I mentioned this on my Facebook page recently, and it continues to chap my proverbial hide.
The New York Times ran this story about how one butch went to a (male) tailor and asked him to make a men's suit for her. Last year. Yeah, you read that right: when Tomboy Tailors, Saint Harridan, Androgyny, and other companies were already on the scene. (I profiled some of them back in January and April.)
Worse yet, the Times's story implies that this tailor had some amaaaazing new idea. The story begins with, "Breakthrough ideas often come from the least expected sources." The idea that a mainstream male tailor would make some suits for butch women is not a "breakthrough;" he was merely introduced to a market that he didn't know already existed.
I don't fault the tailor--his quotes don't make it sound like he thinks he's a pioneer--but "discovery" is the thrust of the Times's story. Here's a quote:
In a coffee shop near his home the other day, he [the tailor] seemed still struck by the world that opened to him after that initial email. "The whole thing is really strange, and sometimes I can't — " he said, his voice evaporating into the wonder of it all. He was not even sure how to identify Ms. Tutera [the Handsome Butch], gender-wise. Was she transgender or just mannish? Sometimes it was hard to know such things.
In other words, Regular Person discovers Weird Queer Market.
While the story pays lip service to the fact that queer-owned companies with this mission already existed, this bit of info comes several paragraphs into the article, after the article's framework is well in place.
I'm happy to see any butch coverage in the media (see here and here for previous posts on the subject), but the Times article was one more reminder that butch visibility--and queer equality generally--still has a long way to go.
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