Guest EmberPhase

people who don't like the way other people look in public

73 posts in this topic

Hi Lizzielou and officially hi Ember 

I have found that we are never taught to really think for ourselves. We are told what to think, and that is what I like about these open forums, it's an opportunity for us to speak openly and honestly, to ask an honest question. There is no need to be attacked for feeling something, questioning anything. Unfortunately society pick the "worst" attribute about a particular "group" of people and kick it to death. I don't think Ember is butch bashing or labeling, simply asking an honest question in regards to these two "lesbians" that she encountered. As Lizzielou has her own personal thoughts and wonderings, as do all of us. Everyone is allowed to express their thoughts and feelings as long as it does not hurt them, if it hurts you, then you're just taking a person's idea or thought way too personally. It's all about you, not the other. It's about how you conduct yourself, behave. Like I said...it's all good. Keep thinking for yourself ladies 

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whoa. interesting thread...

(All quotes are from EmberPhase)

> Maybe someone out there, even ones like the following, could help

> enlighten me.

Hi Ember! I'm probably one of the dykes who looks the way you're describing. *laugh* (mostly, though, i do not stage my relationship melodrama in public *grin*)

Ember, it seems as though you originally were trying to distinguish between women who care about how they look (butch, femme, or otherwise) and women who don't. i'm going to totally ignore the stuff about hygiene, since i think you weren't talking about that, and i suspect we're all agreed that people should wash periodically. I'm also not going to address the specically butch/femme stuff... I'll save that for another post.

I'm definitely someone who, most of the time, just doesn't care. That's right -- I don't care how I look. I leave the house with bedhead sometimes (difficult with a brush cut, but i can do it!). I wear clothes that I'm vaguely aware are out of style. i don't wear any form of makeup. Worse, I don't shave my legs or my armpits!!! *grin* yes, i wash regularly, and yes, i pay attention to BO and bad breath. but i don't give a shit at all what i look like.

> It is almost like, and forgive my ignorance on the topic, they "refuse" > to attempt to polish their appearance.

In a sense, you're right. the way i see it, life is short, and there are lots of things i want to do. spending time on my appearance is just not as high a priority for me as the other things i want to do. *shrug* i guess my question is, why is it such a high priority for you? also, do you have the same standards for men about whether they style their hair, pick out flattering clothes, etc? (as with your question, mine are strictly interested. hope you're not offended).

as a fringe benefit, i like to stir up people's assumptions about "how a woman is supposed to look"... just as this thread is doing, so well. someone wrote that they were glad this was getting talked about, instead of just quietly thought! i agree.

> why do some lesbians feel this is the way to look?

i can't speak for anyone else, but for me, it's not that i specifically want to look any particular way. however i look, when i am clean and healthy and spending the minimum amount of time on appearance, that's how i look. i want my clothes to be comfortable and cheap (cuz i'd rather spend my money on other things too!), and i don't want to spend a lot of time looking for them. that often means hand-me-downs, quick trips through the second-hand store picking up just about anything in my size, and drying on a clothesline so my stuff lasts as long as possible before i have to start over.

on the rare occasions that i do pay attention to my looks, it's because i'm performing, or in drag, or in costume. and that can be a lot of fun *impish grin* During my short life, i've travelled all over the gender continuum. I do know how to apply makeup, and how to merengue in high heels (much to the distress of men in bars, when my girlfriend would in while i was dancing with them). I also know how to bind my breasts, pick out a flattering suit, tie a tie, and flirt while lighting a woman's cigarette. but these are rare special occasions (halloween? gender-fuck night-on-the-town with friends?).

when i feel most comfortable, when i feel like "myself", is when i'm spending those precious minutes on the things i love... and paying attention to my looks just isn't one of the things i love. i know i'm supposed to love it, because all women are "supposed" to love it... but i don't. i think our (north american) culture allows men a bit more freedom about this, because they can be all stylin if they want to. but if they don't give a damn, or can't afford the time or money to look "polished", that might cause some problems, but people don't get all confused about whether they're male or female, or start wondering if they have gender identity problems.

> if it is really a helper or a henderance to their finding someone to be

> with

well, i'm polyamourous (see my post in the poly forum!), and i don't have any trouble finding people to play with or commit to, so i guess i can't complain. *grin*

let's face it, there's a lot of societal shit out there for women who break the rules. and there are as many ways to break the rules as there are women... as zami pointed out so well, just about anything can be subversive. "high femme" can be rule-breaking, so can "butch", and anyplace inbetween. so can "ignoring the idea that i should care about my looks in the first place." and it takes a lot of courage sometimes to break rules publicly, openly, without shame. for a lot of people, courage is an attractive quality, whether that courage expresses itself in femme, butch, or "i don't give a damn" flavour.

so in my own way, I *am* proud of how i look... i'm proud that i have the courage to look however i want, without caring how or whether other people judge me. which, basically, isn't so different from what you do, am I right?

> neglect of their own appear and presence while out in public was

> slightly offensive and it caught me off guard.

this seems really interesting. part of the question seems to be about distinguishing between appearance in public and appearance in private. What does that mean to you? Why did it catch you off guard?

> It almost seems like they are making the statement to other females,

> that you aren't truly a lesbian if you wear eyeshadow and carry a

> purse.

Hm... this i don't get. Ember, you look one way, i look a different way. how is either one of us making a statement about the other?

take care folks,

Troublemaker

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You raise some interesting points Trouble...and in conclusion come up with the same point I made, "it doesn't matter". But again, it's great that Ember has put it out there, asking honestly what she feels. It's an opportunity for all of us to speak our thoughts out loud and Ember, you certainly have raised a "popular" topic ... hehehe.

I do have a question for you Trouble if you don't mind? Can I ask why you bind your breasts? My thoughts have been that it's to give a look of a males chest, is that right in your case? Are you uncomfortable with having breasts? Or does it just look better with a suit and tie? I'm curious 

I ask out of curiousity and not judgment, let me make that crystal clear. I think a womans breasts are beautiful, and although I don't feel they need to be displayed in a provacative way, just the the shape is very beautiful as is the the entire body of a woman. Hopefully you can indulge my curiosity...

Til next time,

Nicole ~

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Hi Nicole, that's quite a question! *grin* Yes, I understand that your request is genuine, and I think it's a whole separate topic, so I'll start a thread in a minute with whatever little piece of the answer that I have. Before I do though, I have a bunch of questions about this one...

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You raise some interesting points Trouble...and in conclusion come up with the same point I made, "it doesn't matter".

Hm... well, not quite. I concluded that my appearance doesn't matter to me. But how I am seen by others... well, sometimes that does matter (to me, and by the sound of this thread, how I look matters to others too!).

And of course, many people (in fact, probably most) do care how they look, and how others look. My question is, why does it matter? I imagine there are as many reasons as there are people reading this (quite a number, I notice from the forum stats! Come on lurkers -- tell us how you really feel!  )

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I think a womans breasts are beautiful, and although I don't feel they need to be displayed in a provacative way, just the the shape is very beautiful as is the the entire body of a woman. Hopefully you can indulge my curiosity...

