Tag Archives: Butch identity

Disparity – Representation of Butch and Femme Identities

4 Apr

An interesting observation.

I have recently read a few papers / articles / blog posts on femme identity. Interestingly the papers state that the butch gender identity appears over represented in academic literature on lesbian identifies. These papers discuss the butch identity as being an obvious expression of lesbian sexuality.

In contrast, I have noticed that there appears to be an over representation of feminine looking women in lesbian TV dramas and movies (not that I have watched lots of lesbian movies). This also covers the issue that shows such as the L-Word (which admittedly I have only watched a few episodes of) having mostly feminine looking characters and actresses. I have seen this issue covered in Lesbian magazines at the height of the show’s popularity. It is interesting that in lesbian dramas within a mainstream mostly straight society tends to portray lesbian women as feminine in appearance and dress. Is this because to mainstream and straight society a feminine lesbian is more accepted and acceptable? Does the lesbian fantasy as peddled in heterosexual male porn feed this too? Is the image of a butch women, because it is so subversive, visually powerful and perhaps emasculating, something that mainstream and straight society does not want to see on TV, or the production companies don’t want to include in their shows.

My partner and I have recently watched the first and second series of the BBC lesbian drama, Lip Service. We loved the series and thought it was an interesting, funky, alternative and positive representation of the lives of lesbian women. In the series, along with feminine characters (albeit rather alternative and Indy) there are some butch women represented. Which I think is great. And this gives a more balanced view of different lesbian identities, styles, modes of expression and simply diversity.

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The Butch Identity – How I React

22 Mar

I was contemplating this morning, how the butch identity (as expressed by individual women I observe in daily life) sometimes makes me feel uncomfortable.

This is no means meant to be offensive. I am sincere believer in everyone, whether gay, bisexual or straight, being able to express themselves. And I am an advocate for embracing the diverse ways to express gender identity and sexuality.

I think for me, it is because the butch identity expressed through clothes, haircut and mannerisms is something that I have rarely encountered first hand. And I am not really attracted to the butch identity. I periodically self identify myself as femme or “semi femme” (my own term), but I don’t want this femme identity (for myself) to be defined and characterised by an attraction to the butch identity.

I am attracted to women who are “womanly,” a term I coined to describe a strong, tough and confident persona, a strong female sexuality, sensuality, a womanly figure, and a combination of some stereotypically “female” and “male” traits. It is a complicated definition!

I think the uncomfortableness comes from being aware (as a lesbian) of such an obvious expression of sexuality. I am someone who likes to talk about my sexuality, but most of the time, I don’t feel the need to “broadcast” it to everyone under the sun. However, there are times, when I do just want to wear a t-shirt or have an imaginary sign above my head saying “I am a lesbian, and I am proud of this.” It sounds like I am in two minds!

As there is a positivity to the obvious expression of sexuality by butch women, I want to reduce this uncomfortableness. I am educating myself further on the butch identity and the concept of female masculinity.

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