Femme/butch: New Considerations of the Way We Want to Go

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Harrington Park Press, 2002 - Social Science - 184 pages
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What are the meanings behind constructed lesbian identities?

This unique collection brings together writing, photography, artwork, and poetry about lesbian butch and femme gender. Femme/Butch: New Considerations of the Way We Want to Go distinguishes itself by celebrating a wide span of intellectual engagement, from reflection to traditional academic work, including both disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches.

In addition to more "serious" writing, lesbian comediennes offer their irreverent takes on femme/butch in this book. Their perspectives are almost never found in academic publications, but what Lea DeLaria, Vickie Shaw, Karen Williams, and other edgy comics have to say about femme/butch sexuality deserves to be heard. You'll also find that Femme/Butch is essential for the global perspective it brings to lesbian gender. With chapters focused on lesbians in Chinese cultures and on the emerging lesbian community in Bulgaria, this book explores the role of femme/butch identification in cultures without recognizable lesbian institutions.

Here are a few of the questions the contributors to Femme/Butch examine in this remarkable book:
  • Can theory about femme/butch exist in the electric realm of sex and sexuality, or does theory necessarily neutralize sexuality?
  • What role does popular culture play in helping us to theorize about lesbian gender?
  • What are the relationships between history and femme/butch lesbian gender?
  • Does lesbian identity development come in individual stages or is it more of a free-flowing process?
  • How does social class relate to how we think about femme/butch race, ethnicity, and butch-femme?

Femme/Butch is an ideal guide to understanding:
  • the similarities between stone-butch and transgender identities--using Leslie Feinberg's Stone Butch Blues as a reference point
  • the erotically resignified roles of Mommy, Daddy, girl, and boy in butch-femme
  • femme/butch issues of power, trust, love, and loss
  • the "female husbands" of the 18th century and their "wives"
  • the meanings of cross-dressing for lesbians
  • the variety of lesbian-queer genders--butch, femme, androgynous, and "other"
  • and much more!

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About the author (2002)

Michelle A. Gibson is the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Women's Studies at the University of Cincinnati. She received her Ph.D. in 1993 from Ohio University, where her areas of study were American Literature, Composition Research and Pedagogy, and Creative Writing. Her scholarship has continued in all three of these areas. Her most recent writing applies queer and postmodern identity theories to pedagogical practice and popular culture. She also continues to write and publish poetry. With Jonathan Alexander, she edited "QP: Queer Poetry", an online poetry journal, and she and Alexander also edited a strain of "JAu Journal of Advanced Composition" entitled "Queer Composition(s)." With Deborah Meem, she co-edited "Femme/ Butch: New Considerations of the Way We Want to Go" and "Lesbian Academic Couples".

Deborah T. Meem is professor and head of the Department of Women s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Cincinnati. Her academic specialties are Victorian literature, lesbian studies, and the nineteenth-century woman s novel. She earned a PhD from Stony Brook University in 1985. Her work has appeared in Journal of the History of Sexuality, Feminist Teacher, Studies in Popular Culture, and elsewhere. She has edited three works by Victorian novelist and journalist Eliza Lynn Linton: The Rebel of the Family (Broadview, 2002), Realities (Valancourt, 2010), and The Autobiography of Christopher Kirkland (Victorian Secrets, 2011). With Michelle Gibson, she has coedited Femme/Butch: New Considerations of the Way We Want to Go (2002) and Lesbian Academic Couples (2005), both published by Haworth Press. With Jonathan Alexander, she wrote Dorian Gray, Tom Ripley, and the Queer Closet (CLCWeb 2003).

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