I agree -- bodies in all their amazing shapes are quite wonderful. This whole topic just raises so many questions though... like, what is "provocative" (as in your quote above), and what isn't? What is "flattering" or "polished" or "presentable" (all words that have been used here), and what isn't? When we talk about "clothes that fit", what does that mean, and who decides? Probably there are lots of opinions about this, but I'd be interested to know what they are, and why people feel the way they do...

Ember has emphatically stated that this is not about butches in particular:

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Seriously, I NEVER said A THING about butch women other than I when I stated that I WASN'T talking about their kind in my first entry.

And yet it's posted in the Butch/Femme forum. Is it significant that the discussion has several times now sort of slid into being about butch/femme? And not about butch/femme in general, but about butch women specifically (aren't they just boys? are masculine-looking women struggling with their sexual identity?). It seems to be somehow very easy to make that mental shift from "shabby" to "butch", yet not to "femme". It seems about equally reasonable to wonder if really femme women are overcompensating because they're insecure about their gender identity as "real women" or somehting (IMPORTANT NOTE: I'm not suggesting this is the case!!). But we haven't wondered about that. So far, several questions have been raised about butches... and the one person on this forum who actually identifies as butch has been flamed off the board, as far as I can tell. When I take a step back and look at the big picture, I wonder if there's more going on than the original question itself really conveys.

Reading back over this thread, I realized too that I had missed this the first time around, in an exchange about makeup and purses:

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I was talking from the OTHER perspective of why they tend not to and would ignore women who do

The "why" part is the same as the original post, but the "ignore" part is new, and a bit baffling. Women who don't wear makeup ignore women who do? Since when? Uh, some women who don't wear makeup (aka butch dykes) are well known for being rather interested in women who do. *grin*

Just as baffling as Ember's other suggestion that dykes who don't care (or care less, or care differently) about their appearance are "making a statement that you aren't truly a lesbian if you wear eyeshadow and carry a purse."

Whoa. Ember, I'm getting the sense that you feel judged by these women (your customers? other people you've met? me maybe?), or disapproved of, or something. Am I wrong? What's going on?

take care all,

Troublemaker

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Hi Nicole, I finally posted the reply to your original question in the Transgender/Transsexual forum. I need to learn to be more concise! *laugh* let me know what you think.

troublemaker

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firstly, i hafta say i've just become a HUGE fan of Zami and Troublemaker's *mad applause*

...and now for a NEW p.o.v...

i, personally, identify as a femme...bratty femme sub, to be exact, but that's for a different forum *wink* ... anyway, i see the same ol' opinion given over and over again about Butch women...'why do they wanna be men' and the same ol' shabby question of 'why would a woman want another woman who looks like a man' ...welp, here's MY answers, actually, more like MY definitions...

a Butch ... a bio-female who has a masculine sense about her (ie. soft butch, butch, stone butch, ftm, etc.) ...attributes to a Butch are strength (mentally AND physically), security, SEXYness, stature, solidarity, compassionate, sensitive and most of all...TRUE, to themselves and what they believe (if not, do you think they would BE proud of being Butch?)

a Femme ... a female (of ANY previous gender), who's pretenses of themselves are feminine (and no that dont always mean skirts n makeup)...

i prefer a Butch to any other type of woman out there...the feeling of one's strong arms wrapped around me at night, the smell of their skin next to mine, the feeling of their thighs inbetween mine fillin me with themselves...ah!!!!!!! it's almost time fer a cold shower *LOL*

may i suggest a book called 'stone butch blues' to anyone interested in the Butch/Femme dynamic... 

oh, and btw...you'd think that in the lesbian community their would be much more tolerance and respect than anywhere else in the world, but i guess ignorance just infiltrates all our armies...dammit! 

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firstly, i hafta say i've just become a HUGE fan of Zami and Troublemaker's *mad applause*

...and now for a NEW p.o.v...

i, personally, identify as a femme...bratty femme sub, to be exact, but that's for a different forum *wink* ... anyway, i see the same ol' opinion given over and over again about Butch women...'why do they wanna be men' and the same ol' shabby question of 'why would a woman want another woman who looks like a man' ...welp, here's MY answers, actually, more like MY definitions...

a Butch ... a bio-female who has a masculine sense about her (ie. soft butch, butch, stone butch, ftm, etc.) ...attributes to a Butch are strength (mentally AND physically), security, SEXYness, stature, solidarity, compassionate, sensitive and most of all...TRUE, to themselves and what they believe (if not, do you think they would BE proud of being Butch?)

a Femme ... a female (of ANY previous gender), who's pretenses of themselves are feminine (and no that dont always mean skirts n makeup)...

i prefer a Butch to any other type of woman out there...the feeling of one's strong arms wrapped around me at night, the smell of their skin next to mine, the feeling of their thighs inbetween mine fillin me with themselves...ah!!!!!!! it's almost time fer a cold shower *LOL*

may i suggest a book called 'stone butch blues' to anyone interested in the Butch/Femme dynamic... 

oh, and btw...you'd think that in the lesbian community their would be much more tolerance and respect than anywhere else in the world, but i guess ignorance just infiltrates all our armies...dammit! 

Exactly when did this go butch again? Well, to put it more correctly, when did it EVER go butch for me? Just a simple question about any female/lesbian (identication with a certain group with in lesbiandom optional) 

Sorry, didn't talk about butch (and, on a very PERSONAL note, I don't ever care to). I am a femme attracted to other femmes, so butch isn't even an issue with me. Which means I wouldn't bring it up in conversation. I have no knowledge on that topic, nor anything to add to the topic.

The topic or concept of Butch, to me, is like the amazing wonders (like the biggest ball of yarn, or some other amazing thing), it may exist but I have no interest in it.  So, you will not see me giving it enough attention to even knock it. Live Butch, live proud, live on (I don't care).

**Wandering off on a tangent for a moment**...Anyone get how tired I am of telling people that this topic isn't about butch? My question is, when did everything go or turn into the topic of butch? 

Hehehehe, it is like those darn Pokemon, anyone ever see that stuff? The only part I know about it is that the animal, apparently, can only say its name. No matter the purpose or exclamation, it can only say its name. I am starting to feel that butch is being taken down that same road; everything leads back to butch.

Pokemon styled vocab:

B-utch = Hello

Butch = My name is...

Bu-tch = You are my friend

Bu-tchA = Holy crap, did you just see that?

Hehehe, sorry. I just seemed like a giggle moment to me. 

Welcome to the boards Venus, I hope you find what you are looking for!  By the way B-utch and Bu-tch! 

Seriously, though, welcome to the boards. I have seen a lot of diversity and dynamic here so far. I think you'll enjoy your stay here and find some people whom you can relate to and build companionships with.

