‘You’re not butch!’: The ongoing struggle of a not very butch-looking butch.

I myself, do not look ‘butch’. I am aware of this. I have big boobs and wide hips, which prevent me from wearing men’s clothes, and I have a feminine face. I am rarely mistaken for a man, despite my boy-ish haircut. But this does not mean I am not butch.

I am constantly told I’m not ‘a real butch’ or that I look ‘girly’ – this is not an insult, however it does hurt my feelings. Inside, I feel butch. I feel near to androgynous, perhaps even a little genderqueer. Yes, I pluck my eyebrows and wear a bit of make-up, I love shiny nail varnish and anything sparkly, and I wear far too many rings…but I can still identify as butch. And I damn well will, whatever anyone says.

I suppose I am what you’d call a ‘soft butch’, but people seem unwilling to let me sit in that little grey area where I fall. They insist I must be one or the other. My mother will say ‘you’re not butch’ as though being butch is an insult.
Yet I sit like ‘a man’, and I prefer being the big spoon, I like buying flowers for girls and I do all the other stereotypical ‘male’ things. I do all this, and yet simply because it is obvious I am cis-female, I get told I am not how I feel inside. Sure, these things I do are by no means just masculine things – there is no such thing as specific men’s and women’s tasks – however, these are the only ways I can show how I feel; by acting ‘like a man’.

The whole concept of being butch is difficult, because it is defined by stereotypes (as shown above) of each gender. But how I feel is even harder. I simply want to be accepted. When ‘real butches’ laugh at me, or when people act as though I am very girly, it hurts. I am me. And inside, I feel just as masculine as I do female. This is valid, whether or not I display it on the outside. 

To all the other not very butch-looking butches out there, do you understand my struggle?

Riot ❤


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