I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who voted in the About.com Readers' Choice awards
. I'm tremendously proud that Butch Wonders won the Best Lesbian Blog award! I was stoked to be in the top five--but to win?
So cool!!I see it as our award, not my award. Sounds cheesy, but it's true.
Every time you take a minute to comment on a post or write me an email or send in a picture, you make Butch Wonders a better blog and a stronger community.I hope we'll keep growing, and I hope you'll keep reading. I
'm thrilled that so many of you read the blog and find it interesting or useful enough to keep coming back. You are awesome. Thank you!!
We hear sometimes that gender is a "spectrum." One reason to envision it this way is to see that gender is not dichotomous: It cannot be neatly divided into two parts like boys' shoes vs. girls' shoes in a department store. Most of us are not one or the other; we're somewhere in the middle:
But even though the "spectrum" concept is useful, I've always found it troubling, because it understands masculinity and femininity as opposites. That means that if I'm deciding where I fall along the spectrum, I can't be more feminine without necessarily being less masculine--and vice versa. Here's what I mean:
Culturally, we know what most people consider "masculine" or "feminine" (even though most of us probably don't agree with it!). Fixing my car is masculine. Painting my nails is feminine. (Again, I think these characterizations are awful, but I'm talking about culturally dominant notions of femininity and masculinity.) So if gender is a spectrum, and masculinity and femininity are opposite ends of a continuum, this means that if I paint my nails, I become less masculine. An act that moves me closer to the right end of the spectrum moves me farther from the left end. If the "spectrum" view is accurate, masculinity and femininity are a zero-sum game.
But as I've been thinking about it lately, masculinity and femininity are more like a coordinate plane. (I suspect others have thought of this; I just haven't run into them yet.) Remember coordinate planes from high school geometry? Where you graph dots like (-1, 2)? Here's my version:
The idea is that masculinity and femininity can be high or low, but are independent of one another. If you paint your nails, you become more feminine, but this does not necessarily make you less masculine.
For many of us in the queer/boi/stud/dyke/trans/butch/genderqueer realm, such a conceptualization might be more comfortable and accurate. Mentally, it disentangles the two ideas a bit. Imagine a hot femme changing her own oil--she's performing a culturally "masculine" activity, but is she any less feminine? I'd argue the answer is no, just as I'd argue that a butch cooing at a baby might be more "feminine" in that moment than she was a moment earlier, but that she is no less masculine for it.
What do you think about this? Does it fit with how you think about gender?
Thanks for your great responses to the survey
I put up a few days ago. Much appreciated! I love reading readers' suggestions. Remember that question I asked about what kinds of things you'd like to see more of on the blog? Here are the top five:
Interesting results, and I'll definitely use that feedback going forward.
- More posts about butch identity, female masculinity, gender identity, etc. (This was #1 by far!)
- More posts about fashion, hair, etc., for butches
- Interviews with famous or interesting lesbians
- Reviews of books/movies/music
- Occasional video blogs/vlogs
(Numbers 2, 3, and 4 were *very* close.)
What's been the best part of your day so far today?
- It's week two of my new part-time job, and so far I'm enjoying it, loving the people, and finding it a bigger challenge than I expected.
- Apple-brie-walnut panini, FTW.
- I am wearing a sweater vest, because why should Rick Santorum have all the fun? (Next thing you know, he'll be sporting a fauxhawk.)
- My Fluevogs arrived yesterday, and they are freaking awesome. (And no, I didn't pay full price--not even close!) Admittedly, they don't TOTALLY fit, since the smallest size was a men's 7 and I am a men's 6/6.5 or women's 8/8.5. But with my insoles, they work.
- A guy followed me into the women's bathroom today. It was hilarious. He was behind me, and I turned to hold the door open for him, and he looked at me, did a double-take, turned, and went into the other one.
Wow, I haven't blogged for four days! Dagnabbit. I've been thinking a lot about this site, though: how BW can be better, more interesting, etc. I'd also love it to be financially sustainable (i.e. if I could break even for my hours and site costs).
I can't please everyone, and don't try to. But I do care what this site's awesome readers think. Because of you, Butch Wonders has gone from nothing (in May 2011) to over 1000 unique hits every day! I want to keep BW strong and vibrant and growing, and to that end, I'd love your input.
