Queer/Race

Butch Time

Posted in Uncategorized by dpayton2 on March 25, 2010

The artifact is the front page article of the style section of the Washington Post for Tuesday, March 23, 2010.

Butch women along with transgender and other gays have a tough time figuring how to go about wedding ceremonies.  The first problem is what state to have it in and the next step is the formalities.  Many butch women go for men’s fashion magazines when they try to discover their own style of clothing.  They draw from opposite gender sources to decide how to go about dressing their occasion.  Many women also choose to go to standard retail stores to find shopping supplies that will enable them to choose outfits for their event.  Filene’s basement and other fabric outfitters prove to be useful places to gather materials to stitch together the outfits for a formal ceremony.  The most obvious mistake gay women can make when deciding which way to go for a wedding is to wear a traditional dress, because that locks in with the heterosexual style of dress that would normally occur.  Gays try to break the fold and stray from the usual in order to differentiate themselves from their straight counterparts.

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  1. cpeverley said, on March 25, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Very interesting article! I’d be careful about conflating “butch women” with “gay women,” though, because not all butch women are lesbians and not all lesbians are butch women. Also, I think the decision to wear a traditional wedding dress or not for lesbian couples is a personal one. Although the institution of gay marriage may or may not be aligned with queer politics or queer liberation, I think the mistake gay women can make if they do choose to get married is to wear a clothing style that is not their own.

  2. k. emvee said, on March 26, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    “I think the mistake gay women can make if they do choose to get married is to wear a clothing style that is not their own.”

    Well said cpeverley!

  3. Kristi Martin said, on March 30, 2010 at 3:43 am

    I too find this article interesting! Although I do agree with your statement about white dresses tending to fall under the tradition of heterosexual marriages, I see it as a way for gay couples (not just limited to women, but for men who wear traditional clothing in a wedding, such as a black tuxedo) to perhaps make their wedding as traditional as possible while still uniting and celebrating something new and unique. I have also found, through word of mouth and some rigid research, that even “butch” women on their weddings days like to partake in traditional aspects, like wearing traditional white dresses, having bridesmaids, the tossing of the bouquet or even the removing of the garters, it makes their special day something more like the custom institution. An interesting website I found online that specializes in gay weddings (and the sorts of conventional and new essentials you can buy for this special occasion) at TwoBrides.com.

  4. dvek said, on March 30, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I agree with cpeverley on the issue of butch =\= lesbian and vice versa. That said, I would really like to see a suit modeled after flannel shirts. I say that not to proliferate yet another stereotype, but because I wonder if anyone’s done it yet to mix up the “traditional” tux with a butch icon. PLEASE DON’T FLAME ME, I’M IGNORANT. D:

    Also, I was watching “say yes to the dress” (dammit!) and there was a butch heterosexual woman who got a really cool dress, but man, the entire time I was tearing my hair out and screaming at the TV, wondering why such a cool woman was on that show in the first place. I feel like it wasn’t entirely her decision, since her family was like, “We’re so RELIEVED to see her in a pretty dress on her wedding day.” What the FUCK.

  5. rmleeb said, on March 30, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    While I find this a really interesting look at one of the nitty-gritty details of the marriage ceremony, I am definitely a little resistant to think that it would always be a good idea for gay couples to stray away from traditional dress. True, a gay marriage is not traditional based on fundamentals alone. However, there should still be some kind of identifiable parallels which would make anyone anywhere able to be placed randomly into the audience of any wedding ceremony and say “Ahh, yes, this must be a wedding.”
    To me, changing something like the dress simply to draw a distinction between a gay or a straight marriage is like switching up conventions “just because you can.” It’s screaming “look at me, I’m different, and I want you to see it” (which I am not saying is a bad thing). It’s like saying all gays should, instead of having a Christmas tree, have a Christmas bush. It’s looking different simply to be different.
    If you’re going to be different, there should be a reason to be so. The dress in a traditional marriage is supposed to reflect purity and formality. Are those things you would not want to show in a gay wedding?

