Butch Positive

Dear Cindy,   I don’t get a lot of unenlightened and hateful comments.  So I’ll admit, I  was shocked when you left the following comment in response to my post “No, I’m not a lipstick lesbian (I just look like one)”:

i am so glad there is a web site for femmenine lesbians i am a lesbian and i like femmenine lesbians and i despise butch lesbians.

I have been looking at your comment for days, wondering how on earth you could think that (1) it’s OK to be so derogatory and rejecting toward other members of our community (2) liking femmes necessarily means hating butches (3) I would share or tolerate your views!

If you actually read my blog, you’ll discover that I’m pro-butch. All of us who appreciate the appeal of butches, bois, studs, androgynous dykes, and tomboys have our own reasons for favoring their genderqueer charms.   One of my favorite pieces on this subject is Julia Watson’s Why I Love Butch Women, and Other Endangered Species.  For me, the allure of butches is both about who they are and who they have helped me to be. 

So, Cindy, I just wanted you to know why I didn’t publish your comment.  SF Unbound is a butch-positive space that celebrates the gender diversity of our community.  Plus, I think butches are über hot.


15 Responses

  1. that is a lovely article you linked. and the sentence following could not be more true.

    generally, though, i find it very difficult to understand why people are so invested in the zero-sum idea. i mean, i don’t find it so difficult to find butches uber hot, and still find a fair few femmes sexy too. and, more to the point, not harbor ill feelings towards people i don’t want to fuck. that would be exhausting, come to think of it!

    Beautifully put, as always. And how lovely that you can appreciate the charms of both butches and femmes. It’s amazing how unusual that is; I suspect it has a lot to do with queer cultural prohibitions. Some smartie needs to blog about this! 😉 xo SF

  2. Quite simply, thank you.

    My pleasure, G. xo SF

  3. I celebrate butches/studs/bois! Thanks for this post!

  4. @ladybrettashley — “that would be exhausting, come to think of it!” That made me smile. I am continually surprised by the amount of effort people are willing to expend in (as you put it so well) “harboring ill feelings towards people [they] don’t want to fuck” — and not only that, but loudly sharing their opinions with you. The two are related, I think — it does take a lot of work and creates stress deciding to dislike a whole group of people (for whatever reason), so it becomes important to seek out others with similar way of thinking, to share the psychological burden.

    I encounter this attitude (casual hating on, or more frequently, expressing bafflement about butch folk) far more than I would care to. Contrary to everything I had experienced before (in the U.S.) here in Italy what I think of as a very natural and ordinary relationship of butch/femme is extremely rare. It’s almost as though there’s a cement wall of incomprehension, where I’m used to more of …. I don’t know, a low fence of mystique at most. Here it is very much butch/butch or femme/femme — and because I come across either as hetero or lipstick to many people (grrr) they feel confident that I’ll agree with them when they start to joke about that hot butch girl/boi I’d been admiring on the other side of the bar. 😦 one can only try to be fabulous and carry on, but it’s such a tiresome attitude.

    Thanks for the great comment, CD. This is one reason I’d never call myself a lipstick lesbian. So many lipsticks seem to be actively hostile to b/f desire and culture. I’d love to hear more about your experiences in Italy sometime… xo SF

  5. Absolutely. Couldn’t agree more. Let’s hear it for the bois…

  6. Ugh. Butch-bashing is so 2005.

    Hi Julia! Thx for stopping by. xo SF

  7. I heart my husbutch and I thank you. x

  8. Holy macaroni and cheese! How much paler and more boring would this world be with without butches, femmes and all those writhing around prettily in between, hm?!

    Enough of this grim talk (no butches = queer apocalypse!), let’s all have a little champagne!

  9. Thanks for that post!

  10. I think a major componet of prejudice is the desire of some to try and preserve their social status and self-esteem by keeping others down. Whether it’s butches, interracial relationships, or gay marriage, I suspect this holds true. If, for example, gays get married, how exactly does that harm straight people?

    I’m also on Twitter as “latexdress” though I don’t cover GLBT issues that much.

  11. While I certainly appreciate your “pro-butch” stance, I must point out your “pro” reads to me like the same old shit with your “gender diversity” crap. Femmes and Butches are the SAME gender! Both are WOMEN! Femme femininity and Butch femininity are different expressions of femininity but both are solidly female in nature and being.

    Butches being continuously described as the male term, “masculine” is precisely why the larger lesbian (non femme/butch) community misunderstands Butch women thinking them mannish. Not to mention the male-cetrism attached to “masculine/masculinity” edges Butch women further towards the faux masculinity of “transition”.


    • Dirt, I feel compelled, as a butch, to reply to your comment. I politely disagree on your point that femmes and butches are the same gender. The same sex, absolutely. But gender and sex do not always intersect. And my personal expression of butch femininity, to be consistent with the term, doesn’t feel one bit female in nature or being.

      I believe there are misunderstanding about butches, as I just recently blogged; but I feel that there are misunderstandings about gender in general, in both homo- and heterosexual contexts. I’m troubled by the possibility of your comment causing more confusion, though; as a butch, I personally don’t see the term “masculine” as derogatory, nor do I think butches who transition are engaging in faux masculinity. Some butches transition, some don’t; it’s a very personal decision that I find hard to generalize for the benefit of everyone else.

      Also, as an aside (forgive me if I’m out of line in saying this on your blog, SF), your arguments will be interpreted with much more validity if you’re not shouting down the perspective of a fellow woman as “crap” and “shit.” Just saying.

      Of course you are not out of line, G! Thank you for your comment on the distinction between sex and gender, which I very much appreciate. As you know, I think it’s important to recognize the complexity of lesbian gender expressions, which can take so many different–and intriguing!–forms. xo SF

      • If I may just add a comment to a comment on a comment: many people feel that butch and femme are queer identities that are unrelated to sex. There are plenty of straight female and straight or queer male people who identify as femme and butch.

        Good point! Thanks for the comments, Grommet. -SF

  12. (*subtly points at “Butch is a Noun” on the bookshelf*)

    Being of the butch persuasion, I’m always pleased and surprised when someone finds my particular brand of proverbial gender firmware appealing. I do certainly like other butches as well as femmes and in my experience butches are like orange and onion sandwiches; either you really like them, or you really don’t.

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