I hear what you are saying about the differences between the two. Actually there may have been a point in my life where I would have identified with the butch side more than the femme. I grew up with guys, only guys, and so I had to LEARN how to be more like the "classic" female (as a majority of society would see it). I hated dresses and would have rather chased the boys up a tree just to beat the crap out of them instead of playing tea party in an Easter dress. Those days are gone and as people tend to do, I have changed.

***Important note here for those who like that soapbox***: In NO way am I saying that butch is a phase, a growth pain, or any other temporary psychological process. I am just saying that if you asked me then and you asked me now, I would have given you a different answer to what I felt I was like.

I hope that you have a good time here with us, we look forward to hearing more from you. Good luck to you! 

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***Important note here for those who like that soapbox***: In NO way am I saying that butch is a phase, a growth pain, or any other temporary psychological process. I am just saying that if you asked me then and you asked me now, I would have given you a different answer to what I felt I was like.

 

How sad is it when you actually have to put in foot notes to your casual postings? But, then again, this is a forum full of women  We know how we can be. 

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Exactly when did this go butch again? Well, to put it more correctly, when did it EVER go butch for me?

Well, probably when you posted it in the Butch/Femme forum...

Sorry, didn't talk about butch (and, on a very PERSONAL note, I don't ever care to).

I wrote a bit about how this misunderstanding seems to keep happening, as well as a bunch of other stuff responding to the original spirit of your question... it kind of got burried in the middle of page 2, so I'm wondering if you saw it. I'd be interesting in your thoughts!

take care,

Troublemaker

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Exactly when did this go butch again? Well, to put it more correctly, when did it EVER go butch for me?

Well, probably when you posted it in the Butch/Femme forum...

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Sorry, didn't talk about butch (and, on a very PERSONAL note, I don't ever care to).

I wrote a bit about how this misunderstanding seems to keep happening, as well as a bunch of other stuff responding to the original spirit of your question... it kind of got burried in the middle of page 2, so I'm wondering if you saw it. I'd be interesting in your thoughts!

take care,

Troublemaker

Yeap, read it. I have often heard the 'I don't care what I look like' statement but it is often coming out of the mouths of children who prefer to be outside playing, rather than adults who have been taught better over time. It is all a matter of upbringing. Like I said about 3 times now, it is probably my upbringing that leads me not to go outside without myself put together (even on the minimal level). I work in a corporate office, I brush my hair. It is true, you have to dress for success (unfortunately, that is how our society works...unless you are some type of artist lol).

As for quick and cheap. Brushing hair takes like, what?, 5 seconds. And as for the cost of appearance....>wicked grin< obviously you have never met super shoppers like myself. I never pay full price for any of my clothing. It is call markdowns and clearance racks. You don't have to be rich to look good. I work too hard for my money to be wasted away, just like you. But, I do like to have clothes that at least flatter my frame.

Now, that statement doesn't mean tight, fitted, or any of that....and if you believe that statement does, obviously you have never watched a makeover show (especially when they teach the larger missy sizes to dress to flatter their frames). It is all about shape, color, texture and maybe a little style (IF that is your thing). It is knowledge of your frame, NOT your weight or what you 'want' to look like (not everyone is a model's frame...heck, I am not!) but it is all about flattering what you've got.

To me, it is more of personal pride. I think I look good in a jogging outfit as much as I do my work suits. But I don't wear a jogging outfit 3 times my size, or one that is faded beyond belief, or anything like that. Wickedly I say, if the clothes aren't doing a thing for you (as in your appearance), then you might as well not wear them at all; as in you would probably look better without them. Hehehehe...sorry had to be a little wicked.

I have often heard, for lack of a better term, natural women (women who don't wear makeup and down others who do) ask why would women care about their colors, their paints, their frames. Using those 'artistic' words in a metaphor to where they might understand, I say the Mona Lisa would be nothing but a drawing without her paints.

She, as a picture of a woman, is humble and conservative, but yet there is still so much going on, so much there! She is revered all the world over and it isn't because she is just in black and white as a simple drawing would be. She has some life breathed into her (her colors, her brush strokes, her textures and techniques). Just a simple touch of care and attention to her "appearance" has left people breathless and in awe for ages.

I personally care to be more than just a drawing. Hence, why I (as you asked why I care) use my colors, my textures, my techniques. Beyond the beauty of that statement and taking it down to a gritty level.... I am creative, artistic, passionate. If I could not express myself with my own canvas, life would be just too boring, plain, and dull for me...AND that is WHY I care 

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Well, probably when you posted it in the Butch/Femme forum...

Wicked grin again...."why's it gotta be Butch?"  Why can't be femme? LoL 

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I am almost afraid to enter this conversation. This has turned into a very heated dispute b/t two women (one passionate about defending the community and the other seeking better understanding about the community through closed eyes). Now b/f anyone jumps to defend her position, I want to make it clear (since you two have covered that fact that you can both read and argue) that I meant no offense. This is just my way of getting to the point. I believe your initial question was why do some women in the lesbian community take little pride in their physical appearance and do they expect the same from all lesbians. First, I do not believe that most care what you look like and they may not care what they look like. Secondly, I am not certain as to what you meant by repulsion. Were you actually physically repulsed? If so that is sad (in the literal sense) b/c you so place such importance on something so superficial. Or were you being colorful with your words and simply stating that you were not attracted to these type of women? Women, gay and straight, dress and carry themselves differently. This does not make them any less of a women. It simply makes them physically different from you and me. And maybe they are more in touch with a spiritual side and care not for materialistim. Maybe they are happy and comfortable with their own identities and thay do not feel the need try to impress us. Maybe they are not trying to attract us (meaning femmes). I have never understood the butch thing and more than I do the femme thing, but I guess I can relate a little more with the femme side of things. This doesn't mean that b/c I am attracted to women who are on the softer side that someone else is not entitled to live their lives as they see fit. Let them have their beliefs and mannerisms as long as they do not force tem upon me, I do not care. Actually, I think it is a good thing. Diversity is what makes the world go around and this is especially true in our community. Just b/c you do not understand something, doesn't make it wrong. It just makes it beyond your understanding or current body of knowledge. If we judge people based on how they look, the world would be even more empty and shallow than it is already. Let us not subject our community to gender based Nazism.

