Stone Butch Blues Setting & Symbolism

Leslie Feinberg
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The Butch-Femme Dichotomy

In the lesbian world of 1960s Buffalo, at least as Jess saw it, the women came in two categories: butches and femmes. Each group had its own look and behavior. The butches were masculine. They wore men's suits and ties and kept their hair short. They behaved in masculine ways — slapping each other on the back as a form of affection, riding motorcycles, and referring to female anatomy with crude slang. (This usually happened when butches were in a group). The butches hid their breast underneath girdle-like binders and used dildos (artificial penises) to simulate the man's role in sexual intercourse.

The femmes kept their hair long, wore high heels and long fingernails (the signifier of females who didn't have to do manual work; however, many of the Buffalo femmes were also prostitutes), and were sometimes financially dependent on their butches. The dividing line...

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This section contains 2,229 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Stone Butch Blues Study Guide
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