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Masculine NOT Manly, Vol. 1: Deep Inside a Stud’s Mind

 No one asks what the butch/stud/dom perspective of the world is.

No one asks what the butch/stud/dom perspective of the world is. Model: Bee Walker. Photo courtesy of Boi Society.

Written by Bre Ukweli

Men are constantly weighing their own masculinity against mine. As if my clothes define my level of “almost manhood.” No one stepped up when a man threatened me in my own ‘safe’ space. No one notices the way they frown at me and talk to me as if my opinion of the world doesn’t matter. No one notices when people–even people in my own family–say, “well it’s a man thing, something only us alpha males understand,” as if I was trying to understand the way of men. As if I won’t always come up short in comparison.

I’m constantly weighing my appearance in foggy shower mirrors wondering if the reflection will ever feel sufficient for more than a moment at a time. As if I haven’t spent my entire existence trying to build this persona, trying to clothe it, to protect it from men grabbing me on the street. Trying to remind myself to not lower my eyes when a man walks past me on a street corner because I’m tired of feeling like I disgust everyone.

No one asks what the butch/stud/dom perspective of the world is. They only want to hear from our partners and the people who claim to love us in our own light.

No one asks how intensely hard it is walking into a new barbershop, no one asks what effect our partners’ sexual requests make on our psyche. No one asks how hard it is to grow up ME in a world of SHE and HEs.


Bre  is a 24-year-old gender-fluid person living in South Florida. She is a shade connoisseur hopelessly chasing skylines, sunsets and social justice.

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  1. Avatar

    Interesting to see my thoughts bought to fruition.
    Thank you for this article.

    • Avatar

      This is amazingly accurate. It’s so easy to feel alone when facing these issues. I wish studs embraced each other instead of being catty/competitive in my gay community. It would’ve helped me so much coming up from a child to a Dom. Oh well… Thank you for this piece.

  2. Avatar

    Am I the only person who does not equate wearing “masculine clothes” and “masculine hairstyles” with trying to be a man? Honestly, they are not one in the same. I think people are comfortable in what they are comfortable in. Just like me dating masculine of center females does not mean I am trying to ease the rest of the world into my lesbian-ism. I am not dating a woman who likes masculine clothes to fit into traditional gender roles, I do it because I love her and am attracted to HER…a FEMALE. Clothes are simply that, just clothes.

  3. Avatar

    I am teary-eyed. I’m sorry that butch women have to go through this. I never understood. It’s a little clearer for me.

  4. Avatar
    T. Judith Johnson

    Finally! Someone being able to put into words how I once felt! Thank you!

  5. Avatar

    Pushing some positive to you… Love that your chin is up…

  6. Avatar

    Love it!

  7. Avatar
    Linda Sullivan

    My masculinity never defined who I am or what purpose I have in life. I think moreover , that my lifestyle overshadowed many of the adversities of being a stud or dyke ( whatever makes you feel comfortable labeling me as). I insisted on getting a good education and being the best at whatever I have encountered in life. My focus is and will always be a good person and live my life as righteous as I can. I guess what I’m saying is first..I am a child of God and who I love and how I love is a personal choice.

  8. Avatar

    Thank you for this. And thank you specifically for mentioning the whole barbershop thing. For years I have been enduring fucked up hair cuts because, no matter how you present, if you are a woman, there is just a certain way they want to cut your hair.

    I decided to bite the bullet and also, as part of my renewed committment to giving as much of my money to black businesses as possible, walked into a proper barbershop for the first time. While he did a decent job, I felt everyone was barely tolerating my presence.

    Now I make it a point whenever I meet a barber to mention the feeling of unease I experience and kind float the idea of MOC women being an untapped market. I know that if I ever found a barbershop that made me feel welcomed and comfortable, I would be a customer for life.

  9. Pingback: Masculine NOT Manly, Vol. 1: Deep Inside a Stud’s Mind | 9thpowersupreme

  10. Avatar

    Thank you for writing this post. I’m uncertain who you are, if you’re Bee Walker or someone else. Whoever…you did a masterful job of painting the portrait of what it means to be a butch/stud/aggressive woman.

    As a femme, I want to wrap you in rainbows and assure you that you are loved. Your perspective is valued, same as your presence, your smile, that look, the flirt, those things that you do when you’re attracted to certain women. There is no one like you.

    Men are threatened. When you come around or show up wherever, some men must think, must feel, that their masculinity (and I’m surmising here, but you know where I’m coming from) is being compromised. Why? Because you are that priceless Being who is the commingling of female and male, hard and soft, smooth and cool, audacious and bodacious for even Being and accomplishing it all, with verve, wit, a dapper rakishness, intelligence and sex appeal to attract the same women, typically or in many cases, that they want. I’m jut thinking out loud here, feeling where I’ve been and imaging where I’m going.


    At one point in my evolution, I fathomed I could be, somewhere deep beneath the frill and lace, soft and sexy, a soft stud in heels. Okay, wait. An aggressive fem. One friend whom I shared this with would practically roll on the floor howling, reminding me how very girly I am. I insisted that I loved writing in the voice of an aggressive woman. She admitted that may very well be true, but it didn’t render me a stud painting, no matter how I tried to frame myself.

    And I must admit, I adore a stud’s swagger. And I will sashay further and own that, no, I’ll never be a stud…in this lifetime. 🙂 I like all that as it is, for sure! Reading this piece brings me to the sweetness of only wanting to cherish and adore the studs among us who rise up daily, pillars of power and persistence, to be themselves in a world that prefers truly aggressive women flat disappear.

    With love,

    A Natural Fem

  11. Avatar

    I actually get into this “fight” often on facebook. I am married to a woman who doesn’t like labels but she is considered a Dom. People make comments asking why she dresses like a man and why I left a man to marry a woman who looks like a man. As if a person is defined by how they dress. I love this PERSON, not because of how she dresses but because of how she makes ME FEEL. I would love her if she decided to wear Tutus for the rest of her life.

  12. Avatar
    Rolanda craddock

    Great piece there are so many simple minded people in the world today.

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