Man! Has language changed some radically since I’ve been walking this green earth. Daily I am surprised by the “new” use of “old” words; the newer definitions and meanings of some. Start with the word we all know and use in a zillion different ways: Queer. Now we know the dictionary meaning to be “odd or unusual” to be short. But then we all know the meaning when it’s used to describe someone’s sexual preference for the same sex…i.e. “He/she is queer as a three dollar bill.” meaning that he/she is gay…another word…Gay….now that is supposed to mean “happy and joyful” by the dictionary, but when used to describe me it means I like pussy, and I’m a bit queer.
Today’s LGBT world (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, for those who may not really know what the letters represent, seriously.) Yes, where was I …in today’s world we are constantly changing up language. It’s a far cry from what it was like in the 70’s when I was growing up. Or the 80’s when I was just coming out and defying the world with my gayness.
There are so many words now to describe or to define who one is in the world. I could not possibly do justice to all of them here, but I will take a stab at a few of the more common ones just for fun.
There’s the all famous Butch. The definition of Butch varies so widely now that I am not sure if I am even still Butch! Hell, it seemed easy when I finally did define myself as such, it felt wholesome and right. I was a masculine presenting woman. Butch. It is my identity, my definition of me. But what it means to me and what it means to other people can really be confusingly different. I define Butch for myself as a masculine woman. A woman who is more comfortable walking the masculine side of the binary, but who is not a man and does not necessarily want to be a man. (Some people are convinced that all Butch women secretly just want to be men – both straight people and other LGBT people have been known to say this more than once). I want to wear my jeans and workboots; flannel shirts are a must to my Butch wardrobe. I don’t walk like a girl, or talk like one. My voice is very deep, raspy and quite often mistaken for a male voice on the phone. Plain and simple for me, it’s just how I was constructed by life. I am a masculine woman, a Butch to the core. Of course, this is just my definition and will certainly vary from yours or someone elses.
Femme is another widely varying word. It’s gained some serious notoriety and popularity in the last 10 years I believe. We have had the word Butch for so long and it’s been more popular for the last 100 years than I think Femme has been. In my experience I didn’t really have a word for the type of women that I found super attractive until I discovered the word “Femme”. To me Femme means a very feminine presenting woman. A woman who revels in the glories of being very feminine appearing, acting and who is often attracted to her polar opposite – the Butch. (I know this is not always the case, I am aware that Butch/Femme is only one dynamic, and that there are others, please don’t shoot me).
Now there are all these fun descriptive words that you can throw together with Butch and Femme. There’s about 100 ways to be Butch or to dilute it, which ever you think is happening. Personally, I think the dilution factor is more of what is taking place. Historically we know that the Butch-femme dynamic kind of started as a cover so that women could see one another and appear to be a hetero couple…they were hiding from the law and society basically. There’s a LOT more to the history than this, I am seriously over simplifying here for brevity.
Today we have baby Butches, Tomboi Butches, Soft Butches, Hard Butches, Stone Butches, Daddi Butches, etc. etc. I am sure I have missed a dozen or so other types here…but you should get the gist of where I am going with this. It’s a hard thing to just say Butch is Butch nowadays, because there are so many layers and depths to each “type”. If you look in Wikipedia or do a Google search for any one of the types you are bound to come up with more reading than you probably need to get to the point. You can be whatever you choose, and you can define it in any way you want along the squiggly line of the binary.
Same with the femmes, you have the high femmes, diva femmes, lipstick lesbians, queer femmes, and that list goes on and on as well. I am not as familiar with it as I am with the Butch side of things, obviously and for obvious reasons. All I know is that I really love femme women. And the way they embody their femininity is up to each one of them, they can put on a baseball cap and pull the pony tail through the back and still be a diva femme. It’s all in the attitude I have come to realize with femmes. They have this great attitude about femininity and they revel in it.
Today’s younger crowd has a ton of other new words too that I just don’t understand. I’ve come to the realization that I am too old for some of this new wording. But I want to learn!
Personally, I used to identify as a Stone Butch. I am not so sure about seriously identifying with the “stone” part any longer. I’m just not sure exactly what stone means to me now. I know that I am not a “touch me not” Butch, as the word “stone” is supposed to imply in some circles. I don’t care for some things; for some forms of touch, but I do like to be loved on quite a lot! I enjoy sex, and sometimes I think the the inference to “stone” is that he/she is not someone who likes to be touched or who enjoys any kind of sexual touch. I have to say I enjoy both. While I have my limitations, and my boundaries that doesn’t negate the fact that I am human and need human interaction and touch. Hell, I love sex.
Stone is a word that gets thrown around a lot more as I’ve noticed lately. I even see it in reference to “stone femmes” now, which I never encountered before say the last year or so. I’m not sure of how that definition would read or what it would be. Perhaps one of you readers have more information on this one, or some anecdotes to share on it. I see it on Fetlife quite often and wonder about it.
So, these are my more random thoughts for today’s blog. I was just pondering word-smithing and how radically language in the gay community has changed over the decades. Words seem to come into fashion and fade just as quickly sometimes. It’s interesting as fuck. You may see me write a bit more about this, perhaps from a more serious angle next time, tonight I am in a fun mood and wanted to keep it fairly light.