Months ago, I was on the L’Enfant plaza platform waiting on the metro when I looked up from my phone and saw another “stud.” She was walking with another woman who, if I had to guess, was her girlfriend. They were walking side by side, not holding hands, not even talking, and the other woman seemed entranced by something on her phone. As they were passing, the stud and I made eye contact. For a second I considered giving her the communal fist bump but her immediate expression changed my mind.
When the platform lights began blinking, I noticed that the stud and her presumed girlfriend had stopped not too far from me. The train arrived and the couple made their way toward the doors. In the moments before the doors opened, the stud, while eyeing me, squeezed the rear end of her girlfriend and they walked onto the train. That encounter made me wonder why she felt territorial and why as a community we, lesbians of color, don’t simply acknowledge each other.
Do we have some subconscious self-hatred? Are we trying to conform to stereotypical hyper-masculinity? Or are we trying to hide attraction for other masculine women behind aggression?
Within the African-American community there is a noticeable group of women who are attracted to women. Despite being a small group, it’s not tight-knit. As Black lesbians we don’t all embrace each other, though only we understand being triple minorities: Black, female, and gay. I’m not sure that this animosity also happens between white masculine of center women. Why is this?
Queer African American scholar Moya Bailey uses the term “misogynoir” to describe the societal oppression and hatred of black women because of race and gender. She believes that it’s also interrelated with class and sexual orientation. So, are Black lesbians internalizing this theory?
Maybe the stud’s reaction at the metro was her interpretation of being manly; she was trying to prove what was “hers.” It seems that typical studs like feminine women, but dislike showing their feminine side. With this theory, it would’ve been too feminine to smile and wave when meeting another masculine-centered woman on the metro platform.
Could the reason that studs give each other the cold shoulder be because they secretly are attracted to other studs? Even as lesbians we conform at least a little to the male-female relationship dynamic. Two masculine women together would be, well, gay. I guess that’s why femme-femme relationships don’t get a second blink. They can even pass as just friends, but a stud-stud relationship gets the side eye.
We lesbians of color, the studs specifically, need to stop with the hate. If we can’t get support and encouragement from our own triple minority community who can we get it from? So next time you see a stud give her a fist bump and maybe she’ll pass this good deed along to the next…and so on and so forth.
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