Early Memories of Female Masculinity

One summer I stood outside of a highway rest area with my siblings. A big 18-wheeler rolled into the lot and parked. The driver hopped down and after securing his truck he headed toward the entrance where we stood. There was nothing distinct about his walk. Nothing special. He wore a pair of blue jeans, a plaid shirt and some work boots. His head was shaved into a buzz cut. 

To this day, I distinctly remember saying, “Is that a man?” out loud. I was peering closely at him as he walked by. I noticed soft, barely noticeable, but clearly womanly features against rough skin that looked like he worked in the sun a lot. Before I realized what I said out loud she turned around and said, “I’m a woman.” She was serious. I could tell by the tone in her voice that she was very much so a woman despite her masculine attire and appearance. She was also sure of herself and not afraid to let anyone know. I had to have been about 10 years old at the time. That memory has stuck with me through the years.

She kept walking and we kept quiet until she walked through the door. I was old enough to be embarassed at allowing my private thoughts to escape my mind, rather audibly in fact. I didn’t know it then, but that moment would become poignant later in my life because every time I think back, it’s the first memory I associate with understanding that gender, sexuality, and physical appearance were not in sync for most people, nor was it required to be in sync with anyone else or any set thing no matter what. Although we are all individuals, there exist tons of attributes and characteristics that make us who we are. Each comes with its own complicated system and process.

There are plenty of studs and butches who have that certain stereotypical look associated with masculine lesbians, but the fact is, whether it’s natural or adopted, that alone is not an accurate indicator of any single pertinent thing without knowing a person for more than what meets the eye. I begin to adopt a self-awareness that comes into play for most, if not all studs and butches at some point during their growth and transition, the process that takes many from fem to butch or tomboy to stud, etc.

Incidents like this were passing episodes, filed away to remember when the time was right. I have no idea if the female trucker was gay, but I do know that my perception of her swagger and confidence, coupled with a masculine hair style that probably got her mistaken for a man more often than anything, she was a woman. While my siblings busted my chops, I thought about how interesting her life must be. How cool for any woman to have the power to do whatever a man could. I didn’t know why I thought it at the time, but years later I began to understand. 

Whatever  her sexuality, she was one tough butch. If I had to gauge my gay-dar, I’d say she was a proud one. For me, having never been exposed to gay culture, being engulfed by women was a liberating feeling to grab hold of. Only then was I able to start shaping and molding the kind of stud I am today. When I began to enjoy the sense of freedom that came with being open about myself, I felt just like that trucker. When you know exactly who you are, who among you can tell you otherwise?




9 Responses to “Early Memories of Female Masculinity”
  1. Ang says:

    This is great. I have a similar memory of one of my Dad's friends, who had a short haircut and wore suits like a man, she would come by our house to play cards and I always marvelled at her…and she was gay I found out in later years. But the confidence she exuded attracted something in me at a young age. So the summer between 3rd and 4th grade I cut my hair real short and spent the days riding around on my dad's riding mower shirtless and happily pretending I would grow up and marry the pretty girl next door….oh the fantasies of a young butch! Great story Knowledge!!!

    • Knowledge says:

      I'm always thankful for the courage and bravery that masculine women like your dad's friend, and so many others, displayed during a time when being openly gay was dangerous in most places, and downright considered a sexual deviance mostly everywhere.

      About your 3rd and 4th grade summers, ummm that is adorable as hell dude!! lol, I love it! I look back and recall having such respect for dominant women, not really knowing why at the time, but time certainly has a way of showing us the light. What these women represent/represented to me: unsung heroes/heroines, now and then.

