Writing about butches
has opened so many fascinating and confrontational conversations about gender.
Therefore she has to be ugly--in other words, butch." (45) Or as Sherrie Inness, nicely encapsulating this point, maintains: "Butches
fail to fulfill heterosexual ideas about what is attractive and sexually appealing in women." (46) In other words, the butch, a woman marked more by conventional ma sculine characteristics than feminine ones, is considered "ugly." And given the configurations of our mainstream cultural landscape, there is little room for those judged unattractive.
It turns out that one consequence of assuming a seven-day-a-week butch identity was that one could not work in ordinary women's jobs: butches
in the 1950s, then, were confined to cab driving, bar tending, some types of factory work, or unemployment.
As bar culture expanded in the 1940s, butches
elaborated on the masculine role, socializing a new generation of even tougher young lesbians.
Lipstick: Good advice, Dip, but who knew younger dames weren't into butches
? You get hit on all the time at book signings by baby femmes, while they just ask me if I'm really gay.
I'm linking the dots between all of these moments in my life, and identifying my own history of admiring butches
since childhood," she says.
It is perfectly fine, regardless of what anyone says or implies, for butches
to go out with other butches
, or femmes with femmes, or androgynous girls with butches
or femmes, or any combination of genders, for that matter.
"Desire is a murky, beautiful world," says Robyn Camarata, who calls herself one of the last standing stone butches
. Camarata came out in a culture defined by strict butch-femme roles, but later struggled to maintain her voice as her friends increasingly shifted from stone butch to transgender identities.
Like good butches
, they take care of the house and are there for the baby.
Most of the girls who go after me are really sweet, but the problem is that I'm all about other butches
. I feel like I'm weird and dysfunctional because of it.
I hear so often that stone butches
allow certain things to be done to them sexually, but don't allow others.
Dear Lipstick and Dipstick: I'm bothered by lesbians who need to emulate heterosexuality by assigning quasi-gender roles (femme and butch) when I don't feel I need to be a butch, nor am I attracted to butches
. Am I sick in my mind?--No Roles for Me!
Who knows, you and your friend just might enjoy it and ditch the bar immediately, leaving the bashful butches
behind in your femme fury to get home.
But when every voice on television is telling butch women to change, even words meant kindly contribute to the pressure to conform, especially in the absence of positive portrayals of butches
Be sure to check out books that can familiarize you with stone butch sexuality, including fiction such as Bulletproof Butches
, by Chea Villanueva, and Rough Trade, by Red Jordan Arobateau, or nonfiction like The Last Time I Wore a Dress, by Daphne Scholinski and J.M.