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I am almost afraid to enter this conversation. This has turned into a very heated dispute b/t two women (one passionate about defending the community and the other seeking better understanding about the community through closed eyes). Now b/f anyone jumps to defend her position, I want to make it clear (since you two have covered that fact that you can both read and argue) that I meant no offense. This is just my way of getting to the point. I believe your initial question was why do some women in the lesbian community take little pride in their physical appearance and do they expect the same from all lesbians. First, I do not believe that most care what you look like and they may not care what they look like. Secondly, I am not certain as to what you meant by repulsion. Were you actually physically repulsed? If so that is sad (in the literal sense) b/c you so place such importance on something so superficial. Or were you being colorful with your words and simply stating that you were not attracted to these type of women? Women, gay and straight, dress and carry themselves differently. This does not make them any less of a women. It simply makes them physically different from you and me. And maybe they are more in touch with a spiritual side and care not for materialistim. Maybe they are happy and comfortable with their own identities and thay do not feel the need try to impress us. Maybe they are not trying to attract us (meaning femmes). I have never understood the butch thing and more than I do the femme thing, but I guess I can relate a little more with the femme side of things. This doesn't mean that b/c I am attracted to women who are on the softer side that someone else is not entitled to live their lives as they see fit. Let them have their beliefs and mannerisms as long as they do not force tem upon me, I do not care. Actually, I think it is a good thing. Diversity is what makes the world go around and this is especially true in our community. Just b/c you do not understand something, doesn't make it wrong. It just makes it beyond your understanding or current body of knowledge. If we judge people based on how they look, the world would be even more empty and shallow than it is already. Let us not subject our community to gender based Nazism.

Sorry, but I simply refuse to discuss this matter any longer. People read what they want to read and ignore all else.

It isn't about materialism or anything else running through your pretty little mind. After all, a comb can be bought for as little as twenty five cents and it takes just 10 seconds at most to use it (So, there goes your money and time angle).

If you, and all the others who supported that type of point, truly believe that we should accept all forms of appearance in public, then I guess I don't understand why office buildings and all other public domains still require a dress code. Afterall, by your point you are making you shouldn't mind someone handling your fries and burger with nappy hair and that just rolled out of bed look or someone closing the deal on your new home to be dressed as a rag doll. One could almost hear the word hypocrite being uttered all through out this conversation.

Call it whatever you wish for your postings purposes. Call it materialism, professionalism, nazism, or just being grown enough to know how to dress yourself; but this is the way it is. And it didn't get there on its own (i.e. you help it along everyday).

Last note, I think all of you are taking outward appearances in the wrong way. You are somehow under the belief that they 'cover up' the person or somehow are another entity all their own from their wearer, but you couldn't be more wrong. You aren't what you wear, you wear what you are. The outside isn't meant to make you, it is meant to help others understand who you are. The outside is just a tool to reflect the inside, not to mask it.

You need to retrain your thoughts. It isn't about not getting to know someone or judging them prematurely through their outward appearance. Any animal on this green earth knows that a beautiful outside just reflects good genes on the inside.

Tell me I am wrong all you want, but Mother Nature has been doing it since the dawn of time and you do it everyday yourself. I think someone said something earlier about judging the women based on their appearance was wrong since I didn't even know them. It is funny how humans 'feel' they have moved so far ahead in evolution that they are 'above' relying on natural instincts based on all observations that can be made in a situation, including appearance.

If that is truly the case and we have moved 'above' Mother Nature's tool of recognition and association, then it is simple to say that our eye sight will be no longer needed for social purposes; and we all know what happens to things that Mother Nature finds we don't need anymore.  Or maybe you don't. Sorry, bio major, I tend to see the natural basics.

So, in closing....we'll utter this so that all the hypocrites and/or higher-than-thou-evolutionary humans will be happy....

A beautiful, or neat, or pleasing appearance isn't needed. In fact, it is part of the patriarchic society that is keeping our society at a stand still. It is wrong to question why some people do not care or not take note of how their appearance is seen by others. I am a cosmetic Nazi that should be hung from the nearest tree and set on fire upon my last breath.  Happy now?

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Greetings and Salutations...I just wanted to say that the range covered in this "sub-forum" could and perhaps should be used to teach. (I use should loosely) I truly appreciate it being taken to an academic level. But sometimes not everyone is willing/capable of going/meeting there or half way for that matter. But keep up the dialogue...wow I sound old!

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Wow it took me like a good hour and a half to read this sub forum, but I think I have read enough and comprehended enough to post some sort of reply. Ember, I agree with your orginal post and I share you misunderstanding of why women (lesbian and straight) do not take pride in their appearance. I had a British nanny growing up and I was basically raised to be a lady, take pride in my appearance, and present my self as a lady. Like you, I don't wear makeup everyday and I don't dress to the 9's everyday either, but even when I'm in a tshirt and jeans I take pride in my appearance. I don't know how your original post took a spin off to butch vs. femme but I just wanted to let you know that I share your curiosity and it not only goes for lesbians but it extends to straight women too. There is nothing wrong with loving how you take pride in your appearance, hopefully we will all find someone who does the same.

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Something a lot of people have ignored, even though Ember has tried to remind us of it in at least three of her postings on this topic is the South. Now, I'm from the deep South, and I will tell anyone who is not (and anyone who is, but don't see it), that going back down there is like traveling a time machine. Style without substance is a way of life for a lot of the older generation. Appearance is EVERYTHING, and the appearance of propriety (notice I didn't say ACTUAL propriety) is next to godliness. I'm talking, just because your Grandma just got run over by a reindeer, that doesn't give you an excuse to let your mascara run all over your face! This mentality prevents the healthy expression of grief, anger, and a host of other normal human emotions, but women keep teaching it to their daughters, and daughters keep taking it as the gospel.

My other point about this whole topic is a nod to the animal kingdom. As a student of the behavioral sciences, I'd be interested in your take on the parallel between mating displays where the animal assumes brassy colors and/or an altered appearance (puffs up a gland in her throat or spreads his tail feathers) and the way the human animal attracts potential mates. Is make-up really a way of distinguishing ourselves from the animal kingdom, or is it something we borrowed from them?

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I'm talking, just because your Grandma just got run over by a reindeer, that doesn't give you an excuse to let your mascara run all over your face!

OMG, I've had the exact same experience growing up. I wasn't raised in the south, but like I said before I had a British nanny (Norma) who didn't care if I was sick or on my death bed I looked like a lady from my hair to nails to the perfect outfit. She always said "A lady is supposed to look and present herself as such no matter what affliction is upon her." Yes, I did go through my tomboy days but they were few and far between. You make an excellent point and you are right about the south.

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Hey,

My personal opinoin about appearance and looks(meaning that no one has to like it or believe it) is that people are who they are. Some people are very comfortable with themselves and feel as if they don't need much to be attractive and when they find people who feel the same way.... that's beautiful. What's attractive to some may not be attractive to all but for those who adore it ...it works just fine. I would like ot know what others think about my response if they care to let me know.

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a lot of lesbians look like 14 year old boys and act like boys as well. If I wanted to be with someone who looked and acted like a boy I wouldn't be a lesbian.

some of us can't help looking like teenage boys. with my face, femininity isn't really an option. i hope people can hold me to the same standards of beauty as they would a boy -- because i could be considered quite 'handsome' but not exactly 'pretty,' if you get what i mean.

this doesn't mean that androgynous or boyish lesbians shouldn't care for their appearance. i'm with you on that one, ember. as an artist i'm very much into fashion and i love to see girls taking creative risks with their clothes and hair. that attention to appearance is what draws me to them.

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Does anyone know why some lesbians tend to follow this path in their personal presentation? It is almost like, and forgive my ignorance on the topic, they "refuse" to attempt to polish their appearance.

