Butch/femme: Inside Lesbian Gender

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Sally Munt, Cherry Smyth
A&C Black, 1998 - Social Science - 244 pages
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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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Changing the Face
Nina Rapi 170 Real Compared to What? Butch
Anna Marie Smith 177 The Hegemonic Regulation of Butch
Shane Phelan 191 Public Discourse and the Closeting
Making the Real
Elissa Perry 210 The Conversation
Judith Butler 225 Afterword

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About the author (1998)

Cherry Smyth's debut poetry collection, When the Lights Go Up, was published by Lagan Press in 2001, and her most recent poetry collection is Test, Orange, available from Pindrop Press. Smyth was a guest editor for Magma Poetry Magazine in 2012 and was the poetry editor of Brand Literary Magazine from 2005 to 2011. She has been awarded a Royal Literary Fellowship for 2014. Cherry has been teaching poetry writing in the Creative Writing Department of the University of Greenwich since 2004. She also writes for the visual art magazines Modern Painters, Art Monthly, Art Review and Circa, and her work as an art critic informs and shapes HOLD STILL.

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