Explanation of types of lesbians – butch and femme

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Explanation of types of lesbians – butch and femme

  1. 1. Explanation of types of lesbians – Butch and Femme
  2. 2. <ul><li>Butch and femme are terms describing masculine and feminine traits, style, behavior, self-perception, expression and so on.
  3. 3. Their use is often in the lesbian, bisexual and gay subcultures.
  4. 4. Similar term, en femme, is frequently used in the crossdressing community.
  5. 5. Butch and femme can sometimes be used to categorize identities of gay or lesbian individuals in terms that are analogous to heterosexual gender roles. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Butch represents the traditionally male role and femme the traditional female role.
  7. 7. Some gay or lesbian couples may comprise a butch-identified individual and a femme-identified individual.
  8. 8. Not all gays or lesbians identify as &quot;butch&quot; or &quot;femme.&quot;
  9. 9. Lesbian relationships do not require these two identities to comprise them.
  10. 10. Many lesbian individuals and couples cannot be described accurately in these terms. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Femme is French word woman.
  12. 12. The word butch, meaning &quot;tough kid&quot; may have been coined by abbreviating the word butcher.
  13. 13. Butch gained the sense &quot;male-like lesbian&quot; in the 1940s.
  14. 14. A masculine person of either sex can be described as butch.
  15. 15. Stereotypes and definitions of butch and femme vary greatly. </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Butch is usually understood as masculinity displayed by a female-bodied individual beyond what would be considered typical of a tomboy.
  17. 17. It is quite common for females with a butch appearance to be disapproved socially.
  18. 18. Lesbian femdom dating has had varying levels of acceptance throughout the 20th century.
  19. 19. People who prefer 'femme on femme' and 'butch on butch' relationships face discrimination and cultural repression within their own cultures. </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>This is notable in cultures where masculine tops who have sex with feminine bottoms or trans women are considered straight.
  21. 21. Alternate conceptualizations of femme or butch persons suggest that butch and femme are not attempts to take up &quot;traditional&quot; gender roles.
  22. 22. Lesbian historian Joan Nestle argues that femme and butch may be seen as distinct genders in and of themselves. </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Prior to the middle of the 20th century in Western culture, homosexual societies were mostly underground or secret.
  24. 24. This makes it difficult to determine how long butch and femme roles have been practiced by women.
  25. 25. There are photos of butch-femme couples between 1910 and 1920 in the United States.
  26. 26. Back then they were called &quot;transvestites&quot;
  27. 27. These roles date back at least to the beginning of the 20th century. </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>These roles were particularly prominent in the working-class lesbian bar culture of the 1940s, '50s, and '60s.
  29. 29. Back then, butch-butch and femme-femme were taboo.
  30. 30. In the 1940s in the U.S., most butch women were forced to wear feminine clothes in order to keep their jobs. </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>In 1950s saw the rise of a new generation of butches wore butch attire full-time, or as close to full-time as possible.
  32. 32. This often limited them to a few jobs (factory work and cab driving for example).
  33. 33. This led to an increase in violent attacks on gay and bisexual women
  34. 34. The increasingly strong and defiant bar culture became more willing to respond with force. </li></ul>
  35. 35. <ul><li>In the 1970s, some feminist theorists pronounced &quot;butch-femme&quot; roles politically incorrect
  36. 36. They believed that all butch/femme dynamics by necessity imitated hetero-sexist gender roles.
  37. 37. This led to butch-femme relationships being driven underground.
  38. 38. Antipathy toward female butches and male femmes could be interpreted as transphobia. </li></ul>
  39. 39. <ul><li>Plenty of young people today in queer communities eschew butch or femme classifications.
  40. 40. Some other have tailored the common labels to be more descriptive (soft stud, hard butch, gym queen, tomboy femme).
  41. 41. Today it is normal that not all butches are attracted exclusively to femmes and not all femmes are exclusively attracted to butches (a departure from the historic norm). </li></ul>

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