Actually, it's not just lesbians who can be that way, it's any woman (and man, too).

There's a lot to be said about this topic. You may have seen these two women on a bad day. Maybe something terrible happened and looks took a back seat to whatever else they needed to do. Same thing with the bickering you later said they were doing. We all have bad days and anyone who does not know us may think we are like that all the time.

Or maybe they are like that all the time. Who cares? Some people don't know how to dress themselves, for whatever the reason. It really is, to some extent, a bit of a skill. We master some skills, fail at others. That's just life. Or maybe they do not know they look terrible. As objective as we may think we can be, we still look out on the world with eyes and minds shaped by our experiences. They might think they look good, or not even have thought about their looks at all. Every person has her own idea of what beauty is.

You mentioned that a comb is inexpensive and takes only a few seconds to use. I have left the house, as we all have at times, in such a hurry, that I have forgotten something. Sometimes it's to brush my teach (hate when I do that), or to do my hair. It happens. As for those who rarely do stuff with their appearance, they may have other priorities. Who are you to tell me that looks are more important than feeding the hungry, or reading to the blind, or manning a suicide prevention line? What one person thinks is important, another will think is stupid. There are so many things in life, each person prioritizes what she thinks is important. Not everything makes the top ten list.

The above examples aren't necessarily refusals to polish their images. As for those who do refuse, some (most, I believe) are making a statement. This is a wonderful country (usually, lol) for that freedom of expression thing. Looks are a part of that freedom. I was taught (as were many people I know) by the parents (and other adults) that looks are not important; the inside is (the old don't-judge-a-book-by-its-cover routine and the beauty-is-only-skin-deep speech). So what happened when I got older, taking this parental wisdom to heart? I got told it now no longer applied. I had to look a certain way to get a job, get a girlfriend, or just to be accepted by society in general.

What a bunch of bull that all was. I was told I took that advice to heart waaay too much. Let's all teach our children one thing then tell them it really isn't that way when they get older. Sometimes I think people don't think about what they tell their kids, as long as it sounds good. It's considered the "right" thing to teach your kids (along with the money-isn't-everything idea, which we all know is not quite true, too), even though reality doesn't exactly support it.

I do think we place too much emphasis on looks. Why does it matter that I look, or not look, a certain way? Some think you can tell things about a person based solely on looks. Like everything else in life, sometimes it's true, sometimes not. I have 16 piercings, all visible. I know people who think I am a certain way because of them. Most of these people are wrong. I am not a punk. I am not a freak. I am not trying to piss anyone off. I do not hate my parents. I am not a wild party girl. I never did drugs, nor do I drink very often. I don't own a skateboard, nor will I ever. It goes on. I know people with numerous tats who do not fit the typical image of a tattooed person. Some are conservative business people.

You may think that because I look sloppy sometimes, it means I do not care about myself. Not true. I live in a neat, clean house. I am a productive member of society. I have a 14 yr old who is well-mannered. I visit my doctor to take care of my health. I am returning to school for my Master's. But what if I did not care about myself? That's still my business. It may be sad, but people still have the power to do what they want.

Some people look the way they do to portray a certain image. Maybe those two you saw want to tell the world that they are laid-back, easy spirits who believe comfort is important. Or that they are total slobs and are happy with that (some people really do like being that way). Or something like that; you get the picture.

With that said, we do what we want. If you like to spend time, money, or whatever to look good (or your opinion of good), fine. I don't (and shouldn't) care. If a woman (or man) just throws on clothes that are dirty and wrinkled, so what? You don't have to like it. Look away if it bothers you that much. Remember, this is a free country. You can look however you want. You may not get certain jobs or love interests, but most of us manage well enough, regardless. Their are jobs, businesses, people, etc. that you can be involved with, while looking like you just rolled out of bed and sporting 10 facial tats and a nose ring.

Me? In case any of you were wondering, I do take my jewelry out for job interviews and some jobs themselves. I do not believe I should have to, but do comply because having money is important for paying bills. Some places I have worked don't care if I wear any of it. I am a casual person. No makeup. I think I am makeup-challenged, lol. Not that it matters, because I do not like it anyway. Sometimes I dress nicely, but I do it for myself. I like the way I look and feel when in good clothes. Sometimes I dress like a slob. It's comfortable and I am not looking to impress anyone. You either like me for my personality, or you can go find someone else to hang with. I'm cool with it.

Incidently, many anthropologists will tell you that most, if not all, cultures, past and present, use makeup and clothing as part of their mating rituals. We don't have the brightly colored buttocks of the baboon, or the tail of a peacock, but we can paint our faces and put on a costume and jewelry. Dancing is also part of this ritual. The red lipstick thing is supposed to represent the vulva when it is excited and engorged with blood. This is supposed to entice the male. Just a little fyi stuff.

So, Ember, I hope I have read your entry correctly and have helped you out with my answers. Yeah, this site got really interesting for a while. It brought up some good points. I feel the need to address some more of those points, but will do so in another response. Didn't want to get your original question mixed up with the other stuff that came up later.

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and aren't two butchy chicks just 2 gay guys? If I wanted to date a girl who looked like a guy then I wouldn't have this whole lesbian dilema in the first place. So Ember let us hold up our curling irons and mascara brushes and unite to take pride in at least our looks!

There's a huge difference between a man and a woman who looks/acts like a man. And there's a huge difference in a woman's desire for one over the other.

A lot comes down to what defines males and females. There's nature, for one. I am, for simplicity, not going to address nature's snafus, such as transgendered individuals or men born without testicles or woman without uteri. Most of the time, it is safe to say that an individual born with xy chromosomes, penis and testicles, is a man (male). Those with xx chromosomes, vagina, uterus, breasts, are women (female). I guess that's nature's definition of guys and girls.

The other definition is a social one, and does not necessarily have anything to do with nature. In our society, men wear certain clothes, have certain jobs, activities, hobbies, and act in certain ways. Ditto with women.

Also for simplicity, I will talk about our society and leave out the Europeans, Asians, etc.

If you look at American society over the course of centuries, you will see that our ideas of what makes a man a man and a woman a woman, have changed (this happens with our ideas of god, work, free time, etc. so it is not gender exclusively). It was once thought unmanly for a male to take care of his children directly. When I say directly, I mean feed, diaper, play with. Men have always been responsible for bringing home money and/or food and protection. Women were the nurturers who spent much of their time interacting with the kids. Now, it is considered a more manly thing for a guy to take a more interactive roll with his kids. If a guy leaves the work up to the woman, he is now a coward or lazy. Yeah, some people still hold with the traditional rolls, but not so much anymore.

More men have custody of their kids now than ever before.

Sports were also for men alone. Fifty years ago, women would clean up the supper dishes while the men would watch the football game. Now, women are rabid football fans. They play basketball and can name you all the NASCAR drivers. Thought that was male behavior.

