02 February 2012

It's A Butch World Out There: Question Time

Good evenin’ and Happy Groundhog Day to all you butch ladies and butch lovahs out there! Word on the street is that we have six more weeks of winter ahead. Thanks Punxsutawney Phil! Now, to focus my energy more on the blog at hand!

Something that I’ve been pondering lately, recently stepping forward into the realm of butchdom, is how people outside the LGBTQ community view us more masculine types. I wanted to know how they define butch, who they think is “butch”, et cetera. So! I devised a set of seven questions to ask various individuals in my life what they think. I asked a wide variety of people (i.e. different age ranges, different genders, different races, different levels of education and so on) and below are the questions and the various responses I received!

1) How do you define the term butch?
-“Having more masculine characteristics, low maintenance, short hair, neutral clothes, not embracing traditional standards”
-“A masculine person”
-“A term applied to a female who looks a helluva lot like a guy”
-“Super masculine, super dyke lesbian”
-“’Butch’" is one of those terms that is self-appointed. I have a difficult time identifying someone as being ‘butch’ because I don't feel it is my place to do so. Since I have to define the word, I would call it an abundance of the masculine gender.”

2) Who does the term apply to? Does it exclude genders other than female?
-“I assumed it applies to women, though I’ve never really thought about it in depth.”
-“Not just lesbians, but masculine looking women in general. I’ve never really thought about guys as being butch”
-“When I hear the word butch, it excludes other genders in my mind.”
-“Men can be butch”
-“I do think a male can be butch as well as a female; let's remember from where the term came (a tough youth or an abbreviation for "butcher"). Recently I think it has been associated with masculine women.”
-“Exclusively a term for females”

3) Is butch more in the attitude of a person or in the attire they wear?

-“Attire. I think there’s a certain attitude though. Butch women seem more confident and present themselves in a positive way”
-“Both. Even though I would not categorize you as super masculine.”
-“Attitude, but the attitude of a person is shown in the clothes they wear and they way they carry themselves.”
-“Butch is not just in the attire they wear, but also hairstyle. I wouldn’t personally say a girl is butch by her attitude. She may have the attitude of a guy, but some guys like that, whether straight or LGBT.”
-“Both. One can consider his/her-self butch in attitude but dress in an opposing manner the same as one can be identified as butch by their attire. The attitude can remain throughout wardrobe changes.”

4) How would you respond to the statement, "Oh, you aren't gay. You really just want to be a man."? [Note: This is something people have said to me, and I’m sure it’s been said to others as well. I’m curious to see reactions—whether folks agree/disagree, etc.]
-“I think that’s stupid. Just ‘cause you wear jeans, sneakers, and have short hair doesn’t mean you want to be a man.”
-“I get angered by that. I mean, I think I’m feminine. Aren’t I femme? You would NEVER catch me in a fuckin’ dress. You are born that way. It’s just in you.”
-“What? What’s the difference? That’s fucked up.”
-“I think it could be true, depending on the person.”
-“False. Polar opposites in my opinion. Especially if you’re a man hater.”
-“I don't think it's appropriate for anyone else to make a statement as such. What if the person to whom you are speaking doesn't want to be a man and just likes girls? Plain and simple. Out of any context, I find this statement offensive”

5) A. Is butch a label limited to the queer community?

-“Yes, in my mind. I guess if I see a woman who fits my idea of what butch is, that there’s a greater chance they’re gay. People often assume.”
-“I would say yes.”
-“No. It applies to all communities”
-“Currently, yes.”
B. Can an individual who identifies as “straight” be considered butch?
-“Yes. Yes. Yes.”
-“Yes. It’s more of an attitude than a gender ID”
-“Absolutely! Someone can be butch regardless of gender. Can anyone "straight" be considered flamboyant?”
-“Girls can look butch despite their sexual orientation.”

6) Lastly, just for fun: When you hear the word butch, who is the first celebrity who pops into your head?
-“Ellen DeGeneres.”
-“OMG! Ellen? She’s not butch! But her eyes are fucking amazing! Oh my God…The housekeeper! On Two and Half Men! She’s even butch, and she has long hair.”
-“Rosie O’Donnell. But I wouldn’t even really consider her super butch. But at one time—yeah. No one else really stands out.”
-“Rosie O’Donnell. No idea why.”
-“Renee Zelwegger.”
-“No one. I don't associate anyone famous with this term.”

And there you have it ladies and gents. I think in my spare time, I may even ask people this just out of sheer curiosity. It is always interesting (to me, at least) to see how other individuals view a group outside of themselves. Next week I will be asking these same questions to person inside the LGBTQ community.

That being said, there is only one question that still lingers in my mind…
…Renee Zelwegger? Really??


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