Creator of Mophead Femme, celebrating queer femininity through therapy, collage & writing
Hi, my name is Briana Shewan (pronounced “SHEW-in”) and I go by Bri! My pronouns are she & her.
I am a polyamorous, pansexual, queer femme raised in New York. I earned my Bachelor's in Environmental Studies from the University of San Francisco and my Master's in Counseling from California State University, East Bay while living in the Bay Area for 12 years. I currently reside in Philadelphia with my forever-fiancé and informally fostered, chronically ill cat (whom I adore, despite still refusing to call myself a cat person). When not doing therapy, collaging, or writing, I’m reading, putting together jigsaw puzzles, and enjoying the outdoors. Oh, and watching lots of TV, of course.
Mophead is a term of endearment for my frizzy, curly hair. It is a symbol of body positivity.
Femme is a queer identity "in which someone has an awareness of cultural standards of femininity and actively embodies a feminine appearance [or] role." Femme is to be "intentionally, cleverly feminine." (thanks, Urban Dictionary).
After a history of experiencing body shaming, and specifically hair shaming, I chose the name Mophead Femme for my work as an expression of self-love in the face of expectations that femininity be embodied in rigid, harmful ways.
Mophead Femme knows that a femme is anyone who self-identifies as such across all gender identities and intersections.
Disclaimer: I don’t mean to make this another Shea Moisture moment and imply false equivalencies around hair shaming. As a white, cis-woman my personal experiences with curly hair have not resulted in larger social or economic implications as they can for people of color whose hair is stigmatized. In celebrating queer femininity, I encourage anyone to apply the symbolism of Mophead in whatever way is meaningful for them.
All photographs by Chelsea Duerden