What I am getting at is that society's idea of what is male and female is subject to change. Therefore, how can we take any one trait or style and label it as male or female? It may have been male 50 yrs ago, but not now. I guess I am trying to say that society's idea of what is male and female is just an opinion, not reality. Nature is closer to reality (though not perfect). Or you could say it (society) is temporary reality, but problems arise when you tell a woman who is wearing a suit that she is a man wannabe.

We are steeped in what our society says is so, so it is difficult to pull ourselves away from it and look at it from the outside.

A lot of women don't feel like men. They would never want to be a man. They have the two xx chromos and vagina, etc., but wear men's clothing, work construction, and hold the door open for other women. They are NOT trying to be men, but are just trying to be themselves. Also with nature comes the desire for certain behaviors. I think we can all sympathize when we hear stories of kids being made to do or be one thing (because society says it should be that way) when they do not feel, in their bones, that it is right for them. Being made to go to church, being made to babysit, to wear that stupid bonnet at Easter, take home ec instead of shop, or vis versa. You all know what I mean.

Some women are just naturally more masculine (in society's sense) than others, but they were born to be that way. They aren't that way because they are trying to be men, they just naturally gravitate to the behavior. My mother would put me in dresses, my sister would try to teach me about makeup, but I hated it all, even as a small child. It just wasn't me.

I wear men's clothes because I like the way they look, feel, and cost. Their shoes fit me better, the jeans do too, and are cheaper. I do not like my hair long because it is hot, in my neck (even when up), takes forever to dry, and gets all over everything. I didn't decide to have these (and other) behaviors, styles because I identify as a male. I am 100% woman. For me, it wasn't even about gender. It's just comfort, cost, and what makes me happy. And it feels natural to me.

Fortunately, their are other women who understand this and can see the difference between a masculine woman and an actual man.

There are women who do identify as men, for whatever reason. Not every masculine woman is like this. Some are transgendered. Some are whatever it is they are. They have the freedom to be what they want.

And other women are attracted to them. There is no accounting for certain things in life, like tastes, spelling of names, and attractions. If two consenting adults are happy, why do we care?

I must admit, I do wonder about the women who identify as lesbians, yet want a female-to-male partner. I guess they like the person, not the sex. That has to be it, or what will they do when the partner gets a sex change operation? I don't care; you like what you like.

I look butch. I don't identify as a man, though many of my behaviors are kind of like a guy's. I like sending my woman flowers and writing her poetry. I will hold the door open for her. I will protect her, though I will leave her alone if she can hold her own and wants to. I fix things, though sometimes poorly, lol.

Some of my behaviors and my looks are, by society's standards, masculine, but I do not identify as a man. I am doing only what comes naturally to me.

When you like someone, you want to take care of them, watch out for them, defend them. When a man does this for a woman, it is natural. When a woman does it for a man, she is being nurturing. When a woman does this for another woman, she is trying to be a man. That's just plain stupid.

There is a certain freedom one gains from not letting others shove her in a box with a socially acceptable label. Be who you were born to be, not what society says you are supposed to be. You will be happier, and those around you will probably shut up after they realize you are not changing for them. After all, what one person thinks suits you, another may not. Every person has her own idea of what you should be, wear, look like, act, etc. My question is then: whose idea of what you should be do you conform to? Mom's? Dad's? Your one friend? Your other? Coworkers? You see how ridiculous this is starting to get. You can't live your life for anyone but yourself.

I know you may not get this, garbage, but there is something sexy about a woman who identifies as a woman, but looks and acts a bit like a guy. In the end, I know she is still all woman.

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Hi, this is my first post here at Lesbotronics, and this is an issue that I have been struggling with myself, not about who I am attracted to, but the self-perception side of it--long story so I won't get into that right now),

but I've been reading over these posts, and I think I can add something of value here. I am a married (to man) bisexual, and I have never been with a woman sexually yet, but have thought about it constantly and for a very, very long time, even before I met my husband and yes, he knows and is very open and undestanding, not threatened by it, etc. Ok, now thats not really important here, but from my experiences, in that I have dated alot of men in my past, I think what I am going to tell you might shed some light...so bear with me.

I grew up in the South, and in the culture where women are socially pressured to be feminine, by feminine I am referring to the social constructs of outward appearance, etc. And I will tell you, that I was not seen as attractive in the community where I grew up (talking teen to young woman years), for one, I was dark haired, odd facial attributes, strong voice, and in comparison to the petite, blonde, dainty facial features, I stood out like a lemon in a box of apples. Needless to say, I had a very, very low self-esteem...when I began to date I had often found out through the sources that the men I dated, thought I was an easy target because for one, I had that low self-esteem and for two, ugly women were easy. I had a attractive body, and men would constantly comment on that part of me, but when I would ask them if they thought I was pretty, I was told, well, the evasive, 'well, you're kind of attractive', etc etc...

so, I spent hours and hours comparing myself to other women, trying to look like everyone else, trying to be everyone else (again, teen and young adult age) and in this process, loathed myself more and more. Sure, mentally I would tell myself, love yourself, blah blah but I didn't believe it...and before you know it, I was in an emotionally abusive marriage, one that my ex rejected me sexually, I left him and then got into an even worse situ with a socio-path who nearly killed me (but was addicted to me sexually, and I loved that attention -- see what low self-esteem will do to a person, sick isn't it?), and then, left him and well, the pattern repeated itself for years...

until I had two children, on my own (both times abandoned)...anyway,I spent years throwing on the makeup, being obsessed with my hair, etc., and for what? I was miserable...so, I eventally looked 'pretty'..to whose standards? Mine? Mine based on what, what I thought others perceived of me?

I finally got smart, went to college and my entry to feminism (in the South, the small community where I lived, TX, to be feminist was to be, like this really 'deviant' thing...I was blacklisted on jobs, etc and finally had to leave...Thank goodness, LOL, best thing I ever did).

I had lived in two other states, short term in those years, and one, up North, the women didn't wear alot of make-up, wore flannels and I remember thinking, can't they care about themselves, etc. After living there for a while, I began to think differently...and when I went back to TX, I remember thinking, these women are so dolled up they look like circus clowns. My point here is to relay to you, that social constructs can vary depending on the region, and we really do not know just how much we 'internalize' those constructs and how they influence, believe it or not, why we are attracted to certain features, or what may repulse us, etc.

Ok, so I move to CO right, and by this time, I am like this man hating (my very very angry period because I was pregnant, had a child and wound up homeless because I couldnt' earn enough to make it,etc) woman and became even more of a radical feminist (still had alot to learn however, alot to understand...) and I moved into a gay community. I remember my first experience in seeing a Butch lesbian...I was shocked, a little repulsed, and had some similar reactions like a few posts here. At that time too, I was not consciously aware of my own sexuality and well, maybe I was but was in some serious denial,etc. Anyway, one day, this woman, who was a Butch, asked me out for a date, and of course, being my ignorant and homophobic self, but not wanting to hurt her feelings, told her I was straight. Still having remnants of low self esteem and warped self perception (due to social constructs, internalization, patriarchy --thats a huge part of it, and capitalism because women are commodified to sell products, etc), instead of being flattered, I felt even worse about myself, etc....began to question again, my own feminity, etc.

