Friday, November 13, 2009

Femme Invisibility-Butch Invisibility

When walking about alone in the hetero-patriarchal world, that is the world, and the world that presumes everyone is straight, you do not exist. Is it the way you walk just as much with your hips as with your legs that invisibilizes you? The make-up you put on your weary face most mornings? The face with the eyes tinged always with a bit of sadness even on happy occasions. The dress and nylons you wear to work or dinner? The gentle butterfly motion of your hands when you speak? Invisible hands my eyes bring to life, real life, as you fix the bathroom plumbing or fix me? The girlish sound of your voice, made girlish still even when angry because sometimes I'm a jerk? How is it that you do not exist when you walk out the door alone, yet I SEE! I see you everywhere!

Like you dear Femme, I too am invisible. Invisible alone. Invisible with everyone, save you. My invisibility is an invisibility squared. Squared because what is seen, who is seen, isn't me. Me being an adult woman. What exactly is it that they miss? My soft light haired skin? My non adams appled throat? My lack of a five O clock shadow? My breast? My hips? My small capable but delicate hands? What? And what is it exactly that they see that screams male to them? A short cropped head of hair? A man's button down tucked in just so? Trousers? My stance with its slight air of command? My cocky walk? Or is it my strong white privileged presence that even today had a Mexican man shrink and apologize for merely stepping in front of me or rather the me he assumed I was; the middle class white male that daily I am sickened and ashamed of passing as?

I wonder to myself how high the price you certainly must pay each day for your Femme invisibility? This "passing" privilege that is no privilege at all, but a prison sentence. Solitary confinement. Is your crime so great? How do you handle the masturbatory eyes of men? Male privileged men who believe they have the fucking right to tell you how pretty you are today or ask you if thats a new blouse while staring at your breast with one hand on their filthy cocks. How do you deal with the women at the office who try and fix you up with the "great guy" they know? How is it they cannot see, you do not want a guy. That there is nothing about any guy that you would want. Some even knowing you are a lesbian! Knowing, but not believing because "you dont look like a lesbian, are you sure?"!!! How horrifically fucking insulting! You are a Femme, of course you are sure! And so I wonder, as the woman who does see you. I wonder what damage, what dents, what toll all this takes? And I hope, I dream, I pray even, that my Butch touch can even for a moment smooth away a little of what has been scathed.

What has invisibility cost me? What is the price for my mistaken identity? How do I, who is so terrible at math, collect the sum? What euclidean formula will give me an answer? There have been so many obstacles to overcome because of this privileged invisibility. How do I tally up the toll, the cost of internalized misogyny? A misogyny so deeply embedded that for so long I thought it was just part of my being, part of who I was. The years it took to unravel that evil, evil that took the form of hating myself because I could never be this thing I was assumed to be. The thing I believed I had to be if I ever wanted to have the thing I wanted most, a Femme partner and lover. But with immense work and thought, understanding and self discovery I tore through that gordian knot! But the price of it all remains a mystery that only you my sweet nancy drew solve with your breath on the back of my neck, your hand in my hand.

Alone we do not exist, but together we are unmistakable, that much is certain. What is it about us together that screams lesbian, that apart stays silent? Together you are no longer "straight", together I am no longer "male", together we are lesbian women and nothing can hide it. Is it the way we look at each other, looking like only women look? The way we touch each other, the way only women touch? The way we kiss each other, the way only women kiss? Anne Sexton closed her poem The Double Image regarding one of her daughters saying "I made you to find me". Is that it then? Is it like that for us? Was I made so that you could find you? And you made so that I could find me? Our identities may not be dependant upon each others to exist, but surely they are contingent upon our visibility, not to mention our love and happiness.



  1. this is beautiful, dirt. thank you.

  2. i have no clue who you are dirt...
    but by goddess i know that you are one smart butch...
    this is very well thought and said...
    i never til now realized what pissed me off about passing...
    it takes my identity and leaves me in the realm of the patriarchy...
    im old... ive been trying to erase my raising for a very short time because of the fact that i didnt know it was wrong until one night i had an epiphany and all of the hate and misogyny hit me in the head and i knew that i had to do something so that i didnt hurt anymore beautiful people with my ignorance...
    thank you for this

  3. This is excellent and so so beautiful