There is something all too obvious about the concept "female masculinity."
When people have asked me over the last few years what I am working on,
I have explained quickly to them the concept of this book. Usually I can do
it in one or two sentences. 1 will say, perhaps, "I am writing about women
who feel themselves to be more masculine than feminine, and I am trying
to explain why, as a culture, we seem to take so little interest in female
masculinity and yet pay a considerable amount
of attention to male femi-
ninity." People tend to nod and say, "Yes, of course, female masculinity,"
as if this is a concept they have grown up with and use every day. In actual
fact, there is remarkably little written about masculinity in women, and
this culture generally evinces considerable anxiety about even the prospect
of manly women. 1 hope that this book opens discussion on masculinity for
women in such a way that masculine girls and women do not have to wear
their masculinity as a stigma but can infuse it with a sense of pride and
indeed power. Already, lesbian counterproductions of female masculinity,
from the spectacle of dykes on bikes to the outrageous performances of the
drag king, are certainly taking aim at the cultural mandates against mas-
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