"What do people think “butch” means? What are the stereotypes around being butch? What do people assume is true about you [or about your masculine of center friends], but actually isn’t? What image or concept do you constantly have to correct or fight against? How do you feel about these misconceptions? How do you deal with them? Do you respond to these stereotypes or cliches? How?"
Butches hate men. Butches drive motorcycles. Butches wear leather jackets. Butches are the “man” in the relationship and perform all the “male” duties. Butches work with their hands. Butches aren’t intellectuals. Butches can only have short hair in a men’s style. Butches like beer and sports. Butches are mean. Butches cannot access their feelings. Butches want to be men. Butches will only date Femmes and do not date other Butches. Butches are (always) the sexually dominant ones. Butches only wear masculine attire. Butches under the age of thirty do not exist.
I think the very first assumption is that if you’re a woman who presents masculine of center, is that you must be a lesbian. This is perhaps true a lot of the time, due to homosexual being “alternative” there is more room for gender expression in that community. But as Franky Fitzgerald of the new Skins generation has shown us, one does not have to love girls to feel most comfortable wearing masculine attire. Assumptions specifically about me are tough due to my soft butch look. More people would rather assume I am like them, straight and gender normative, than see me as I truly am and present.
The assumption that strikes me the most is that Butches cannot be intellectuals. When I look at the representations of Butches in the media, I cringe. A Butch can’t be a doctor, or a lawyer, and if she’s a professor she’s a women’s studies professor.
Any misconceptions I hear about butch women I personally respond back to, but I’m afraid I’m not brought into those discussions. I present “normal” enough, which means I’m “safe”, which also means I don’t provoke those types of questions. And it bugs me. I want to get into the fight. I want to support my Butch brothers and sisters.
I finish answering these questions with a question of my own. What is that line between “normal” presenting and “Butch” presenting? Or what has it been for you guys?