November 5, 2006
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.
January 22, 2006
I’m totally pissed at all the main characters on The L Word right now. Well, with the possible exception of Shane, who was slightly more understanding, but not much. Why, you ask? Because they’re all total dumbasses, and they made Moira cry. Thanks to spoilers on the Showtime website I know that Moira is soon to be Max (sidenote: if I have a daughter I’d consider naming her Maxine so she could be Max for short. I also plan to have an orange cat named Max. …Maybe not if the daughter thing works out–it would probably suck to think you’re named after a cat.) and that makes me a little sad, although it will be nice to see how they handle the trans issue.
But seriously. What is with these women? And why do the writers think it’s okay to have this happening? I’m really upset. First of all, I can’t stand it when women think they’re so enlightened or something because they don’t adhere to butch/femme labels. Okay, sure, maybe in a perfect world no one would feel the need to label herself as anything. And yes, there is a world beyond butch/femme in lesbian living. But those of us who do identify within that binary shouldn’t have to feel ignorant or ashamed of that.
I’m butch. I didn’t always define myself this way, but as I grow up it’s becoming a bigger part of my adult identity. I used to think of myself as a tomboy, then briefly a 13-year-old boy stuck in a woman’s body, (okay, sometimes I still think that) and now I’m a big tall shy butch. I’m very proud of my suit and my silk ties. I’m about a step away from switching to boxers or boxer briefs. I exclusively wear men’s pants. I open doors. I buy flowers. I like it when a girl loops her arm through mine.
And that’s okay, dammit.