ThreeWay: The Butch-Femme vs. Garden Variety Lesbian Quandary (Pt. 1)

Please welcome our newest ThreeWay chatter, Professor C, in her lesbian processing gangbang debut! Oh yeah, baby! We’re talking FOURWAY chat…

Please welcome our newest ThreeWay chatter, Professor C, in her lesbian processing gangbang debut! Oh yeah, baby! We’re talking FOURWAY chat…

Professor C: Oh, wow. This is high tech.

KL: How hot is this?!!!

Julia: I love this! It’s an old-timey chat room.

Professor C: It’s cool, but I wish we had a hot tub.

Amy: Wow.

Julia: Word.

KL: I’m eating a fistful of almonds. What are we talking about in here?

Amy: Spit it out, Julia.

Julia: Okay, today we’re talking about the cultural divide between butch-femme lesbians and garden variety lesbians.

KL: Oh, Jesus. My wet dream.

Professor C: You mean lesbians who garden?

Julia: Yes, precisely.

KL: Butches and femmes sure as hell don’t garden. It’s too fey for butches, too unladylike for femmes.

Amy: Ummm, yes we do!

KL: Well, if you do garden, it should be your dirty little secret. It’s on par with rock-climbing or batiking large sheets of cloth.

Amy: (By garden I mean reap what Ali sows in our garden. Meaning she plants and I eat.)

Julia: Ha ha. Okay, so here at Vp we have lesbians who identify within butch-femme and lesbians who don’t. There’s been a lot of controversy in our online community arising out of folks from these different camps misunderstanding or just not getting where each other are coming from.

KL: Butches and femmes are such assholes.

Batiking and you; all that’s missing here is a lavendar labrys tattoo.

Professor C: Hahaha.

KL: But we’re right, you know?

Julia: How are we assholes, and how are we right? (LoL)

KL: We’re assholes because we’re all homophobic, no matter how hard we try to intellectualize it, and we’re right because it’s just hotter.


Professor C: Garden variety masculinity and femininity are kind of boring.

KL: Expound.

Professor C: Gender’s better when it’s over the top and annoying. Or distracting, rather.

KL: YES.  aka Diana.

Professor C: I prefer genders that are distracting from the everyday.

Amy: Totally.

Julia: Yes. Genders that are larger than life.

KL: But then why do straight-up Melissa Ferrick lesbians loathe us so? And vice versa?

Julia: I have a theory about that, Katie.

Amy: MF lezzies. Perfect.

Professor C: They think butch-femme is constraining and labels freak them out.

Julia: Exactly. I think they feel pressured, too, to pick “a label” that doesn’t make sense to them in terms of how they identify…

Professor C: Which in turn angers me because I think people forget that butch-femme is an important historical legacy for lesbians, whether you identify as that or not.

Julia: … and also pressured because butch/femme is such a strong historical construct within gay culture.

Professor C: Holla my sister.

KL: But it’s gross to make love to your long-haired partner over a plate of babaganoush, as tendrils of your own long hair fall into the eggplant concoction.

Amy: I think a lot of Dinah Shore lesbians don’t even know about that history.

KL: True.

Professor C: Def.

Amy: Yes, I’m trying to offend as many lezzies as possible today, too.

Julia: LoL We’re supposed to be bridging the gap, people!

Amy: Ooops

Professor C: I think the essential problem is this: neither camp really BELIEVES the other one.

Butch icon Rick Moranis confronts his own inner Garden Variety Lesbian in the off-Broadway musical, Little Sapphic Horrors.

KL: Like how I can’t wrap my head around my straight sister. And when my butch lesbian friends introduce me to their new butch gf, I’m like, “yeah right.”

Amy: HAHA.

KL: Does anyone know what I mean?

Julia: I have a hard time with some of that, Katie, but I’m a unique case. I started out identifying as a garden variety lesbian. Because I had no butch-femme role models for a really longass time, and I was uncomfortable with my gender.

KL: Yeah, but look at who you’re dating… like, look at who stole your heart. A bonafide man butch. Dapper, but bulldagger-y nonetheless.

Julia: Of course! My permanent lesboner for butches is what started to get me more comfortable with the idea that I’m femme. I was freaked out about my femininity for years. It wasn’t until I started having relationships with butches that I started to feel more comfortable in my own skin that way.

Amy: That’s why we all need an older butch in our lives.

KL: Ugh. So true.

