Femmes we are - looking weird but somehow straight. We can pass [as straight], and it is so hard to explain that we can hate our ability to pass. It has been both our allure and our betrayal, because we are dykes - women who are absolutely crazed for women - and how scary we are to our butches and even to ourselves. What do we do with it all? Struggles within struggles within struggles Nestle, , p. Zergnet Code.
They still experience misogyny in the form of female socialization and other sex-related oppressions such as restricted access to reproductive health care and sexual abuse. This could be due to vulnerability among butch girls who feel different from their peers.
The study speculated that experiences of childhood sexual abuse may inform butch gender identity as girls attempt to distance themselves from their own trauma and potential for future victimization. The study was unable to determine whether these women began to develop butch gender identity before or after instances of childhood sexual abuse Lehavot et al.
Acknowledging the sex-based oppression of butch women is important in distinguishing their role in lesbian communities as separate from heterosexual males in same-sex partnerships. Observing butch experiences through a feminist lens aids in disproving the myth that butch lesbians benefit from patriarchy. Butch women are not men, did not grow up benefiting from male socialization, and therefore possess inherent differences from heterosexual men that are intrinsic to butch identity.
Gender conforming men are meeting social norms, while butch women are deconstructing them. In this way heteronormativity affects butch lesbians as well. As gender non-conformity is so closely linked to lesbianism, the pressure to conform to gender norms for women is interrelated with lesbophobia.
Butch lesbians, unable to avoid attention, are often the face of the lesbian movement and the most likely to receive harassment. Gender non-conforming women experience oppression for daring to reject carefully cultivated societal expectations of femininity imposed on women. This oppression is deeply rooted in misogyny when both men and women experience it.
Men who choose to perform femininity are oppressed for associating themselves with women as a class. Women who reject femininity are oppressed for challenging expectations placed upon women as a class. This oppression has historically has been experienced by means of institutionalized police harassment and brutality. Stories such as these were not uncommon in lesbian communities.
Because of the violence often faced by butch women, butchness became synonymous with toughness. They were often leaders in the community and earned their role because they could protect themselves and their friends from the hostility of police and homophobic men.
Butch women provided much needed protection in an increasingly tempestuous environment for lesbians in the s, and their femme counterparts provided emotional relief and comfort. You ran a bath for me with sweet-smelling bubbles. You always laid out a fresh pair of white BVDs and a t-shirt for me and left me alone to wash off the first layer of shame. I remember, it was always the same. Femmes needed protection and butches needed attention and care after protecting them. The relationships that developed in this climate were out of necessity and bound by mutual pain and by love.
Lesbians were geared for struggle in the s and s. The social roles that developed within the lesbian community for butches and femmes were impacted by personal preference and interests, but they were also largely impacted by the struggles shared by all lesbians.
The s brought broader acceptance of lesbian women and relationships. However, butch lesbians, just like their femme counterparts, would trade oppression at the hands of men for a new kind of oppression at the hands of feminists. As attitudes changed within feminist communities of the s and femmes were being harshly criticized, butch women were also criticized within some radical feminist discourse for their adoption of masculine qualities in their partnerships with femmes.
For those unable to recognize sex, rather than gender presentationas the source of oppression for women, butch women may appear to benefit from patriarchy. History shows, however, that butch lesbians have experienced systematic and institutionalized oppression at the hands of men. Feminists of the s and s drew assumptions about butch lesbians and their relationships with their femmes that were largely uninformed by an understanding of the culture.
For those unable to recognize sex, rather than gender presentation, as the source of oppression for women, butch women may appear to benefit from patriarchy. However, the new critical approach to understanding gender gave new language and insight for butch women trying to comprehend their own gender non-conformity.
It's not about the labels, it's the energy the dynamics. I respect femme energy, their needs and wants, and love spoiling. I'm more of a giver than taker. My motivation is to please her. But what's important to me is the butch/femme energy exchange, because that's what drives a true butch/femme relationship and keeps it going at a nice pace. Sep 10, Butches want to be women dressed in a masculine style. They don't (for the most part) actually want to be men. If anything, the butch-femme dynamic challenges heterosexual relationship/gender Author: Charlotte Dingle. Jun 27, The relationships between butch lesbians and femme lesbians have a long recorded history, with descriptions of what we would identify as butch/femme unions dating back centuries, images appearing in the early twentieth century, and finally these identities being coined as such in the mid-twentieth century.
The narrative shifted from an understanding of femininity as inherent to womanhood with butch women presenting a deviation to an interpretation of femininity as a patriarchal construct, designed to oppress women. When butch women chose not to shave their body hair or wear makeup thus existing naturallythey were rewriting the terms and conditions of womanhood.
Because of this breakdown of femininity as performance rather than a series of traits inherent to females, feminists noted that women in their natural state were considered gender non-conforming, while men existing in their natural state were conforming to the prescribed gender norms.
