Butch Is Not A Dirty Word is an anthology of essays, stories and photography curated by Esther Godoy.
It is an attempt to create more positive representations of “masculine-presenting women”.
In an interview with Broadly, Godoy said
For many butches, and in my own experience, society has such prejudices towards masculine women. When you’re a kid, the most important people you hang out with are your family; you really trust them, you take their opinion to heart. So before you even leave home, you already have the closest people around you telling you: “You’re not right.”
Gender diversity and fluidity maybe more accepting these days, but for many people who identify as butch, their masculinity can still feel taboo.
There are lingering assumptions that butch-ness is synonymous with aggression, ugliness, and loneliness; the “old butch dyke” trope writ large.
The candid images below (by a range of photographers) are the latest instalment explores what it means to be butch within a “family”—in every sense of the word.
Growing up masculine-of-centre means having experiences of not being accepted; people rejecting your masculinity, and being mistaken for male all the time. That’s very common—it’s sort of the standard story, so I wanted to move past that. If you’re butch and older than 25, there’s not a lot of visibility. I wanted to open up [the conversation] to different kinds of butches. Focusing on the family gives us the opportunity to include a broader variety of people.
I really wanted to show examples of butches with these meaningful communities of people around them. It’s about confronting that age-old story and saying “That’s not true.” And it’s a resource, so people can say “Oh, there’s hope for me.” People are so uncomfortable with feminine men and masculine women.
I identify very much as female but my presentation is very masculine and that’s confronting for a lot of people. Why is society so upset about it? I couldn’t tell you. But I do think people are scared of what they don’t know, and it does threaten the patriarchy to have women or men who are not cis-male being strong and powerful. It threatens the whole social make-up.”