Butch/femme: Inside Lesbian Gender
Sally Munt, Cherry Smyth
Cassell, 1998 - Social Science - 244 pages
Despite its evident significance in lesbian communities, the designations of butch and femme have rarely been theorized or written about from a critical perspective. For many lesbians, butch and femme are expressive lived identities, yet prevalent intellectual trends encourage us in the view that these are somehow provisional, empty, and artificial. This book is an attempt to think creatively about hutch/femme in a way which honors the intimacy of these identities, hoping to articulate the closeness we hold to these evocative categories, respecting the power they hold in lesbian cultures, but also avoiding the cliched romanticization often endemic to their representation. Far from being sentimentally unreflective, the pieces in this collection also intend to offer up the mirror of estrangement, so we can think about these categories in new ways, combining the critical eye with affect. All the essays in this collection communicate the complexity of butch/femme without sacrificing the emotional integrity with which these identities are lived.
-- Many of the chapters take the form of traditional academic analyses, but there are also contributions which choose the imaginative form, written by performance artists or poets
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