Feminists challenged this by excluding certain feminine elements from their presentation. As a result, some presentational elements common among butches became the norm within the community. One was not a woman because of what she wore, but because of her biological reality and the sex-based oppression she experienced as a result. So while butch women were pressured to move more towards androgyny to avoid being ostracized from the lesbian feminist community, some gender non-conformity became normalized, allowing for butch women to navigate the heterosexual world with less stigma.
Taking a critical view of gender is controversial in the current political climate, but is necessary when discussing experiences of butch lesbians and the development of their identities. Similar to femmes, butches consider their presentation an innate part of their identity. Rather than the common misconception that butch women are attempting to appropriate maleness by presenting in a masculine way, butches claim that masculinity is not owned by men.
The understanding of the concept of gender as a separate entity from sex was adopted by feminists in the s. It was meant to identify the socially constructed behavior attributed to biological sex Jeffreys,p.
This separation of gender and sex is a framework upon which to understand butch identity. While butch women acknowledged their biological sex as female, their innate characteristics and personalities did not fit neatly into the gender norms ascribed to women. The concept of gender abolitionism sought to dispel these gender norms, allowing gender non-conforming women to navigate masculinity free from patriarchal expectations of sex.
These expectations, which applied femininity to women and masculinity to men, were suffocating to individuals who feel more comfortable presenting outside of these roles Jeffreys,p. Research on butch women has provided some understanding that butch identity may have some innate qualities from a biological standpoint as well. Butch women, when compared to their femme counterparts, have more masculine body types as defined by higher waist-to-hip ratios.
It can be challenging to parse out how much of butch identity is innate and how much is socially constructed.
However, it could be argued that because butch women are not socialized to present as masculine, and in fact, there is social pressure to present as feminine, that cultural influence is less likely to play a role. This offers further evidence that butch women are not mimicking men in their presentation, but rather fulfilling an innate desire to adopt a masculine presentation. Butch women were the protectors, femmes were healers; both were fighters. Together they persisted in the face of violence and persecution from one enemy, and doubt and mischaracterization from another.
This paper explored the intricacies of these relationships and contrasted them against mainstream heterosexual partnerships.
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Both identities present evidence that they are innate. In the face of criticism, these identities persisted. Butches continued to exist in light of accusations that masculine presentation removed them from womanhood.
These identities which came into definition in the s and s, still exist in our postmodernist world-somewhat redefined, but still distinctly rooted in lesbian history. Google Matt Damon and whitesplaining if you need an ate.
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Yes, we femmes are gay women and are not immune to prejudice due to our sexuality. But, our experiences as lesbians can, in many ways, be quite different-and sometimes easier. When your butch girlfriend or wife trusts you enough to share some of her struggles being a masculine woman, believe her. Have you ever felt completely unheard and misunderstood when sharing this with a man? Has a man ever tried to diminish that experience or talk you out of what you know to be true?
How did that feel?
Remember that when your beautiful butch lady opens up. Before we can share them with the people we love, we first have to take time to process for ourselves. Keep this in mind when your butch partner begins to open up to you about her experiences as a butch woman.
Know that this type of communication may leave her feeling a bit vulnerable. Just listen to her and speak with love. In general, when we build a romantic relationship with someone, we want nothing more than to have empathy for their hardship. We know that, if we can walk through that pain, we can love our partners on a deeper level. And, although facing their pain in such a real way may hurt, it will only serve to further solidify the bond that we share. Unfortunately for us femmes, when it comes to understanding our butch counterparts, there will always be a barrier that cannot be crossed.
And that barrier is lived experience. As a lesbian woman who has been feminine throughout my life, I cannot fully understand what it is like to live as my wife; a butch woman.
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I have not walked through this world knowing that being who I am is an affront to the sensibilities of many. I simply cannot understand. I can empathize and ask questions and listen. And does she have to identify as a butch to be a butch?
The first step in finding a Butch Femme Dynamics Dating friend with benefits is finding friends. The friends you find Butch Femme Dynamics Dating matter, of course. If you make friends at an evangelical religious retreat, you're a lot less likely to find a sex partner / Butch femme dynamics dating - Men looking for a man - Women looking for a man. Is the number one destination for online dating with more marriages than any other dating or personals site. Join the leader in mutual relations services and find a date today. Join and search! Before meeting my wife six years ago, I had little to no experience with masculine/butch women. I dated femmes, sporty girls, and what I call "in-betweeners" (kinda masculine, kinda feminine), but never a real butch. Although my wife has many feminine qualities, her presentation to the world is definitely masculine-no makeup, fresh fade, men's style clothing, etc.
Butches and femmes faced criticism from middle and upper class lesbians who felt that they replicated heterosexual relationships. The first lesbian organization, the Daughters of Bilitisformed in and pressured butches to appear more feminine. Ina handful of butch lesbians participated in the Stonewall Riots.
Yet, a new generation of young, political, and college-educated lesbians developed in the years that followed.
A Guide to Dating Butch Women
They were pushed to the margins. While butches among gay men are often seen as desirable, they were also viewed with suspicion as hiding their gay identities. Butch has been connected to trans identities, and some who identified as butch women went on to identify as trans men or transmasculine. That same year, butch visibility got even louder when butch singer k.