Video: Growing up butch

This is a video by the excellent vlogger Mainely Butch!

This made me think about whether I could describe what it’s like growing up femme. I think that would be hard to do though. Women describe what it was like growing up butch by naming the reasons they were different from other girls. So how do you describe growing up the same as other girls?

I was pretty typical when I was a kid. I enjoyed lots of the activities and clothing that was assigned to girls. I played a hell of a lot of Barbies. However, I wasn’t a total princess. I liked playing outside, and I generally wore pants, not skirts. As a teen I didn’t understand makeup or underwire bras and I didn’t want them anywhere near me. (I do wear underwire bras now, but still no makeup.) No one ever mistook me for a boy though. Even if I put on men’s clothing, which I sometimes do, I still look like a woman. Clothing can’t hide my obviously female shape.

I didn’t suspect I was a lesbian when I was a kid even though I did have noticeable “warm and fuzzy feelings” toward other girls, followed by explicitly sexual feelings as I approached puberty. I was taught to believe that everyone is heterosexual and so I assumed I would be, until the truth finally made itself undeniable.

I would say that every point that I could make about what’s it’s like being a femme is something that comes from my adulthood.

For example, I remember being at my first party for lesbian and bi women. I wore a tight pair of jeans and a pink sweater. At that particular party, there was a lipstick lesbian couple and a few androgynous-looking women and one masculine lesbian. The lipsticks were pretty to look at, but there was one woman in that group who made me totally nervous, and that was the masculine one. She saw the fear in my eyes and she knew something about me even before I did. Not long after that day I realized I was attracted to her in a way I wasn’t to the others. She knew it, too. I found out weeks later that she still remembered the outfit I wore at that party, and that detail lit a fire inside me. She was already involved so we didn’t do anything, and I don’t know her anymore. But later on another butch lit me on fire, and we are still together now.

I am happy with my feminine body and I love when my partner calls me pretty. Although the idea of being a wife to a man makes me nauseous, I love being my partner’s wife. Being a butch’s girl is the absolute best thing in life.

Being a femme means feeling different on the inside even though you don’t look any different to other people. Straight women will often assume I’m one of them, but I always know I’m not. Sometimes a coworker will say something to me about a man being handsome, and I just feel surprised and confused. How do they know? It seems arbitrary to me, deciding which men are handsome. To me, they just look like men. But show me a photo of k.d.lang and I’ll need a fainting couch to swoon onto.

I’m still exploring what it means to be femme, and it really helps when other lesbians talk about their experience.

Thanks for the video, Mainely Butch!

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3 thoughts on “Video: Growing up butch

  1. One of the first pictures of me as a child, I’m probably nearly four, and I’m wearing a t-shirt and shorts, cowboy boots and an ill-fitting Army-issue cap that was most likely my father’s. I remember both of those items particularly and I remember not feeling ‘right’ without them–there is more than one childhood picture of me in cowboy boots, so…

    I wonder, too, what my parents ever thought about my tomboyish ways, if they ever talked about it and if they thought it was something I’d grow out of. Of course, I never did, we never talked about it, and now that I’m older and wiser, I realize that they were just kids and young adults once, too, and they just didn’t know what to do about any of it, nor did they have time, both working to keep a roof over their kids’ heads.

    In a little aside here, and totally unrelated, in my youth I wondered about past lives, if I was drawn to all things related to the American West and the histories of the World Wars because of “who I was before,” that perhaps there were remnants of former existences that were incorporated into my present life that manifested as my inherent butchness and attraction to women. Most days, I’m still that cowboy…but, I digress…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, wow, wow… just re-watched my old video you posted above…that was about 10? years ago….I haven’t changed much. This was a pretty good video actually. I was living at the Chicadee Bed & Breakfast which my parents owned, it was just after my divorce from a LTR of 14 yrs…Thanks for the memory! And thanks for liking this enough to post it here! ~MB

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Re-blogged….an old video I did… – MainelyButch: Private Label

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