Things Butch-Femme

Butch Body Image

This topic was brought up on a video vlog by Whitney of Butch Talk on Youtube. I thought it was a great subject, and one that we do not discuss much, but which needs discussing.  Butches and body image, yes, we all have our own thoughts about our bodies.  Often I hear my trans friends discussing “dysphoria” or the discontentment they have with their bodies, body parts and how they deal with those thoughts.  Seldom do I hear this discussed in the Butch community, although I know as a Butch that we also suffer with dysphoric thoughts about our own bodies.  Sure, everyone probably does in some way, maybe they don’t like their teeth, or eyes, or nose, or weight…we’ve all got something that we can isolate on our bodies and say “hey, I wish that was different.”  

As a Butch lesbian I definitely experience body dysphoria quite often.  I will go out on a limb here and say that I believe that many Butches think about their bodies with some discontentment and discomfort, but we tend to talk less about it out of our own discomfort surrounding being masucline and perhaps being mis-labeled as transgendered.

When a Butch suggests that she would like to have no breasts, or smaller breasts, we often hear the old addage “oh, so you want to be a man.” or the question “Are you trans?” comes up.  And this opens up a whole new line of explanation that no, we don’t want to be a man, but we don’t care for our own breasts and would like to change that part of our body if it’s possible.  We just don’t care for the more female aspects of our Butch bodies, breasts seem to be singled out quite often in my experience.

Personally I present to the world as a very masculine female. I enjoy a certain degree of an androgenous look, just because of how I am built to begin with.  Let me be clear though, while I would quickly change my body if I could,  I still do not wish to be a man.  Nor I do not wish to have a male body.  It’s just that I do not care for my own breasts as they are on me, and would be much more comfortable and far less self-conscious and less dysphoric with much smaller breasts, a flatter chest that isn’t the focal point of the middle of my body.  I don’t necessarily want to be “male chested” or to have a completely flat chest, but I would love to be able to have a reduction from my 36C’s to as small as I can go.  

I have been known to bind my chest, to use the underworks binders which I have purchased online at the recommendation of other Butch friends who have the same dislike for their chests.  Binders are very tight, they do the job quite nicely, but they also come with a certain degree of discomfort, make it hard to breath sometimes and have been known to do damage to one’s rib cage and constrict one’s diaphram dangerously.  I have gone to wearing good quality Nike sports bras, they make ones that are specifically for compression even. They’re much more comfortable, and while not flattening me to the point that the binder does, they do the job quite nicely.  I’m fine with having some breasts, just not the larger ones I was unfortunate to inherit with my genetics!  

I also wish I were taller. I’m a short, fairly squarely built kind of Butch.  I envy those with some good height.  I would love to be about 5′ 7″ instead of 5′ 3″ish.  …another piece of my own personal  body dysphoria.  

The chances of me doing anything about changing my body are slim to none.  The breast reduction surgery, unless it’s covered at some point by insurance down the road, is just too expensive for me to justify.  I am fine with just dealing with what I’ve been given, and feeling blessed that I am healthy and happy in life.  Yeah, they may be a pain in the brain, but it’s more important to me that I am healthy overall and there are just so many other things that I have to worry about that are just more important to me on a personal level than getting too wrapped up in my body dysphroia.  I will continue to focus on those things that I do like about myself, and focus on just trying to look good sporting the stalky little body I was given to work with through life.  It’s not sooo bad…I can deal with it.  

Now I do know that some people who get body dysphoria really bad cannot deal with it such as I have chosen to do.  I realize that my dysphoria is probably mild compared to the suffering that some go through with their bodies. I feel for them, I wish it were easier and less of a fiasco to have body corrections done.  Perhaps that day will come, with constant medical advancements things are changing every day. We just have to continue to believe and have hope for ourselves and others.  

