Change Your World-NOT your Body

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Butch Lesbians: The BIG Threat

There has recently been some kerfuffle in a few "queer" rags/blogs discussing the "new" Butch/Femme. I was asked to write on the subject since it is obviously near and dear. But I'll keep my post to the subject of Butch and leave Femme, to the Femmes.

There has long been a varied uninformed idea among the general public and the general lesbian public even, about just what a Butch Lesbian is. Unlike most other types of Lesbians, the Butch Lesbian remains a mystery. Not because she is exactly, BUT because she makes people uncomfortable. She tore off the Gender Straight Jacket before she could complete a full sentence and ever since she has been punished. The first torture she endured, was invisibility. She looked out into the mirror of society and like Dracula, she wasnt reflected back, not then and not now either. It is this invisibility that created the motleyed opinions on what a Butch Lesbian was, laying the loose boards for the shaky groundwork of what Butch Lesbian is perceived, as well as claimed to be today.

Before I tell you what she is, I'm going to specifically tell you what she is NOT:

  • Butch Lesbians are NOT men!
  • Butch Lesbians do NOT want to be men!
  • Butch Lesbians are NOT mannish!
  • Butch Lesbians are NOT manly!
  • Butch Lesbians are NOT masculine!
  • Butch Lesbians are NOT imitation men!
  • Butch Lesbians do NOT dress like men! (clothing has no biology, it isnt male or female)
  • Butch Lesbians are NOT men masquerading as "women"!
  • Butch Lesbians are NOT trans males who are too masculine to squeeze into hyper femininity!
  • Butch Lesbians are NOT trans females!
Invisibility hurt Butch Lesbians in the past because it made us invisible to each other and invisible as women. Today invisibility's harm is much greater, Butch Lesbians are being erased through distorted queer co-option and pseudo identity politics. Worse still is that erasure is coming straight from the communities claiming to support us. Support us? They're killing us! And soon (a few short months) they'll be murdering us in our childhoods! The first sign that the Gender Straight Jacket is ill fitting, the Male Medical Machine will step in with drugs, surgeries and more drugs till we fit the jacket, rather than changing the jacket to fit us.

I told you in the course of writing this I'd first tell you what a Butch Lesbian wasnt, let me now tell you what she is.
  • A Butch Lesbian is a woman who carries her feminine body on her shoulders like Atlas did the world.
  • A Butch Lesbian is a woman who loves other women.
  • But most of all, a Butch Lesbian is the GREATEST threat to patriarchy! And for that she is slated to be stamped out...first.
dirt

Note, I said "first" but not only.
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31 comments:

  1. BUTCH DYKES ARE WOMEN

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  2. (sorry if this went through more than once. it's not saying it went through for me.)

    Just be a woman? Last I checked, a woman is an adult human female. WTF.


    Few things are so upsetting to me as seeing fellow lesbian and gender-critical feminists bashing butch lesbians.

    Butches are not men, not male, not wannabe-males. And every time you say things like "just be a real woman", it rings so cruel. There's no hierarchy between butch and femme, either. If anything, butches are at a disadvantage in a patriarchal society for not obeying the ~*gender*~ rules.


    How are you forgetting that butches are, on a massive and crippling scale right now, being pressured to transition to FTM?

    We aren't performing gender. We hate gender. FFS. We are women being bulldozed by the gender machine and you accuse us of being pseudo-males?

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  3. Dear Straight Lady- Butch Dykes know exactly what being a woman means. Because we are women. Stop telling Butch Dykes that we are inauthentic women, "performing seals", or otherwise in any way less of a woman than you. Butch haters like you are exactly the same as trans, which is where you get your info on lesbians, apparently.

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  4. wtf is with all this hatred towards butch lesbians?

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  5. if you've known or loved or were born a butch, you'd know that butches are female and literally nothing like men. way to police how women behave, though. hypocrites..

    actually, I'm curious to know what exactly you people think makes a butch "manly"?

    is it short hair? being athletic? not wearing pink?...really can I have some reasoning here? I can only imagine you've got some knee-jerk caricature of 'butch' in your head, some stereotype. some kind of internalized or outright homophobia. at least tell us why you think so.

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  6. I wish you would restore the butch-hating comments from "feminists" so people could see exactly what we are dealing with here.

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  7. All hate comments are now be recorded and stored. I will be posting something to other feminist bloggers about this soon.

    dirt

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  8. @Dirt- excellent. YOU RULE!

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  9. But most of all, a Butch Lesbian is the GREATEST threat to patriarchy! And for that she is slated to be stamped out...first.

