and passionate? Perhaps a bit of red. Are things melancholy and cold? Blues and a paler foundation would do the trick. Paint your body to illuminate your world.
It’s scary. The eyes like daggers, the switchblade swish of hips, the razor smile of confidence. A hex, to make the world feel small and grey if you so will it. A weapon, to wield as you desire; for good or ill.
The takeaway here: Be deliberate. Be bold. If the world is going to stop and look, use that body to change it as you will.
1 – I’m currently in the UK, so I’ll write with some of the British spellings as an homage.