I was asked on another post a question along the lines of:
Is a butch who is attracted to other butches really a butch?
We (butch/femme lesbians) see butch/femme as a whole, i.e. one goes with the other. It is a defining characteristic of who we are, but also a descriptor of the nature of our desire and our relationship dynamics. Without that what are we? There are lesbians who are read as being “feminine’ who desire other “feminine” lesbians (not as many as TV shows would suggest), but they are NOT femmes. Being half of butch/femme, having that particular desire, that roaring blaze, is what we are.
For example: In theory, if I wasn’t partnered with my soul mate (the only lesbian I want) and I was looking for a potential partner or even a one night stand, I would always preference butches over dykes; and there would literally have to be no butches or dykes left on earth before I’d consider having sex with a “feminine” lesbian. Like I said in my post, think of it as a scale of attraction from a small match to raging bushfire (no pun intended. It’s the Australian word for “forest fire’).
So, what do I think about lesbians identifying as “butch” even though they’re primarily attracted to lesbians who they perceive as being “butch”?
Well, if you replace “butch” in the above sentence with “femme”, I’d say HELL NO!
It just seems that if a defining characteristic of “femme” is primarily being attracted to butches; shouldn’t a defining characteristic of “butch” be primarily being attracted to femmes? My partner is butch. She doesn’t find dykes or butches attractive in the slightest. Seriously, for her it’s only marginally less horrifying than the prospect of having sex with a man!! That is because she is butch and butches are attracted to “feminine” females, more specifically lesbians, and even more specifically, FEMMES!!! Again, match -> bushfire. We only ever experience a roaring blaze with each other. Gosh I hope that makes sense!!!
Why do we have these distinctions? Well, why does any culture have it’s own terminology? It’s a way of describing who/what we are to ourselves and those around us. These terms make sense to us and using them is both self recognition and part of healing feelings of shame/isolation/dysphoria. To lose the objective definition of these terms is to lose an ability to be able to self recognise and self describe what we are. Take meaning away from a word and it no longer holds any power.