The passing of Leslie Feinberg has opened up whole new conversations surrounding Butch and Transmasculine identity.
I would like to share in parts of that conversation here and I think it’s appropriate that this blog is called Butch 2.0, it’s time to reinvent a new Butch, a 2015 Butch and it’s time to take back our identity, to wake up and for us to ban together and form a more cohesive union. It’s time to recogize the Femme in the Butch/Femme relationship, and not just focus on the Butch.
I reached to buy a new copy of Stone Butch Blues today online, and was astonished to find the cheapest copy on Barnes & Noble for a little over $67 usd for the reprint in paperback…so even the booksellers have realized the commodity of that book; the book that changed so many lives over the decades. A book about the 1960’s that resonates in 2014. I also found collector copies on eBay for over $269. usd which is ridiculous. I want the book again, but I’m not willing to pay scalper prices for it. I will wait.
So what does reinventing Butch look like in 2015 and beyond? What have we learned from everything to this point?
We talk about “Old Fashioned, Old School” Butches (and Femmes, but I shall focus on the Butch side for this piece). OFOS was a term coined by someone on one of the 90’s Butch-Femme social networking sites (perhaps, Butch-Femme.com? I am not sure) It meant that those who followed the OFOS “rules” would look, act and be like those Butches of yore. They were to be stone, tough, mean and commanding. Yet they knew how to “treat a lady” as it was said. Stone was a prerequisite it seemed, if you weren’t stone you couldn’t possibly be OFOS because they were ALL stone, meaning they all averted sexually intimate touch. (make a glossary)
I get asked a million questions about being Butch. I am lousy in verbal expression. I’m much better with written word, and the time to formulate my words. When I am put on the spot to answer an out of the blue sort of question I am often at a loss for the right words.
The world changes and so do we. Very few Butches today live truly as OFOS Butches, unless they are still of the age to recall such people, or if they are very well into the history of the Butch/Femme movement in lesbian history. The days of back door entries into the honkey tonks that would hide them, the cross dressing Butches that had to look like men to be safer in the world. Those who were beaten for not wearing at least 3 pieces of female clothing, those were the OFOS Butches of yore.
Today we have a new Butch. Once that’s more comfortable in Levi’s jeans, Timberland work boots and flannel shirts. Sunday or wedding dress up is a nicely taylored suit and tie. Haircuts are almost standardly crew in nature. Hoodie sweatshirts will work until the temperature drops below 30F, then we need to don that leather jacket or Carhardtt foremens coat. It’s the pretty typical look for the New England style Butch for sure. At least in my world. There are just certain things that are practical in life and a good Butch is one of them.
Oh there are variations…the cargo shorts and polo shirt with Nike’s types…younger, maybe a baseball hat on cocked to one side and a lip piercing….I’m young, cutting edge and ready to roll. That’s what that look says to me. They’re cute and I want them all for little brothers.
Then there are the super snappy dressers, who I can tell a mile away that they have very little common sense or experience. They may have experience with having it easy picking up women, but once the women figure out that they are more into themselves than anything or anyone else, they drop them pretty hot. I never wonder why they are single, it’s just obvious to me.
There is beginning to form a group of Butches that have had top surgery or a major top side reduction. This was a big topic in 2014. I had mine done in August. I know I got both good and bad feedback on that move..but did it does it make me any more or less Butch? Some say it does, some say it’s an afront to my female body, some say by doing it I want to be in transition to be a guy, and some say hey, it’s your body do what you want. Lots of us who are choosing this surgery are getting the same kind of feedback I am sure. There are entire hateful blogs and vlogs concerning how evil getting top surgery is. They’ll scare ya to death unless you understand the truth that it’s just cosmetic surgery and it’s up to the person who wants it, period. For me it was the best thing I ever did for myself. I was uncomfortable with my chest for years, and now I am completely comfortable. I love having my shirt off and it’s so comfortable to sleep half naked….yeah, it makes me much more happy and comfortable with my body in general.
I do hope that maybe we can have more conversation about this among more Butch bloggers. I’d really like to know other experiences and the such around top surgery.
CALL OUT!!!! I would like to know all of the very BEST in Butch and Trans-masculine writing on the web, blogs, vlogs, whatever and wherever. If you know of any please put them or links in the comments below or contact me directly. I am trying to work on compiling a really thorough list of excellent resource blogs and bloggers interested in community participation.