Then, I began to rebel, against lookism, (year later) and began to hate the whole idea of looking femme...and part of this, for me personally was because I wanted to distance myself from men, alot of resentment, anger, etc...

I met my husband, got married...and for the first time, the relationship was built not on attraction (either way) but on intellectual common ground, etc. Over the years, I have struggled with the whole concept of beauty, what it is, etc...and struggled in defining for myself, who I am and what I am to look like, etc...

and define myself I did. And in this process, I met many butches and I have found, that oh, they are so beautiful, feminine, sweet, and you know, I cried one day, cried so hard, thinking about the one woman who asked me out...because you know, while I didn't face it then, for the first time, in my life, I felt beautiful...of all the times a man,including my husband today, told me I was beautiful, etc., its been like, yea thats nice....but that one time, her face, her words, her tone of voice...I believed it...and she didn't know it, (nor did I until years later) but she rocked my world, and had such a positive impact on me. There isn't a day that doesn' t go by now that I don't think about her, hope she is doing alright, etc., although I never knew her, but that one moment when she asked me out...I can't deny that there wasn't a connection there.

Anyway, my point in all this is, how do we define really, what beauty is, or what feminiity is, etc? We too often define it by what we've been taught, subconsciously even, without even knowing it (read Gramsci if you ever get a chance) and I can tell you now, that some days I am so femme, and some days I am so butch...it just depends on how I feel, what mood I am in, and if I am femme its not because I want to look like some 'ideal' but because, I like the smell of face powder (it reminds me of my Nana) or the softness of dresses, etc., and if I want to look butch its because I want to strap on the combat boots and kick back in some comfy shorts and be gruff and tough, no makeup, etc. and maybe its all about what I have to do that day.

So, why confine ourselves, or others in a box? Why judge someone on outward appearance, especially on a first meet basis? We don't know them, we don't know what their day was like or if thats who they are all the time, etc (and even if they are that way all the time, its not the entire person, people are so way more dimensional than outward) ? And I say this because I am now 42, and am dealing with wrinkles, a little weight gain, and by society's standards, not only am I invisible but have no worth because I am not this 20 something, six pack stomach, and botox face, etc? (and I am not going to do any of that...I earned this marks, wrinkles, etc., they all have a life event and even thinking of tattooing a small rose on my face, LOL, because beauty isn't just surface...its what makes us who we are, our experiences, our outlooks, our being, everything and you know, if I live to be 90 I may just tattoo my entire face, have this like, beautiful mural with those wrinkles to tell the world...hey, thats right...take a look, because I am so much more than what you see -- thinking about it, it would probably be a tad painful, Ouch, LOL)...

you may think that appearance, makeup, etc., is what defines feminine, but it doesn't, its only gunk, really, its colors one puts on their self to be pretty, one day, all the gunk in the world isn't going to hide reality --

reality that says, hey, I'm human, I am a person, not a doll, not a thing, and I am beautiful because I am me, period. Beaufiful with matted hair or tresses that are polished, or with no hair whatsoever; beautiful with make up to accent or play with colors or beautiful with no makeup, beautiful with flawless skin or beautiful with break outs, freckles, wrinkles, lines, scars; beautiful with no meat on my bones or with lots of meat, rolls, no rolls, taut or fabby, big breasts or small breasts or no breasts...tall, or short,

we are beautiful whether we are soft spoken or loud, sensitive or strong, or all of these...

we are beautiful sisters because we are women, Period. We can, I believe, train our attraction, I know, I have, not only towards myself but towards others. Sure, this is not to deny natural attraction and it of course is unique for all of us, just as we are unique...but I think we have to really decipher what is us, and what is internalized, or influenced by the world around us. Some of the most beautiful women in the world are butches, and some of the most feminine women are butches, thats right.

Those two women you say, that weren't dressed up, etc., you saw them once...you have not seen them in all their ways, splendor, light, etc.,

don't limit yourself, by definitions of what should be, etc., because every time we limit others,

we limit ourselves. Take it from someone who knows, there is just so much more to femininity than make up, hair, body frame, etc... so much more. Every time we define a box of what should be for others, we imprison ourselves in that same box...and take it from someone who wasted precious years on self loathing due to trying to live in a box (by defining on what beauty and feminity is)

it isn't worth it. When I was finally able to embrace myself, touch my face and look in the mirror, and love the woman I am, with no comparisons, I learned to see the beauty in others the same...it really does go way more than skin deep and I really think, (hindsight is everything isn't it, LOL) that the woman (and I never got her name) who asked me out, that woman that was very butch, by society's standards masculine although she was not,

took the blinders off my eyes with just a few words. I will never forget her and words cannot express, what her vision, what she saw when she saw me, etc., how that changed me forever and made me see what my own limitations blocked me from seeing. And when I think of her, I can still remember every detail of her face, I don't see a butch or a femme,

I see a goddess. And she is beautiful. That day, that would have enormous influence on me, was 8 years ago. Wow, alot changes in 8 years...if I could do it all over again, I would have said yes in a heartbeat. And I can tell you, when I do meet that someone (I am in open marriage) to share my other half of myself (in case you're wondering I don't live by patriarchial standards on marriage, etc, nor capitalist...my husband is my Diago...and I am free to love who I choose and I personally for myself, believe we can have more than one lifetime or long term partner, hard to explain...) but when I meet that someone, whether she is femme or butch will not matter, in other words, its not this narrow choice for me,

its whether we connect on an intellectual and emotional basis, because exterior is so fickle anyhow...it has its good days and bad days, it can be changed in a moment's notice (car accident, disease, age, etc)...is we can love, laugh, be passionate, hell she can have the most ratted hair and torn clothes, so what...or she can be the most decked out, whatever...she can be the most femme female out there, or she can be the most butch female, because when its all said and done, its how you feel when you are with that woman and how you make her feel, that connection that goes far more intimate than the exterior and I think, there is femme and butch in all of us so why limit ourselves? Haven't we been limited enough by the constructs of gender via social norms, that have always been the social constructs of patriarchy and misogyny to begin with?

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in addition to above post, I probably should add that I am newly coming out as bisexual, to a few in my family, friends, political party I work in, etc. I have always been somewhat of a private person...and even though my husband knows, its not something that I disclose everything too.

I stated that we have an open marriage, and I probably should clarify that...we have an accepting of each other's differences marriage, I guess is how I would say that...I began to explore my sexuality in terms of being honest with myself before I met him, but this was long process and its only been like, the past three years that I've come to accept my sexuality as a bisexual. I should add that I am bisexual, not simply bi-curious...so I do know I am bisexual even though I haven't been intimate sexually with a woman, but have had several intimate relationships with a few women in my past that were more intimate than just your typical friendships, I just wasn't aware back then, if that makes any sense (this was probably more on my side or just how I see things now...)

