Tag Archive | Butch

Butches, Stripping, and Straightbians…Oh My

For a couple of days now, I have been in a series of heated debates regarding the question of whether Butches would ever be strippers. (Answer: Not just no, but HELL NO).

In response to my statement that the probability of a Butch stripping would be approximately a snowball’s chance in Hell, I received this flippant tweet, presumably to “prove” that Butches do strip:

img_0182

Problem is: The woman depicted here is most certainly NOT Butch, and most likely, she’s not even ANY sort of Lesbian either. This tweeter, along with a plethora of others, incorrectly assume that if any woman cuts her hair short and dons a suit (or any other so-called “male attire”) and simply makes the claim she is Butch, she is magically (POOF!) suddenly Butch.

But it doesn’t work that way. Not even close. Butches are born, not made.  Butch is NOT a performance, a costume, a political stance, or an act, and it is majorly offensive when people appropriate and misrepresent Lesbian lives.

A true Butch would NEVER strip. She would literally die first, and that is NOT an exaggeration.

What gives me the right to make such a broad claim, you ask? Because I am a Femme Lesbian. Because I am married to a Butch, and have known other Butches. Because I have been in the Lesbian community for many, many years now, and have seen so many dykes & Straightbians call themselves Butch when they clearly weren’t. Because I happen to have a lot more knowledge about this topic that most people.

(Yes, I said it, I mean it, and I don’t care if you mistakenly think that is arrogant, because, yes, I do, in fact, know more about this topic than most people).

Anyway, I won’t bore you with giving you a play-by-play of every argumentative hetsplaining tweet or every Straightbian arguing with Lesbians about OUR OWN LIVES. It would take a dissertation to just explain the last couple of days.

But let’s examine one striking example of the sort of ignorance and attitude real Lesbians have to put up with:

Image 2

Let’s examine this snippet. Seemingly out-of-the-blue, a relatively new “feminist” account with 14 followers at the time and a handful of tweets crawls out of some hole to randomly bust my chops?

Hmmmm…it seems likely that this is a familiar troll in a new disguise, but regardless of this person’s true identity, automatically jumping to a racial connotation when race was not even mentioned is an incredibly transparent attempt to derail the actual point (“Butches don’t strip…period.”) by implying I am somehow inexplicably being racist by talking about a Lesbian issue.

Obviously, that idiotic crap doesn’t work with me. “Stick to the topic or shut up” is my motto.

(And, no, there are not any Butches of any race stripping for a living, now or ever).

Moving on to the next ridiculous assertion from our wannabe know-it-all:

Image 4

Okay, so calling me a racist didn’t work, so what does this buffoon do now? Hmmm…Oh, I know, let’s bring RAPE into it! THAT always derails the discussion!

This “rape culture” statement is completely off-topic and makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, so, again, this is an obvious attempt to discredit what we are saying by twisting what we are actually saying to try to make it mean something completely unrecognizable.

This is actually a very common Straightbianfeministploy:

If you have no argument and/or simply don’t understand the topic, it’s time to bring up any of the following to try to derail the conversation:

  • Rape or Rape Culture
  • The Patriarchy
  • The “Trans Cult”
  • Racism
  • Sexism
  • Any other “ism”
  • Discrimination
  • Violence Against Women
  • MRAs
  • Men in dresses “forcing”/”coercing” Lesbians to have sex with them (Not happening)

Well, those tactics may work with some people, but they are certainly not going to work with me or Dirt.

Again, the topic at hand was simple: Butch Lesbians and stripping. This topic has nothing to do with racism, rape, etc.

Back to the point: Do Butches strip?

And the final answer is: Butch Lesbians would never strip, regardless of race, age, audience, era, or circumstance.

The end.

“Dirt Is A Failed Transman”: The Urban Myth

I have written before, here, about how the urban myth that Dirt is a “failed transman” persists like a demented zombie in a low-budget horror film.

What I didn’t fully address, though, is WHY this myth is so prevalent.  I did mention that the people perpetrating this falsehood are so trapped in their own gender-straitjacketed notions that they simply cannot conceptualize the fact that Dirt is a LESBIAN, nor do they understand that Lesbian is NORMAL, but I didn’t elaborate further on the underlying causes of this tedious rumor.

But the exact WHY is crucial, and needs to be addressed directly.

Therefore, Dirt did her own post on this topic (link here).

I have also copied and pasted her post below, because I strongly feel that it is important to address the root of this prevalent lie.

So, without further ado, here is Dirt’s response, in her own words:

As not simply someone who has written about Lesbians and transition for more than a decade, BUT as a Lesbian writing about Lesbians and transition, to assuage transgender fears and prejudices, in transgender circles the world over it has become urban myth that I myself have “tried to transition” but sadly “failed“. I’m not quite sure how one would fail, apparently the myth making never got beyond fail, but there you have it. “Dirt is a failed transman.”