    • dvek said, on March 30, 2010 at 1:14 pm

      This is an excellent point, and this is definitely an impossible to solve issue. There’s always going to be different opinions on how “queer” weddings should be handled, but just as goths, furries, geeks and beyond are able to put their own twist on weddings, it’s inevitable that some “queers” will do so, also, to make a statement or to feel more comfortable. And it’s also inevitable that some queers will go with more traditional dress and ceremonies so their marriage will be more accepted by mainstream society.

  6. extremedancer14 said, on March 31, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Sorry. I had to re-write this comment under my assigned class e-mail rather than a random named comment.

    I too find this article interesting! Although I do agree with your statement about white dresses tending to fall under the tradition of heterosexual marriages, I see it as a way for gay couples (not just limited to women, but for men who wear traditional clothing in a wedding, such as a black tuxedo) to perhaps make their wedding as traditional as possible while still uniting and celebrating something new and unique. I have also found, through word of mouth and some rigid research, that even “butch” women on their weddings days like to partake in traditional aspects, like wearing traditional white dresses, having bridesmaids, the tossing of the bouquet or even the removing of the garters, it makes their special day something more like the custom institution. An interesting website I found online that specializes in gay weddings (and the sorts of conventional and new essentials you can buy for this special occasion) at TwoBrides.com.
    Kristi Martin, ENGL459Q, March 31st 2010

  7. bblurbs said, on April 6, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    This article kind of made me giggle just thinking about the fact that I could find this somewhere in the Washington Post. I think that it’s interesting that they try to address the style of dress to a wedding. I could see a problem arising if a gay couple WANTED to have a traditional wedding, with one dress and one tux (who wears dress? who wears tux?), and that wasn’t their personal style. However, I got the feeling that this article is over analyzing the issue a little too much and portraying gay people as people constantly trying to push the envelope and remain different, even during a time when the biggest concern is expressing themselves the way they personally want, and since we ARE talking about a wedding here, expressing their love.

    “The most obvious mistake gay women can make when deciding which way to go for a wedding is to wear a traditional dress, because that locks in with the heterosexual style of dress that would normally occur. Gays try to break the fold and stray from the usual in order to differentiate themselves from their straight counterparts.” This quotable bothered me, I must say. I replaced (my race, my gender) for “gay women” and got kind of insulted. It made me wonder WHO this person was writing this article and what kind of authority they have when it comes to gay people and their fashion.

    Can a gay woman wear a traditional dress without making a huge mistake?
    Can a person get married and dress in their own personal style without attempting to “break the fold and stray from the usual” or “differentiating themselves fromt their straight counterparts”?

    I think so. After all, I don’t think the epitome of a gay person’s life is to constantly differentiate themselves. I think society has done that enough.

    Did not like article. Trash.

    Brittany Britto, ENGL459Q, April 5th

  8. anneabigail said, on April 28, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    I’m from Massachusetts and shortly after it became legal for gay couples to get married in Boston my very bleeding heart liberal high school had a forum for gay teachers to talk to students about their marraige plans and to have a meaningful discussion about the progressive changes that were happening in politics. One of my teachers is from Oregon and so is her partner, but they moved to Massachusetts because they wanted a different scenery and the pay for teachers in my area is very desirable. They both went wedding dress shopping at David’s Bridal in Boston, and she said the staff was overcome with happiness to be helping two brides pick out dresses, and that they were their first gay couple clients. The staff was asking all about their ceremony, and my teacher explained that because it was so expensive to fly all of their family and friends to the wedding it would not be too extravagant. Then, the entire staff looked confused and asked why they didn’t just have the wedding in Oregon?….

    Why DIDN’T THEY JUST HAVE THE WEDDING IN OREGON
    because they can’t…I thought this moment was so organic and so refreshing, just seemingly clueless wedding gown employees asking a stupid, yet very smart question.


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