So I’ve been wondering lately why I don’t have any kind of butch community. Or, at least, why I don’t feel as if I’m a part of one–for all I know they’re all over the place. And I realized that while I was in college, pretty much everyone around me (including, at one point, a woman I dated) actively resisted labels like butch and femme. I’ve been trying to figure out why that could be. At first I thought it was just another academic pretension like so many others, claiming some kind of sophistication beyond the crude language of the past. I thought it could be a generational thing, the need to define oneself in terms other than the ones used by our predecessors. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that the women around me who resisted my butch self-identification resisted it because they feared being identified in relation to it.
I suppose it makes sense, in a way. If you reject the idea that lesbian relationships have to be defined by a butch and a femme (or a butch and a bitch), you probably don’t want to date someone who identifies as butch if you don’t identify as femme. (Or a bitch.)
…Unless, you know, you don’t feel your identity is threatened by someone else’s.
I identify as butch, but I don’t let it define me or my relationships. And identifying as butch or femme doesn’t have to mean aping heterosexual relationships or traditional gender roles.
And, for the record, my girlfriend isn’t femme.