    A female who has the audacity to:

    (1.) Love other women emotionally, spiritually, and sexually
    (2.) Reject traditional sex roles and enforced "femininity"

    ...is a nightmare to patriarchy

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  10. I wish there were more butch women in the world. To me, there's nothing more enticing than a woman who can be strong without eschewing her womanhood. The two things are not mutually exclusive. If someone were to look at me, I'd get the femme label. But if I was described on paper - I practice karate, love to fish and camp, and yesterday just installed a new toilet in my house. Wearing flannel doesn't make you butch anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car. It's attitude, mindset... and it's hot. For all the people who hate butch women, I just have one thing to say... good! More for me. I'll be happy to pick up the slack of adoration. ;)

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  11. It's the fetishistic gendering of clothing that is the problem- I think everyone should be able to wear whatever they like without their choices being pathologized and viewed through the genderist lens. THAT would be society progressing.

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  12. You might think that clothes shouldn't be gendered, but you should acknowlege that they are as of now. Butch stylings didn't magically appear out of the ether. Butch presentation is patently based on what men are wearing. Saying that you wish people could wear whatever is pointless when you admit that they are *not* doing that. If butches were truly unique, they would possibly wear shiny suits of purple spandex, as I have suggested. Not only is lavender a historically significant color for lesbians, but spandex is way more comfortable than those silly mechanics shirts and work pants made for narrow hips and thighs. If butches are such strong women, why not choose clothes that really deviate from gender roles?

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  13. The Butch women I've known wear what is comfortable to them. Were "womens" clothing made for comfort rather than the male gaze, it would be much easier for Butch women/comfort women to shop in those sections. There are some Butch clothing places were Butch women can find clothes that are designed for comfort as well as female bodies. Sadly there arent enough of these places.

    Utility over the male gaze, something millions of women do besides Butch women, only you wont see those women in the media because they too dress for utility, NOT performance.

    Utility isnt male or female, that you perceive it as such illustrates your own conformity to the Gender Straight Jacket.

    I, regardless of butchness have and will always choose utility as have the women I grew up with and are in my life now.

    dirt

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  14. They just don't make stable reliable work clothes for women, if you work outside and need reliable clothes. I always get the smallest men's size in boots, since I need stable footwear with vibram sole and steel toes for work. With the exception of Fjällräven women's pants in summer sometimes,and all my undergarments, all the clothes I wear are men's, because of durability and comfort. I actually have narrow hips and a really androgynous frame so the clothes fit me fine. Women's clothes tend to have extra frills, worse color choices, are way less practical not to mention the strange hip tailoring.
    Germany

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  15. I personally don't care if men wear women's clothes either, and even though I mostly wear male or unisex attire I've never considered myself 'butch.'

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  16. Anon @8:10,
    You're confusing Butch with Drag Kings.

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  17. The butch lesbians that I've been in relationships with were the most tender, caring women I've known. Also, very good lovers!

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  18. You might think that clothes shouldn't be gendered, but you should acknowlege that they are as of now. Butch stylings didn't magically appear out of the ether. Butch presentation is patently based on what men are wearing.

    It's always amazed me how transgender goes on and on about being progressive, but in reality is incredibly regresssive. It's just wrapped in a thin veneer of "progressive". Why do clothes have to be men's clothes, and women's clothes? This seems so sexist to me. Comfortable, well-made jeans are neither masculine or feminine. Men's jeans are just made better. Every pair of women's jeans I bought just falls apart. Look at women's shoes! Aren't women's shoes the most uncomfortable things in the world. Why must men have all the comfortable shoes and clothes?


    Butch presentation is patently based on what men are wearing.

    No, they are just butch clothes, and butches like comfortable, sturdy, and practicle.

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  19. Butches aren't just wearing "comfortable" clothing. Skirts are comfortable. Birkenstocks are comfortable. Work boots are heavy and pants are constrictive. If butches were really intending to be non-gendered about their presentation, they would mix it up a little, but the very thought of that is so upsetting for many butches. I'm asking again-what's wrong with long hair and loose-fitting, flowy clothing, at least on a day off? I'm asking, what is it about butch presentation that has to be so fiercely defended and protected. What's with all the denial? I don't think clothes *should* be gendered, but I can at least see and accept that they *are* at present time. If butches are so comfortable with their woman-ness, and so anti-gender-norms, you'd think there would statistically be some times when they'd don *some* item of "female" attire, but this really doesn't happen, so I'm calling bullshit on the elephant in your room. The whole thing reeks of shame. Maybe some butches *do* want to appear male sometimes, maybe they like passing as male, but having something else to offer their partners, such as female soul, touch and intimacy. What exactly would be the problem with *liking* to appear as male, even enjoying it? Why does the lesbian community have to shame butches out of admitting what is so patently obvious? I've heard all the defensive protestations, and they all reek of bullshit. What, you can't be a lesbian and also like looking like a man? Everyone will think you are trans? So fucking what? Most of what anybody thinks about you is bullshit unless they know you. You all act as if trans people are invading your mental territory, but a) they don't care about your identity and b) nothing you say that has to do with hating transpeople serves to bolster anyone's confidence that you love who you are. Maybe your boundaries are being pushed because they are not clear. Maybe you haven't truly accepted yourselves as women, or maybe you are being shamed by other people into pretending you don't like looking like a man. There is nothing wrong with wanting exactly what you want. I would expect anyone who has experienced non-hetero desires to understand exactly what it looks like when you are socially pressured into repressing a desire. It applies to sexuality, it applies to gender presentation, it applies to transsexualism. There is no end to the ways in which society tries to fuck you into being ashamed for wanting what you want. That goes for all of us.

