This book is well-written, accessible, touches on theory without ever getting bogged down in academic language or references, and will help you to understand what butch is and can be if you come to it with an open mind. Bear's voice comes through clear and strong, as if you were sitting there listening as ze told hir stories to you personally.
Those reviewers referring to "lesbians" and "gay women" are missing the point of this book and might want to consider re-reading it. This book isn't about women or lesbians; it is about BUTCHES, whose gender identity might be woman, man, genderqueer, BUTCH, or some other designation, and whose sexual identity might be gay, lesbian, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, or any other orientation.
Butch is a noun and an identity all its own, in many cases a gender identity. When butches partner with femmes, there are often aspects of heteronormativity to their relationships, because they arise out of the identities and inclinations of the partners, but this does not in any way validate heterocentrism or misogyny in the culture at large, invalidate the experiences and preferences of those who do not identify as butch or femme, or say anything at all about lesbians or women or what they should do or say or be.
If you do not identify as butch (or possibly masculine genderqueer), this book is not about you. Do not expect it to showcase your experiences or resonate with your identity or validate your feelings. Expect it to tell you about the identity, experiences, and feelings of Bear and many (not all) others who do identify as butch. Expect it to give you the opportunity to explore a world beyond binary gender, where not everyone identifies as man or woman, boy or girl, heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual.
Highly recommended reading if:
- You are working out/building your gender identity
- You are studying gender identity or sexuality, either academically or personally
- You have a loved one (or are attracted to someone) who identifies as butch and you want to understand better or just read essays and vignettes that reflect a butch perspective