The meanings of these terms vary and can evolve over time. For example, Susie Bright , the founder of On Our Backs , the first lesbian sex periodical of its kind, identifies as femme. A woman who likes to receive and not give sexually is called a "pillow queen". Lesbian separatists such as Sheila Jeffreys argued that all forms of masculinity, including masculine butch women, were negative and harmful to women. Other people within the queer community have tailored the common labels to be more descriptive, such as "soft stud," "hard butch," "gym queen," or "tomboy femme. In this new configuration of butch and femme, it was acceptable, even desirable, to have femme-femme sexual and romantic pairings. Gender expressions outside of the norm prevented assimilation. You're the man of the house. Defining the difference between a butch and a boi, one boi told a reporter:
The femme lesbian historian Joan Nestle argues that femme and butch may be seen as distinct genders in and of themselves. It is not uncommon for women with a butch appearance to face harassment or violence. The word butch, meaning "masculine", may have been coined by abbreviating the word butcher, as first noted in George Cassidy's nickname, Butch Cassidy. She believes the link between appearance and gender performance and one's sexuality should be disrupted, because the way someone looks should not define their sexuality. Femme Like the term "butch," femme can be used as an adjective or a noun. Femmes gained value as their own lesbian gender, making it possible to exist separately from butches. Lesbian separatists such as Sheila Jeffreys argued that all forms of masculinity, including masculine butch women, were negative and harmful to women. Early 20th century[ edit ] It is known that butch—femme dress codes date back at least to the beginning of the 20th century as photographs have survived of butch—femme couples in the decade of — in the United States; they were then called "transvestites". They tend to be influenced by urban and hip-hop cultures and are often, but not always, Afro-American. Other people within the queer community have tailored the common labels to be more descriptive, such as "soft stud," "hard butch," "gym queen," or "tomboy femme. The s saw the rise of a new generation of butches who refused to live double lives and wore butch attire full-time, or as close to full-time as possible. He further argues that butch—femme is uniquely geared to work in lesbian relationships. Rush reported that women held strong opinions, that "role distinctions needed to be sharply drawn," and that not being one or the other earned strong disapproval from both groups. A woman who likes to receive and not give sexually is called a "pillow queen". Instead, they argue that gender is socially and historically constructed, rather than essential, "natural", or biological. A stud is a dominant lesbian, usually butch. This dress was very similar to butch dress, weakening a key identifier of butch lesbians. On the other hand, the writer Jewelle Gomez muses that butch and femme women in the earlier twentieth century may have been expressing their closeted transgender identity. Lesbians who are unisex and neither butch nor femme are called "androgynous" or "andros". For example, Jack Halberstam argues that FTM transgender persons cannot be considered butch since it constitutes a conflation of maleness with butchness. This usually limited them to a few jobs, such as factory work and cab driving, that had no dress codes for women. In , filmmaker Daniel Peddle chronicled the lives of AGs in his documentary The Aggressives , following six women who went to lengths like binding their breasts to pass as men. In her article, Somerson also clearly talks about how within the lesbian community some are considered more masculine than others. Although femmes also fought back, it became primarily the role of butches to defend against attacks and hold the bars as gay women's space. In this new configuration of butch and femme, it was acceptable, even desirable, to have femme-femme sexual and romantic pairings.
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