I’ll tell you a secret. I’ve always felt uncomfortable with the word “butch.” I had never been able to figure out why. It hadn’t made any sense to me, because I liked butches, liked them a lot. Since I couldn’t figure out why I felt that way, I had decided that it must have been some irrational love/hate thing or something, and kept on using that word when I wanted to talk about certain women. I even started this blog to talk about them. It’s sort of a handy word, or at least it was for me, because I’ve always felt that I had trouble making myself understood when I tried to describe or discuss the sort of women it refers to.
I was googling this evening and trying to find some information about these women, and using another, clunkier term that I don’t like, “non-feminine,” and in one of the search results I found this quote by Margaret from AROOO on a post by Undercover Punk:
I completely agree about “female masculinity,” Amy. Anything that makes “unfeminine” (ie, not submissive in behavior or dress) a MARKED form of femaleness is anti-radical-feminism. For me, the word “butch” does the same thing, and is built upon the same model of “feminine” (submissive in behavior or dress) as “normal female.”
…and that is a large part of what had been bothering me about the word all along. I don’t know why that was so difficult for me to figure out.
Another thing that bothers me is the use of the word as a distinguishing descriptor, i.e., these women are butch, as distinguished from womyn in general. Womyn who are referred to as butch aren’t different from womyn in general in any way that is notable (except to the patriarchy). They don’t have some special inherent characteristics that no other womyn have. They have simply rejected society’s role for womyn, and, on an intellectual level at least, any other woman in the world can do the same (although they may have more or less trouble living their lives in accordance with that).
So that’s it for me. No more rattling on and on about “butches.”