A little something about myths:

As there is ZERO facts/truths to me having transitioned/detransitioned/tried transitioning/tried and failed transition, what would be the analogy which motivates these falsehoods? Outside of the zillions of petty little self soothing needs/motivations that spring from the individual, there are two prime reasons for the Dirt is a Failed Transman Myth:

  1. Lesbian has been removed from Lesbians.
  2. If Lesbians don’t exist beyond RadFem anyonecanchoosetobealesbian warped ideology and gender nonconforming confirms transgender origins, then normal Lesbians MUST surely be Trans, even if we fail at it.
Myth doesn’t hide things, it distorts them.”

Prior to Transgender ideology being commonplace, Lesbians like myself were often viewed/called and bashed with phases like mannish lesbians, lesbians who want to be men, lesbians who really are men, lesbians who act like men, masculine lesbians to list a few. Insults all couched in the swaddling cozy comfort of Heterosexuality.

But also prior to Trans Trending, even prior to the DSM III, Gays and Lesbians found comfort in finding other Gays and Lesbians. We didnt feel threatened by other Gays and Lesbians, instead for many of us we felt for the first time what it felt like to BE normal! To KNOW we were normal. NORMAL Homosexuals! NOT freaks of nature! NOT sick mother fuckers who shall burn in hell! NOT Gender Non Conforming! And most certainly NOT Transgender!

How do myths get created?

Between un-signifying Lesbian and inventing signifiers for Transgender from the ashes of Lesbian, Transgender has suddenly ALWAYS existed in human history. So much so, the once Lesbian tropes used by Lesbians (and Gays) as both survival instincts and mating instincts alike, are being used to back label historical Gays and Lesbians as Transgenders of history!

In my case, Heterocentric qualifiers/traits like mannish looking, acts like a man, masculine, handsome (rather than cute or beautiful), wears mens clothes, keeps a short or cropped hair cut, passes as a man etc, with Lesbian removed from history and with me being qualified as man/nish BUT also being a biological female—queers special snowflakes/Transgenders of both sexes/Trans cohorts and allies of both sexes conclude that I’m a transgender who failed at transitioning because I remain calling myself by my sex (female)/and my sex’s proper (she/her) pronouns. And from thence, myth!

I’m not a failed transman because I am, I’m a failed transman because some people need me to be.

dirt

So Many Lies, So Little Time

There is so much incorrect, libelous, ludicrous, and/or otherwise whackadoodle information on the internet about Dirt (and, now, by proxy, me) that it would take an entire encyclopedia set to cover it all.

shutterstock_532218352

Image: © 3D_creation; used under license by Shutterstock

For the most part, I ignore such nonsense, but occasionally, an ally will let me know about a comment so preposterous, so laughable, so incredibly goofy that I just have to make fun of it.

This is one of those times.

This little gem has allegedly been posted in multiple places by the same disgruntled individual:

“Lynn Marie Baker (dirt from dirt) writes a sensationalist blog with multiple weekly posts demarcating anti-transgender rants. He writes his posts with the intention to dismantle the constricting Gender Straight Jacket that is binding and gagging the female experience. He writes provocative blog posts that personally shame and ridicule transgender children, transgender adults, and professionals who help transgender people. He purposefully denigrates the individuals by calling them by their birth pronouns and names (if he knows what they are) and proudly claims it is for the benefit of society. If you correct him on pronouns he deletes the comments and claims he will decide what pronouns the individual should be addressed by. In the end, nobody really cares about incorrect pronouns being used, as transgender people aren’t that thin skinned. However, if you mis-pronoun him he becomes quite irate. I choose to call her by him because it is well known in his personal circles that he used to take testosterone himself. Due to his own ambivalence around physical transition he decided to stop taking testosterone and began posting anti-trans videos and blog posts. The ambivalence he feels is common among lesbians in his age range as their identities are deeply rooted in the lesbian community. Originally, his intentions were probably meant to help provide others who are gender variant and feel in-between genders some hope. However, due his own background being raised by fundamentalists he quickly turned into black and white thinking regarding gender expression. His black and white defensive structure is seen throughout his entire blog posts which indicates a long history of trauma. It’s hard to feel sorry for him though due to his ongoing assaultive behaviors towards others. It would be different if his blog posts consisted of general information about transition and he came from a actual do no harm perspective. However, he moves into a position of harm quite quickly as he becomes triggered by those individuals who transition from female to male. It is no surprise that he has been focusing his blog posts primarily on the female to male transgender individuals and personalizing attacks against them. Lynn is cut from the same cloth as Donald Trump. It’s as though they are related. Lynn uses similar rhetoric in making fun of the underserved and those who are the most vulnerable. Transgender people are the most discriminated against population currently in our society and are at the most risk. Mr. Baker goes after the most vulnerable because this is the most vulnerable issue he deals with. Being conflicted about gender. He is in a relationship with a self-proclaimed psychologist. I say this because she refuses to let everyone know her real identity for fear of public assault and harassment. Yet, she joins her husband in abusing vulnerable people to express their joint agendas. Mrs Dirt knows that she upheld an oath to do no harm and that if she really is a psychologist, she is in clear violation of legal and ethical codes of her profession. Hence, she won’t allow her name to be publicized. Their latest agenda is pointing out real lesbians not straightbians. Another internalized conflict projected onto others. They claim that lesbians who have had sex with men, who support transgender people (in any way), and other random idiosyncrasies disqualifies you as a real lesbian. A few months back it appears they were sitting around looking at their bookshelves reminiscing about their dyke days in the 80’s and early 90’s. They looked at all their lesbian literature and realized that their world has changed. Yes, there are more than two choices for gender and yes, some women are bisexual and yes, Queer is a new identity. Sadness quickly turned to rage and they posted a series of posts that denounced women and their sexuality. Describing many iconic writers as fake or claiming that they are pussy pirates stealing money from the lesbian community. This pointless blog series proved that they are more disturbed than thought before. Their obsession with the Arian sisterhood of lesbianism is diabolical. Much like a Nazi who is going around asking for identification to ensure that they are truly one of us is exactly why we have a president like we do today. They have no tolerance for otherness. These two disturbed individuals must criticize and become cruel to those who don’t identify exactly like they do. It must be quite conflictual to be married to a man and yet hold staunchly the notion that you are still lesbian enough. I am not referring to the butch femme dynamic that sparks their attraction but I am addressing Lynn being a man which is much different than actually being a butch lesbian. Although he claims the butch lesbian identity pretty firmly, clearly he has deep rooted conflicts or she wouldn’t be so triggered and reactionary to transgender people. I could care less how he identifies but then again I’m not writing hate blogs about how other people should live their lives. In addition, I am not stalking children to shame them online and encouraging self-hatred. I believe Mr. Dirt should hold onto his own self-hatred and Mrs. Dirt should hold onto her own anxieties about being with a man. This would save the rest of us from enduring a hate blog about how you are the only two lesbians left in the world of your Arian nation lesbian world. It is not our fault you call him daddy at night and he dreams of transition. That’s your own conflict to hold.”

