Drumming Amazon

Drumming Amazon
Drumming DykeAmazon

Big Dyke from SF Dyke March

Big Dyke from SF Dyke March

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

To Marjaerwin: About Butchness and Being a Butch Dyke

Marjaerwin, I'm not sure what you mean that 'if I ever was butch, I don't think I can be butch.' Either you are, or you aren't. I knew I was a 'masculine female' from a very young age. It took me all the way to college to then figure out I was a Lesbian, partly coming into the women's/lesbian movement on campus(Feminist Alliance/Lesbian Caucus) and my own proclivities when it no longer worked out with men...and my only male attractions were to gay men...and by watching their coming out process, I realized I was attracted emotionally to my best friend, and always had been to my best female friends. But for me, I never thought of it as sexual...until college.

Well back to 'Butchness'. I was a hardcore tomboy, I didn't relate to the female roles or role models laid down for me. I much more identified with Captain Kirk and his strength, adventures and power than I did with almost all the female roles depicted on television with the exception of Wonder Woman. Not the scantily clad outfit she wore, but her power and strength and ESPECIALLY when she went home to her 'Island of Women', her Amazon tribe! That fueled my fire. Also reading Greek mythology and identifying with the Goddess Artemis who I connect with to this very day...that I wanted to run away to Her refuge in the forest, like some of the Greek girls did, so they could be free amongst each other and in the woods, and not enslaved in a Greek marriage. And of course the stories of the ancient Amazons......

But back then there were very few role models. At age 7 I rejected dolls, age 10, dresses, at age 12 I announced to my beloved grandfather that I would never get married(to a man), have a baby or have sex...well 2 out of 3 I kept....I didn't realize my aversion to sex was in relating to men...but neither did I want to be anybody's 'wife'. I did marry legally my equally Butch partner though, here in California.

I identified with all the male roles, all the male forms of dress because I found most things about girls and women to be humilating and drudgery, talk of babies and housework and propping up male egos. I wanted the power, the action and adventure that men and boys got to experience, and I fought my way into boys environments where I got to have those things, but still experienced much discrimination for 'being a girl'. From exploring the alleyways in New York City, bike riding, playing baseball with them, to being the only girl on the hockey team when I moved to Colorado, in fact, in the entire league, cuz I didn't want to be left out, and eventually into the martial arts, which has been my niche ever since.

I've done these things and came into these sports/arts at an early age, with a Butch Dyke sensibility, proud of my Tomboy status...I hated the sissy stuff, I hated being dressed up in dresses.

Eventually when I was most confused, and right before I came out, a male therapist asked if I wanted to 'be a man', that is, with a penis. I thought about that for a week, and was so grossed out by their protruberances, and ALWAYS HAVE BEEN, that it's not the equipment I wanted, but the power, the ability to move in the world, to wear anything I wanted to that made me feel strong and powerful, to DO anything I wanted without being limited by sex.

Fortunately I found Feminism at age 9, and it burned within me...that was the very beginning of the Feminist movement in NYC, and when the girls I carpooled with to school spoke of it, the hope of FINALLY becoming equal and having the exact same privileges men and boys get to enjoy, burned within me. That women and girls ARE equal, powerful and strong, just like the Greek Goddesses, especially Artemis, that I was studying in 5th and 6th grade. I understood the Greek religion through Greek mythology better than my own Judaism...and read stories every single day before classes started....I LOVED the idea of Female diety, though nobody else around me actively worshipped it....strong powerful Females with special powers who had their own agency!

Butchness is like that...many of us are born to it, it's who we are, we resist and reject feminisation. Maybe we see too clearly the raw deal that most women and girls get, and WE REFUSE at a very young age to kowtow to those pressures. We then identify with the more empowered of the two sexes...since we know no other way to be.

Fortunately, these days there are far more role models, like K.D. Lang, who as a Butch sang beautifully in her pants, vest and jacket, at the Vancouver Olympics Opening Ceremony, fully Dyke, Female and Butch! Or Ellen who is more androgynous...soft butch or an androgyne....but still tomboyish, with her own talk show, but there aren't too many other Butch/Masculine/Tomboyish/Amazon Lesbian role models on high levels. Even at the Olympics we're often invisibilized, something that continually happens to Butches, to masculine women, women who resist femininity and feminisation, but STILL POWERFULLY FEMALE in OUR OWN Amazonian ways....

