Beauty And the Butch: The Real Reason Straight Men Should Feel Threatened By Lesbians

22 Comments
March 26, 2013 ‐ By Toya Sharee

 

Source: CinemaMontreal.com

*Name has been changed to ensure privacy

A few weeks ago I came across the movie Pariah.  It was one of those vague, but poignant IFC network films that I’m always waking up on the end of in the middle of the night.  Before the credits begin to roll there’s a dark-skinned girl staring out of a bus window with a vacant look of relief which had me like, “Wonder what the hell that was about?”  So I did a search and set for it to record the next day.  The movie begins in a seedy strip club.  Our main character stands a bit behind the crowd shy, but in awe of this mocha-colored beauty doing some kind of butterfly thigh move on the pole.  And soon it hits me that this person in a fitted cap looking confused, amazed and about a “Drake” on a comfort level of saint to sinner in the strip club is wait…a girl.  Pariah is the story of a young African-American woman dealing with discovering her own blossoming sexuality and self-expression while confronting the expectations of her traditional church-going parents who have skeletons of their own.  Even more so, it’s a story of a butch African-American lesbian teenage girl.

Over the past twenty-years and so, America has hesitantly swallowed the shock value of gay America and in the past decade or so even slowly infused it into our popular culture in a social understanding that LGBTQ is American culture too whether we like it or not.  But as familiar as some of us have become with Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and LOGO TV, we’ve forgotten that lesbians are about that life too.  And not the lesbians that Lil’ Wayne glorifies and America likes to see.  I’m talking about the lesbians that we don’t completely understand, so we think if we don’t discuss them, they’ll go away: the butch lesbians.

Because I honestly must say, I don’t get it.  When I watched Pariah I had the same question I’m sure everyone else does when they see a beautiful woman holding hands with someone at first glance you think is a guy, until something that would otherwise go unnoticed gives it away only because you ARE staring so hard, “Why is she with her when she could just get a real man?”

“That’s not a question that’s easy to answer,” I was told Friday evening.  See because the fact that I didn’t “get it,”bothered me.  So instead of making assumptions I wanted to talk to someone who could give me a glimpse into what life is like for the “lesbians straight people don’t understand.”  I decided to call up Jazz*, a friend I hadn’t talked to since high school.  In fact she was someone I had liked a lot, my best friend since grade school.  So of course I felt like a complete jerk that my first phone call to her in over ten years was to interrogate her about her sexual status.  It was nothing personal, just one of those situations where life stuff makes you lose touch.  Luckily the whole conversation wasn’t just about who she was sleeping with, and she was still the great friend I had from all of those years ago.

For as long as I knew, Jazz and I never had much in common.  In fact I’m pretty sure our friendship blossomed from always being grouped together for some kind of seating arrangement or project in grade school because our names were close together in the alphabet.  We always enjoyed each other’s company and even when I’d come over she’d be playing basketball in the back of the house and I’d be upstairs playing Barbies with her younger sisters. But it was further proof that friendship is more than just all of the activities you have in common; it’s about inside jokes, common enemies and the fact that someone who is not obligated to love you, does for whatever reason that may be.

When I vaguely learned that Jazz was dating women through a random Facebook update, I can’t say I was super surprised, but apparently it wasn’t anything she ever really entertained when we were younger.  Here I was marching around with my LGBTQ ally flag singing, Baby I was Born This Way when Jazz quickly corrected, she really doesn’t think she was, “Some people say they’re born gay and I don’t know if I agree with that. I’m not even going to say I wasn’t ever attracted to men.  Even you know when me and you were younger we talked about boys we thought were cute.”  It made me think of the notes we’d pass in eight grade bickering over who Batman from Immature (or was it IMX by then) belonged to.  It wasn’t a front or her fighting any feelings she was ashamed of.  She was just blindly navigating her sexuality like the rest of us adolescents.  It just further confirmed to me how sexuality isn’t as black and white as we’d like it to be, whether you’re gay or straight.  We may not be all pushing any boundaries on gender representation and who were attracted to, but sexuality and emotions are confusing for everyone.

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  • GreenLantern

    Also setting women up in competition with men is not cool, all you do is put certain types of women more at risk from violence and create a false illusion some women are “butch” to compete with men when its often about resisting female sex role pressures or just simply a case of fitting into the mould society carves out for men better. As a bisexual sex role non conforming woman who could be viewed as fitting the “butch” mould i can tell you that i dont see males as rivals no am i interested in competing with them directly for women. I dont know one “butch” woman who wants a straight woman, many dont even want one who is bi, as the chance they may run off with a man is not appealing.

  • GreenLantern

    Not all “butch” looking women are lesbians, there are women out there who dont want to do the femininity thing and still want to be with men.

  • Den Un

    We’ll I have to say that this article got the kind if feedback you’d expect; dismissiveness, defensiveness, denial, damn near in that order. Consider the need of previous male posters to point out the “insignificant” percentage of lesbians compared to straight women. The shallow perceptions of emotional expression and what is considered a male vs a female mind (the main difference being communication styles, not the inability to contain emotion or apply reason). Plenty of women consigning this crap too. Then the diplomatic backhand “they aren’t interested in me so I don’t care”, doesn’t support the fact you’ve read the piece let alone posted a comment if the indifference is genuine. Reducing a groups identity and presence to make them and their experiences trivial is the same recipe used to dismiss race, gender, class, and health issues<<<<<< and that my friends not only highlights the relations between straight men and masculine IDed women but men and women view female utility.

  • Blu Soulstn

    I never felt threatened before..am I being threatened? Should I not then attack back?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dani.l.rebel Dani L. Rebel

    And the point of this article was….?

