ThreeWay: The Butch-Femme vs. Garden Variety Lesbian Quandary (Pt. 2)

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ThreeWay: The Butch-Femme vs. Garden Variety Lesbian Quandary (Pt. 2)

Continuing from last week's ThreeWay Chat, Amy, Prof C, KL and Julia tackle butch fashion iconography, group therapize excerpts from KL's fantasy life, and continue to poke fun at all kinds of lesbians —  especially ourselves.

Amy: What else do we have to say about ourselves as butches and femmes?

Professor C: Yeah, let's think of things people always forget to talk about when it comes to b-f.

KL: Wait. Like what people don't know about us?

Amy: Instead of "poor us”?

Professor C: In some ways b-f is the model for lesbianism because of the historical precedent, so some of the hate/distancing may just be people defining themselves against a model? I don't know, is that true?

Amy: I think that makes sense.

Professor C: Or we could talk about clothes.

Amy: Hmmmm! Yes! Can I start by saying this? And you try to figure this shit out?

KL: YES! Clothes. Here is what I can't stand…

Amy: I just bought Ali this Pee-Wee Herman shirt that looks like his suit. And she just put it on, and it's the hottest thing ever. What does that mean? I like gays mixed w/butch?

KL: … when femmes feel like they deserve a medal for wearing a lot of lace and pink and shit with cherries on it. Like, get away from me.

Julia: Pee-wee is def a fey butch icon.

Pee-wee Herman practices his GQ look.

KL: No, he is not. Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke. Butch icon.

Julia: He is completely queer!

Professor C: I think he's more of a little boy queen.

KL: (Obviously I've now moved onto referencing movies I've never seen.)

Julia: LoL

Amy: (LOL)

Julia: I liked your recent referencing of River Phoenix' character in Stand By Me, Lieds. He was such my teen heartthrob.

Amy: ME TOO.

Julia: Which makes SO much sense now...

Amy: That's because he wore tight white t-shirts and looked SO butch.

Julia: Right!

Amy: b/c all butches look like pre-teen boys.

Professor C: But not like a man butch.

River Phoenix in Stand By Me, hottest butch beefcake shouldbian OF ALL TIME.

KL: Why are tight white t-shirts so butch?

Amy: Sorry Emma, not ALL.

Julia: Even his demeanor. The upstanding, trustworthy, marginalized tough guy. Omg. Swoon.

Professor C: Ugh.



Comments [25]

jane's picture

just better

i dug this pretty hard. i'd also alert you guys to a great, short essay by juana maria rodriguez, "gesture and utterance: fragments from a butch-femme archive" on b-f boning as the special kind of sex that alludes to straight sex but only, somehow, to both mock it and improve it. queer magic.

 

https://blackboard.swarthmore.edu/@@7A43671A0D1B34CEF94741562F027D03/cou...

Professor C's picture

ooo

i don't think i've read this--but i'm totally tracking it down when i'm at work tomorrow. thanks thanks!

Julia Watson's picture

Yes, and do please distill it

Yes, and do please distill it down for those of us who don't have access! That sounds rad.

Mel Shaw's picture

Misogyny

So it came up in this conversation....butches and misogyny.  I was wondering if anyone who felt that, could explain it.  I've never understood it, but I'm Butch so I guess I wouldn't.  It has just never made sense to me though.  I was raised in this world as a woman, have to get by in this world as a woman and just don't understand how it's possible I could be a misogynist.

Is it b/c we are seen as an "other?"  If women, who are socially accepted and seen as "real women", complain about women, do you see them as misogynists?  Asking for serious.

yonks's picture

I remember few years ago, i

I remember few years ago, i saw a document about excision in certain country explaining that it was made by woman and those womans  have a high rank in their society. and i thought that its a metaphor to woman condition that we have to "cut down (the masculine side) of womans" in order to be socially accepted  or to go on higher rank.

I'm sorry my english is not very good and explaining that kind of stuff is arduous for me. 

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

minniesota's picture

Comment

That is a profound question: If women, who are socially accepted and seen as "real women", complain about women, do you see them as misogynists?

I think you are on to something, Mel.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Robin Rigby's picture

I would also say though that

I would also say though that just being a woman does not automatically exempt anyone from being a misogynist.  

minniesota's picture

AND...

A misogynist woman could be of any sexual orientation.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Olivia Mistelle Maxell's picture

Mel

Keeli M's picture

contrast

I like The Prof’s thinking that maybe some of the distancing of the butch/femme model is because people just don’t want to identify with anything that is traditional. I mean we are queer and many of us have a desire to live outside of the social paradigm and abhor the pedestrian vanilla relationship.  I think that our community likes to think outside of the *ahem* box. I loves me a hot butch woman and I ‘spose one would label me as femme since I enjoy a manicure every now and again? (I mean that is the definition of a femme woman is it not?) I think what’s sexy about the b/f relationship is being able to explore your own femininity contrasted against a feminine that is not necessarily your own. You know it allows you to constantly challenge your own feminine? I’ve used the word feminine way too many times but it IS International Women’s Day so I’ll keep it. 

