Last week, I returned to the age-old question of what butches should wear to interviews. In a short poll, I posed the following hypothetical:
Imagine helping a butch lesbian decide what to wear for an entry-level professional interview (e.g., lawyer, consultant, finance, manager, gov't, professor, etc.). She usually wears men's clothes, but identifies and presents as female, though people sometimes accidentally call her "sir." She tells you, "I know the employers are kind of conservative, though I also know things are slowly changing. I'm a solid candidate but not a shoe-in. What should I wear?
I gave six choices and asked how to advise our butch professional wannabe:
#1: Fit in first, THEN change the system. Wear what other women there wear: makeup, heels, whatever you have to.
#2: Be yourself, but show you're willing to play the game. Wear only the women's stuff you're most comfortable in--skip the makeup and heels!
#3: Wear a combo to help you fit in a little--e.g., a plain women's suit, collared shirt, men's shoes.
#4: You like men's clothes; wear a men's suit and shirt and shoes, but no tie or other uber-masculine gear that'd alienate you from your interviewers.
#5: Men's clothes, including a tie. If they don't want you, you don't want to work there. If you can't get a job in the industry, it's not for you!
#6: As long as you wear something nice, clean, etc., it doesn't matter. People judge you for who you are, not what you wear.
Here are the results:
As you can see, I also calculated the average age for each response. For a small survey, these age differences don't matter much, and goodness knows this isn't anything close to a representative sample (of the population overall, of butches, or even of BW readers), but it's interesting to think about.
A few numbers that caught my eye, and possible explanations:
And finally, here's a sampling of the write-in comments:
Thanks for these great thoughts. If you're trying to figure out how to break into the profession you want without compromising who you are, you are certainly not alone.
As you may have noticed, my blogging has slowed considerably. I want to blog more--daily, actually--and have been prevented from doing this because I have to work part-time jobs in addition to my main job to make ends meet.
A friend of mine advised, "Dude, make Butch Wonders your part-time job." I said, "That'd be great, but how?" She said, "You have 2000 readers a day! If each of them gave five bucks, Butch Wonders could be your part-time job for a year."
Dear readers, would you be willing to give a couple bucks to have a BW post every weekday? You could think of it as buying me coffee and a cookie to say, "Thanks for writing this blog, yo. I like it." That's right--excellent freakin' blog entries from yours truly. On a regular basis! What fun! And I could throw some prizes into the mix, too.
Here are a couple of polls to help me figure out exactly what to do:
Thanks for filling these out!
Thrilled to be figuring out a way to bring you the best in lesbian blogging,
I'm lucky enough to have a fabulous relationship with my mom. We don't always perfectly understand each other, but we know each other better than almost anyone else knows us. And I really wish I could be celebrating Mothers' Day with her today (albeit one of those arbitrary holidays that we celebrate largely because Hallmark tells us to--but that doesn't change the fact that it's a day we all think about moms).
Anyway, in honor of Mothers' Day, I thought I'd combine Butch Wonders themes with mothering and pose the following questions to readers:
Just a quick post to announce that The Trevor Project won the poll, and 1/3 of the proceeds from Mad 4 Equality will be donated there. Thanks for voting--I expect to post entry info in a day or two, and am super stoked about the tournament. Stay tuned!
On a slightly different BW note, I wanted to apologize for being such a lax little blogger lately. A couple different things have been going on, one of which involved me stepping off of a sidewalk onto uneven pavement and twisting my foot, causing a ligament to pull a chunk of bone off. So I'm hobbling around on crutches and demanding things from my DGF, who is being a ridiculously wonderful sport about it.
I'll try to pick up the pace, though, for your reading pleasure. I miss you guys! Love, BW
On a whim last week, I posted a question on my Facebook page: "What do butches do that bugs you?" I invited anyone--butches, non-butches, whoever--to answer, and got over 200 responses from BW readers.
Responses varied, but some distinct themes emerged. (To be clear, I'm not saying that butches have these traits--or that I'm not guilty of any!)
Whether there's truth in any of these is highly debatable. But these are some stereotypes people hold, and I think it's worth knowing about them, engaging with them, and taking them seriously.
For example, one straight reader (I LOVE that straight people read BW--you rock, straight readers!) wrote that in contrast to, say, gay men, she finds butches a little intimidating. I was surprised at first--me? But I appreciated her honesty. And although, sure, I wish people didn't assume things about butches based on our appearance, it also reminded me that I might need to go out of my way sometimes to make myself approachable (I'm not suggesting that everyone needs to do this--it just matters to me personally).
Do any of these ring true? Can it be productive to talk about them?