Guest Blogger: Butchwonders
After I posted my index of blog topics for the past year, a Twitter follower mentioned that “femmes” aren’t in the index. I’d considered including femmes as a separate topic, but decided this would be redundant, since so much of my writing on relationship and dating pertains to femmes and butch-femme relationships. (I list butch-butch relationships separately, though, since they tend to be much more of an exception than a rule.)
Still, that tweet got me thinking more specifically about the reasons I love femmes, even though I rarely date them myself. Here are a few big ones:
- Femmes take straight people out of their comfort zones, showing them that not everyone in the queer community “looks” gay. When an attractive femme mentions her girlfriend, she can take people by surprise in a way that someone who “reads” gay (e.g., yours truly) cannot (well, unless I mention that I have an ex-husband).
- Femmes appreciate butch attractiveness. This makes me feel awesome, especially since the butch aesthetic is not always appreciated in the wider world. Whether it’s a femme friend who compliments my tie or a femme stranger who smiles at me in the bookstore, it’s a wonderful feeling to know that someone “gets” (and likes) your look.
- Femmes often smell nice. It is a scientifically proven fact that femmes, on average, smell better than butches. I like it when people smell nice.
- Femmes help butches dress better. Yes, there are some dapper fashion mavens among us, but not all butches have a talent for fashion (as a single visit to any lesbian bar quickly makes clear). It’s a boon to our community that femmes provide great fashion advice to their butch friends and lovers.
- Femmes remind us that embracing a female masculinity is not the same thing as replicating a heterosexual dynamic or acting out the mainstream gender binary. Typical hetero memes are so plentiful that sometimes butches start acting out the “dude” stereotype even if they don’t mean to–and when we do, femmes call bullshit.
- Femmes help “break the ice” for lesbian representation in mainstream media. While it can be super frustrating to see only feminine lesbians represented, I have to wonder if lesbians would be on the big screen at all if it wasn’t for femmes.
- Femmes add to the gorgeous diversity of the queer community, endlessly reminding us that it’s not necessary for gay women to look or act or dress or speak a certain way. They deal with “invisibility” as queers, and have to come out over and over again to be recognized for who they are. That takes a lot of guts.
Ivan taught the L Word Actresses how to act lesbian