Aryka Randall on her “Femme” docuseries coming this fall

Aryka Randall is the creator of The Fab Femme, a blog and online community geared toward providing more visibility for feminine identified queer women, and now she’s behind a docuseries called Femme, premiering online September 4th.

I spoke with Aryka about the complicated nature of being a femme on the outside and a stud on the inside, and her passion for bringing femmes the attention we so deserve. 

AfterEllen.com: The Fab Femme has been an online presence for some time now. What made you want to move in this direction of creating a docuseries?

Aryka Randall: A few years ago, I did a web series called Girl Play.

 

AE: Yes, I was just reading about that.

AR: Yeah, it was really premature. The character development wasn’t all that. It was just kind of something where I wanted to challenge myself. I’ve done the writing; I’ve done all that. I just wanted to really see if I could do it, and just tell a story in a different way. So, when I decided to shelve that project for a little while, I was still wanting to do something in videography.  I’ve done the femme thing and I thought it might be kind of cool to get these girls to share their stories about what it’s like being a feminine-identified queer woman because you don’t really see too much of that. And, when we are around, it’s hard to tell that we’re really gay.

 

AE: Right, totally. Sometimes I’m jealous of studs and butches because people automatically know and I kind of envy that.

AR: Yeah, especially in the dating world–I definitely envy that. Everyone flocks to those kinds of girls like, “Oh! You’re gay!” And I’m like, “Look at me!  I’m here.” So, I just thought it would be interesting to hear different stories from different girls and try to create a little space where there’s some type of relatability–somewhere we can identify with other women.

 

AE: What does it mean to you to be a femme and why are you so passionate about being a feminine identified queer woman?

AR: I’ll tell you something funny about that. I’m a femme and I only date femmes, but I have a lot of friends who are masculine. They’ve told me for years, “Aryka, you’re a stud; you just have girl clothes on.” Really!  It’s created a lot of challenges for me in relationships because I hadn’t been able to get the whole balance thing down because I was more or less focused on what I had on. 

For me, a femme is not limited to gender or sexual orientation.  In my eyes, it’s just somebody who really embraces their feminine qualities. I enjoy going to get my nails done; I can’t even lie. Like, that’s what I’m going to do when we’re done.

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AE: Yeah, I probably am too, actually.

AR:  It’s a Saturday ritual. What can you do? I’m so passionate about it, I think, because there are so many different levels to identifying as a feminine woman. You have your women like myself who are very femme and are kind of the Bette Porters of the world–femme, but kind of domineering. One of the girls in the docuseries has never actually been in a relationship with a woman before and this is her first time.  She doesn’t identify as a lesbian; she just identifies as “This is who I’m with and I love her.” She talks about it very openly and freely. Stuff like that is so empowering. There’s somebody else out there who feels the same way, I can guarantee you.

 

AE: Totally. When it comes to being a queer woman who doesn’t identify as a lesbian, but doesn’t identify as straight, people expect her to apologize for it or downplay it, and I think it’s a powerful thing to say, “This is who I am and I’m not sorry about it.”  Maybe she doesn’t fit into your mold of what a queer woman should be, but that’s what she is. 

AR: Exactly. I’m very passionate about women empowerment in general. People ask me, “Why do you get so mad?” I’m not mad–I’m passionate about it.

 

AE: If you see injustice or exclusion, you’re supposed to be angry. It seems like, with women especially, our feelings are often diminished and we have to defend our reactions.

AR: Right. Exactly.