Women In NFTs Don’t Owe You Femininity

The NFT space has been dominated by a male viewpoint, aesthetic, and gaze since its inception. The discourse around NFTs is proliferated by men on an individual level, through the content they create and promote. And when we look at the properties that have achieved the highest valuations, they have appealed to a traditionally male sensibility.

That’s not an attack. It’s not meant to tear down that aesthetic.

But it’s a simple fact, that it’s an aesthetic born from a specific demographic and audience. And that can be a problem because as we reach for mainstream adoption and onboarding, we don’t want to find ourselves in a position where new buyers feel unseen by the communities that seemingly define NFTS.

The rise of women-led projects is a win — and that’s not just because it opens the door to a wider demographic. The beauty of this diverse cross-section is that they are creating projects that defy traditional expectations and forge new paths for the future of NFTs.

They’re also creating an opportunity for men in the space to step outside their comfort zone and embrace a perspective that may be new to them.

Which is why I am excited. Because this new perspective is not about taking anything away from the existing NFT communities, it’s about adding something that was missing by virtue of its absence.

What I’m often concerned by however is the vision of femininity that many of these projects communicate — traditional, girlish femininity that builds on accepted standards and ideals of beauty or a “girlboss” femininity that embraces confidence, but only in the context of rose gold capitalism. And I’m not alone in my concern over the direction of this form of femininity, which often comes across as performative.

Femininity does not exist to be capitalized upon or exploited. And no matter how you dress up “NFTs for women,” it will never be enough because femininity has always been exploitable, historically and contemporarily.

There is nothing inherently wrong with these visions of femininity. But it’s important to remember that they are just two versions of “feminine” — their presence in NFTs does not and should not exclude so many others.

Women in NFTs, you do not owe anyone your femininity. And nothing that you can create will ever be feminine enough for someone who is looking to exploit it or devalue it as simply an “NFT for women.”

Femininity itself is a broad spectrum, and it is abundant in NFTs — just underrepresented by the content creators themselves.

It would be naive for us to embrace a vision of femininity that is used against us, we still risk turning away potential new buyers with the content we create and promote.

The tokenization of femininity has never been more prevalent than in NFTs, but the women creating these projects can use them as a tool with which to forge new paths and create new forms of “feminine”.

The rich tradition of femme/femme aesthetics is one that’s been inspired by queer communities and the rejection of gender binaries. So why not look there for inspiration? Why not look outside the mainstream world of femme influencers, and see how we can create space for diverse femininities in NFTs? Non-white femininity, Queer femininity, Non-Binary femininity, alternative femininity — these forms of expression, identity, and presentation are not “feminine” enough for the mainstream, but they form a core part of the foundation of who we are as women and NFTs should embrace them.

We never want our femininity to be seen as exploitable again. And there is no reason why women in NFTs cannot use their work to evolve notions of what it means to be truly feminine — by building a new world in which they can exist and be expressed.

The women in NFTs that I admire the most are the ones who don’t allow themselves to be trapped into one category or identity — because we all deserve freedom of expression and freedom of choice, and it’s about time we fought for that freedom.

As it stands, women-led NFTs and their monetization have an opportunity to evolve into a rich tradition in NFTs. But the content creators need to be more open-minded about what forms “feminine” takes if they hope to see more women participating in this space.

I created Riot Grrrls as a contribution to that new vision of diverse femininity; it’s a collection that expresses punk rock queerness through a feminine lens, without embracing soft femininity, idealized body types, or acceptably mainstream aesthetics.

Riot Grrrls is a 666 PFP drop on Ethereum. At 80% minted, we will launch a fund to help women and femme-identifying musicians record, create and mint their work as NFTs.At 100% minted we will launch Riot Grrrls DAO, a 6666 NFT collection, with a portion of supply airdropped to Riot Grrrl holders, creating the first women-focused and women-led blockchain music tribe.

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