Exploring contemporary butch lesbian identity in the context of the UK gender wars

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Headshot of Dr Finn Mackay in a grey tweed jacket and white shirt, with a white lapel flower with a sticker reading 'Peace' You are invited to an ARCSHS Research and Practice Seminar by Dr Finn Mackay.

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Wednesday 19 May 2021 05:00 pm until Wednesday 19 May 2021 06:00 pm (Add to calendar)
Dr Renae Fomiatti
Presented by:
Dr Finn Mackay
Type of Event:
Public Lecture; Seminar/Workshop/Training; Public

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Utilising findings from qualitative survey research conducted in the UK over the Summer of 2017, I will explore stability and divisions in the lesbian identity category of 'butch'. This identifier is often attached to masculinity, yet perhaps cannot be reduced to it (Halberstam, 1998; Devor, 1989). The 1990s, marked by the popularity of emerging Queer Theory, saw a degree of, now classic, scholarship in this area, mainly US specific (Halberstam, 1998; Soares, 1995; Burana, 1994). In the current climate however, it appears that younger generations are eschewing any labels to define their sexual, gender and sexed orientations (GLAAD, 2017; Ditch the Label, 2017). There is arguably a greater understanding of the uncoupling of sexed identity and sexuality, and gender identity and sexed identity for example; inclusive terms are used for the gender expressions I am concerned with, such as: non-binary, masculine of centre, transmasculine or genderqueer. Have these new terms ascended without tension, or are there indeed so-called 'border wars' (Halberstam, 1998), defining territories, and warding off incursions of new bodies and identities into spaces where their newness is viewed as out of place (Puwar, 2004)? Does the traditional category of 'butch' still hold resonance and meaning, or is this so stereotyped identity, with such a long history, becoming history itself? My thinking on these questions forms part of my new book published from IB Tauris at Bloomsbury in October 2021 Female Masculinities and the Gender Wars: The Politics of Sex: Finn Mackay: I.B. Tauris (bloomsbury.com)

About Dr Finn Mackay

Dr Finn Mackay is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of the West of England in Bristol, England, UK. Finn is the author of ‘Radical Feminism: Activism in Movement’ from Palgrave and (forthcoming) ‘Female Masculinities and the Gender Wars’ from Bloomsbury. Finn has been involved in feminist activism in the UK for over twenty years. With a background in youth work and advice work, Finn worked in domestic violence prevention policy before completing a PhD in the Centre for Gender and Violence Research at the University of Bristol, UK

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La Trobe University



29th Nov 2021 7:03pm

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