I Believe in Butch* Abundance

During the Femme Family Heart Share Brunch on Femme Competition and Femme Mutual Aid, we were talking about the ways in which Femmes sometimes compete for affection from butches.

I declared to the room of ten, “I believe in Butch* abundance!”

I went on to explain that living in a scarcity mentality is damaging to community and collaboration. There is enough love to go around. There is enough sex to go around. There is enough.

I totally know what you are saying. “Oh Bevin! There’s no one in this town to date! I know them all! Wah wah wah!” Or “Oh Bevin! There are no butches for me to be friends with! Who will watch football/craft/do other butch bonding activities with me?”

I think that there are tons of butches. Openly relying on anecdata, I meet a new butch-identified person every single week. This is specifically butch, not also including the many myriad masculine-of-center folk also orbiting the queer community and are new-to-me all the time. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I am attracted to them–quite the contrary, generally I am not. I think oftentimes people who are complaining of butch scarcity are specifically referring to a lack of people who they are attracted to and are sexually available to them.

The fact that my single Femme friends are still finding new butches* we don’t know through OK Cupid, Craig’s List and other online dating sites further reinforces my anecdata.

I keep telling the story of a fat femme friend of mine who found a really fabulous artsy late twenties butch none of us had ever met before on OK Cupid as though it is an urban legend. Because those dating sites can often seem so dried up, it still feels like an urban legend to me, even though I’ve actually met the butch and she’s foxy, smart, funny and exists in real life.

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This is my friend Kieran, with our mutual niece Etta Pearl (we are heart family). She’s single, butch and totally awesome. She also does sweet things for me like bought me flowers for my birthday and brought me cupcakes to the middle of nowhere when I was camping.

Further, I think there is a lot of butch abundance evident in the burgeoning Butchosphere. Check out the Sartorial Butch, putting a face and words to the fashionable faggy butches I often call friends. Also, check out this amazing post by amazing subversive stitcher BeeListy in response to gender policing in the Butchosphere.

Not to mention a whole conference of butches, studs and aggressives! When cruising the conference facebook photos** I didn’t recognize at least half or more of the attendees.

People also like to argue that the “next generation” is not producing any butches. I say not so! I have a lot of fresh out of college friends who are 23 and totally rocking the Butch label proudly and who want more butch friends. Shout out to SirMaamSir, Alex, who taught me Garage Band and is helping with FemmeCast.

I think propagating the notion that butches are diminishing is dangerous.

When you get into the mindset that there are only so many butches around, it enables the excusing of bad behavior.

In the past, I have clung romantically to people who were super shitty to me because I didn’t believe that there were other cute butches out there who would treat me well. Cutting ties and sending the badly behaved back out into the water enables me to have a heart free and wide for those who are ethical.

Packing the JAM.
My friend Grover told me that morning she was “packing the jam”.

Further, believing in a scarcity of butches propagates competition and bad behavior on the part of hoarding or horse-thieving queers. Going after a butch who is dating your friend***? Not cool at all. I have had some significant emotional violence wrought unto me by two different close Femme friends because of a sense of butch scarcity. I don’t wish that on anyone.

Okay, you know your community better than I do. But, in this day and age of people traveling all over (four of my favorite people are going on tour next month, maybe through your town–including SIlas who totally still identifies as Butch) and people moving to far flung god-knows-where, I feel that there is enough deck shuffling that there will always be someone new. You just have to be open to it.

I’ve also taken to widening my online dating search to no location parameters–I like to see who else is out there, plus I love to travel. I am not closed to the idea of a long distance romance, I love a good laycation.

So, gentle readers, when you begin the familiar butch scarcity rant, stop and challenge yourself into a different way of thinking. What if you believed in Butch* Abundance, like I do? What doors would that open up in the realm of romantic and friend possibilities?

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*And queers of a more masculine gender persuasion, including but not limited to butches, genderqueers, transfabulous people, studs, AGs, and other non gender identifying foxy folks.
**Act like you didn’t do that yourself.
***Unless they are poly/non-monogs AND you’ve had those important, possibly hard/awkward conversations.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Okay, so what about when your friends say you cannot date a butch they have slept with? It seems so unfair. There is not a million of them so how can I explain to my friend that your girlfriend from 5 years ago is not still owned by you.

  2. Bevin, this is amazing. Your sincerity is really becoming. I was especially moved by this passage:
    “In the past, I have clung romantically to people who were super shitty to me because I didn’t believe that there were other cute butches out there who would treat me well. Cutting ties and sending the badly behaved back out into the water enables me to have a heart free and wide for those who are ethical.”

    glad to know you, momma.
    xo,
    e

  3. AMEN! I have long been pointing out that everyone (straight women, gay men, butches who date femmes, etc) who is looking sometimes feel like there is a scarcity of (straight men, gay men, femmes, etc) and we should stop using the scarcity myth as an excuse for bad behavior.

  4. Bevin, I <3 this, as always! I’m laughing, as you know I’ve been one of those over the past year complaining, “There is NO one in Austin to date! Wah! I know them all!” [But I still feel this is rather true; our pond is way too small here. And that is why I’m moving!]

    But I do operate from an optimistic place of abundance… so I travel. Or import dates from out of town. Or boldly proposition friends who are in town visiting. Or… move to a bigger pond.

  5. Thank you for writing this, its an important issue. The idea of “scarcity” is used in so many oppressive ways. As people who are to creating new kinds of communities, maybe we could leave “perceived” scarcity in the past. There is some actual scarcity in the world, it is true – but plenty of butches.

    I agree with you that its hotter and more radical to move forward from a place of abundance. (and hopefully get dates)

  6. Thank you much for posting this, Bevin. Also, “laycation” is now my new favorite word of the day.

    I do want to jump somewhere else for a second – you write “In the past, I have clung romantically to people who were super shitty to me because I didn’t believe that there were other cute butches out there who would treat me well.”

    Can we talk about this? I’ve seen this kind of behavior much more than the actual “scarcity” of butches. I was talking with one of my best femme friends we were just….throwing back and forth ideas about why it seems that SOME butches are just…emotional f-wads to their partners, and treat them shitty – and when that happens it’s often in a similar, devoid of emotion, and general disconnect from feelings, which in turn leads a butch to sometimes make decisions that well, suck.

    Do you think that the ratio of crap butches to nice, sweet ones is the same for the rest of society, and because I generally surround myself with queers along the butch femme spectrum that I’m probably not so much in tune with the rest of society, or even just the queer community.

    I think this perceived scarcity of butches (because I’ve heard this, even around here) somewhat perpetuates a not so good offshoot of mysoginistic butch behavior which I have certainly seen up close and personal – some serious femme objectification (and not in a good way) and holier than thou attitudes that seem to only lead to hurtful and unhealthy relationships.

    And it’s really early and that might have made no sense. Feel free to shoot sharp glances and finger shake:)

  7. Love this. Just the other day I was explaining to someone how a scarcity model of anything never does any good. It’s all about abundance!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

  8. Thank you, thank you THANK YOU!! I have been hearing the “butch scarcity” rant a good bit lately…at least more than I can recall previously.

    I am butch, know lots of butches and meet new butches all the time. What I am also hearing is that butches “aren’t real butches anymore” because many of us have broadened our concept of what “butch” is.

    Thank you Bevin for accepting butches as we are and putting the rumors of scarcity to rest.

  9. THANK YOU for this, Bevin.

    The whole idea of butch scarcity/”dying breed butches” has always bothered me. Butches are still around, clearly.

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