HEART ON | PHOTOGRAPHY
HEART ON | PHOTOGRAPHY

Butch-ish

The images submitted here are the first stop on a longterm study that seeks to understand and illuminate what it means to be butch. How do women who identify as butch claim and perform their butchness? The photographs this project seeks to capture will serve as a place to study, open dialog, and explore intrinsic parts of butch identity. The photographs will also serve to ameliorate the invisibility of women who perform gender outside of the viewscape of male-centric images of women.

The vast majority of images of women produced today are (still!) made primarily by and for men. Even images created for a female audience often reproduce the ever-present male gaze, its symbols, postures, and norms of what is feminine. Heteronormative, masculine visual cues are so heavily encoded in our visual vocabulary most never notice how it pervades our visual universe, and even less frequently consider how to interrogate it and flip the lense in the other direction.

This project is a work in progress: an exploration of the visibility, honesty, and spectrum of identity of queer women. What is butch? Where does the spectrum of masculine and feminine begin and end? Or does it? How expansive and variable is the presentation of a queer woman who performs desire for other women? These questions form the central point of inquiry for this undertaking.

At its heart this project is rooted in social activism and commentary. Its aim is to boldly and proudly display that which has been deemed uninteresting and unattractive by mainstream photography: unfeminine, masculine, women.

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 "I embrace my femininity, but it can be very different."

"I embrace my femininity, but it can be very different."

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 "I feel there's a relation to butch and femme—where we feel seen and honored by each other just by being in each other's presence. It's a powerful thing."

"I feel there's a relation to butch and femme—where we feel seen and honored by each other just by being in each other's presence. It's a powerful thing."

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 "I asked my family to call me Peter. I think it was more about having access to more freedom that boys and men had, and that I wanted."

"I asked my family to call me Peter. I think it was more about having access to more freedom that boys and men had, and that I wanted."

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 "The little acts of chivalry. For me, being helpful is part of being butch."

"The little acts of chivalry.
For me, being helpful is part of being butch."

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 "I knew I wasn't like the other girls, probably by the time I was 6 or 7. I wasn't like my mom, or my sister. I wanted to be like my uncles."

"I knew I wasn't like the other girls, probably by the time I was 6 or 7. I wasn't like my mom, or my sister. I wanted to be like my uncles."

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 "I want to be the guy because inside I am the guy."

"I want to be the guy because inside I am the guy."

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 "Butch to me is this: what you see is what you get."

"Butch to me is this: what you see is what you get."