Dr. Darcy Smith on femme vs. butch

Ask a Mental Health Professional the Difficult Questions

Dr. Darcy:

I am a femme and am told that I look ‘straight’, whatever that means. When I go to lesbian bars I am dismissed as ‘bi-curious’ or the ‘friend-of-a-lesbian’ girl. I have two questions:

1) Does being a lesbian mean that I need to butch myself up in order to be taken seriously?

2) Are there any other women who are into fashion, hip restaurants, and who are essentially trendy New Yorkers, for whom being gay is not their entire identity?

You are not alone! I’ve had this question posed to me over and over again. It’s not easy being in a community and feeling invisible, but altering your appearance does not have to be the answer. I’m not saying I’ve never had a Brittany moment where I questioned the importance of long hair, the need for yet another pair of Manolos, and the potential change losing both would have on my experience in this community. However, as I’ve said before, the way to change a stereotype is not through conformity. The feminist movement was intended to give us choices, not limit them.

That being said, I believe there are other lesbian and bisexual women who have a plethora of interests including patronizing the “Page Six” establishments and paying obscene amounts of money to sit under the tents of Fashion Week. As a resident New Yorker, my recommendation is to look in this very magazine for the club-like venues, which is where you will certainly find femmes in numbers!

Meanwhile, buy yourself a season of The L Word, throw on that facial mask that you never have time for, and enjoy the validation that the characters provide to those of us who are femme to the core. Just to be safe, throw out the buzzer if you have one, least you find yourself in a weak moment.

Email questions to dr.darcysmith@gmail.com or call 212-604-0144*

*By submitting questions, the writer acknowledges that she has no rights of confidentiality and that her question of a version thereof may be printed in GO Magazine.  Correspondence between Dr. Darcy Smith and a writer does not constitute a therapeutic relationship and such a relationship and the rights/privileges associated with such can only be established through a scheduled, in person session.

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