don’t call me that

June 26, 2008

It’s interesting that I’m not getting much in the way of comments or feedback on my butch posts, especially after the lively discussions about the darker side of life.  But I’m not drawing any conclusions.

I’ve had a couple conversations with some women who say they date butches (one of whom identifies as femme), but then  refer to their dates as “girls”.  And man, for me that’s just not right.  I don’t think I ever wanna hear somebody I’m dating refer to me as a “girl”.  I’d just feel like she really didn’t “see” me or “know” me.  I had a brief encounter this year with a woman who wanted to call me, “Lizzie”, and I immediately told her, no, you can’t do that.

I don’t have lots of concrete non-negotiables for dates, but she’s gotta wanna date a butch.  And if she’s new to all that,  that’s cool, but she’s then gotta get that she’s attracted to this masculinity.  We can talk about the markers and all,  like how to refer to me,  but she can’t just disregard them.  Cause it’d be like she didn’t understand who she was dating.


7 responses to “don’t call me that”

  1. ned says:

    sometimes i’m just busy – don’t take the lack of comments for a lack of interest. and while i don’t feel like i have enough time to get this straight, my thoughts about the whole “what’s it mean to be butch” thread remind me of “what’s it mean to be a man/masculine” which, for me anyway, is just the sort of labeling i lose interest in pretty quickly. i recognize it’s different for folks in different situations, but as someone who’s generally been pretty comfortable with the biological category i’ve grown up with, i still bristle at judgments about my masculinity – i don’t consider myself very masculine, i guess. when i think of the things that make up my identity i’m rarely thinking in terms of male/female, and maybe i’m kidding myself but i imagine the person i strive to be in gender-neutral terms. i want to be a good son and brother, i want to be a good man, but those labels for me really have nothing to do with gender roles. or, like i said, maybe i’m kidding myself.

    the stuff you describe in an earlier post didn’t strike me as necessarily gender-role-related – hence my comment that i didn’t realize i was such a butch. but that’s all i got right now. keep writing, Liz; i’m digging it.

  2. proteanme says:

    hey man (i said that on purpose) thanks for the comment. i really wasn’t drawing any conclusions about the lack of comments.

    first let me say these comments are gonna be super fragmented cause i’ve not thought this through. but let’s take a look at the bigger picture and agree this is a patriarchal society and let’s agree that there is some terrible misogyny going on her. in this kinda environment masculinity is valued and protected and i’d argue there’s a certain amount of male privilege in being able to detach from that. one of the ways to protect masculinity is to limit it to biology and anatomy, which means in this kinda environment masculine women are described as bitches or cold or controlling or big bull dykes (and not like right on, i’m down with the dykes).

    i’d say gender roles, like race, always come into play, even if you’re not aware of it.

  3. proteanme says:

    i forgot to sat, ned – thanks for the comment.

  4. love notes says:


    this is a bit lengthy…

    here is one place i connect with your post. i have really had some intense and enduring experiences with the white male system. i haven’t met a corporate environment yet where i am not a magnet for conflict for my complete lack of acknowledgement for that structure, my brain, my tendency to lead, build, dwell, create, challenge, think. those things seem to scare the bejesus out of the majority of male leaders i have come across – and some females that play more appropriately within it. I can’t help but call out the pieces of the power structure that are not OK with me quite directly and that seems to escalate the level of threat i pose.

    i recently took a more senior level position at my company — only to learn a bit more finesse within myself around how i exist within it as it is such a huge part of our world and will change so slowly. i have rejected it and raged at it. i’ve called it out, i’ve queried, i’ve tried to have a dialogue. the pattern hasn’t changed with the size of the company or industry. living in the midwest plays a part too. but the point is, i do lose my peace in it and it interrupts what seems to be “the lord’s work” for me.

    but when i look deeply my choices are choose a smaller more isolated sphere to make a living — like be a rock gardener — or learn how to be an agent of change within it. i think the latter is my path for now – so i’m in the midst of a place that i don’t quite belong to learn a skill. i watched a movie about nelson mandela’s life, i read that mlk article, i watched obama’s maturity and stillness — and felt more clear on what is mine to learn. i think i do want to learn to meet others at their place with their set of tools vs. only coming from mine — or have the ability and choice to reach out that way. and keep my peace amidst all forms of fear around me. from there i will leave and create my own business (i hope) and work for myself. and will deal with the organic, evolved and white male system and all the colors in between. i’m just visioning. it’s not like i know. that is a bit how it goes for me.

  5. peptide says:

    i’ve been interested, but like ned, maybe, dealing with some unexamined concepts of it. it’s not like i haven’t dealt w/ gender issues – for some reason i got pegged as effeminate and ‘gay’ when i a kid – though i don’t think i actually was very effeminate – just not into the tough manner that was so common in my east tennessee home town. i ended up thinking gender roles were societal constructs – bullshit to be done away with in the coming equalitarian utopia. getting older i can see more easily how it takes some work to figure out your sense of self if you don’t fit into ready categories.
    saw this cartoon recently that pegged my own thoughts – but i’m interested to see your process w/ this liz.

  6. David says:

    I sometimes feel odd commenting on sexism, racism, etc… I’m that ‘lucky’ majority – hetero male, white, ruggedly handsome, somewhat privileged current state (not always but now) – I enjoy reading and engaging through questions but always feel my conclusions are lacking the nec experience to give them value – maybe as much reality as it’s a self esteem/value issue but a real feeling that I have.

    I learned a lot in the Navy about race (probably more then anything else I learned) by being the minority more often then not but more importantly being 24/7 with people very different then me in a myriad of ways though most obviously color – but never really addressed sexism except by the absence of woman where I was – this topic feels more personal maybe because I can’t share it with commonality of experience? I read and let it sink in but takes longer to ruminate…

  7. proteanme says:

    alright, it’s official my friends rock!!!!!! why the fuck am i living so far away. i’ve got more to say on this obviously and more to say in response to all your thoughtful comments.

    i did see that cartoon yesterday amos and it made me think of ned’s blog today.

    i think part of talking about racism, sexism, gender is to get folks who are privileged to think about it, cause it’s easy not to. like you said david, easy for me being white and midle class.

    and it is personal topic for sure, but it has lots of stuff around it that’s not personal at all, cause all you guys have been constructing your masculinity(or having it constructed for you) your whole lives, maybe just not as consciously.

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