Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Femme's View On Studs

As a self-proclaimed femme lesbian, I adore masculine identified women.  First let me state my disclaimers: 1) I do not believe that labels
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
www.createloveforwomen.com
imani@surviving2thriving.org
www.surviving2thriving.org
http://selfcarefordynamicwomen.blogspot.com



Join us on March 14, 2015 - Here for more information


7 comments:

  1. Bottom line: "...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 and not one of dependency and survival. Rest assured, I am empowered..." Well done, Imani. Soon, women who like bois won't have to defend yourselves any more than straight women who like straight men do. It's like having to explain why one embraces being black. We can choose not to do it, but then we leave white folks drawing their own conclusions about what "black power" means, which is disconcerting. Thank you for venturing this. I know it's necessary and important. *sigh* As for 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 am daily trying to address this on several fronts. First, I must own that while being feminine offers certain privilege, being masculine does as well. Alone, feminine women have less to explain about how you "show up" and b/c you're not typically perceived as rebellious or militant in your presentation, you don't have that backlash. Alone, masculine women may deal with a certain social backlash, but we are also granted certain societal privileges like enhanced physical safety and a decreased likelihood of street harassment. Couple dynamics create a third thing... pc's dying. I might come back later!! Hugs ~Cole

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  2. I like this topic. Being that I am a "No Labels" lesbian and I do date studs, femmes, bois.. gyrls... One is always going to be more dominant than the other in any relationship. I get discriminated against a lot do to my "indifference" if you may of being attracted to studs being my appearance says "Stud" I simply like the feeling of security, dominance, control, aggressiveness... of the "stud" or masculine identified womon that I may indulge in.. Especially the "touch me" ones. I can't do the "Touch me not" ones.

    The femmes or aggressives femmes.. The nurturing spirit, the sensuality, romance, passion, the at times no limitations sexually.

    Depending on the womon.. I get to be me... show the femme side of me or the Boi side... Most can accept and indulge and then there are those that claim they can handle it and really can't. I am NOT for everyone. I let it be known from the door that my physical appearance may be deceiving to some... Pay attention to me not my clothing.

    I have met several closeted Stud for Stud (S4S) lesbians that are afraind to come out due to the discrimination and non accepteance from the African American LGBT community. It's sad that peple are scared to be themselves without someone casting judgement as if we don't face that enough from others.

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  3. from: BunnieSatshell@gmail.com

    @Dee Gorgeous. I feel you on the whole "No labels" thing. Let me express to the forum why I feel this way; "no labels" and "don't put me in a box". I consider myself a beautiful woman inside and out; emotionally, mentally, spiritually, intellectually, physically. I love beautiful women who embrace and can express their femininity and their power without having to put any kind of label on it. I can show my power and aggressive nature "without" being tattooed up, hat to the back, wearing a wife beater T-shirt, make-up caked on, heels too high, girlie-girl, screaming dependency, and help me -help me. I think when we as a community rely on the labels stud, fem, AGF, etc. we tend to put one another in a box therefore expecting everything that the "label" brings with it. In my opinion (and I realize that it is in the minority) that is not good for the community. I enjoy wearing dresses, putting on makeup, but I also enjoy sports and being competitive. So that makes me, simply me...not the lesbian standard definition of stud, fem, or even AGF. I am not soft, I am not hard, I am just me a beautiful woman who enjoys being a woman and loving a beautiful woman who embraces her femininity.

    I truly do not understand those who identify to the extreme left or right, but like I said that's just me and I know that I am in minority.

    I am single now, and have been for 2 years. When I do meet my Queen who stimulates me emotionally, mentally, spiritually, intellectually, physically and I take her home to meet my mother. I want my mother to say, "Well done, you have a beautiful woman in your life"; not "Who is this dude, this tomboy, or girlie-girl that you brought home". Can you imagine if your mother said who/what are you and the response is, "I'mma stud, I'mma fem, or I'mma AGF". No, no. no....just be a beautiful woman.

    You see when I am in a relationship, I DEFINITELY take care of my woman's needs in the bedroom, and she takes care of mine. And at the end of the night we embrace each other, with no words and no labels.

    Very good topic. Good night ladies.

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  4. AMEN!! Bunnie!! I totally agree!!

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  5. Yes. Thank you, Imani. And Cole, this line struck me as well: "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."

    As a boi/butch lesbian feminist, I genuinely appreciate what you have to say. I know how I feel about femmes. I love their energy, their softness, their power and presence. I appreciate a woman who knows her feminine power, who carries herself with self respect, confidence and intelligence. I will cater to her all day!!!

    I especially appreciate the femmes who do not expect me to take on the heteronormative stance and appearance that is not in keeping with how I see and appreciate the body temple in which I was born. For me - and I mean, for me - it is meaningful to embrace this body with all of its curves and pretty features (when I feel like it) while still engendering the masculine energy and sexuality I feel and express in my loving relationships with partners, friends and through my written expression/performance or anywhere else I feel it.

    I love the times in which we are living, where there is no absolute in terms of gender identity and gender roles. It is freeing to be who you are and to be able to fully express and live your identity unapologetically.

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  6. Hi, my name is Vince Stead and I just got done looking at your site and really liked it. We make lesbian and more books in paperback, digital and audio too. You can see them at fun2readbooks.com, or even my own name of Vince Stead, and the sexy audio books are very fun to listen to when the girls read them. Thank you very much and I really enjoyed visiting your site!

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