  2. Dani A says:

    I'm so glad you wrote about this. I have been thinking about it lately and wondering what some other thoughts on it were. I mean, I feel being open with my sexuality gives me that very freedom you wrote about to express myself. When it comes to identity I also agree that "When you know exactly who you are, who among you can tell you otherwise?" My attire/style is that of a boi and people have come to expect certain behaviors of me. But just like when you saw that truck driver, you couldn't really say whether or not she was gay or what role she may have played. It applies now. If you are attracted to feminine women and she turns out to be more aggressive than you like, have you pre-judged her and now think that it wont work? Or would you pass up a girl dressed more studly even though deep down she's as girly in behavior as they come? I ask myself these things all the time. How come I never want to be judged but I seem to do the very same thing when I'm looking for the women I like to date? Any way, thanks for the post.

    • Knowledge says:

      Hey Dani, thanks so much for sharing your perspective and asking the questions that I know I've asked myself often. As it relates to studs/butches, one thing I have noticed is that if we are not okay with who we are inside, our outward projections can and will be equally misleading, but not purposely. It takes some of us awhile to get to the point where we are okay with being who we are. There's a transition that comes into play that we all go through at different stages, different ages, and it must be recognized and respected for what it is: Essential growth for the Stud/Butch generation of today.

      There's a fine line between who we're attracted to, and who we're compatible with and we're all entitled to our preference. Choice is vital, it's necessary for practically everything we encounter in life, and women are no different. I know that my attractions to feminine women run the gamut. There's no resignation to one particular kind of feminine either. There is nothing sexier than a feminine woman who is also aggressive and dominant in her own regard, about whatever she wants to be, and is not afraid to show it. I'm attracted to her femininity, that primary piece, and the fact that exudes far more of it than I. As long as she is 100% comfortable with that side of herself, she passes the test.

      I believe we all possess feminine and masculine traits, regardless of gender. We express the level that we feel most comfortable showing and sharing, and that's something we all have the power to dictate. It's also why the most important part of getting to know a person is what's inside their heart, mind and soul.

      I don't think your judgement is inappropriate at all. We're all entitled to our standards. A woman's femininty isn't recinded just because she exudes of aggression on top of it. We often read the title to a book, which is little more than a tease, knowing full well that there is so much more than what meets the eye initially. It's the same with people, in my opinion. We're all entitled to our preferences, especially when it concerns matters of the heart.

      Thanks for your comment, Dani!

  3. Alix says:

    I don't think I even knew that girls could look like boys at 10. You were a lot more aware than I was at that age.

  4. dirt says:

    Butch women arent masculine, we are butch! Butch bodies are 100% FEMALE, NOTHING “masculine” about that! We are merely at a different area on the femininity scale, one that sadly remains hidden/ignored.


    • Knowledge says:

      You trying to take back the word butch from masculine-identified lesbians whether they be soft-hard-in between or whatever they want to be, is just as dumb as Glenn Beck trying to take back the civil rights movement from whoever the fuck he’s trying to take it back from. There is nothing to retain. You are all butch, 100% female. Good for you. Please, get a clue before you come to my blog and try to call me out in an area where life experience has dictated my thought process more than any person or book ever could. Butch women are as diverse as culture itself. There is already enough social aversion to masculine lesbian women, we don’t need it coming from within on top of that.

      butch – used of men; markedly masculine in appearance or manner
      (slang) offensive term for a lesbian who is noticeably masculine
      (of male or female homosexuals) characterized by stereotypically male traits or appearance

      masculinity – maleness: the properties characteristic of the male sex
      the trait of behaving in ways considered typical for men
      The degree or property of being masculine or manly; manliness

      masculine – the dominant character type; biological masculinity refers to the male gender; psychological masculinity refers to the dominant character type; also used as a noun to refer to a masculine individual. synonyms: extroverted, dominant, assertive. analogs: feminine, introverted, submissive, yielding.

  5. Jennifer Griffin says:

    i’m sorry 4 being so late in keeping up with your work, Knowledge. but u know i’m truly a fan and love reading your posts. this one was great. and the responses add to it greatly. taking it much deeper.

  6. Arlie Sola says:

    Charles M. Schulz~ Try not to have a good time…this is supposed to be educational.

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