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  20. First, dresses were created to disadvantage females and make rape easier for males.

    Second, not sure where you've got your info on the clothing of average Butch women, but you're clearly uninformed.

    Third, "passing" creates female shame/female dysphoria, nothing "good" about it.

    Misogyny is something to fight against, NOT for.

    dirt

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  21. No Dirt, dresses were not created for that purpose. Dresses are what remains of the oldest garment on earth, and have been worn by both sexes. Pants only came along when it became fashionable to ride horses.

    In some cultures, men still wear dresses, such as the "man dress" worn in the Middle East, and the dresses worn by the Pope and his Cardinals (complete with lace trim, no less).

    Educate yourself.

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    Replies
    1. And the Scottish wear kilts men and women:-)

      Delete
  22. We both know exactly what "dresses" we're talking about. Playing dumb will for the sake of argument will only get your comment removed. Like those red herrings you see.

    dirt

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  23. Maybe you haven't truly accepted yourselves as women, or maybe you are being shamed by other people into pretending you don't like looking like a man.....If butches are so comfortable with their woman-ness, and so anti-gender-norms, you'd think there would statistically be some times when they'd don *some* item of "female" attire, but this really doesn't happen, so I'm calling bullshit on the elephant in your room. The whole thing reeks of shame. Maybe some butches *do* want to appear male sometimes, maybe they like passing as male, but having something else to offer their partners, such as female soul, touch and intimacy. What exactly would be the problem with *liking* to appear as male, even enjoying it? Why does the lesbian community have to shame butches out of admitting what is so patently obvious?

    No *trans asterisk spoken here. We get to define ourselves, and have chosen to do so for a very long time, going all the way back to the Island of Lesbos 630 B.C. The *trans asterisk is a late comer on the scene. Please don't insult me by saying, "Maybe you haven't truly accepted yourselves as women, or maybe you are being shamed by other people into pretending you don't like looking like a man.." Not only am I a woman, I feel as if I'm part of all the women who have come before me. After all, I came from the womb of a woman. I cannot play some kind of "gender identity" mind games to try and convice myself that I wasn't born of the female sex.

    This person knows absolutely nothing of the butch heart and soul, and I feel as if I might as well be talking to a potted plant. I know this is something that will probably not sink in, but I'll try nonetheless. Please don't insult me by saying that I enjoy appearing as male. When I was younger and had really short hair, I was sometimes mistaken for a boy. This often amused me, but I wouldn't say that I enjoyed it as if it held some kind of special sexual allure for me. I always envied all the freedom that men enjoyed, but I wouldn't say that I wanted to be a man. I liked the fresh air, the wind on my face, and grease on my hands. I liked the satisfaction of changing my own oil. Femininity which is a patriarchal invention is forced on women, and butches reject it. Females are also pressured into heterosexuality. Butch lesbians reject this as well, and we pay dearly for our rejection of both femininity and heterosexuality.

    What exactly would be the problem with *liking* to appear as male, even enjoying it?

    I find this statement offensive and repugnant for several reasons. Lesbians are emotionally, spiritually, and sexually attracted to females. When lesbians make love, they experience the incredible female sexual response in another woman. We see ourselves through other women in an intensely intimate way.

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  24. Well, I guess I wasn't talking about you then, was I? Jeez, you are a bit self-involved. Do you think that another butch might be different from you perhaps? I don't think I'm a potted plant, and my mind can be changed, but I don't see what's offensive or repugnant about suggesting that there is nothing wrong with liking to appear male. Some butches get off on it, and I know this. So unless you are suggesting that those butches are actually transmen, you are judging your sisters and throwing them under the bus for their desires. Not about you. Perhaps the shaming you are doing is actually pushing people to transition who would just be butch if not castigated for their desire to appear male. End shame.

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  25. Happiness has never been found from wallowing in misogyny. And female shame IS utter misogyny.

    I suggest those Butches or purported Butches suffer from female shame. I suggest they have intimacy issues with lovers. I suggest they feel completely ashamed of their bodies when its nakedness stairs back at them. I suggest they suffer from extreme dysphoria. I suggest unless that Butch has done some serious work to love herself and had supportive lovers, friends and family she still suffers from extreme dysphoria. I suggest a lot of things if you bother reading, rather than reacting to what you THINK has been written.