Whether you're a regular reader or have only read a few posts, I hope you'll fill out this wee survey. On the multiple choice ones, you can check as many answers as you want.
Thank you SO much for taking the time to fill this out. I really appreciate it, and will be back to out regularly scheduled blogging soon! I promise!
Love and a fist bump,
In addition to the fabulous fauxhawks I catalogued yesterday, readers sent in a bunch of other butch hair pics. Most non-'hawks fell into one of three categories: pomps, buzzes, and shaggy cuts. Let's take them one by one.Pompadours (or "pomps") have been around for a long time.
The main idea is that your hair is brushed up from your forehead in a way that makes your head look kind of tall. Think Elvis
. Guys often wear them with big ol' sideburns. But in my opinion, you don't need sideburns to rock a great pomp. Pompadours also go well in combination with fauxhawks, and often the same haircut will allow you to style either one.
From Ashton Kutcher to Zac Efron, many Hollywood men have adopted the shaggy-haired look for varying lengths of time. Personally, the idea of having my bangs falling in my eyes ranks right up there with having long hair
. But if you're less sensitive (read: wimpy) about this than I am, the shaggy look might be for you. These BW readers are rocking it.
Some minimalist butches like to shave off nearly all of their locks, going for a buzzed or nearly-buzzed look. I even heard from one buzzed butch who has a standing appointment with her barber every week. That's dedication. Justin Timberlake and Robert Pattinson can pull off the look with aplomb. Here are some BW readers who can do the same (or better!).
Of course, many butches' hairstyles don't fall neatly into any of the categories I've talked about. Below, I've made a slide show of some of the other pics I received. (I had trouble with 4-5 of the photos, so apologies if you sent in a pic and aren't here!) Some may inspire you to try a new style. Others may inspire you not to try one. I love seeing the huge range of butches brave enough to show their 'dos to the world. You guys rock!
In a comment to my last post, someone said that I must have the hottest readers on the planet. Admittedly, I've got to agree.
So, of the haircuts I featured yesterday and today, which are your favorites? Are there any styles I haven't covered that look great on butches?
A few days ago, I put out a call for butch haircuts, and received nearly 100 photos! The most common 'do (by far) was the fauxhawk (also called "fohawk"), and I decided it's worth dedicating an entire post to the style.
First, let's take a look at some examples of your basic fauxhawk:
As you can see, most of the time, the hair is a bit longer on top than on the sides, then brushed up to achieve a "mohawk"-type look. If it was shaved on the sides, with a stark line of hair running down the middle of the head, that'd be a mohawk.
See, here are some readers' mohawks. Nothin' faux about 'em:
Fauxhawks are one of the wonderful things we butchy queer women share with our gay male brethren (along with barista jobs, librarian jobs, and really cool eyeglasses).
Aside from looking cute and trendy and gay, fauxhawks are versatile. You can wear them long, like these:
Or short, like these:
Or somewhere in the middle, like these:
Another advantage of fauxhawks is that, because your hair isn't completely shaved on the sides, you can just part it on the side and brush it over for work rather than spiking it up in the middle, if you want to look more mainstream. Then it looks a lot like a run-of-the-mill guys' cut.
Fauxhawks have now been in style for almost a decade, and their fashionability shows no sign of waning. Will we look back on fauxhawks in 20 years the way people look back on mullets today? Who knows. Keep reading BW and I'll let you know when you need to nix it. For now, they look great. Want to see a few more fauxhawks that readers sent in? You know you do.
These two demonstrate how a loose, spiky, intentionally misaligned fauxhawk can look terrific:
And these two show how thick, wavy hair can work as a fauxhawk or partial fauxhawk:
And here are some more! (I don't have room to share all of them, but I'm squeezing in as many as I can...)
If you want to try out a fauxhawk, make sure you go to a stylist who knows what he or she is doing. For example, my hair is very thick and hard to cut. My awesome stylist spends about an hour on it, and thins it somehow (magic?). I used to go to a barber. He took 20 minutes and I left with a hard-to-style overgrown buzz cut. Asking for recs from dyke friends can be helpful, and it's good to take a picture to help show what you want.
My next few posts will talk about other butch hair styles and give you some leads on hair products. I know it can be hard to get a good dyke haircut
, so don't hesitate to post your thoughts and questions in the comments section.
