define us, nor should they box us into dating only one type of woman. I think if you are femme and you like other femmes, or if you are a stud and you like other studs, more power to you (in my 60's voice), and if you have no label and feel free to date whomever you choose--I support you! 2) The opinions stated in this article are mine and mine alone. I am simply expressing my thoughts on this subject and they are not to represent the philosophy of any group of lesbians. Now that I have put all of my politically-conscious sisters at ease, I would love to share my thoughts with you in hopes that you might share yours with me too.
Stud/Butch/AG/Boi...by whatever name you call it, I certainly find myself attracted to that energy. However I do not limit myself. I have been in a relationship with another femme woman, and I loved her. I would even go as far as to say that I was the more masculine energy in that relationship. For those of you who know me, you can stop giggling now! :-) It is true! I am, what I acknowledge to be, an aggressive-femme. I also believe that gender expression is far more fluid than we lend it credence. For that matter gender identity, a gender role and sexual orientation are not the same thing. Let's explore this for more clarity:
GENDER IDENTITY: "Gender identity is defined as a personal conception of oneself as male or female (or rarely, both or neither). This concept is intimately related to the concept of gender role, which is defined as the outward manifestations of personality that reflect the gender identity. Gender identity, in nearly all instances, is self-identified, as a result of a combination of inherent and extrinsic or environmental factors..." Quoted from Medscape.com
GENDER ROLE: "A gender role is a set of social and behavioral norms that are generally considered appropriate for either a man or a woman in a social or interpersonal relationship. There are differences of opinion as to which observed differences in behavior and personality between genders are entirely due to innate personality of the person and which are due to cultural or social factors, and are therefore the product of socialization, or to what extent gender differences are due to biological and physiological differences. Gender roles differ according to cultural-historical context, and while most cultures express two genders, some express more..." Quoted from Wikipedia
SEXUAL ORIENTATION: "Sexual orientation refers to an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women, or both sexes. Sexual orientation also refers to a person’s sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions. Research over several decades has demonstrated that sexual orientation ranges along a continuum, from exclusive attraction to the other sex to exclusive attraction to the same sex. However, sexual orientation is usually discussed in terms of three categories: heterosexual (having emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to members of the other sex), gay/lesbian (having emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to members of one’s own sex), and bisexual (having emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to both men and women). This range of behaviors and attractions has been described in various cultures and nations throughout the world." Quoted from the American Psychological Association
Now that we've got the conversational clarity needed for a quality discussion, let's get back
to my attraction to the masculine identified woman. I have often been asked what the attraction is all about for me. I think it varies from woman to woman, but in general I am attracted to the duality of them. I am attracted to the feminine presence with a masculine demeanor and energy. I am a lesbian, so I love that the physical body is a woman, but the persona has the balance of a male. It might also surprise some of you to know that while I am an advocate/activist/womanist, I am still traditional in many ways. I like the chivalry of masculine identified women (I know--I just heard my feminist card being ripped from my hands...it's okay). But true feminism, to me, is about having the freedom to choose what is best for me as an individual woman; It is about choosing from an empowered place versus one of dependency and survival. Rest assured, I am empowered, powerful and I am many things--but dependent has never been one of them.
Conversely, I am NOT attracted to some things about masculine identified women. Of course, I am acutely aware that generalizations cannot be applied to ALL women. However this is more about my personal experience in dating studs over the past 18 years. In my experience, there seem to be SOME butch/stud/AG/boi women who over-identify with some of the more misogynistic aspects of masculinity. They seem to emulate these sexist aspects, maybe, as a way of separating them from what it means to be a woman...I am not sure.
I have found myself perplexed at the idea of combating sexism and hyper-masculinity in women, toward other women. I often see things like the objectification of women's bodies, violence as an expression of masculinity, hyper-sexual behavior around other studs to appear more masculine, and verbally degrading women as an expression of dominance. I'd really like to say that these are isolated incidents, but I have been in far too many conversations with other women who have the same experiences. For that matter, I have provided counseling to far too many women to offer this up as an isolated occurrence.
I don't believe that my attraction to chivalry and gender balance requires a sacrifice of respect and dignity. If it does, then it is a trade off that I am unwilling to make. I don't have the answers, but I am beginning to explore the subject. Hopefully, you will share your experiences and thoughts with me on this issue.
Now, back to the love; Fortunately, I have also encountered some very evolved masculine identified women who do not subscribe to this misogynistic behavior. Studs are beautiful to me in so many ways. They are the personification of yin-yang and it thrills me to engage a self-aware, spiritually evolved, masculine woman. I hope you will join Create Love as we continue this celebration and dialogue with studs, live and in-person! (details below) In the meantime, I honor you as you embark on a journey to CREATE LOVE.
Nya Akoma (Take Heart),
Imani Evans, MA
Join us on March 14, 2015 - Here for more information