In a world where we are told “opposites attract” and where people think male and female are “opposites”, it can be pretty damn confusing to be a queer woman. Do I like this woman because I admire her? Because I aspire to be her? Because I want to bed her? I can’t always tell. The categories overlap.
“Do I want to be her or be with her?” is an endless internal debate. In the queer (lesbian, bisexual, pansexual) women community, this dilemma is known as “Life goals or wife goals”. Because we are not taught to think of each other as opposites, we can both want to be like and be with the women we admire. Being like our partners isn’t a threat to our masculinity or our male identities.
I know I wasn’t always so certain myself if I really liked the women I desperately crushed on, because heteronorm culture is a beast. I was constantly told women just were aesthetically more pleasing, so me finding them so much more appealing didn’t mean a thing about my orientation. If women are hot and men are not, no wonder I never found men swoon worthy.
The women I’ve crushed on ranged from hard butch to frilly femme, with lots of guest stars from the androgynous zone. I am starting to figure out which ones I want to be, and which ones I just want to worship. And in that worship category I must firmly place every femme fatale who excited me in confusing ways as a closeted child and teen. La Femme Nikita (movie and TV show), Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Morticia freaking Addams? Oh honey, those are wife goals.
I think I could tell in some way that femme fatales weren’t for men; the way they are beautiful, the way they are strong, specifically threatens male power. While power exchange fantasies are abundant in all gender combinations, I never really got that “dominatrix in it for men” vibe from those deadly screen vixens. They weren’t being hot for men, but they were being hot. Did that mean they were being hot for me? I could certainly hope so.
Maybe because they were the first characters I saw as queer or maybe because the aesthetic is just so sexy, I get weak in the knees for a woman who can kick ass in leather pants. And I know I will never, ever be that woman. I’m too weak and disabled and tired to be a femme fatale; fight scenes rarely have nap breaks.But I could be that leading lady’s romantic interest, her damsel in distress. Oh please, please life, give me a femme fatale for my wife goals.