As I have said before, hateful comments always say much more about the person who is commenting than about the intended recipient.

The obvious intention is to insult, discredit, and harm Dirt and myself.  However, what he/she doesn’t realize is that such comments only make him/her look bigoted, angry, petulant, immature, and uninformed.

By deliberating and repeatedly “misgendering” Dirt and by outright lying about BOTH of us, this person’s true colors are revealed (Examples of the odd lies about me in this passage: falsely and absurdly claiming that I have “anxieties about being with a man” and the bizarre comment “call him Daddy at night“):

This individual is a bitter lesbophobic windbag who clearly is threatened by Dirt’s (and/or my) posts…because this response is way above and beyond the level of any sort of “normal” disagreement with what we are saying.

This individual also simply cannot comprehend Lesbianism, except through a very twisted, inaccurate, heterocentric lens.

This person so stuck in his/her own mental “gender straitjacket” that the fact that Dirt and I are both LESBIANS is apparently incomprehensible to him/her; so, instead of understanding (or respecting) our Lesbianism, so he/she has to mind-warp our relationship into a false and perverse heterosexual dynamic. 

Additionally, the incorrect and vitriolic allegations about our Straightbian posts further reveal an alarming lack of understanding of, AND a shocking lack of concern for, Lesbian lives. 

I won’t bother trying to argue with this person or similar homophobes, because it would be a waste of both my time and theirs. People like this don’t care about what either of us is actually saying, and they don’t take the time to try to find out. Instead, they rely on distorted “alternative facts” (also known as outright lies) in a misguided attempt to malign us.

But, just for the record:

Neither Dirt nor I are “abusing vulnerable people” in any way, shape, or form. This sort of bogus claim is commonly used to try to demonize and discredit us.

Dirt posts information which is ALREADY POSTED PUBLICLY ON THE INTERNET.  Here’s a clue: If you don’t want everybody on the internet to see what you are doing/saying, DON’T POST IT PUBLICLY.  Just sayin’.

Dirt never attempted to transition. The fatuous claim that Dirt is a “failed transman” is one of those completely false urban myths that people repeat ad nauseum, without ever bothering to find out if it’s actually true.  So I will say it again: This rumor is not true, and people who are circulating it only make themselves look sadly uninformed.

Neither Dirt nor I are “cut from the same cloth as Trump“, and to claim we are is beyond preposterous.

Our identities have already been revealed. Although the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the First Amendment right to speak anonymously, someone made it a mission to reveal my identity.

I am a psychologist…not a “self-proclaimed” one. And I have done nothing whatsoever unethical, and it is both untrue and defamatory to claim that I have. Apparently, this individual is completely unfamiliar with the concepts of free speech and healthy professional debate.

The correct spelling is “Aryan”, not “Arian”, Einstein. Regardless, we’re not Nazis or neo-Nazis, nor are we in any way affiliated with such groups. This analogy is daft.

Neither of our blogs include any sort of “hate speech”. Free speech is very different than “hate speech”, and if someone can read (and comprehend!) our posts, he/she should be able to easily see that what we are saying is NOT “hate speech”.

Neither Dirt nor I would ever advocate for anyone to be harmed or denied basic rights (housing, employment, safety, etc.). 

If anyone doesn’t like anything that either of us has to say, please remember that visiting our blogs is completely voluntary.

Dirt and I have one primary goal: To make the world a better place for Lesbians. You’re either with us in that goal, or you’re against us. (People don’t always have to agree with us on every point, of course, but suffice it to say that the difference is clear between someone who is on our side, versus someone who is trying to undermine us).

