I found this deeply moving, and related to it so entirely, that I want to write reams and reams and reams about it. Instead, I am beyond words:
The fact is that all women are targets of gender policing. We’re punished when we don’t conform to femininity, because we’ve stepped outside of our “place.” We’re punished when we are feminine, because femininity is understood as inferiority. When I get uneasy about being butch, it’s because I’m anxious about whether I’m performing gender in a way that hurts other women. How do I avoid that if I’m “masculine,” being that masculinity is defined by its diametric opposition to femininity?
After agonizing over the matter and consulting and commiserating with other butch women, I’ve come to realize that butchness doesn’t need to be understood as “masculinity” at all. Its form and substance don’t have to be defined by its opposition to femininity. Read the story.