FtF: Female to Femme, Directed by Kami Chisholm and Elizabeth Stark (San Francisco, CA: Frameline, 2006), 48 mins

FtF: Female to Femme provides an intimate look into the community created by femme lesbian women in California in the early 2000s, and the struggles these women face as their sexuality, gender expression, body image, and various other identities clash with the queer community and society as a whole. Kami Chisholm and Elizabeth Stark explore the multifaceted nature of femme lesbians’ feelings of alienation and their search for comfort with themselves and within their communities. The documentary takes us into the private spaces of FtF support groups, burlesque shows and performers, and interviews with self-identified femme women of varying ages and racial identities in order to explore what the transition from female to femme really means, how it feels, and what it entails.

The film is an attempt to explore a very specific subset of the queer community, but it deals with aspects of transitioning and discrimination that, in the present day, come off as partially ignorant of the ways in which privilege functions in society at large: namely, the transitioning of women from “butch” to “femme” seems as if it would also be a transition from going against society’s expectations to going along with them, from being less privileged in society to more privileged. However, the film does an excellent job of dealing with these issues as they relate to personal experience and feeling rather than the larger social implications of transitioning from female to femme. It is the women’s experiences with this transition that are at the center of this film, rather than other people’s perceptions of or societal implications of “femme”.

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