Lifted here from Sinclair, so many of you have probably already seen it, but just in case...
Sinclair says: "I’m told she already has about half of her subjects, but needs more, and that the majority of the women she’s interviewed are in their 50s and 60s. C’mon, twenty- and thirtysomethings, represent!"
RESEARCHER LOOKING FOR LESBIAN AND BISEXUAL WOMEN TO INTERVIEW BY PHONE ABOUT BUTCH/FEMME IDENTITIES.
Lesbians and bisexual women have used the terms “butch” and “femme” for over one hundred years but the meanings of these terms are vague and complex. I am looking to interview women about what butch and femme means to them, including women who don’t like these terms or don’t use these terms. I will focus on women in specific age groups (20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and over 50), those who are single and in relationships, in rural and urban settings, and from diverse ethnic and racial groups. I will ask interviewees the following questions:
- Describe what the terms “butch” and “femme” mean to you. What are some characteristics of a butch and a femme woman? How important or valuable are these terms to you?
- How are conceptions of butch/femme similar to or difference from conceptions of masculine/feminine?
- How do you think your lesbian/bisexual communities view butch and femme? Is there a difference between lesbian and bisexual women in how butch or femme they are or supposed to be?
- How do you think mainstream heterosexual society views lesbians or bisexual women that are butch or femme? How are butches versus femmes accepted by families of origin, in the workplace, as mothers? Are hate crimes directed at women based on masculine appearance or attributes?
- How would you describe yourself in butch/femme terms? Has your self-identity about being butch/femme changed over time? In what ways? Are there situations where you feel more butch or femme? What are they?
- Do you currently have a lover? Describe your lover in butch/femme terms. How is this similar to or different from previous lovers? Are you attracted to women based on certain physical or personality characteristics? If so, how are these related to someone being butch or femme? How is being butch or femme related to sexual activity?
- Describe which household tasks you and your lover do, and who does which tasks. (If children) describe which childcare tasks you and your lover do, and who does which tasks.
- How does being butch/femme fit in with feminism? With being queer? With being transgender?
- In what ways are conceptions of butch/femme related to power and control?
- Is there anything else you want to say about butch/femme identities and roles?
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know something about yourself and how butch/femme identities figure in your life. Thanks for your interest!
Esther Rothblum, Professor of Women’s Studies, San Diego State University