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Dykette: A Novel

Dykette: A Novel

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i mean there are some amazing displays of femininity on that show (stassi, lala, lisa) but dykette is so gay that i’m not sure those girls (who are like family to me) qualify

Sasha is such an irritating, unpleasant character. Her constant recounting of her neuroses reminded me of that scene in Girls where Hannah is like, “I am thirteen pounds overweight and it has been miserable for me my whole life!” And I, the reader, feel like Adam Driver playing the world’s tiniest violin (and then immediately getting hit by a bus). Your mileage may vary here. while reading darcy, described as “artsy-elite, slavic-vibes internet fame” and an icon of the “dirtbag left,” i kept thinking of dasha nekrasova from red scare

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I couldn't decide between going for my MFA or my PhD in literature. Having the protagonist be in a PhD program was a way for me to cosplay as a PhD student, see what it would be like to merge academic theory and scholarly texts with campy, fun, gossipy novel writing. I'm still dreaming about getting a chance to go into a super academic program and shut myself away for, like, five years and read all of the theory and historical documents and get into the archives, all of those things I’ve always been really obsessed with. also while typing “jenny’s high femme camp antics” i couldn’t help but think of the l word’s jenny schecter During a conversation about who will care for them when they all get old, Jesse remembers that the lesbian filmmaker Phoebe Livingston’s friends signed up in shifts to give her sponge baths when she was dying. “So you think you’ll have a band of young devotees to take care of you?” Jules asks. “What about when they have partners, though, and kids?” Miranda cuts in: “Being partnered doesn’t necessarily mean there’s someone to take care of you.” Dykette is hilarious, smart, and has (in my humble opinion) the best opening scene of any novel I've read in ages. I don't think I'll ever look at the Grinch--or bathtubs--in the same way again.” In the queer world, where language, concepts, and terms describing sexuality and gender are both supremely important and constantly in flux, new additions to the lexicon are lapped up feverishly. Davis’s Dykette reads like a taxonomy of queer theory, references, and history, while offering up wholly new words and takes on contemporary lesbian life. Chief among them is the eponymous dykette, which Davis describes as “a dyke with frills and bows and ruffles. An accessorized, aestheticized, decorated dyke. The most extreme, exaggerated version of a femme. So exaggerated that it kind of perverts itself and becomes weird.”

what little there exists of a plot mostly revolves around the dynamics between the protagonist, histrionic high-femme Sasha, and her stoic butch bf. it’s made clear that Jesse, the butch, feels sexually unwanted & pigeonholed because of the rigid constraints of the butch-femme dynamic on which Sasha gets off. Rather than the book being an arc of Sasha empathizing with her partners needs more, the book seems to double down on the idea that Jesse should empathize more with Sasha and her High Femme Camp Antics. the Big Conclusion at the end is just that these two are bad for each other and like—no shit. Despite this, I am fond of Davis' writing style. The book was an easy, beachy kind of read even though it's set between Christmas and New Year's Day. I found some scenes genuinely impactful, the one at the upstate thrift store for instance. The bathroom was flooded with the soft light of a custom-made feat of industrial lamp design. Gays hated overhead lighting; Jules, their host and the house’s owner, had let the original ceiling fixture dust over, taped down the light switches. It was certainly possible that under fluorescent bulbs, the green of Sasha’s fur would not have shimmered so. and i think sasha’s obsession also stems from darcy’s sense of entitlement — to say and do whatever she wants, to express herself, to be as interested or uninterested as she pleases The last thing I want to say is that I love how Vivienne the Pug is the God figure of the book. Sasha sort of prays to Vivienne—she’s her higher power and her inner parent.

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At heart a love story, Dykette seductively examines themes like queer nonconformity and its place in a heteronormative world.”

in a nutshell, the focus of this book is on creating Dykette as a category— a sort of new high femme // femme-in-relation-to-butch // femme-as-seen-by-butch. Dykettes, judging from this book, are performative, over the top, insecure, protective, coquettish, concerned with beauty & aesthetics. they see other femmes as competition and butches as potential sexual / romantic partnership. butches are there to provide horniness / sexual interest, while the femmes receive. the sex scenes representing this idea were hot. I also didn’t mind the referencing of external texts in true Iowa MFA form—if you liked this aspect of In the Dream House or Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, this might interest you. A blast of defiant frivolity, Dykette is so perceptive it hurts and as fun and decadent as wearing Gaultier in a bubble bath.”

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Then, on this book’s Message…. i don’t know…. butch femme dynamics just don’t really factor into my personal life. If that’s your bag that’s great, and i don’t begrudge you your subjectivity & preferences. But I don’t get how any of this is meant to look appealing. While I can’t deign to speak to the universal dyke experience either, I do think had the protagonist had tried to understand or relate any other kind of lesbian relationship dynamics, this book would have had a more realistic view on 21st century lesbianism. no one’s individual neuroses Say Something about Lesbinianism. but also, as a femme in style only, maybe I just didn’t get it. I’m not saying every gay book has to Say Something. But this book is purporting to, and that’s what’s often enraging (especially through the first 3/4 before shit gets moving plot-wise).



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