It’s a butch world out there they say, and I’m aiming to face it head on. But what if I never have really considered myself butch before? For the first twenty one years of my life, I had never regarded that as an adjective to describe me. Sure, I enjoyed wearing men’s clothes and hid my bosoms behind baggy shirts and sports bras. Yes, whenever we play Kings Cup and someone drew a 5, I’d prefer to drink with the guys instead of 6 for chicks. But “butch”? I always would shy away from the title. Mainly for the disdain of my relatives whenever I seem to do anything considered “manly”.
“You’re just doing this to try and be more butch. You know, you don’t have to try to look gayer.”
A family member said this to me in reference to me getting my lip pierced at age nineteen. I had never really grown out of my youthful “tomboy” phase, but I didn’t think anything about me screamed raging butch lesbian. I wore women’s jeans, had long hair, and at the time enjoyed occasionally wearing things that may cause a wandering eye to fancy a look or two. So what was it that provoked such a response?
Until recently I hadn’t really pondered over it on a personal level. People would ask, “Well, who’s the butch and who’s the femme?” or “Who’s the guy and who’s the girl?” These questions I admittedly am not fond of, only because it seems inane to assume that any relationship between two persons must be boiled down to one assuming an all masculine role and one adopting a traditionally feminine role. My answer to either of these questions would always be, “I’m just Kai.” Lately though I seek to examine more into butch culture; I want to educate myself on a persona that I am becoming more comfortable adopting as my own.
What classifies one as butch? Does it have to do more with one’s attitude or appearance, or both? Can you be considered “butch” and still have femme-esque attributes?
I feel that butch is a label we can either choose to adopt or not; it all matters on how comfortable you are in your own skin. It can be represented by donning men’s clothing and hairstyles. It can be in your gentlemanly charm when you offer to hold open a door for someone and allow others to go ahead. Being butch does not exclude femininity. (Hell, I’d be the first to admit that a good mani/pedi every now and then is just what the doctor ordered.) For me, it is about the confidence I display in being true to who I am. It is welcoming the notion that I may not be the “Princess” my Grandmother always told me I was, but I am still a bitchin’, butchy Prince Charming.