Have you been wondering how to market yourself as a butch lesbian lately? With the invisibility surrounding femmes, it’s no wonder that some people may seek to change their image in order to seem “more gay”. (Hey, I’ve done it – but not through my apparel.)
We took a minute to check out the WikiHow page on “How to Be a Butch Lesbian” – and here’s what we think!
Step One: Ask yourself why you want to be this way.
What Wiki says: Why do you want to dress this way? Will you feel attractive and natural in this look? Are you concerned about how will others react? What are the risks of changing your style?
Yes, this is always a good first step. Before you make any drastic changes in any part of your life, it’s important to understand why you want to make this change. It’s something we often consider when deciding whether or not to come out in the first place – so it should make sense that it would apply to your style, too.
I think it’s important that you change your style if the style you’re currently displaying does not reflect your true self. After all, our personal style is simply an extension of who we are on the inside – and it should be treated as such.
Step Two: Develop more masculine mannerisms.
What Wiki says: Walk with more confidence and stride. Don't slouch or sit with your legs together. Watch the way men move and move like them. Try to only copy more of the popular guys, when observing them think, is this guy cool? Does he seem attractive to girls? If yes, he is a good example since you do not want to move awkwardly.
While I understand what the WikiHow article is trying to say here, I think they’re taking the wrong approach. You should change your style to a more butch one if it fits in with your life – you shouldn’t have to pretend to be something you’re not, under any circumstances.
The article suggests that you should watch the “more popular guys” and copy their mannerisms. It’s important to realize that sometimes, the guys who are more popular are those who use lies and trickery to win over women – and that’s not something we should strive for.
Be you, and try to be the best you – but don’t emulate someone else just because you envy their success with ladies. (And besides, if you were going to emulate someone to be a better butch lesbian – wouldn’t you want to emulate a butch lesbian? Just my two cents.)
Step Three: Get some masculine clothing.
What Wiki says: You can buy men's clothing, or, buy women's clothing that is boyish. Choose colors that you like in sizes that fit your body nicely. Some good things to get; a few polo shirts, T shirts with cool designs on them (Try not to go with big logos or dorky souvenir shirts); Loose-fitting jeans (Not too baggy, not too loose - You can go with men's jeans or women's boy-cut jeans since those are made for a female frame); Dress clothes - pants suits, shirts with ties, and nice shoes are great for special occasions. Do learn to tie a tie , as clip-ons are tacky. Get a few belts and a nice watch (go for a neutral color). A chain to wear around your neck can look handsome. Shoes. You really only need 3 pairs: comfy shoes, dress shoes, and boots. Binder. Some butches dislike having large breasts and may wish to bind them down. Boxers No butch should wear girly undies. Go for comfort. Plaid, solid, or simple patterns are best. For the most part, you will be the only one that sees them; keep in mind that your girlfriend will see them so they need to look good. Messenger bag or backpack. Purses are to be avoided.
If you strive to be a butch lesbian (no matter what your reasons are), masculine clothing is pretty much a must. It doesn’t have to be men’s clothing, even – there are some “less feminine” options in most women’s clothing brands that will suit lesbians much better.
This is because men usually have different body shapes than women. If we were to dress in clothing that wasn’t built for our body type, we wouldn’t look very good in it. There are now some clothing designers who are specifically creating “men’s clothing for women” – these should be your first choice, as they are designed both for the look you’re after as well as the body you have.
(Oh, and in regards to their statement about boxers – you should wear whatever underwear feels comfortable to you. If that’s boxers, so be it! But you shouldn’t feel the need to match your underwear to your clothing if it’s not reasonable for you. One of the studliest girls I’ve ever dated happened to wear hipsters underneath her baggy jeans. You know what? It was pretty cute, too.)
Step Four: Skip the make-up.
What Wiki says: Concealer for blemishes and pimples is fine. Eyeliner is okay in small amounts and also make absolutely sure that you're always brush your teeth.
Often, butch lesbians and studs feel that they can’t wear make-up because it’s “girly”. This is a ridiculous assumption. Make-up is a personal choice and the implication that it’s just for girly women (or girly men) is ridiculous. If you like make-up, wear it! If you don’t like make-up, don’t!
I do understand why this association is made, though. Make-up is targeted towards feminine insecurities. But that doesn’t mean that all who wear make-up are insecure, or even that they are all feminine. Need a solid example for this one to sink in? Johnny Depp. Enough said.
Step Five: Get a short hair cut.
What Wiki says: Look at both women and men for inspiration. To find a look that will look good on you, ask the hairdresser what will match your face shape.
A lot of butch women have short hair – but not all. My current girlfriend is, as I like to refer to her, “ostentatiously gay” – that is, her clothing style is a bit stereotypical for lesbians. But her hair is much longer than mine (and admittedly more beautiful, too!). When we’re out in public, many people are surprised to see how long her hair is, after seeing how she dresses. I have never understood why this is a point of surprise – but I think “tutorials” like this may be, in part, to blame.
The length of your hair is in no way a determining factor in your masculinity or femininity. I’ve had “super manly” friends (both male and female) who had long hair, and “super feminine friends” (again, both male and female) with short hair. Your hair is an extension of your personal style, no different than your clothing choices or your decision to wear make-up or not.
Step Six: Be active.
What Wiki says: Try to get into a sport or just work out. Be proud of your body and its strengths. Looking attractive and gaining muscle can also be a benefit.
This one falls in the category of “be you” as well. If you want to play sports, you should most definitely play sports – but it’s not for everyone.
Of course, everyone should strive to be physically active, as it’s good for your health, both physical and emotional. But it doesn’t make you any less butch if you don’t like basketball and (gasp) softball.
Step Seven: Act the part.
What Wiki says: Be confident and masculine. Be chivalrous and gentleman-like. Try your best to stay calm and in control of your emotions in public. Confidence is key, so be sure to take charge and be assertive. Most of all, be yourself.
No, no, no!
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the advice they’ve included in this section – it’s a good idea to be chivalrous and confident. It’s great to stay in control of your emotions when you’re in public, whether you consider yourself butch or femme or anywhere in between. But it shouldn’t be acting. It should be genuine.
I think the writer of the original article knew this, too, as they closed with “Most of all, be yourself” – even though this contradicts most of the other things they’d written.
So what should we really do?
Above all else, we should strive to be ourselves. If that means you dress in sharp suits with a bit of makeup, so be it! If it means that you wear skirts and dresses with a short hair cut, so be it! Our style is a part of ourselves, and it should be a reflection of who we are – not of who we want to be.
If you find yourself wanting to make the transition into a butch/stud style, nothing should stop you from achieving that. But if you have to change many things about yourself in order to reach that goal, it’s probably not a reasonable goal to strive for.
No one can really tell you who or what you are – that’s for you to decide on your own. You might think that you have to change yourself to attract the girls you want to attract. This may be true, if you’re not a “good fit” – but generally speaking, there’s someone out there who will love you for exactly who you are. If you’re changing yourself to attract a woman (or to get others to accept you), you’re not being genuine to yourself, and you will have to go through so much work just to market yourself.
Instead of trying to market yourself to someone who’s not interested in you, you should focus less on labels and allow people to know who you really are. It might mean that you don’t get what you want, but it’s not fair to others if you misrepresent yourself in order to gain.
Always be true to yourself, and to your partners. Keep doing what you need to do, but don’t add the unnecessary pressure of fitting in somewhere you don’t belong.