Finally, always remember that you are revealing yourself through your angry comments, and in this case, this person reveals him/herself to be someone who thinks he/she knows much more than he/she actually does. The result is unflattering.

Update: 04/06/2017: Edited To Add:

Running along the same veins as the ignorant, yet almost comical, comments above, similar comments were also made on Reddit by someone who has chosen to call him/herself “TheIndependantVote”. (I am not sure whether this person simply cannot spell “independent” or if there is a reason for the misspelling.).

Here is a selection of the quotes from the Reddit comments & my responses:

Quote:

“Mrs. Dirt, I can kind of understand. After all, she is that demographic of lesbian.”

My Response:  Could this person possibly get any more uninformed, offensive, and lesbophobic if they tried?  I truly doubt it.

Quote:

“But Dirt, is more of a mystery to me. Is this a self-hating transman? Is this a butch lesbian who has been called a trans man too much and feels upset about it? Or is this a situation where Dirt’s wife is leading Dirt into ruin?”

My Response:

Again, this person is obviously lesbophobic and uninformed about Lesbians.

This person, like our other prevaricator profiled above, cannot see past their own “gender straitjacket” long enough to see that LESBIAN IS NORMAL.

Whether Butch, Femme, or any other “variety” of Lesbian, we are ALL normal. There’s no “right way” nor “wrong way” to be a Lesbian/female and to assume/say that Dirt is ANY sort of “transman” is not only completely wrong, it’s also erasing Lesbian reality.

And: I am not “leading Dirt into ruin” (LOL!), and I couldn’t even if I tried, because Dirt is a fully functioning adult who is capable of forming her own thoughts and making her own decisions. Healthy adult relationships simply don’t involve anyone being “led into ruin”.

Quote:

“Like it seems like maybe Dirt was on their way toward something else and Mrs. Dirt decided to play some psychological games and abuse what little education it seems she has received. Also, Mrs. Dirt claims to be a psychologist as of at least July 22nd of this year, but some say she hasn’t graduated yet. Is that legal? Also, shouldn’t she get reported to any kind of licensing agency for going against the DSM so recklessly? She is causing real harm to the treatment of others with her behaviour. She’s like an anti-vaxxer in the middle of an outbreak. Seems professionally unethical and intentionally harmful.”

My Response:

“What little education” I have had is a Ph.D., cupcake.  I don’t know who is claiming I haven’t graduated yet, but clearly they don’t know what they are talking about. They are making themselves look ignorant by making false claims.

Furthermore, my having an opinion and voicing it is in no way unethical/harmful.

Professionals and researchers disagree and debate civilly all the time about many topics, and we should. Healthy and respectful debate is a vital part of the checks and balances system for any profession.

Once again for the slow learners: I have NOT said or done anything unethical and/or harmful, nor would I ever, and for this individual to imply that I did/would is flat-out libelous.

Furthermore, if this individual and others are so convinced of the absolute correctness of their dogma, why are they so terribly threatened by any questioning/disagreement whatsoever?

Think about it: People who are completely secure in their views/beliefs/choices are not so desperately threatened by questioning/disagreement that they resort to making baseless accusations and posting asinine insults. So the fact that this person did so tells us all we need to know.

Stone Butch, From A Femme Perspective

On the off-chance that there’s anyone out there who doesn’t know what the term “Stone Butch” means, here is how Dirt described it in a previous post:

image-4

Dirt further explained the confusion involved in and origins of Stone Butch in a later post:

image-4Many alleged “Lesbian experts” (who are neither Lesbian nor expert) claim that being Stone Butch is simply a preference, like some people like to be tickled while others don’t, or like some people like chocolate while others prefer vanilla.

These alleged “Lesbian experts” make the situation seem like it’s just another fun and fabulous way to be in a relationship: they incorrectly paint a rosy, sexy picture of a totally and mutually satisfied Stone Butch with a Straightbian Pillow Princess (while incorrectly calling her a Femme)**.

**Just to be crystal clear, since many (uninformed) people mistakenly associate Femme Lesbians with Straightbians, the difference is clear and quite simple: Femmes are LESBIAN and Straightbians are STRAIGHT.

And in regard to today’s topic of Stone Butch, only  Straightbians would prefer to be a Pillow Princess. Why? Because Lesbian is a sexual orientation. While being Lesbian is NOT all about sex, sexual attraction/interest is definitely a component.

Here’s the thing that confuses people, because sometimes Femmes will remain in relationships with “Stone” Butches (in other words, Butches who fear, and are ashamed of, being sexually touched):

True Femmes may settle for the inequity of a relationship with a Butch who feels she cannot allow intimate touch. We may try to convince ourselves not to feel rejected, unwanted, and lonely. We may tamp down our true desires in order to make our (Stone) Butch lover feel less threatened and for the sake of harmony.

But, over the long haul, Femmes who do so typically end up feeling sad, lonely, and unfulfilled.

