Bren, 26, from Boston, MA, gives butch insight :)

20 07 2011

Here’s the first posted interview. It’s with Bren, 26, from Boston, MA. Everyone should read through. It’s funny and real and easy to read!

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Introduce yourself. (I.e. what is your job? what are your hobbies? how old are you? what would you like to do? etc.)
Hey there! I’m Bren. I’m in my mid-20s, but I’m approaching my late 20s at an alarming rate. I’m also a journalist, a blogger (http://buzzcutsandbustiers.com), and a comic book-reading, action figure-collecting, unapologetic geek. When I grow up, I’d like to be a famous butch blogger and/or author, following in the footsteps of Ivan E. Coyote and S. Bear Bergman. That, or I’d like to write snarky political/entertainment articles for an online publication.

What do you identify as? (This can be gender, sex, hobbies, religious/nonreligious, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, etc. etc. Be creative since you’re literally one of a kind!)

Oh, I’m just your typical liberal-atheist-butch-dyke-feminist-Democrat-Masshole. Basically, I’m the Religious Right’s worst nightmare and I’m damn proud of it.

What does “butch” mean to you?
Butch to me is about embracing a different way of being masculine, a way of being masculine while in a female body. It’s the understanding that “feminine” is not a requirement for “female.” Butch is also about chivalry. It’s about personifying all the best parts of masculinity and none of the worst, misogynistic aspects of it. Butch is about being a gentleman regardless of gender.
What is a stereotypical butch, as you understand it? How do you fit or fight that stereotype?
I like to think we as a community have moved past the idea of One True Way of Being Butch. That said, I do fit into some of the traditional ways of picturing what butches look like. I have a short hair. I wear men’s clothing. I date femmes. I’m protective of the people I love, and I’m always very happy to help carry something heavy or open a jar or a door. However, I have some non-stereotypical traits as well. I can’t fix a car engine (sorry). I’m not athletic in the least. I cry at movies. Oh, and I hate beer.

Is there a difference between butch, boi, and stud? If so, what are the differences?
Here’s how I understand it: a butch is typically a Caucasian masculine-of-center (MOC) person, while a stud is a masculine-of-center person of color. As for boi, that’s a young MOC who’s, well, boyish in looks and attitude.

In your experience as a butch or butch appreciator, have you been faced with harassment? Or discrimination?
I was bullied all through middle and high school for being “weird” and generally not like the other girls. I didn’t know then that I was a lesbian or a butch; looking back, it seems that the rest of the world recognized the Something Different in me before I did and saw fit to punish me for it. I’d like to say that their harassment made me a stronger person, but honestly, it just made me a bitter person and an angry person. It took years to move beyond that and learn to love myself and my otherness.

How has your butch identity (if applicable) helped you or hurt you through difficult periods in your life?
I’ve found the international community of butches and MOCs that I connect with via the internet and social networks to be an incredible support network when I’m feeling down. Sometimes just knowing that there are other people who have been where you are and understand that struggle is enough to make the world seem a less dangerous and depressing place. When people comment on my blog and say that my writing has helped them, it makes me feel, in some small way, like the choices in my life have been the right ones.

Do you have a butch idol? A butch crush? Why is she/he/they/ze so crushable?

Ivan E. Coyote is totally my butch idol. Ivan’s words have helped me along on my journey to the butch I am today and have given me a sense of community, of belonging, that I want to share with the butches of tomorrow.

How do you feel about the butch-femme dynamic?
The butch-femme dynamic is such an integral part of my life. It’s how I date and how I love. Butch-femme is a dance as old as time itself, and it’s sexy as all hell. Nothing in this world can make me feel more butch – or really, more me – than the touch of a femme. I need that energy, that femme yang to make my butch yin feel complete. It’s truly a beautiful thing.

What do you think about butch-butch relationships?
Well, as I said above, I only date femmes. However, I support all my MOC sisters and brothers, which means supporting who and how they love. The hetero world already polices our relationships enough; we shouldn’t do the same thing to members of our own community. You just do you.

What are five things you couldn’t live without?
Femmes, flannel, an internet connection, Doc Martens, toys (take that as you will)

Do you have any encouraging words for those “baby butches” who may feel like they don’t fit in or don’t belong?

I could say “it gets better,” but that’s almost a cliché now, isn’t it? Instead, I’d refer any baby butches to Melissa Sky’s “Baby Butch: A Love Letter from the Future,” an amazing piece that I wish I could have experienced when I was a wee fetal butch:  http://persistenceanthology.tumblr.com/post/6760903276/this-is-a-love-letter-from-the-future-baby

If you could tell a younger version of yourself something… what age would you tell yourself at and what would it be?

I would tell 18-year-old me to go out and get a short haircut, because it feels friggin’ fantastic. I would also tell her to suck it up and talk to cute girls, even the ones that seem “out of your league.” Because, kid, nobody is out of your league.

Tell me a favorite memory that relates to your identity as butch or your butch appreciation.
One time, I was accidentally called “Sir” by a waitress at a drag show. It was so meta, it was amazing.

What is the butch style or fashion? What are the good? The bad? The ugly?
This is another one of those questions that has as many answers as there are butches in the world. I will, however, say this: no more mullets, ever. Please.

What is YOUR style or fashion?
I’ve sort of got this dapper-urban-geek-chic look going on. One day I’m rocking a comic book T-shirt and a plaid shirt, and the next I’ve got on a suit vest and a tie. I like to mix things up.

How do you feel about your body? How do you feel “butch” plays into body? Do you think there are expectations for butches in their bodies?
I have some very complicated feelings about my body. I wish it were taller and a bit thinner, but mostly, I wish my boobs weren’t so damn big. I’m pretty embarrassed about having a feature that’s so prominently feminine when I feel so masculine, you know? It’s not that I want them to go away, because I like having them in certain, um, intimate situations. On a daily basis, however, I would rather they be much smaller and easily concealable. It would sure make shopping for shirts a lot easier, too.

Is “butch” an identity? A gender? A sex? Just a word? What are your thoughts?
To me, butch is not only an identity that comes with a rich and proud history, but a sort of gender. I can say “female” easily for my sex, but when it comes down to gender and presentation, “butch” works so much better. It also flows better than “masculine-presenting-female-bodied person.”

What would your ideal butch community be like? What would your ideal butch bonding event be like?

I would LOVE to start a butch-femme community social group in Boston. Whenever I see another butch-femme couple out, I just want to run up to them and ask them to hang out. I don’t, because that would be weird, but it would be amazing to have a space or event where I could connect with other MOC people and the femmes who love them. I really long for that sense of community in my own backyard.

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