  • fujoshifanatic

    Sigh. As someone tried to explain earlier, the whole point of the article was this, “Straight guys could learn a thing or two from butch lesbians about relationships in learning to focus on making a woman feel loved and valued rather than making it rain or stimulating private parts.” Which is a valid point, but I guess from some of the knee-jerk reactions here was not conveyed clearly enough for folks to get. The sensationalist headline didn’t help, but I guess you do what you gotta do to get the clicks. :-

  • mik bailey

    Have no more understanding after reading the article than I did before; don’t understand what the point was, but believe people should be who they want to be with but not shove it in other people’s faces like I notice many do.

  • Drew Smith

    Get real. Sorry, butch lesbians, but you all are ill-equipped to compete with men who deal with chicks who think the cunnilingus-related activity in which you engage is equally disgusting and morally reprehensible. But, good luck engaging with the crowd of women who are still undecided.

  • Just saying!!

    This is just another article that went right over people’s heads. Although I don’t see myself dating a woman just because, I definitely understand what the author is saying. Butch lesbians have a major advantage over men being that, they are women!! They understand women to a degree that men can’t. Most men today just don’t give a damn frankly and think a lot differently than women do and don’t find importance in the same things that women do. With men, because of this difference (especially today), it can sometimes feel like something is missing emotionally, etc. Although women love sex, it’s the emotional component that we thrive off of.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PC3VICMILDFDI2RKWVJQ5ACD24 jason

      Men arent supposed “understand” women the way a woman can. Just like a woman isnt going to understand the way men relate and understand each other. Neither are we supposed to “get” you when it comes to emotions. Our job is to listen to you, console, offer advice as best we can. A mans mind is not built for the moods and emotions women go through. Could you imagine if we did?!?! Walking around moody, cranky, crying at the drop of a hat for pretty much nothing. What straight woman do you know in any way shape or form that wants a man thats just as emotional as she is?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PC3VICMILDFDI2RKWVJQ5ACD24 jason

      Men arent supposed “understand” women the way a woman can. Just like a woman isnt going to understand the way men relate and understand each other. Neither are we supposed to “get” you when it comes to emotions. Our job is to listen to you, console, offer advice as best we can. A mans mind is not built for the moods and emotions women go through. Could you imagine if we did?!?! Walking around moody, cranky, crying at the drop of a hat for pretty much nothing. What straight woman do you know in any way shape or form that wants a man thats just as emotional as she is?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PC3VICMILDFDI2RKWVJQ5ACD24 jason

      Men arent supposed “understand” women the way a woman can. Just like a woman isnt going to understand the way men relate and understand each other. Neither are we supposed to “get” you when it comes to emotions. Our job is to listen to you, console, offer advice as best we can. A mans mind is not built for the moods and emotions women go through. Could you imagine if we did?!?! Walking around moody, cranky, crying at the drop of a hat for pretty much nothing. What straight woman do you know in any way shape or form that wants a man thats just as emotional as she is?

    • kierah

      Women are the emotional component of a relationship. It’s my job to be the heart. My man is the protector and provider to the heart. So to me, a romantic relationship with a women would never work. I don’t see how the way someone dresses or walks would make someone reconsider sexual orientation, unless there was inner conflict already.

    • kierah

      Women are the emotional component of a relationship. It’s my job to be the heart. My man is the protector and provider to the heart. So to me, a romantic relationship with a women would never work. I don’t see how the way someone dresses or walks would make someone reconsider sexual orientation, unless there was inner conflict already.

    • kierah

      Women are the emotional component of a relationship. It’s my job to be the heart. My man is the protector and provider to the heart. So to me, a romantic relationship with a women would never work. I don’t see how the way someone dresses or walks would make someone reconsider sexual orientation, unless there was inner conflict already.

    • kierah

      Women are the emotional component of a relationship. It’s my job to be the heart. My man is the protector and provider to the heart. So to me, a romantic relationship with a women would never work. I don’t see how the way someone dresses or walks would make someone reconsider sexual orientation, unless there was inner conflict already.

  • ev

    paragraph uniformity, a clear topic sentence with supporting facts to follow; easy, subtle transitions. I’m learning this in my classes. The article was sucked. Try again. Men should feel threatened… puh lease.

    • The Very Truth

      It is without a doubt that much more Straight Women nowadays are Experimenting with other Women too.

  • persephone

    Let’s listen to the straight men above here on this one…

    Thank you, bruhs…

    This article was well intentioned, but, doesn’t make sense.

  • http://twitter.com/Ok_Aleks Christian Aleks

    huh? so why should I feel threatened by a stud….I have many gay friends and never once have felt threatened there is no need to be…This article made no sense to me. If a girl wants to be with a girl she will be….there are other females that want to be me, so Ill be with them…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PC3VICMILDFDI2RKWVJQ5ACD24 jason

    Straight men should never feel threatened by lesbians. Why? Because there are straight women who want nothing but to be with a man. Just like gays and lesbians only pursue other gays and lesbians. In the greater scheme of things the LGBT community is a very small % of all people in this country. Not only that they are in pockets of communities in the country. This article really doesnt make sense. Imagine an article that stated “butch lesbians beware of the straight, man they are coming after your women!” No we arent in any way shape or form. Why would a man try and pursue a woman that clearly wants a woman and vice versa? All the straight women in the country that want straight men and waste your time chasing a woman who wants a woman?? C’mon son!

    • http://www.facebook.com/patrick.bonacoscia Patrick Bonacoscia

      Spot on ! And you can have deep friendships between straight men and lesbians (no sex involved). The article seems to be no less than a collection of stereotypes.