BY CHARLOTTE SUMMERS
Studs, dykes, femmes, butch, the list goes on and with each “label” is a stereotype attached. The first most popular stereotype is the very masculine, short-haired lesbian with their feminine girlfriend. As every same-sex relationship needs a man and woman counterpart… not. A close second stereotype is a lesbian who just hasn’t met the right guy yet, but don’t you worry there is a guy out there for you to help.
All these stereotypes and false assumptions have caused society to create a false assumption of what identifying as a lesbian means. But, more importantly, it’s created a rift in our own community. I’m very feminine and so is my girlfriend. We get a few heads turning and we often get asked if we’re sisters. Which side note, gross.
But what upset me the most was at pride where we got judged by someone in our own community. Just minding our own business, we got confronted by a girl who I presume was a lesbian. She proceeded to ask me and my girlfriend if we were together which for some reason was a surprise. Bear in mind, right now she can only judge us down to our appearance, but she proceeds to tell us we won’t last. On what basis has she formed this opinion? Because myself and my girlfriend are two feminine women.
How is got to our own community judging our own people? What we experienced is just a tiny percentage of the discrimination we go through within our own community. Butch lesbians are painted to be girls trying to be men, feminine lesbians are labelled to be confused, studs are shown to be players. Why can’t we just say: cool we all like girls, how you look doesn’t matter. But sadly the reality is, our appearance dramatically affects how the world perceives us.
Why does this happen?
My honest opinion to why this happens is society’s perception of what a woman should look like. When a woman has masculine features, those with closed minds or have lived sheltered lives often get scared. They don’t understand women come in many variations and when faced with something that doesn’t fit their “normal” views then they often get upset and start to throw a tantrum.
Women for years have been seen as a second classed citizen, living to please the male world. But as we all know, the world has changed and with that, our views should as well. Women don’t have to look overly feminine, we can look as butch as we like and rock it. These outdated views are not welcomed in our modern society yet we let them plague the LGBTQ+ community and create false assumptions. When do we finally say, suck it. We can be butch, feminine, we can be the biggest stud we like, but that doesn’t mean we have to act a certain way.
It’s time that it’s known our appearance does not determine who we are. We do. Our haircut doesn’t make us butch, our clothes don’t make us feminine. How we are seen by the world doesn’t matter, as long as we’re happy who cares. This simple yet mind-blowing concept to some is being adopted by individuals worldwide and they’re showing that you can identify as a lesbian and push all of the boundaries. We’re human beings first and we all need to develop a level of understanding that not everyone who identifies a certain way is the same.
Whether you like identifying as feminine or butch, or you hate having that stereotype attached to you. It’s important to acknowledge that we are all unique, we all identify differently and the world we live in isn’t black and white. So next time you see a lesbian couple and they don’t fit your stereotypical picture. Remember, we live in a world full of colour.