Label Me, Labeling You
Stone butch, soft butch, femme, chapstick lesbian, lipstick lesbian – what?! Labels. The list goes on. Are they important? We all use them, but what do they mean?
To the newly out lesbian, these terms can be pretty confusing. Hell, for the seasoned dyke, they can be confusing! What you need to know is that even though different categorical references exist within the lesbian community, none of them are expected or locked in to any specific person. Labels such as these are simply identifiers, and should only be accepted by women who feel comfortable applying them to themselves.
Some women prefer not to classify themselves so narrowly and choose to not accept an identifying label. Take my wife, for instance. Before I wrote this, I asked her what she is. Her reply, “A Princess”. Enough said.
I will break down some commonly used lesbian categories, with a brief description of each. Mind you, these explanations can certainly vary depending on where you are from, age groups, or even just differences in different lgbt communities. Therefore, we tend to have a fluid understanding. I’m giving a general description. Please feel free to add your own in the comments.
I’ll keep it basic. Butch is typically referred to a woman who adopts what would be considered masculine characteristics.
Stone Butch (a.k.a. Stud) – A stone butch is a lesbian who gets her pleasure from pleasing her partner. She does not like to be touched sexually.
Soft Butch – A soft butch is a lesbian whose appearance is generally androgynous. She may dress and act in a masculine manner, but be soft and more feminine in the inside. Also, a soft butch can be someone who falls somewhere between butch and femme, but closer to the butch side.
Femme is a slang term for a lesbian woman who dresses and acts in a way that society considers typically feminine.
Blue Jean Femme – The term blue jean femme lesbian refers to a femme lesbian who prefers jeans over dresses and skirts. (Me!)
Lipstick Lesbian – A lipstick lesbian is a woman who loves other women, but also loves her clothes and makeup and shoes. She tends to dress on the ‘girly’ side.
Other Androgynous Labels
To be androgynous is to have both masculine and feminine characteristics. These qualities can be fluid and tend to vary per individual.
Chapstick Lesbian – A chapstick lesbian is also known as a soft butch or androgynous. She usually dresses quite casually and does not wear make-up. Ellen Degenerous is famously known as a chapstick lesbian.
Sport Dyke – A sport dyke is a lesbian, who more than anything, identifies with being an athlete. She may also dress in a manner that would give the impression she is an athlete, like baseball caps, sweatshirts and jeans.
Again, I will stress that these are only some of the lesbian classifications out there. And it is important to know that one femme varies to the next, just like no two butches are alike. If you meet someone, be careful not to stereotype her. Just because her appearance may fit your perception of a soft butch, she may not identify herself that way.