Revisiting Femme Maison

by Eliza Goroya


La femme-maison. One.

Les femmes-maisons; together:


Capable of creating homes—and of being homes

(for each other too)

Homes on legs

(legs that intertwine perfectly)

A portable home

so materially laconic

(small and light on my shoulder);

ideologically so generous

(so large it can fit the world, but remember to say “no”)

A domesticity that is itself a rebellion against the one that was planned for us:

We are no longer bound on the inside of houses built for us

to labour for free

—wives of someone else’s story

—words in someone else’s poetry

We’re eternally home-bound and homely

Ourselves—and what we make—topoi

where we can /home/ freely;

It is of our own making

the story

which finds us

boundlessly homely

and homeless at once.

La Femme Maison is not domesticated — that would be an oversimplification of what we are talking about here.

The Femme Maison archetype remains haunted by ideas of forced domestication, yes:

our narratives of Little Red Riding Hoods that should not wander. Not too much.

La Femme Maison is not only about imploding the walls of a house-prison, but she also carries with her the ability to unravel & expand; to turn her own skin into the outer walls—to shift shapes:

La Femme Maison can make a /home/ out of nothing.

Our queer notions of domesticity.

How we inhabit space.

How we conjure place.

How we are warned about the outside.

How we reclaim staying inside.

Giuliana Bruno tells us that 'breaking the dichotomy between voyage and home as assigned sociosexual spaces, we see that the gender difference is written on this moving landscape negotiated on its perimeters, and mapped as an architectural threshold' (Atlas of Emotion).

I am thinking of run-away girls.

I am thinking of Louise Bourgeois.

The girls in Mustang. Thelma & Louise.

You & I.

I am thinking about breaking the rules.

I am thinking about the nature of our truth.

I am thinking about staying in tonight. 

Stay there, but come with.

Take the immobile journey with me.