Femme Friday – Loree Erickson

I learned about Loree Erickson whilst reading the chapter on cyborgs in Feminist Queer Crip by Alison Kafer, where she uses a quote from “Revealing Femmegimp: A Sex-positive Reflection on Sites of Shame as Sites of Resistance for People with Disabilities”. The bio from that 2007 publication reads, “Loree Erickson, York University, is a queer femmegimp whose research brings creativity and theory together with her personal experience as a person with a disability to explore issues of sexual self-representation, embodiment and identity.” It is a kick-ass article. My shitty web research skills turned up a few other things on this delicious femme, including that she’s got a selection in The Feminist Porn Book: “Out of Line: The Sexy Femmegimp Politics of Flaunting It!”, that she’s made a porn film called “Want”, and that she’s facebook friends with Minnie Bruce Pratt and Joan Nestle (and has a very nice kitty). Important and lovely information indeed, but of course, not even beginning to scratch the surface. I look forward to more.

Deep gratitude to Loree for being sexually explicit, for her sublime tattoo (“as is”), for her generosity, for refusing to be docile and for saying, “A femme will catch your breath, dazzle your senses and muddy your binaries.”

(The below follows the paragraph on femmes.)

            Such eloquent and adept definitions of gimps have not been as abundant in the literature as those for femmes, and more has been written and reclaimed in regards to Crip/ple. Crips and gimps are adamant in our refusal to be docile. We know that our presence makes the normative universal ‘you’ uncomfortable. Yet instead of acquiescing to a place of shame and servitude, gimps and crips are loud mouths that will deflect your discomfort back to its true source. Many of the articulations of new meanings for crip/gimp appear in discussions of the similarities between crip and queer. As Eli Clare argues, “queer and cripple are cousins: words to shock, words to infuse with pride and self-love, words to resist internalized hatred, words to help forge a politics.”

            Queer and crip/gimp share a “defiant external edge” and “comfortable inner truth”. Through a defiant relationship with normality one can find inner comfort. Further, crip/gimp and queer intersect and intertwine with femmeness, becoming a femmegimp body and identity that resists the pressure to feel shame for its disorderliness. A body and identity that strives to bask in her asymmetrical curves dares you to as well. I do not wish to convey that there are any clear and definite boundaries associated with a femmegimp identity and body. A femmegimp identity relies on the inherent fluidity associated with the concept of becoming where one’s identity and/or body is not fixed.

                                    — Loree Erickson, “Revealing Femmegimp: A Sex-positive Reflection on Sites of Shame as Sites of Resistance for People with Disabilities”, Atlantis 31.2, 2007

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story!


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