In the past 24 hours, I have received some emails, comments, and Facebook messages alerting me that my boots post didn't mention Dr. Martens
. (There are, of course, Docs in the Butch Store
, and I'll add more tonight.)
I've been less of a Docs fan since they moved production from the UK to China, but still, they are undeniably and iconically butch. So
I thought I'd add a little follow-up list of my favorite Docs styles and colors. Enjoy!
The only thing more classically lesbian than a pair of black Doc Martens 1460s is the vegan version of the same boot.
Remember the Chelsea boot style I talked about yesterday? Here's the DM version.
Here's the Tyson 3-buckle pull-on (which also looks great in black).
Pascal 8-eye in peacock (my current favorite DM color)
The women's Vonda boots look great in shiny pewter.
And speaking of shiny, check out these silver 1460s.
Monochromatic 1460s. Also in navy.
The Jefferys come in paisley. Paisley!
Becketts are a little different from the norm, and even a bit preppy.
Manton Desert boots = classic Doc look, chukka version.
...So what are your favorite Docs?
Everyone knows that butches love boots. It's one of those iconic accouterments that make us feel kickass. So today, I'm giving you a quick guide to casual boots (e.g., boots that can be worn with jeans, khakis, Kuhls... basically anything besides dress pants). There are several types of casual boots. I'll list some, and then you should
check out my favorite picks from my new casual boots section in the Butch Store
. My choices were mostly about style, but in part about size, since I know that many butches have trouble finding men's styles in small sizes. (If that's a problem for you, you might also check out this site
Frye Dakota Boot
It's been a long time since work boots were just used for work. Work boots look great with jeans, and can even be worn to most non-physical-labor workplaces on casual days. Many come with steel toes, which are super cool, but not really necessary (and actually pretty heavy) unless you work in construction or in a machine shop or something. I especially like Frye Dakotas
(pictured), but there are tons of great work boot options from many other brands, including Caterpillar
(often made in the USA), and Wolverine
Chelsea BootsI'm going to lump Australian work boots in with Chelseas, since they look so similar.
The basic point is that they fit like a glove and are easy to pull on and off because of the elastic sides. For the quality, it's hard to beat these Blundstones
(pictured)--but if you want something dressier, get a pair that looks more like these
(the big differences are the polish/shininess and what the sole looks like viewed from the side). Fun fact: according to Wikipedia (which is never wrong), the Stormtroopers' boots in Star Wars were plain ol' black Chelsea boots, painted white.
To Boot New York Crosby
Chukka BootsI used to hate chukkas, but I have to admit that they've grown on me. They're stylish, come in great colors, and work in all seasons. Chukkas are ankle-height (the equivalent of mid-tops in tennis shoe terms) and usually have just 2-3 eyelets. I like this To Boot New York pair
(pictured, also comes in a dark chocolate brown), and Timberland and Johnston & Murphy make nice ones, too, including these
Harness/Engineer/Motorcycle BootsI don't usually think of engineers and motorcyclists as heavily overlapping
categories, but boot names are the exception. Made of heavy leather, these are usually taller than average boots and have a strap at the ankle and/or the calf for adjusting the fit. Unsurprisingly, Harley-Davidson has some cool styles
BED: STU Culture Boots
This is a catch-all category that basically encompasses boots that look cool and don't serve a specific purpose or fall into a specific style (neither the ones I've listed here, nor hiking, Western, etc.). Many of them have features that emphasize form over function--for example, white soles instead of tan or
Wolverine 1883 Mayall DGs
brown or black rubber ones. There are bunches of great-looking ones to suit every butch's personality, including these "Culture Boots" (eh?) by BED:STU
(the blue ones, pictured above), and these Wolverine 1883 Mayall DGs
(pictured right).It probably goes without saying that all of the
boots I've written about here, as well as most of the ones in The Butch Store
, are "men's," so it may be harder for you to find the right fit; if you're like most women, your feet are smaller and/or narrower than the average man's. But with patience, you'll find brands that work for you. (And here's a hint: using these insoles
will increase your shoe size by a half to a full size!). Hope you enjoy the new Butch Store additions
I had such a good hair day that I had to share it. That is all.