Professor C: But seriously, people look at butch-femme and see it as “uncreative” and limiting.

KL: (p.s. that was really unfemme of me, the “ugh.”)

Professor C: So they don’t try to understand it

KL: Yes, but it goes both ways.

Professor C: Absolutely.

Amy: I think they also see it as embarrassing or ridiculous because they are trying to stay away from what they see as stereotypes of lesbians. I guess that goes for their opinions of butches mostly.

Julia: Amy, I think you’ve hit on something key there as well. Butch-phobia and the fear of femme invisibility/assimilationist femininity.

Amy: Exactly.

Professor C: I think people would be able to understand butch-femme more if they understood it as queer and as contemporary.

KL: Garden-variety lesbians generally harbor some resentment, or something, towards butches and femmes because it seems they think that we CHOOSE to dress the way we do and we CHOOSE to look straight or something because we’re uncomfortable with ourselves.

Julia: I agree. I think a lot of people see it as an outdated mode of lesbian relationships and as rooted in some kind of unexamined mimicry of heterosexuality.

KL: When in truth, my body fights its way into spanx and gold and wigs in the most natural way.

Amy: Emma, how can we get that message out there? How can we keep it alive?

Professor C: Haha.

KL: Wait. How can we keep what alive?

Professor C: Your boyfriends?

“Nothing completes an outfit like a thoughtfully chosen accessory.” ~Ancient Femme Proverb

KL: So true.

Amy: We were saying it seems outdated and not contemporary. How can we keep the political importance of b/f into the lesbian discourse? Among lesbians who aren’t discoursing about much other than Dinah Shore?

Julia: Ooh, good question, Ames.

KL: Emma, I don’t care about political importance. I care about being properly railed by a genuine butch.

Julia: I think Amy means cultural discourse. The lesbian conversation, if you will. The very thing we are engaged in every day here on Velvetpark.

KL: Ah.

Julia: But amen…

Amy: Although we do talk about it all. the. time.

Julia: … on the railing.

KL: I do love a good conversation.

Professor C: Well, you can’t really when some people say they “don’t believe” in butch-femme. I don’t really understand why to some people that identification isn’t as valid as “trans,” for instance…

KL: Lesbians don’t believe it!

Professor C: People think it’s some sort of rigid ideology or lifestyle when it’s not.

Julia: Emma, yes! They do, and that is so baffling. We may be coloring inside the lines a bit, but we’re making up our own Crayola colors based on the old ones we like best, people!

KL: They think that butches are transgendered without the title, that it’s arguing semantics, and femmes are straight girls afraid of men. I have had many a lesbian say this to me point blank.  

Julia: Yeah, re: people saying they “don’t believe” in butch-femme, Rusty has an standard half-jokey response to that about how butch/femme is not like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny; it exists whether you believe in it or not.

KL: I know, I love Rusty. I love that line.

Julia: Rusty is teh awesome. And Katie, it makes me crazy when people give me that crap about femmes just being straight girls afraid of men. Plus I will never get how anybody could not go weak in the knees around a hot butch.

Amy: Is it that the gays in general are moving more toward the mainstream, so butch/femme is something that’s getting pushed down even further to help the HRC cause?

KL: Wait. Amy, wouldn’t butch-femme be celebrated in that context? Not pushed down? Like, “Hey, here we are! And we look just like you!”

Amy: No way. Not to the gays. Lesbian want to be seen as all pretty, L-Word lesbians.

Professor C: I think the point about people thinking b-f is just about old stereotypes that need to die is particularly harmful. Old stereotypes need to live! Amy’s right — butch-femme is too in your face for mainstream gays.

When Jolene called and said we were going to picket on the lawn, I foolishly showed up with a protest sign.

Julia: Katie, I think American culture is most accepting of “lipstick lesbian” relationships or de-sexualized, maternal-type, married soccer-mom type lezzies.

Amy: I agree. I will die when flaming faggots don’t exist anymore.

KL: Yeah, I see.

Professor C: It may “look” like heterosexuality but it totally subverts it. The sexuality there between two women is just obnoxious. No one has to guess anymore what “lesbians” do in bed when they see a butch and a femme on the street.

KL: Maybe the reason as to why I get so incendiary about the issue is because we’re being attacked — and by we I mean those in the butch-femme camp — from all angles. From gay boys, to garden variety lesbians, to straight people who are like, “How weird are you? It’s like a lifelong costume party with you two!”