    I also suggest that Butch women can and DO get beyond the worst of their dysphoria and experience their bodies in quite beautiful ways.

    dirt

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  26. I'm sorry, but like I said, butches don't usually mix it up with the gendered clothing. Yes, they might hate forced femininity, but why spend all your time reacting against it by forcing yourselves into clothes actually designed for male bodies? Some of you have narrow hips but most don't. Butches just aren't selecting random comfortable clothing from both of the two options we have. I mean, you can shit on transmen all you want, but I've seen much more radically personalized and gender-free presentations amongst them. Addressing the body allows the mind to be free in cases of transsexualism. If you are living in reaction, you are still living for the man.

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  27. AND I never said shit about working on cars or playing sports. You put words in my mouth so you can chalk everything I say up to sexism. The truth is not that simple. I can believe that women are smart, strong, and capable. I can believe that women are powerful and are oppressed beyond belief, and I can also believe that some butches want to look male, even like it when they pass. I can and do believe those things. Maybe you'll say I know nothing about "real" butches, then. So be it. Half the time I think butches are just women who have a higher testosterone level than the average female, so they are masculinized. Big fuckin deal. You can make it into a culture if you like, but we are all just people in the end.

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  28. I guess it's hard for some to grasp, but it really comes down to wanting comfortable, stable clothes in most cases where women, like Butches,choose to wear men's clothes. Most definately don't do it because they want to look male. Even the short haircuts are as much because of practicality and low maintenence as not wanting to try and fit a female stereotype. No one is "performing" anything,or spending a lot of time thinking about gender even (unless they are going out specifically with the intention of experimenting with that or quite young).
    I can say I haven't always had short hair, and I've never once liked being mistaken for male. I can also say as someone who has spent a lot of time at the gym, that I didn't do that to be "male" in any way either. I've gone through my adult life being a little more muscular than most women. It's a lot of work, and I don't think I have any more testosterone in my system than any other woman.
    Also, Butches in Germany sometimes wear articals of women's clothing, really nobody cares.
    Germany

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  29. Half the time I think butches are just women who have a higher testosterone level than the average female, so they are masculinized.

    WTF?

    Addressing the body allows the mind to be free in cases of transsexualism.

    WTF?

    If you are living in reaction, you are still living for the man.

    WTF?

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  30. The real difference between butch and trans….here goes….

    If you are living in reaction, you are still living for the man.

    To me, this last sentence is rather telling if we sit down and think about it. Who typed this sentence? I sure don't think it was a butch lesbian because we have been bucking the system, patriarchy, or, as this person states, "the man" for so long that it's almost second nature to us. Is this person saying that we should not live in reaction as in rebel against institutionalized sexism that has been historically so damaging to women? Or, that living in reaction as in rebelling is useless anyway, so why even try? I don't live in reaction. Instead, I challenge the system to its very core. Resisting forced femininity and heterosexuality is incredible courageous. Capitulation is not the same as courageous and it never will be.

    Capitulation:

    1. The act of surrendering or giving up. See Synonyms at surrender.
    2. A document containing the terms of surrender.
    3. An enumeration of the main parts of a subject; a summary.

    Trans females give up their female identity for a slice of male power and privilege. The process of “transitioning” along with legal change of sex is actually erasing female identity. Giving up or abandoning one’s female identity sure seems like total, complete, and full capitulation in the face of patriarchy to me. Am I a horrible person for feeling as if trans females who intentionally erase their female identity are in many ways capitulating to a sexist and patriarchy world? I really don't care. I fail to see how the process of trans female "transitioning" threatens patriarchy in the least. Most butch lesbians are just too darn stubborn to be any good at capitulating. If people want to really understand the major difference between butch and trans, this is it, and everything else is superficial.

    Women aren't as valued in society as much as men, and women who love other women are valued even less. Butch lesbians are often the most visible lesbians, and thus take the brunt of both misogyny because they are female, and they also constantly face some serious lesbian phobic attitudes because they dare to love women. The dreaded "dyke", "lez", or "lesbian" label is used to frighten girls and women back into heterosexuality. Teenage girls are often terrified of the word, and uttering it is meant to sting, or cut like a knife. In my lifetime, I’ve been called “bulldagger” or “lez” so many times that I lost count. I believe all of this is why there is a push to "transition" the little tomboys who might eventually grow up to be dykes or butch lesbians. We know it's going on, but it's something that is rarely spoken about, at least not openly. Then, again, it slips out if we listen carefully. I definitely recall one person who dirt had to ban posting this:

    "I would much rather see my daughter grow up to be a trans man and receive the respect that comes from being a man, rather than be steered into becoming a carpet muncher and someone who gets absolutely no respect in our society."

    http://dirtywhiteboi67.blogspot.com/2012/05/camps-influencing-our-impressionable.html

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