So when I say open I am not meaning swingers, etc...its sort of hard to explain but my husband knows I am not happy with things the way they are now...that I am missing something, and its hard for me to put into words. We've talked about it off and on and when I say he's cool with my sexuality, what I mean is that he is cool with me with another woman, on a long term basis (not just experimental, etc)...and that the relationship would be outside of him/our marriage...but of course its complicated and there are human emotions here, I'm sure its not easy for him, etc.

Its like two parts of me, in one person...(I'm throwing this out here in case anyone understands, and can relate because I still don't understand it all),

but anyhow, thought I should clarify that...its not that I don't like men (well, some men, I detest patriarchy with a passion) I do, I love my husband but its like, we connect, but there's that half of me that he'll never connect too, and I used to deny her but I refuse to deny her anymore...because I think human sexuality, well, humaness is more complex and dimensional and maybe why I think matrilinear and matriarchy make far more sense, for me especially.

I am not very knowledgeable (sic) on alot, why I read this forum, when it comes to lesbians, etc, in regards to the psychology of it, use of language, etc., so please bear with me if I say something that could be misconstrued the wrong way. And its not that I have stayed away from learning, not at all, just that my focus has been on fighting misogyny, and poverty, etc., and that has been a priority therefore I am very new at much of this (have read alot on the physical part, etc over the years so do have some knowledge of that aspect...just not on the other aspects, etc).

So alot of my posts here will be based on my experiences in dealing with misogyny in my own life and my growth through that, etc. Because regardless of our sexuality we are all impacted by that, so I hope, that I can contribute by some of what I have learned, etc.,

and I look forward to learning from you as well. I enjoy reading all of your posts and have learned alot from each one of you just in the few days I have been reading, and you know, I think that straight women (and btw, I hate that term, its like, heterosexual women are straight, like its right and homosexual women are crooked, like its wrong...why do we use that term straight anyway??? Just something that I thought of today, because the more I see inside myself, the more I think, that the more normal I am...and that before, that wasn't so normal because I am seriously having questions as to the normal thing anyway...I think everyone of us, seriously, has thought about intimacy with like genders, I don't care who says they don't, they are lying, its like saying we never masterbate, how ludicrous, so I have to wonder too about this term, straight? Maybe straight is really, denial of our human self, you think?)

anyway, LOL, what was I saying again before I got onto this topic, oh, yea, I think that heterosexual women would really benefit from learning from the bisexual and lesbian community, and I say this because I have received so much healing from reading and listening to bisexual and lesbian women (and also from bisexual and gay men). I think patriarchy and mores dictated to us by tradition, religion (not spirituality but religion), misogyny, prejudice, etc has done so much damage to us, so much that we aren't even aware of (and I've been seeing this more and more), in addition to that, our whole economic system, (exploitive), etc.,

and I think we have to keep that in mind when we wonder about issues such as femme or butch, for example. I surely don't have alot of answers, hell I can barely understand myself most times...lol. But just in observing, I can say, that there does appear to be a lot of transferance, if that makes any sense. And that really makes me question just how much of what we have learned, is detrimental to us, referring to social constructs, norms and mores, etc., in other words, how we've been conditioned to think about things, and maybe we should question who benefits from our conditioning? Hmmmm

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i am a femme that is only attracted to femme, and i can see where ember and garbage are coming from, definitely....but the way a person expresses herself, is ultimately, her choice....maybe she didn't really feel like getting all dressed up that day, or maybe she works a nine to five job where she does get all prettied up for the day and when it comes to down time, she doesn't really care....yes, we all make a lot of assumptions based on a persons looks, and it has been proven that when you encounter someone, 60% of your perception of that person is based on their attire and hygeine, 25% is based on their physical body language, and only 15% is based on what they say.

i label myself as a femme b/c i like to dress girly and i don't wear clothing that makes me look "butch" in appearance, but i definitely don't dress up every day, and i never really put on any makeup unless i'm making an important appearance....but should i be labeled as someone that is unclean or unappreciative of myself? no, it keeps going further...I'm a full time student,, with a fulltime job, and at the end of the day, i'm so fucking tired that i don't really care what i look like and what others think about me....fuck them, i'm a great person, and if they don't want anything to do with me, then fine, their loss....

I have found that some people are content with themselves, wearing whatever whenever and wherever they go, and i just realize that this is what is wonderful about choice: i choose to go to school and work at the same time, i choose not to spend lots of money on cute clothes that i'll only wear once, i choose not to wear makeup b/c i break out more than i look pretty, i choose to eat a biggie fry with my hamburger and order diet coke, and i choose to not be biased b/c i have no reason to be....

I always find that, no matter where you go, no matter how close-knit you think a community is, you always have people being offensive and misrepresenting the ultimate truth: We are all lesbian/bi/curious women/womyn here, and we should be supporting one another, not deepening the lines of stereotypes....yes, i am femme, maybe you are butch, but we choose this because this is how we are most comfortable....i'm not trying to disprove anything anyone has said here, and i'm glad that we have a place to go to express our feelings, but at the end of the day, does it really matter what i'm wearing?

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wow, reading this topic has been exhausting. some people just hear what they want to hear. i have to say to ember that i agree completely with you. technically, i'm from the south also, but i was never raised to look a certain way, i guess i just feel like i am feminine. as a kid i looked like a little boy. but it was just a phase. anyway, i don't have anything against women who are "butch." However, I'm just not attracted to people who don't give a sh*t how they look (different than being butch). It has nothing to do with me not liking them as people. I'm just biologically not attracted to them. I also don't understand why some women will call themselves "studs." That to me is a term that is sonomous with men. The question that I ask then is why the hell do these women want to be men? If I wanted to go out with a guy, I would go out with a guy. I don't mean all butch women. There are plenty of butch girls who have a sense of feminimity about them. I'm all about women not having to adhere to stereotypes, but DAMN. It's like some people are out to prove a point. oh yeah and this is what someone wrote

In a sense, you're right. the way i see it, life is short, and there are lots of things i want to do. spending time on my appearance is just not as high a priority for me as the other things i want to do. *shrug* i guess my question is, why is it such a high priority for you? also, do you have the same standards for men about whether they style their hair, pick out flattering clothes, etc? (as with your question, mine are strictly interested. hope you're not offended).

YES I HOLD MEN TO THE SAME STANDARDS. I used to go out with guys and if a guy looked like he just rolled out of bed, I'm not going to be interested. And personally, body hair is disgusting to me. Guy or girl. Armpit hair, to me, is disgusting on either sex. Same thing with the rest of it. It's not that I'm shallow... I'm just not attracted to them!

And calling yourself a "dyke" only makes it okay for the redneck types to do it. And it's a hateful and offensive term and if someone referred to themselves as a dyke, i would walk away.

I know I'm going to get all kinds of crap for posting this, so here goes...

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