The Butches and Studs Who’ve Defied the Male Gaze and Redefined Culture
'Stud for stud' and the evolution of black Atlanta lesbian dating
The old adage applies: You know her when you see her. Butch is an aesthetic, but it also conveys an attitude and energy. Because part of being butch is owning it, the whole aura around it. What does owning it look like? Decades before genderless fashion became its own style , butches were wearing denim and white tees, leather jackets and work boots, wallet chains and gold necklaces. By refuting conventionally gendered aesthetics, butchness expands the possibilities for women of all sizes, races, ethnicities and abilities.
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Being gay in Greensboro, North Carolina, is pretty simple: The LGBT community is small, so people like who they like, explained Robin, a year-old black lesbian who was taken aback when she relocated to Atlanta a few years ago. For starters, Atlanta women were into labels. Further, those labels limited socially acceptable couples to one type — a butch and a femme. Heteronormative gender roles are a signature of lesbian circles, influencing everything from body language to hairstyle. In the love department, dapper studs date sultry femmes, according to decades-old cultural rules that have a particularly strong foothold among black LGBT women.
Butch and femme are terms used in the lesbian subculture  to ascribe or acknowledge a masculine butch or feminine femme identity with its associated traits, behaviors, styles, self-perception, and so on. This concept has been called a "way to organize sexual relationships and gender and sexual identity". Both the expression of individual lesbians of butch and femme identities and the relationship of the lesbian community in general to the notion of butch and femme as an organizing principle for sexual relating varied over the course of the 20th century. The word femme is taken from the French word for woman. The word butch , meaning "masculine", may have been coined by abbreviating the word butcher , as first noted in George Cassidy's nickname, Butch Cassidy.