Review: Femmes of Power: Exploding Queer Femininities

Femmes of Power September 3rd, 2008

Stilettos, lipstick, beards: there’s more than one way to be a lady.

Photographer Del Lagrace Volcano and writer Ulrika Dahl have travelled seven countries for new book Femmes of Power. Their quest: to explore the notion of queer femininity in a world that is still suspicious of women who claim to be gay yet have long hair.

The result is a book of coffee-table-beautiful photography mixed with university-level queer theory discussions of gender expression.

Over 40 women feature in Femmes of Power, including Dyke Marilyn ‘the bastard child of Marilyn Monroe and Jimi Hendrix, who inherited Jimi’s looks and Marilyn’s guitar skills’, trans male femme Debra Kate, who’s favourite look is “a cross between a doll and a birthday cupcake, a child’s drawing of an animal and a clown”, and bearded Swedish linguist Charlotte Karlsdotter, who believes “a well-shaped and kept beard is a beautiful ornament that shouldn’t belong to men only”.

Femmes of Power flirts across the boundaries of straight and gay, male and female in pursuit of femme and femme-ininity. Read the often-weighty text for a deep exploration of queer gender theory, or just flip through the pages of gorgeous photography for some inspirational rethinking of what it means to be femme and queer.

Review by Milly Shaw

Femmes of Power: Exploring Queer Femininities is published by Serpent’s Tail and is currently available from for £13.99.


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