In the meantime, I will live life to the best of my ability.  Be who I am, just as I am.  I’ll keep trying to look into the mirror and remind myself that I am a good Butch with a good heart and that counts more in the long run.  Image

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9 thoughts on “Butch Body Image”

  1. You are a good butch and a good person just the way you are. I’m not sure anyone out there is entirely happy with the packaging they were born in. But it is important to regard yourself kindly and with as much unconditional love and consideration to yourself as you so freely offer others. You’re all right Ang! 😉

  2. Great post! I’ve often thought that one of things I have in common with my straight women and femme friends is the “I don’t like my hips and my breasts” set of thoughts. Sometimes I think about how I look in the mirror compared to how I look in my mind’s eye and I get ticked off that I can’t easily change it. I can’t get taller (5’4) I can’t get rid of the curves without starving myself, and I can only put on so much muscle at the gym (not enough to really change my shape). I’ve got to do the best with what I’ve got, and rely on clothes and body language to do the rest.

  3. Good blog post. I like the way you have presented a complicated issue.

    My current partner does bind & would have reduction surgery if it was affordable. This isn’t because she/hy wants to become a he exactly, but as a way to feel more integrated with the being masculine in a female body. C identifies as a boi vs. as a butch & does relate to being genderqueer, but not trans.

    I’m the type of femme who is very attracted to female masculinity & regardless of what terms a female bodied, masculine energy person uses to ID, to me, female masculinity is female masculinity. The majority of my partners over my many years of being “out” have had some level of body dysphoria in relationship to their breasts & sometimes their menses. Some were into binding & some not. None of them wanted to become men or felt like they were men born into a female body, no matter how masculine they’ve felt & were in presentation. For some, their own breasts were/are no touch zones, for others sensation was so limited that touch didn’t matter, for one or two touch was welcomed.

    I have learned to be very respectful & supportive of whatever view a partner has. I have learned that the issues related to gender presentation dysphoria have qualities that are distinctly different & significant in ways that are much deeper than my own body size & weight dysphoria. I am really glad that this a topic that more people are willing to be open to talking about, for I think it is a very common & normal experience amongst lesbians who are male of center.

  4. Wow! when I first started reading this I didn’t understand or relate at all, but I really wanted to so that I could apply it to my own experiences. And then in a moment your situation made sense to me. You want people to see you as a female, but as a butch female not a femme female, but people incorrectly associate breasts (especially large ones) with femininity and that lie / errant association attacks your pride as a sexy butch woman, but it hurts b’c it feels like something about you is in contradiction to your personality which really isnt possible. Of course it also could be the body image and just wanting to make the change for appearance. But there is definitely an association with butch women having small or barely visible breasts. I am a transsexual woman still living with all the male characteristics of the body I was born with…I definitely have personal experience with dysphoria LOTS of dysphoria lol which I thought was exclusive to us transfolk. But I’ve come to realize that if people understood and perceived me perfectly by appearance only then people would not have to talk to me ever for anything b’c they’ve already perceived me perfectly without the need to communicate. My point is that it is not realistic to expect people to judge you (as a book) by your cover and know your chapters without reading them. A book is still worth reading even if the dog chews the cover. The lie of judgement is that one thing is valuable compared to another thing making that other thing useless. If you had a sirloin in front off you but could only use one knife, you would pick the steak knife over the butter knife. But in our minds we throw out the other choice as having no value…the butter knife isn’t valuable for cutting steak but throw out all your butter knives and try having toast in the morning, 5’7 is more valuable than 5’4 (if you had a choice) but 5’4 is valuable b’c it’s not 4’11. You will always be short compared to someone tall and be tall compared to someone short. I’m 5’10 I’d rather be 5’7 myself but being that height doesn’t keep me from being a beautiful femme it just makes me a tall beautiful femme. THE TRUTH: YOU CAN’T CHOOSE HOW YOU LOOK, YOU CAN CHOOSE HOW YOU THINK AND THEREFORE FEEL ABOUT HOW YOU LOOK. So judge the thing you are as being the best because the reality you want is not here but the one you have is.

  5. Hi I’m a tomboy and a lesbian some people ask me if I’m boy or girl because I’m have small boobs and I need ask if I was in a right toilet and I like my haircut short and wear boy clothes

  6. All women are taught to hate their bodies. It’s such a complicated thing to be a lesbian and find women’s bodies beautiful, and simultaneously struggle with your own. Thanks for this post.

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