The main factor to consider here is that Femmes are Lesbians. As Lesbians, we desire reciprocal intimacy with our Lesbian partners. We aren’t vending machines who just accept the change without dispensing the chips (so to speak, LOL). We WANT to dispense the chips. And we feel progressively guilty and uneasy over time when we are relegated to always being the receiver and never the giver.

So, what is a Femme to do? It truly seems like we are stuck between a rock and a hard place when faced with a Butch (who is Stone) who we want true intimacy with.

On one hand, if Femmes settle for the status quo of one-sided sexual relations, over time, we will likely start feeling rejected, unwanted, and lonely, as mentioned above.

On the other hand, though, if Femmes push the issue, we are likely to encounter resistance, rejection of our advances, and outright anger from the Butch (who is Stone). If we push too far, too fast, we risk even losing the relationship altogether.

The elephant in the room here is that true intimacy requires vulnerability from both partners. In the unequal, one-sided sexual encounters of a Butch (who is Stone), the Femme is expected to allow herself to be vulnerable, to allow herself to be touched intimately, to be “naked” (perhaps literally, perhaps figuratively). But: the Butch (who is Stone) doesn’t have to allow herself to be vulnerable. The Butch (who is Stone) remains in control, covered, distant, safe. This inequity is incompatible with true intimacy.

The good news is that being “Stone” is NOT set in stone.

I have come up with the following very general suggestions for Femmes who desire more intimacy, but are dealing with the complexities involved in a relationship with a Butch (who is Stone). Obviously, each situation is different, so not every suggestion will apply. Each Femme knows her own situation and her own lover best, and each Femme will need to decide for herself how best to proceed. Also, the following list only scratches the surface of this complicated topic, so this list is therefore NOT intended to be a comprehensive guide by any means.

1). First, before you say/do anything concrete at all, take time to figure out yourself, your motivations, and what you want from the relationship. What, exactly, is going on and what, exactly, do you desire to happen, with you and your partner, both separately and together?

2). You may want to take time to write in a private journal (which is kept in a safe, private place), and/or to talk to a trusted friend who understands (preferably another actual Femme).

3). Make time to take care of yourself before (and during) approaching the situation, particularly if you are feeling insecure. I don’t mean take care of yourself sexually (although that is fine too, of course, LOL!), but rather, I am referring to general self-care. Do whatever nurtures you: take walks, take baths, get massages…whatever. Why? By taking care of yourself, you will be better able to clarify and ask for what you need, and better able to approach your partner from a calm, centered place rather than from a state of anger, hurt, or frustration. Plus, those “small” self-care techniques are not really so small after all, because they symbolize valuing ourselves and our own needs, which is really what addressing this issue is all about.

4). Once you are clear about what you want for yourself and in the relationship, communicate your thoughts/desires to your partner, preferably at a time when your partner is fully dressed and calm and not feeling vulnerable.

5). It is very likely that your partner will immediately pull out phrases from the Universal Official Stone Butch Code Book  (written/influenced by Straightbians): “This is just the way I am!”; “I get my pleasure from pleasing you”; “I am perfectly happy with the way things are”; “I am wired this way!”; “It turns me on watching you”; “What’s the matter, you had fun last night, didn’t you?”; “My sex organ is my brain!”, etc.  She might even quote the alleged “Lesbian experts” like Shar Rednour (who are neither Lesbian nor expert) to back up her claim that Stone is a perfectly normal sexual expression.

6). When #5 happens, it’s important to try to refrain from becoming annoyed, angry, or defensive. Listen to your partner’s statements and concerns, and then ask questions to try to clarify, then listen again. Rinse and repeat.

7). Realize that we’ve all been brainwashed. Most Lesbian” advice has been written by non-Lesbians. Most people, including most Lesbians, have never met an actual Butch/Femme couple in real life (we are THAT rare). Therefore, Butch/Femme is misunderstood, misrepresented, and maligned. It will take more than a few conversations and certainly a lot more than one post to undo decades of false information. Part of that false information is “The Legend Of The Stone Butch”: strong, silent, and untouchable. It is time to start dismantling ALL the lies we’ve been spoon-fed.

8). Start reading the truth about Butch/Femme and issues regarding Stone Butch, preferable reading together with your partner. And: yes (because I know some smarty-pants will ask), I am telling you that Dirt and I know the truth. I know that probably sounds arrogant, but I don’t care. Why do I say we know the truth?  Because we actually are Butch and Femme. Dirt and I are not just talking about these issues…we have faced, and successfully dealt with, these issues ourselves.

9). Related to numbers 7 and 8: Immediately stop reading nonsense about Stone Butch, such as the drivel that Shar Rednour spouts, as discussed here. The attitudes such as those listed in the link, and in most other places, are detrimental to both Butches and Femmes, and encourage a very unhealthy dynamic. Let the brainwashing stop.

10). Connect with other real Lesbians. Most so-called Lesbian sites are cesspools.

11).  Realize that you cannot, and should not, change anyone else. You know that saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make her drink”? That saying applies here. Your partner may, or may not, be amenable to discussing these issues with you and/or open to changing her pattern. If she is not open, explain clearly why the issue is important to you and delineate the possible consequences from your perspective if no changes occur (e.g., your loneliness, frustration, etc.). Please note that I do NOT mean this as in a “threat” to your partner to “shape up”, but rather as an honest, frank communication of what the situation means to you.

