Accepted Paper:

Enfleshing Femininities: Being Queer and Femme in Sydney  
Katherine Giunta (University of Sydney)

Paper short abstract:

What does being queer and feminine mean for the body? How are queer femininities inscribed on and through the flesh? In this paper I consider how Sydney Femmes work on and in their bodies to mark themselves and be marked by others as queer.

Paper long abstract:

Queer Femmes in Sydney spend a great deal of time, money and effort marking and modifying their bodies. They shape and are shaped by their piercings, tattoos, corsets, cosmetic surgeries, make up, shoes, lash extensions and fake nails. Their embodied pleasures and discomforts, and pleasure in discomfort, enable them to enflesh their queerness even as they embody gender expressions traditionally seen as enacted primarily in relation to men. In this paper I consider the ways in which Sydney femmes work on, with and against their bodies, enacting femininities through their flesh while ardently arguing that femininity is neither a superficial adornment nor a biological inevitability. Taking femmes seriously as observers and theorisers of their own lives, I suggest that it is not the specifics of what the body looks like, but how it is worked on that marks queer femininity in Sydney's queer communities.

Panel P19
Flesh in an age of death