We exist in every nation throughout the world, but we're heavily suppressed by the powers that be. I mean, I watched the American female hockey skaters battling the Chinese and the Swedish teams, and I noticed under their masks EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM HAD MAKEUP ON! I mean, come on, that would NEVER be asked of the guys...makeup on when you're sweating hard on the ice? But that's how much Butchness and overt Dykeness is feared. I HUNGER for Butch images that are fully empowering, and there's part of me that feels this is part of the reason so many transition to FTM, because they don't see these images, and they're so heavily suppressed by media, plus the discrimination on a daily basis us Butches experience.

Either you are, or you aren't and if you are, you'll know it inside, cuz femininity is fine on other womyn, to each their own, but not for me.....give me my jeans, corduroy, cotton t shirts, flannels, and leather....

-In Sisterhood,


  1. I have to begged to differ on Lang being Butch, she's not even close. Total dyke is more like.


  2. Well, that's the thing... I was assigned male at birth. I was raised male. I survived male puberty. I remember when I was seven I felt I wanted to be a tomboy and my best friend was one, but I figured I had to make do with being a boy. I AM trans.

    Perhaps butchness and masculinity, among others, begin with the same basic temperament, which is then shaped by different social expectations while growing up, different hormones during puberty, etc. as well as different relationships to male privilege.

    But growing up, I was seen as a not-quite-boy. I was not seen as a girl. During puberty, I endured the same hormones as the boys around me. I felt lost, adrift. I did not, could not, feel happy. I later began transition. I feel happy again. But I have faced pressure to feminize myself - outwardly, to start wearing makeup to pass better, and to start wearing skirts, and to adopt certain mannerisms - and it's hard to tell how much of my reluctance comes from my temperament and how much comes from the internalization of male taboos.

    P.S. I realize that this may come off as an attempt to appropriate butch identity. I am trying to figure out how to express my own identity - it's not my choice whether anyone else considers it butch or considers it something else - and something of butchness seems right to me.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. I did not intend to sidetrack the discussion. I only meant to say that I'm not directly engaged in the other debate. That said, it may be worth suggesting more ways for those of us who are not butches (noun) to do right by butch (adj) aspects in ourselves.

  5. I've ALWAYS seen K.D. Lang as Butch and as a total Dyke, but not the part early on, before I knew about her, when she wore those funny outfits and skirts to 'fit in'. Even then, like most Butches trying to 'pass' as straight or not sure where they 'fit in' before coming out fully as a Butch Dyke, she came to her senses...I've seen her as both fully a Dyke and fully Butch...much more so than any other Dyke at her level of publicity and notoriety.

    Damn, I LOVED seeing her in her white suit singing "Hallelujah" for the Olympics that was just in Vancouver! I saw it empowering for Butch Dykes everywhere, FINALLY some visibility!

  6. Im like that in the sense that i reject femininity, i could never fit in as one of the lads though as i cannot cope with the level of aggression that goes on with boys. Ive considered myself ftm before, but now i know im not. I dont want to be a man and spend my life with a straight woman and around men. I am more inbetween, and some people see me as feminine others view me as masculine. I did spend a lot of years wanting to be male, but now i look back on all that as a waste and wish instead i had spent it building an identity as a masculine woman. I always thought i was a feminist, but most feminists appear to be on a different page to me. I do struggle with the fact that there appears to be no space for masculine women, other then fitting in as one of the lads and listening to all the woman bashing that goes on in these spaces. But on some days i can see why straight men are like that, as lets face it straight women must be difficult to live with. Infact many straight women make me glad i was not born male. Ive always felt more oppressed by straight women, its hard for me to be a feminist and care about there issues as i think there obbsession with femininity is what holds them down. Straight women use femininity as a way of deciding who is a rival and whos a freak. Im angry with straight women.