12). Make sure to not blame nor shame your partner, but instead, focus on your own feelings, thoughts, and needs.

13). Realize that the issues driving your partner’s Stoneness are complex and are rooted in Butch Shame. Your partner is not trying to hurt, frustrate, or deny you, and her hesitation to let you reciprocate in love-making is not a sign of a lack of love or caring.

Read what Dirt wrote here and here (Please read the entire posts at the links…not just the blurb below):

image-1

14). If you are a currently single Femme, it is important to have these conversations BEFORE the relationship progresses to sex.

In summary, there are no easy answers for Femmes who are seeking greater intimacy with their Butch partners (who are Stone).  Healing and hope are definitely possible, but, truthfully, the road there will likely be fraught with pitfalls.

Stay tuned for more on this important topic, and as always, please feel free to ask questions and/or give your thoughts here in the Comment section; and you are always welcome to email me at sayebennett@gmail.com.

Important Usual Disclaimer: This blog is NOT intended to be professional advice, nor to substitute for the advice of a licensed professional. The reader should consult with an appropriate professional regarding any/all mental health needs.

Femme: Defining Ourselves

shutterstock_Orlio

Photo ©Orlio  (Used under license from Shutterstock.com)

Since my post on Deciphering Butch/Femme, which gave a brief checklist on how to determine whether someone is Butch, I’ve had several requests to do a similar description of Femmes.

Femmes are complicated to describe, as each of us have unique personalities, styles, and life stories. Femmes are the most invisible of all Lesbians. We are usually viewed with suspicion by other Lesbians, who often mistakenly assume we are either trying to “pass as straight” or that we actually are Straightbians. They couldn’t be more wrong.

Femmes know from an early age that we are “different”, even if we don’t have the vocabulary to describe this feeling. We may look like other girls and we get along well with other girls, but we always know we are not like other girls in some fundamental way.

From the earliest age we can remember, Femmes feel as if we live in an alternate universe: we are separate, different from everyone we meet, always on the outside. While frustrating, this distance also gives us the unique advantage of seeing the world with the clarity of an outsider’s perspective. Sadly, however, this same uniqueness also makes us feel invisible and misunderstood.

Femmes don’t see ourselves anywhere: not in books, not in stories, not in movies, not on television.

Even though we may have superficially physically resembled the fairy-tale princess of our childhood stories, we didn’t relate to her…at all.  Who would helplessly sit around waiting for anybody to save her, much less a man (ewwww)??  Not us, that’s for sure.  We would figure out how to cut that long hair off, make a rope out of it, and rappel down that castle wall all by ourselves, thank you very much. We might even save another girl or two while we’re at it.

We may have strongly identified with Marcie on Peanuts as children. We got crushes on our elementary school’s tomboy (or perhaps on the dyke PE teacher). We developed “close friendships” with other girls. Boys were “icky” to us even as young children, and when we became teenagers and all the other girls in our class were going boy-crazy, we remained in the “boys are icky” stage (and we stay in that stage forever).

When we came out, prior to dating a Butch (unless we were fortunate enough to have a Butch as our first lover), we probably dated dykes initially…but we felt confused, because although we knew we were a Lesbian dating a Lesbian, we knew something was missing.

It wasn’t until that first Butch comes into our Femme sphere (even if as only an acquaintance or friend) do we realize exactly what was missing!

Once we fall in love with a Butch, we never understand how anyone could ever look at our Butch and mistake her for a man, because, as a Femme, we really see  (and appreciate) our Butch as the doing-woman-different female that she is.

While we may appear stereotypically “feminine” in mannerisms and appearance, we are typically very practical. We would not wear kitten heels and a miniskirt on a hike in the Alaskan wilderness. We are likely to be strong, independent, and self-sufficient. We can probably fix a sink, change a tire, and/or kick-box; and we are Femme regardless of what we are wearing or what we are doing.  We dress down or dress up, depending on the situation.

(“High Femmes“, the kind who wouldn’t even go to Walmart without full makeup and sexy stilettos, are not Femmes at all…they are Straightbians).

Femmes love our Butch partners fiercely, and we would defend them to the death. But while our Butches make us weak in the knees, they don’t make us weak in the head.  We wouldn’t hesitate to tell our Butches off if we needed to. One mistake people often make is in thinking that Butch/Femme relationships are a mimicry of heterosexuals. The truth is that Butch/Femme partners are equals in every way; we don’t have the power imbalances and manipulative gymnastics that often underlie heterosexual unions.

In summary, sometimes (but not always), people may not be able to identify Femmes simply by looking at us ~ well, unless we are with our Butch partner, of course.  However, Lesbians with good gaydar can usually pick up on us, particularly if they are around us longer than just first glance.

But regardless of the fact that we may look different than many Lesbians, we are 100% Lesbian.

Invisibility is not our choice, nor our friend. We are not fake or faux. We are as strong as we are sensitive. Straight people do not see us because they are blind. Other Lesbians sometimes do not recognize us because they only see themselves. Butches often look past us because they do not trust, having been hurt by fakes. Our numbers may be small, but we exist. And it’s time to tell the truth about us.

