Stone Cold Butch: A look At
by: Ann C.
I just took an online survey that promised to tell me what kind of lesbian I am. What kind of lesbian I am? I thought I was the kind that likes women! As it turns out, they are talking about labels. You know…butch or femme. Apparently, however, I am hard to label. One survey called me a “granola loving lesbian”, which I guess could be true. I do like granola, and I own a pair of Birkenstocks, actually two. Another survey called me “undetectable” and actually suggested I may not be gay at all. I think this is because I sometimes drink martinis, which always confuses people.
The following is a list of the most common labels used to describe lesbians, but should in no way be considered completely exclusive:
Stone Cold Butch/Stone Butch: Most masculine of the Butches. - may pass as male without actually trying. May identify as transgender and is usually associated with females. May or may not be sexually aggressive. Will not be made love to as one would a "woman". Will have questioned their gender at some time in their lives. Will not be totally comfortable with their female body. May think of Butch as a separate gender from man & woman (“stone butch” def 2).
Soft Butch: A soft butch is a lesbian whose appearance is generally androgynous. She may dress and act in a masculine manner, but be soft and more feminine in the inside. Also, a soft butch can be someone who falls somewhere between butch and femme, but closer to the butch side. (Belge, Kathy)
Sport Dyke: A sport dyke is a lesbian, who more than anything, identifies with being an athlete. She may also dress in a manner that would give the impression she is an athlete, like baseball caps, sweatshirts and jeans (Belge, Kathy).
Lipstick Lesbian: A lipstick lesbian is a woman who loves other women, but also loves her clothes and makeup and shoes. She tends to dress on the femmy side (Belge, Kathy).
Butch: an overtly/stereotypically masculine or masculine-acting woman. Can be used to denote an individual, or the dominant role in a lesbian relationship (“butch” def 1).
Chapstick lesbian: A chapstick lesbian is also known as a soft butch or androgynous. She usually dresses quite casually and does not wear make-up. The term Chapstick Lesbian was popularized after an episode of the TV show Ellen. Someone asked Ellen if she were a lipstick lesbian or what. Ellen replied, she was more of a Chapstick lesbian(Belge, Kathy).
Femme: A traditionally feminine woman. Mainly used to refer to a feminine lesbian who is attracted to masculine or butch lesbians (“femme” def 1). It is important to add here that not all femme lesbians are attracted to butch lesbians.
Blue Jean Femme: A Blue Jean Femme is a lesbian who identifies as femme, or feminine, but prefers jeans and more casual clothing to dresses and skirts (Belge, Kathy).
While to some women, identifying as a certain type of lesbian may be very empowering, others are uncomfortable with being so narrowly defined. One lesbian, in writing to an advice column, wonders “…is it important to have a label, as I just want to be me. I thought that was what coming out is all about.” (Belge, Kathy).