The Butch Mystique (2003) is a documentary chronicling of butch african american lesbians living in the Oakland and San Francisco Bay Area. It is powerful as it is beautiful.
Directed by Debra A. Wilson, this award-winning short documentary discusses the issue butch black women face day-to-day. From what defines a “butch,” to childhood and family, coming out, relationships, sexuality, stereotypes, and society’s perceptions of them as individuals. In addition, because these are all African American butch lesbians, the common thread of race links these women together. As “butches,” they are often perceived as black men, which proves problematic when living in a mostly white society which fears black men.
“…this film goes beneath the surface, beyond the stereotypes, to reveal the heart of what it means to be an African American butch-identified lesbian.”
Debra A. Wilson,
Butch Mystique is here to challenge those stereotypes by showing that butch lesbians may not fit within culturally proscribed boundaries of femininity, but they are certainly women.
Nine African American butch (masculine) lesbians individually talk to an unseen and unheard interviewer about various aspects of the butch lifestyle and their own personal lives. Topics include their look (clothing, hairstyles, lack of makeup, etc.), their realisations that they were “different” and their eventual coming out, their relationships with various family members, their partners, and other societal groups, the perceptions of society, and what it means to be “butch”.
You can watch this documentary on YouTube in parts. (The video quality is little jumpy in some areas but worth watching).
- Part 1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPhIUQ9CogU
- Part 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I622jmmgDRs
- Part 3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=929pHQapYTk
- Part 4 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SON3lUxvkLk
3 thoughts on “Compelling Documentary – The Butch Mystique”
Looks like a really good film. I want to screen this film at our festival, but i cant find a way to get in contact with the director, does anyone know?
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