Deciphering Butch/Femme

Image 56

I am a member of one of the most misunderstood categories in the history of humans: Butch/Femme (in case it’s not obvious, I am the Femme in this equation).

Lesbians in general are marginalized, misunderstood, and made invisible within general society; and, as Lesbians ourselves, this sad phenomenon is also true of Butch/Femme,  who also have the additional burden of being marginalized, misunderstood, and made invisible within the Lesbian community itself.

There are many inaccuracies and misconceptions about Butch/Femme…far too many to cover in a single post, so my aim with this post is to simply highlight the major misconceptions about Butch/Femme, and to give a brief general explanation of why these beliefs are faulty.

1).  Incorrect Assumption about Butch/Femme #1:

“Butch/Femme is ‘performance‘; a cartoonish mimicry of heterosexual relationships.”

Why this is Wrong and the Real Truth:

We are both Lesbians and women and are both attracted to women.  We have no desire whatsoever to mimic heterosexual relationships. Dirt is NOT “the man one” and I am NOT “the woman one” (and to imply that we are is both unbelievably ignorant and offensive).

We are not “performing” nor “playacting”: we are just who we are, period.  We couldn’t change ourselves, no matter who pressured us to ~ and, quite frankly, we wouldn’t want to change, even if we could.

There isn’t a power-imbalance dynamic in our relationship; we are equals and we both contribute to the relationship in every way. We don’t have rigid duties/roles/expectations, nor do we want them. We don’t relate to each other like Ward and June Cleaver.

2).  Incorrect Assumption about Butch/Femme #2:

“Anybody can be Butch/Femme simply by assuming different hairstyles, wearing different clothes/shoes, no makeup/makeup, etc.”

Why this is Wrong and the Real Truth:

This assumption is related to #1 because it incorrectly assumes that Butch/Femme is what you do, rather than who you are.

Slapping on a backwards ballcap and some jeans and a t-shirt does not make you Butch, just as dabbing on a little lipstick and wearing a bit of jewelry does not make you Femme.

The truth is that we are always Butch/Femme, regardless of what we are wearing.  Right now, I am wearing no makeup, athletic shorts, a (so-called) “men’s” t-shirt, and Asics, and yet (gasp!), I am still Femme.  Why?  Because that is who I am and how I was born.

3).  Incorrect Assumption about Butch/Femme #3:

“Butch/Femme is based upon roles performed within the relationship.”

Why this is Wrong and the Real Truth:

Again, this faulty assumption is related to numbers 1 and 2 above, because it is also basing the definition of Butch/Femme on actions rather than being.

Mowing the grass and washing the car doesn’t make someone Butch, and cooking dinner and decorating the house doesn’t make someone Femme.

Conversely, doing creative things such as crafts or cooking or decorating does not make a Butch “less Butch” and carrying the groceries in or changing a tire does not make a Femme “less Femme”.

The truth is that we are always Butch/Femme, regardless of what we are doing. I drive a truck, Dirt drives a car.  Dirt does the majority of the cooking and decorating for holidays/seasons, and I pay the bills and manage the money.  I would be willing to bet that many people who see us would be surprised by that information.

4).  Incorrect Assumption about Butch/Femme #4:

“Butch/Femme is determined by what you do in bed.”

Why this is Wrong and the Real Truth:

While I have no intention of discussing our sex life (sorry!), I do want to clarify that I have seen/heard many incorrect assumptions about Butch/Femme in relationship to sex.

For instance, I have seen people assume that Butch/Femme means you are into BDSM and/or that the Butch is always dominant/”top” and the Femme is always submissive/”bottom”.  People also assume that all Butches are “Stone Butch” and that is also not true.

While I cannot comment on the sex lives of all Butch/Femme couples (nor do I even care what other people do in bed!), I can unequivocally say that nobody should universally make these assumptions about Butch/Femme couples.

Also, role-playing or positioning in bed does not make anyone Butch or Femme.  (Just because you were on top last night does not mean you are Butch).

Do whatever floats your boat (well, I mean, of course, as long it is between consenting adults), but please don’t assume that whatever it is that you are doing in bed defaults you to Butch or Femme.

Relatedly, please don’t just assume that you know what we are doing in bed either, based on one of us being Butch and the other of us being Femme.

5).  Incorrect Assumption about Butch/Femme #5:

“Butch/Femme couples are the most visible Lesbians.”

Why this is Wrong and the Real Truth:

I have heard many Lesbians refer to themselves, or others, as Butch/Femme inaccurately.  For instance, I have frequently noticed that Lesbian couples will often say stuff like “I am the Butch one”/”She is the Femme one” or vice versa.

Usually their reasoning is based upon some variations of the misconceptions listed above, such as division of household duties; one fixes the toilet and the other does the laundry.  Sometimes the reasoning might be that Lesbo 1 (the alleged “Butch”) has shorter hair than Lesbo 2 (the alleged “Femme“).

These misconceptions only makes Butch/Femme Lesbians feel further isolated and misunderstood within our own (supposed) community, and these issues stem, at least in part, from the rarity of Butch/Femme Lesbians within the lesbian community.

