Butch-Femme Misconceptions

Being butch, I get a lot of weird ideas about my sexual identity. One is the ever popular heterosexualized game “Who’s the boy and who’s the girl?” In bed, they mean. Like only ONE person is ever allowed to do penetration and only ONE person is allowed to be penetrated. It’s very unimaginative, and probably one of the better reasons they should stay to boring het sex.

But when you’re a shy boi who wears the pants, immediately it’s assumed that you’re the penetrator and your more girly sweetie is the one with her legs in the air. And yeah, there are a lot of butches and femmes who operate like that, and good for them. But just because some of us do that doesn’t mean we’re all like that.

I’m a bottom. That doesn’t mean I’m not into strapping it on or lubing up my fist, but for me, what really does it is some luscious femme with a big silicone boner under her skirt (or pants, or overalls, or whatever she likes to wear). Some people say this means you’re not a butch, to which I say bullshit. Masculine men and women everywhere like penetration, and I don’t think it means you have to start wearing lipstick.

What other butch misconceptions are out there? Hmm. That we’re pretend men or want to be men. Yeah, it has to be said that there are a number of butches who eventually embrace their own maleness and come out as fully fledged FTM’s. But that doesn’t mean ALL butches want to be men. A lot of us are happy in our female bodies, even as we do shop in the men’s section.

Coming out as butch was really confusing, because I think I’m so gender complicated. I tried wearing boy undawears because I thought it was expected of me, but in reality I feel way hotter wearing ridiculously feminine bras and panties. Plus boy gaunch were way too contricting around my ample girl thighs. Elaborate lacy things underneath a veneer of masculinity is HOT HOT HOT, and some of my partners have thought so too. I still remember the terrific thrill I got when a lover of mine tore off my button up shirt and found a fancy green and black lace brassiere underneath. And I remember how my femme lover was always enamoured of my pink frilly panties she would find under my jeans.

That all being said, sometimes I do like stuffing things down my pants. My favorite all time stuffer was a banana covered in a condom. As the day progressed it got mushier and mushier, until I finally threw it away, condom and all, into a garbage can at Emily Carr. I wouldn’t be surprised if a hungry art student fished it out and ate it.

Off topic: Once at Emily Carr there was a garbage sign with a label which read “This is Art, not a Garbage Can.” People threw garbage in it anyway.

One other thing I hate about butch misconceptions is that we’re traitors to the female of the species. I think we’re actually an integral part of the female experience. We’ve been on the vanguard of many political movements, and not just the queer rights movement. I hate that butch is considered an insult by some queers of my generation.

But what about femmes, you may ask?

Femme misconceptions run just as rampant, if not more so. I think the biggest complaint I’ve heard from my femme lovers has been how hard it is for them to be recognized as queers, not only by straight people, but by queer people too. I remember one time I was necking with my high femme lover in a Scotiabank ATM when some dude from ECIAD walked by. She started doing something else while I chatted with him.

“She’s not gay,” he told me, even after her tongue was down my throat right in front of him.

“No, she’s bisexual.”

“No she’s not, she’s straight.” He’d never even talked to her but because she was a femme, apparently she couldn’t like pussy.

But it happens with dykes too, ESPECIALLY if you’re lover’s bisexual. Because it’s assumed that they won’t ever consider a girl as a serious long term partner. And there are some bisexuals who lean more towards one side than the other, but you never really know what will happen when love just clicks.

I think my current favorite theorist on butches is Judith Halberstam. If you haven’t read her work you should really check it out. I’d like to read some femme theory if I can get my hands on it, but with no dedicated homo book store in S’toon, I’m open to recommendations so I can order some in.

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  1. I hear you on this one. I’m rather femme-looking myself (I even were pastel pink) but I sometimes dress as a punky boy. I had a fairly good reaction from most of my friends when I started but people definately didn’t understand it. There seems to be the idea that you are always either butch or femme (or androgynous, although most people call that butch too) and that you can’t switch it up. I got sneered at by some f/t butches as a poser, and some of my femme friends wanted reassurance that I wasn’t going to do this all the time. Mostly, though, the people who weren’t freaked out (which was only a couple of people, actually) that it was, hmm, cute I guess. It was a lot like, “aww, you’re dressing as a boy today. That’s so adorably progressive of you.” Haha, I don’t really know what to make of that. I did find that as a femme I typically get smiles from strangers on the street, and as a butch (I’d say boy, but everyone tells me I’d never pass) I get a lot more scowls and wierd looks.
    What I find most refreshing about your entry, though, is your take on bisexuals. Being a busty blonde bisexual, I’m often regarded as a slutty, “straight man’s” bisexual. I’m just here to give all those horny straight men threesomes. And obviously, being femme, I’m assumed to be more into guys than girls, and in fact it seems to be assumed that I only get involved with girls than there’s a man present. I’m fairly lucky with the friends I have and the people I know, but I still get my bisexuality brushed off unless it’s in the context of group sex. Most people don’t say anything like that outright, but it’s certainly there in the way they discuss my sexuality: “Guys must be so into you!”, and “You’re Bi? That’s so hot!” And of course there’s that typical roll-of-the-eyes “She’s just sayiong that to get attention from men” look.
    Anyway, I just thought I’d add my little rants to yours. 🙂

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