 

blow up my ego @lvrandafighter

minniesota's picture

My answer to one question

Amy asked:

"Why do so many butches have an AWFUL fashion sense?"

Here's my answer:

It's not that we Butches have such a awful fashion sense but that Fashion has an awful sense of us Butches and does not make clothing that are the right proportions and fit for many lesbian Butches.

Many of us, over the years, have had to pick and choose from among choices in the Boys Department or the Men's Department. Boy clothing may not fit our chests and hips once we have matured. Boy clothing also may be styled in too of a juvenile manner.

Clothing in Men's Departments is often too bulky and lengthy. For example, I see Butches wearing polo shirts styled for male proportions. Those shirts are often too bulky and make one look sloppy.

Hope this helps us re-consider aspects of Fashion sense.

~Da Mins

 

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Rockets's picture

OMG!

No joke! If I had a nickle for every time my mother said "Why do you have to wear stuff that looks like it belongs to a 12 year old boy?" (I like lightning bolts - what can I say?) Well, it's not my fault I can't find stuff that is "age/sex/boob size" appropriate! So I end up with tees that are men's size, formless and pretty much redonkulous...or I'm wearing something my ladies are falling out of. I can't seem to win.

AND I AM a grown up but wearing clothing with symbols on them is "immature"??  harrumph!

*sticks her two cents back into her Charlie the Unicorn tote bag...

 

Visit the FREE Lesbian Coloring pages at ~ illustrocity.blogspot.com

Rusty's picture

Good answer, Minnie.

Good answer, Minnie.

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna

Grace Moon's picture

Calling on Dr. Freud

Okay you hit on a way deep issue about relationships. This whole idea of finfantilizing your partner! Or how we bring in our past to deal with our present in relationships. deep.

Can we all grow up and be mature adults, and drop off that old baggage? Questions i'm asking myself.

And honestly its not merely how a person looks, boyish v manish / girlish v. womanish — its also psychological... though I do think we present our brains by our wardrobe...

No statements from me here, just reflections.

tweet tweet @gracemoon

KL's picture

grace

tell me more about this whole "finfantilizing" epidemic. just kidding. i think that tiny segment of the chat did go pretty deep.

Lots of love.

Olivia Mistelle Maxell's picture

'though I do think we present

'though I do think we present our brains by our wardrobe.'

Girl, I thought that too, until I hooked up with a cheerleader from high school (I dated a lot of ex-cheerleaders). I didn't know her very well in high school and 2 years ago we connected via myspace and her pics showed her very fem; high heels, make-up, dresses, etc...and when I saw her face to face...she was like a guy. I mean, walked, talked, acted like a macho dude, but just in high-fem clothing and make-up. It threw me off and I couldn't get it up. It went limp after she growled at my vagina, too...

I may have looked like the boy in the 3 day long affair...but I wasn't the boy. 

minniesota's picture

White Tees

I'll have to come back later to read the whole conversation but I see that you mentioned white tee shirts. I was obsessed with my father's white tee shirts when I was kid/teen. Before I had the money to buy them for myself I used to sneak into his underwear drawer and steal one for myself from time to time. To this day, one of my favorite things to buy is a new pack of fresh white tees.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

yonks's picture

My dad had the coolest

My dad had the coolest collection of shirts, once, i stole one with black and white squares. but i never had a "white t-shirts" phase 

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

Conlite's picture

Yes!  New pack of tees!  I

Yes!  New pack of tees!  I love white T-shirts, but have a terrible time keeping anything white, what with living in the muddy countryside and all.

yonks's picture

"but have a terrible time

"but have a terrible time keeping anything white, what with living in the muddy countryside and all."

Haha thats the secret of the gray fur... i finish my old T-shirts at the workshop so i can't really take them white otherwise i would really look like a dirty dirty... marmot  :)   

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

Conlite's picture

Your skunky stripes seem to

Your skunky stripes seem to be staying nicely whiter-than-white!  Smile

peacekitty's picture

"when femmes feel like they

"when femmes feel like they deserve a medal for wearing a lot of lace and pink and shit with cherries on it."

lol  Well I have to say I've never seen a femme lesbian wearing lace and pink and cherries.  Maybe a drag queen...  Wink

Anyhow, I love both butch and femme (and in-between) lesbians so I don't think about the dynamic much.  One thing I have noticed, and I think this goes with the straight community as well, is that lesbians tend to stick together when it comes to body size, weight and athleticism.  I don't often see a very thin, athletic lesbian dating an overweight lesbian.  Lesbians who are together often look alike...unless it's a case where (like you said) there is a femme and a butch couple.

 

"Fight Prime Time. Read a Book"

Mel Shaw's picture

Well

As someone who was with a femme who wore lace and pink and cherries: it does exist, she wasn't a drag queen, though I wish, like you, I'd never seen it!

KL's picture

i

am so glad you get it.

Lots of love.

peacekitty's picture

Just for clarification, I

Just for clarification, I think people should wear whatever makes them happy.  I've just not personally seen anyone dress that way recently....

..although I did wear a pink dress with baby's breath in my hair at prom back in the late 80's.   Wink

"Fight Prime Time. Read a Book"