My blog peep G. posted something interesting a couple of days ago about Butch Dismissal. Apparently butches are not always welcome in the lesbian community. Which comes as a surprise to me. For a long time the femme problem was prevalent, i.e. femmes aren’t real lesbians, and so on. But G. says that a lot of femme women think butches aren’t sexy and many personal ads even explicitly state “no butches”. What the hell? I can respect that someone just isn’t into the butch look and feel, but for a lot of people the term “butch” seems to be an opposite to sexy, appealing, attractive, stylish etc. in general.
So butches have a hard time because they get a lot of disrespect from the femme girls, right? And femmes have an invisibility problem. And then there’s people like me (or my girlfriend), the whatever-the-hell-I-am-type. And we have problems with the community too. Because we don’t fall into any category. I’m not exactly butch. I’m not femme. I have not even enough androgyny to pull of some decent cross dressing. I’m somewhere in between.
Sure, most of the time I like that I can’t be put into a box. And I have the advantage that I can femme it up or butch it up according to daily mood. Although to be honest, the reactions I get once I do that are unbelievable. If a girl like me puts on some make up and nail polish… it is discussed… at length… wherever I go. Work colleagues – check. My parents – check. Friends – check. “Ohhh since when are you wearing nail polish?” “Makeup? Hm…” Just imagine what happens if I dare to wear sneakers, loose jeans and a male-looking button up shirt the next day? They clearly don’t know what to do with me. So that’s the fun part of it.
But being this undefinable also comes a) with a lack of role models*, b) with a serious clothes shopping handicap and c) have you heard anyone say “Oh man, I’m so into these girls that are neither butch nor femme”? I haven’t. So that makes random pulling at a bar a bit hard. Which is probably part reason for my extreme delve into being “properly lesbian” shortly after coming out. I cut my hair really short, went for the butch look and behaviour and had a way easier time scoring chicks. Because I was properly identifyable as gay. The problem: That’s not really me. So I had to backtrack, find out where I ended and this persona started, to be able to be me and be apart from the polarity that is “butch” and “femme”.
I realise this might not be considered a “real” problem like femme invisibility and prejudice against butches. But it seems that there are issues within lesbian communities around the world that really shouldn’t be. Whether it’s femme invisibility, butch dismissal or something in between.
By the way, G., rest easy, I know a lot of chicks who think butches can be way sexy :) Thought you should probably come to Vienna, because as far as I can remember the community here butches can score pretty easily. Although I have to admit it’s been a while since I went out to any lesbian events I don’t think much has changed in the past 3 or so years.
* No, Dani Campbell/Futch doesn’t work for me, because that’s basically just clothes/role model for skinny butches. Unfortunately.