Most people in the general public don’t even seem to recognize Dirt and me as Lesbians.  Most people who see us shopping in Target seem to assume we are a straight couple, even though, contrary to some peoples’ uninformed opinions, we are most certainly not “trying to pass” as straight.

It is frustrating for both of us to rarely be seen for who we are (and, in the case of Butches, to only rarely to be seen as what sex they are!).

Both of us have had many similar experiences in Lesbian-only bars.  Dirt has been called “Sir” in Lesbian bars and has been asked/ordered to leave Ladies’ Rooms on many occasions (which makes absolutely no sense because only women were allowed in  those places…well, at least that was true at that time…!?!?).

I, on the other hand, have had the repeated frustrating experience of being mistaken for a straight woman who must have somehow gotten lost and just happened to accidentally wander into the Lesbo bar.

It is bad enough for the general public to not recognize us, but it is 1000 times worse to not even be recognized/accepted/understood by who should be “our own people”, the Lesbian community.  Instead of being accepted and welcomed by the Lesbian community, we are constantly falsely accused of “trying to pass as straight”, of “role-playing”, and of “mimicking heterosexuals”.

Even some purported experts of the Lesbian community (most of whom are not Lesbian at all, but rather, are Straightbians) have put forth misleading, inflammatory, ridiculous, and just plain ignorant theories about Butch/Femme.

I seriously doubt that most of these self-proclaimed experts have ever even seen an actual Butch/Femme couple in their entire lives, much less had enough experience with us to offer an informed opinion.

Which leads me to my last point of the day, which directly ties in to #5:

Since most people have erroneous notions of what Butch/Femme couples are, because most have never actually seen or heard of any Butch/Femme couples in history, in person, on TV, or in movies, people frequently mischaracterize well-known fictional and non-fictional couples as Butch/Femme.

Just to be clear, I do not know of any famous true Butch/Femme couples in history, movies, or TV.  That’s right…ZERO.  Zip, nada, none.  I said it, and I mean it.

Please note that I am not saying this to hurt anyone’s feelings, nor to put anyone down in any way, because it’s not a hierarchy and it is not an insult to say that someone is not Butch. (I refer to Butch in this example because I have never known any Lesbian to care if they don’t get called Femme, but they do care passionately if it is pointed out that they are not Butch!).

I am also not saying we (meaning Butch/Femme) are better than they (meaning all other Lesbians) are, or vice versa.  I am simply stating that we are different, and that Butch/Femme couples have never…I repeat, NEVER…been included and/or accurately represented by alleged experts or in the media.

So here is a list of just a fraction of the couples (real and fictional) who I have personally heard people mistakenly refer to as Butch/Femme ~ but who just aren’t, no matter how you spin it:

1).  Xena and Gabrielle:  Now, anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE LOVE LOVE Xena, but let’s be honest, she’s just not Butch.  Hot? Yes!  Badass? Oh, yes!  Hero? Indeed!  Butch? Nope. Plus, you would never catch a real Butch in those clothes, because she would literally die first.

2).  Corky and Violet in Bound:  Bound was an entertaining movie with some hot scenes, and Gina Gershon as Corky had a certain undeniably sexy  je-ne-sais-quoi, but sorry, Lesbos, she isn’t Butch (and the Violet character is a Straightbian who uses a dyke to get out of a bad situation).

3).  Idgie Threadegood and Ruth Bennett in Fried Green Tomatoes: Being the Sweet Southern Belle (ha!) that I am, I just adore Fried Green Tomatoes, and have probably watched it 2,357,982 times and I still get misty-eyed just thinking about it.  But is Mary Stuart Masterson’s character Idgie Butch?  Um…no. Sorry.

4).  Nikki and Helen in Bad Girls: This is one of the most famous and beloved fictional TV lesbian duos of all time, and I watched their romance unfold with bated breath along with the rest of lesbian fandom. Are they a great Lesbian fictional couple?  Sure!  But are they Butch/Femme?  Nein.

5). Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas: Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas were one of the best known Lesbian couples in history, and both of them were remarkable, talented, and inspirational.  But were they Butch/Femme?  No, not by a long shot.

Here are some clues to help decipher whether someone is Butch:

  • Has she flat-out refused to wear a dress since the approximate age of 3?
  • Has she usually/regularly been “Sir’ed” or “passed as male” from a very early age on up?
  • Are all of her closest peers/friends male (or were they when she was growing up)?
  • Has she been accepted by males as “one of their own” from an early age and up until the present?
  • Are her mannerisms/demeanor/language viewed as (so-called) “masculine/male” by others?
  • Is she like catnip to straight women? Do straight women change how they act around her and giggle like schoolgirls when she enters a room?

Answer Key:  If the woman in question is Butch, the answer to ALL of the above would be “Yes”. 

Today’s thoughts are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg regarding the numerous ways that Butch/Femme Lesbians have been ignored, disrespected, maligned, and misunderstood.  Stay tuned for future posts on this subject, which is near and dear to my heart, mind, and soul…because, for me, this is not just some theoretical conversation ~ it is my life.