The Social Perception, Attitudes, Mental Simulation Lab

Gender Glossary: Femme presenting




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Term and Definition:

Femme-presenting: Refers to the behavioral characteristics associated with “feminine” visual presentation in a given culture. The feminine visual presentation is usually associated with those who are female-identified in the society, such as “women’s clothing styles,” “women’s haircuts,” and other characteristics that one can see that are associated with the gender concept of “female” in most of the society. The use of “femme” indicates that the person using these visual cues does not necessarily identify with being female; instead, this person may identify as male, post-gender, two-spirit or any gender identity. (It is also possible for those whose gender is female to be femme-presenting. This situation may appear redundant, but highlights that fact that all women do not visually present themselves in the same way.)

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Note: This glossary of terms was compiled by Charlotte Tate, Ph.D. (who publishes under "Charlotte Chuck Tate" to have female, trans, and butch lesbian visibility simultaneously), and Jay Ledbetter, M.A., in an attempt to provide quick, concise definitions of gender-related concepts to a general audience. Most of the definitions are paraphrased and expanded from manuscripts and published articles by these two authors. All of the definitions were inspired by and summarize existing work on gender identity in gender studies. Accordingly, the point of the glossary is not to provide definitive definitions of the terms listed; instead, the point of the glossary is to help people understand the various experiences of gender that people have and how these experiences are related to psychological science.

On a practical level, this means that some scholars and activists may disagree with some the definitions within the glossary (esp. concerning the meaning of “genderqueer”). Nonetheless, we offer the glossary as a starting point, and, an admittedly incomplete, compendium so that readers of Dr. Tate’s websites can have some understanding of the terms used. This is a living document and will change over time with additional research, findings, and feedback.

For those interested in further discussions (both academic and popular) of the gender categories and concepts presented in this glossary, we may find this bibliography helpful.