What Is A Butch? Part 3: Not Trans-Anything

November 9, 2009 at 6:21 AM (Uncategorized) ()

A blunt summary of the concluding point of the previous post is that gender does not exist except as a tool of oppression and a cultural fiction.

Proper conceptualizations of any given phenomenon must eschew patriarchal language. To my absolute horror, I have read people try to paint butchness as a “gender identity,” usually some type of transgender. Aside from the fact that (in the U.S., at least) butchness does not have the cultural stamp of approval that is the fundamental component of any gender, and is thus not a gender at all, the term “transgender” is problematic from a feminist perspective because it defines people in terms of the patriarchy’s (fictional, harmful) categories. It reifies gender with the claim that those so labeled transcend/cross/etc. it(depending on the sense of “trans-” implied). While it is sometimes useful to describe using patriarchal terms in order to underscore opposition to the default or expected patriarchal order, there can be nothing healthy about a personal identity or a definition expressed or conceptualized in patriarchal terms. Besides, the patriarchally-brainwashed point out that butches aren’t like “regular women” every chance they get – they don’t need the help.

Perhaps more horrifying is the use of “butch/ftm,” as if there is some sort of connection between the two. This sometimes rests on the idea that both butches and ftms exist on the same “spectrum.” Spectrum of what, though? Some say masculinity, but, masculinity being nothing more than a patriarchal wet dream, no such spectrum exists.



  1. C said,

    You should really publicize this blog like mad, it seems to have the beginnings of something most excellent.

  2. Eryhornhing said,

    I’m often searching for brand-new articles in the WWW about this issue. Thankz!

  3. FeistyAmazon said,

    Butch is a FEMALE LESBIAN identity, none other. Not a trans identity, not an FTM identity, we ARE NOT interchangeable parts, or even an MTF who can’t completely fit into girly girl identity(yes even MTF’s have tried to rip off ‘Butch’). Butch Dykes want to be with other Dykes, whether it’s other Butches, Femmes or in betweeners…as long as they’re female. Butches don’t fuck men, because again Butch is distinctly a LESBIAN identity. We resist feminization, always have, some of us identify more with the male role, clothing, accoutrements because we don’t feel empowered identifying with feminine items, but inside and outside we still maintain OUR RECOGNIZABLE FEMALENESS. It is NOT o.k. to be a feral Female who doesn’t fit into feminized patriarchal roles or appearance. Some of these words may pertain to some or all of us: Amazon/Fierce/Masculine(NOT MALE)/Aggressive/Protective/nonconforming/nonfeminine/Wild/Untamed, but still ALL WOMON!

    Many Butches in the past, and sometimes presently have had to ‘pass’ as men for sheer survival, or just the opposite, had to ‘femme it up a bit’ to get a job, and dress more Butch on our own time….some of us have compromised neither way, and took the shit it takes to be out about who we are: Womon loving Butch Dyke FEMALES who don’t ‘fit in’ to feminized female roles, attitudes or appearances.

    We ARE NOT FTM’s and we don’t want to be men, like we’re constantly accused of wanting to be. That is precisely the difference between Butches and FTM’s. To some, they may see it as a matter of degree, but a Butch is still proud to be a strong Dyke Female, unfeminine, inhabiting our space just the way we are, despite the discrimination and sometimes even hate in the world against us which tries to invisibilize us. This doesn’t just include the hetero world, which tries to erase us at every turn since we’re very visibly Lesbian by our appearance, but also the trans movement where it’s still more acceptable to ‘fit in’ and pass and become ‘male’, and completely male appearing, i.e in some manner hetero appearing. rather than the defiant feisty women we are: Butch Dykes/Women Loving Women!

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