My Femme Divine | Chicago Reader

My Femme Divine

This 1999 video by Karen Everett is a work of real emotional authenticity, combining autobiography with an exploration of lesbian butch and femme identities. Raised as a Mormon, Everett gradually came out as a lesbian and discovered her identity as a “butch bottom”; in this “therapeutic” video she addresses the camera, telling her story and interweaving texts from Jung and the Book of Mormon, footage of a “Drag Kings” contest, and lesbian group discussions about identity issues. The different elements combine to subtly probe the nuances of lesbian roles, relating concepts of male and female to butch and femme; Everett suggests that stories like hers must be seen in a larger social context. At times, however, the images seem to illustrate too simply the words or songs on the sound track.

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