Define Butch … *leans back in hys chair and thinks* … let me see now … where would you like me to begin?
According to numerous online dictionaries, the word Butch is a noun or an adjective. It is used by both lesbians and gay males, though I don’t think I’ve ever heard a gay male using the word to describe himself (but that certainly doesn’t mean they don’t).
Most of these dictionaries also say that it is a slang term. To me, if its slang, that means there has to be another word out there that was used first and then the use of Butch followed. So does that mean that the precursor of Butch was perhaps Dyke, for example? But then that doesn’t seem logical, since a gay male isn’t a Dyke.
During my researching, I also noticed that many times, Butch is referred to as being an offensive term or a pejorative synonym for a lesbian. Logic follows that if this is the case, that ALL lesbians are Butch and in credit to all those wonderfully feminine lesbians walking the earth … that just “ain’t” true.
I for one don’t find the term/title/label Butch to be offensive or pejorative in any way. I think its all in the perception, don’t you? I mean, tone of voice and body language would come into play here. When I was much, much, nay thrice, MUCH younger (I’m 53, for the record and in the words of a dear friend, “a senior citizen”), a mentor of mine was heard to say … “you’re so butch that feminine could only ever be a word in your vocabulary!”
“WHOA !!”, I hear you shout … “if you’re a Butch, why did you have to run off and research?” That is a viable question and one that is easily answered. I don’t know who will take the time to read this blog. The reader may be a heterosexual person, who has no life experience with the gay or lesbian community. The reader might also be someone who knows they are “different” and trying to find themselves, by definition. No matter who you are, I want you to be able to say that I didn’t just poke letters on a keyboard and hope they formed words in such an order that they made sense. Ergo, the research.
I’ve met some people that have assumed, then asked me if I am transsexual (TS) or transgendered (TG). Let me say this now … although when I was in my early teens and a friend and I used to pretend to be someone famous, I always pretended to be Michael Landon (of ‘Bonanza’ and ‘Little House on the Prairie’ fame), I have never even considered doing the testosterone “thing”. I don’t believe I am mentally male, either. I dislike, even get angry at times, when it is assumed that I am male. I love being a woman. Having a monthly cycle never bothered me, except when I was younger and my mother used to tell me that I couldn’t go swimming during “that time of the month” and breasts, those wonderful female bounties that most men and some women talk to, when a woman is well-endowed … when I had them, they didn’t annoy me either. In fact, apart from scars that seem to find the most inappropriate moment to itch, since my non-elective double mastectomy, I don’t miss them now, either. Oh, I did though and there are still times when someone pushes the wrong button with a word and I find myself flashing back all over again, but that happens less and less. So am I TS or TG? I believe in all honesty, I can say, no.
This is meant to be my personal definition of Butch.
Butch is an attitude. It is the way I walk down the street, sit in a chair, stand. Its the way I put my back against the wall and slowly draw one knee up till the sole of one of my boot (usually the right one, if you have to know *grins*) rests flat against the same wall as if I were standing there surveying my surroundings. Alert and ready to spring to both feet in protection of the lady who’s company I am blessed to be in or to defend myself, if the need should arise.
Butch is not, the way I dress. That is distinctly male. I don’t buy clothes from the womens department of any store, unless they are for someone else. My figure is definitely not your typical curvaceous, buxom, female. Clothes designed for women don’t hang right so why waste my money on them. I have snowshoes for feet and have almost always had to go to the mens department for those. I remember, as a teenager, my mother grumbling when it was time to pay out for new shoes and her dread at what I would come home with (usually deck shoes or loafers, back then). But I would hazard a guess that many people associate the way I dress with my being Butch but, a feminine woman can wear a clean cut suit or jeans or a button-down collared shirt and still be feminine. Its all in the attitude.
Butch is a label, imposed by others and myself to define what I perceive, what I am perceived to be. I am Butch, Dyke, Lesbian, Syr, boi, “in” drag (of sorts), Tomboy, masculine, but most of all I am female (not to be confused with feminine).
I’d like to close with a few words that were written by Daddy Rhon, co-owner of the butch-femme.com website. If you don’t know this site, please go have a look. If you do know it, support it if you can.
“We define who we are when we tell the truth about our lives. It’s easy to say what Butch and Femme are NOT, more difficult to express what Butch and Femme are.”
“The final thesis is always: Butch, Stone Butch, Femme, and Stone Femme are natural gender expressions that are of the heart, having little to do with appearance or any stereotypical code of behavior.”
“Butches come in all shapes, sizes, and mindsets, of course. Everyone has their own style and expression, but what traits do Butches have in common? Being a Butch is more than just an obvious lack of girlie-ness. Most Butches have a distinctly different kind of masculine energy (for lack of a better word) than biological men, a masculinity that is not a birthright, nor a given. Our identity is often hard-fought and constantly challenged, and our core develops naturally with few role models. Most of us are visibly queer, with nowhere to hide ourselves even if we wanted to. A lot of us were lil’ butchsters and tomboys growing up, and some of us feel like we are in “drag” if wearing women’s attire.”
“There are soft Butches, hard Butches, Stone Butches, and Butches who even gender-phuque the definition! Some feel “Butch” is a blend of both woman and man, or a third gender. Other Butches reject any degree of femininity. Many transgendered stone Butches don’t claim the word “woman” to descibe themselves at all. Some Butches are comfortable in their female form, while others experience body dysphoria in varying degrees. Some Butches take testerone, bind their breasts, and/or pack. Some Stone Butches desire to be pleasured in ways that aren’t feminizing, while other stone Butches don’t want to be touched at all, prefering only to please their partner. Most Butches are foremost into pleasing their partners. Most want their Butch nature to be honored and appreciated, no matter what kind of sex or intimacy they engage in. In describing Butch, I would say it is a journey where we have all taken similar paths, wearing different shoes.”
“Ultimately, I can only describe it for myself: standing sturdy on crumbling rocks.”
Bye for now *smiles*.