2 min

The Year of the Butch

Butch is edgy. Butch is brave. Butch is hot

Welcome to 2006. So far it’s been declared the Year Of The Assistance Dog and the Year Of The Museum. But, at the risk of sounding retro in a non-hip way, I hereby declare 2006 the Year Of The Butch.

I did wonder about using the B-word. Some masculine women I know reject the term “butch” because of its negative connotations.

I agree that the label has been used to justify treating femmes like shit and for acting like badly-trained teenaged boys or sexist old men.

I’m using butch because I want a short, juicy label for the women who are not feminine but who still identify as women. These are the ones who queer gender in a radical way: by not doing what’s expected of them, by walking the edge, by daring to dress like men and to call themselves “she.”

The other day my friend told me about a little girl. “She hates dresses and she climbs trees. I think she might be trans.” Another dyke friend did boy-drag at a party. “Congratulations on transitioning,” someone said to her.

At an event the other night, a friend and I were checking out a cute young thing — short hair, perky breasts, baggy pants and baseball cap. I called her butch. My friend called her a “female-bodied person” and used the pronoun “he.” Can’t girls or woman stray outside of feminine and still be considered female? Have we lost the concepts of tomboy, male drag, and butch?

In certain parts of the queer community, butch is hopelessly outdated. Butch is for the not-so-queer, the true gender fuckers are taking T and passing as men, or at least using the pronoun “he.”

If you do not identify as femme or as androgynous, if you’re a tomboy, or you prefer men’s clothes, well then you must not be a woman. Some of this seems like good old-fashioned misogyny to me. If you’re in the position of choosing pronouns “he” is always better than “she.” It’s better to be a guy than “just” a woman. Women who dress like men are trying to be men but just don’t have the guts to go all the way.

Well, as far as this dyke is concerned, butch is queer. Butch is edgy. Butch is brave, and of course, butch is hot.

Bring on the boxer briefs, the strap-ons, the mystification in the lingerie store, the bashful adoration of femmes, the suits and the baggy jeans, the breasts hidden under sports bras or binding or undershirts. Let’s celebrate the Year Of The Butch.