Professor C: I agree, Katie.

Julia: Plus, butch women are, by their nature, saying that they are down with living as women exempt from the desiring male gaze.  Which I think gets plenty of straight dudes’ boxer-briefs in a wad.

KL: Yeah.

Amy: They can’t understand why any woman wouldn’t want to be “pretty”

Julia: Right.

KL: Like how dare they have vaginas and not pine for dick, like Maureen Dowd’s book, Are Men Necessary.

Julia: So they start throwing out words like “fat” and “ugly” and find that their policing language isn’t effective with butches, and it freaks them out even more.

KL: I just totally referenced that book without having read it.

Professor C: Will you be citing any other NYTimes columnists in this chat?

Amy: Hahaha.

Professor C: Hahaha.

Julia: LoL

KL: I do that all the time.

Amy: At least you call yourself out before anyone else can.

Professor C: But the irony of all of it is the femmes make better women and butches, better men.

Julia: Totes, Emma.

Amy: Emma, YES.

KL: YES YES YES YES YES. Emma, you said it.

Amy: Wow, we got really excited over that one.

KL: You’ve done it.

Julia: Because it’s our art form, in a way.

Professor C: Oh, it’s true.

Julia: We’re gender artists.


Professor C: It makes me laugh because you see these straight people on sitcoms and the girls and guys are dressed the same.

KL: My mind is being straight-up BLOWN right now. And I am not kidding. Wait, Emma, what do you mean?

Professor C: Straight masculinity and femininity look more and more alike. Like jeans and sweatshirts on everybody!

KL: Dykealikes. I get it.

Julia: Straightalikes, too.

Professor C: It goes back to what you said earlier about how long it takes you to put your wig on, Katie.

KL: Everyone’s very casual. Like, casually sitting there in a mustard-colored tee.

Professor C: Butch-femme isn’t really about how “natural” our genders are, like the haters presume.

KL: As if anyone actually does that in real life.

Professor C: It’s this elaborate way to live that’s much bigger than that.

Julia: We exaggerate and celebrate. I feel like the fucking opening of The L Word theme song. Ugh.



Amy: Don’t ever say that again.

KL: Celebrating exaggerating.

Julia: lmao

Professor C: Oh no!

Word, Shane. We don’t miss that effing Betty song either.

KL: Wait, I also feel like butches and femmes are obsessed with gender. Like, obsessed with it.

Professor C: I do too. But gay men have the monopoly on “flamboyance” and it’s assumed that everything lesbians do is earnest.

KL: Why are we obsessed with it?

Amy: Haha.

Julia: OMG Emma…

KL: This conversation is pretty earnest.

Julia: At a school function a while back this straight middle-aged woman took issue with me refering to myself as “a flamer.” Because “only gay men can be flamers.” I wasn’t “earnest” enough for her, I guess.

KL: You are so not a flamer though. When I think of flamers I think of a narcissist.

Amy: I’m a narcissist.

KL: Like, it’s all about how fab you are.

Professor C: Hahaha, Amy!

KL: Well, Amy, obviously you are.

Julia: I think of it more of just being reeeeally really unabashedly gaaaaay. Which I am.

Amy: Good, I’m officially out.

KL: Wait. Julia. Are you REALLY gay? Do you know what I mean?

Professor C: You broke the silence for narcissists everywhere.

KL: Like, you have gay sex.

Julia: Dude. I worship Lady Gaga.

KL: And talk about being gay.

Julia: It doesn’t get gayer than that.

Professor C: [comment withheld for later chat]

KL: And write about being gay.

Julia: Um. Yes, I do all those things, too! And so do you!

Amy: True.

KL: But I find you to be very unassuming and sweet and modest.

Julia: lol

KL: Oh, my god. I sound like such a self-loathing gay. Okay, now I’m out.

Julia: Awww.

Amy: Are you calling ME modest?

KL: Obviously.

Professor C: Well, according to old sexologists all homos were narcissists. So there is that.

Julia: Yes, there is that.

KL: We’re too lazy to masterbate so we find someone who looks like us and have them do it for us.

Julia: lol

KL: Masturbate?

Julia: There you go. Never leave out the ‘you’ in ‘masturbate.’

Tune in next Monday to read the thrilling conclusion of this chat, including an exclusive sneakpeak into KL’s sex dreams about various bloggers on this site…