Where Are All the Butches?

Eleanor Brown wrote:

TV talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres isn’t much of a butch….

But DeGeneres — no bull dagger — seems to be the closest to a tough dyke allowed in the mass media.

Popular culture seems so lesbian-positive these days… but only a certain kind of lesbian, thank you very much. To be a lesbian is to be femme: Hot blonde Serena Southerlyn on “Law & Order,” the bi gal on “The OC,” even the “The L Word” is all femme….

But fact, now that’s another story. The teeny tiny bit butch Ellen DeGeneres fits into the fact category (or at least, I hope her talk show does). But real bull daggers exist in the world. Why aren’t they on my TV? On reality television?…

On “What Not To Wear,” butch girls — gay and straight — are forced into girl clothes, into girl walks, even into girl mannerisms.

The show’s hosts, by the way, present as a straight woman and a gay man. The show reflects the esthetic of high fashion, of Hollywood, of a certain kind of gay man. The type of gay man who rolls his eyes at a dyke’s plaid shirt and big biker boots.

The type of gay man who loves nothing better than to erase butch dykes from existence.

Help me out here; I don’t get this. Is she saying Ellen is femme because she’s blond and smiles?

That’s not the reading I get. Umm,… how shall I put this?

You see, I’m only 99.9% gay. That remaining sliver of me, well, Ellen is butch enough to turn me on.

And that’s how I spotted her before the tabloids began gossiping about her. Women that I notice in that way invariably turn out to be lesbians.

So my 0.1% heterosexuality has never been put into practice.

[Originally published in 2006.]

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