It is no secret what a lesbian is, women who are attracted to women and act on that attraction. However, there are different types of lesbians whether some people like to admit it or not. This is where the conversation of "labels" come up. A lot of lesbians do not like to be placed in a box. The sentiment that most of them have is to just let me be me. I agree. Please be who you are. A label or category should never define anyone. However, the reality is a lot of women in the lesbian community do identify with "labels" and often use labels to describe others or themselves. I am not the authority on "labels" and what they mean but I will try my best to do these terms justice.
For anybody who is new to the life, labels and descriptions may be confusing and for anybody who has been in the life for years, labels may make you feel controlled or limited. There are many different roles in a homosexual relationship just like in a heterosexual relationship and these roles lead us to define what we are like it or not. In a lesbian relationship it is believed that one of the women take on more of a domineering role. This is true in all lesbian relationships in some form. It is important to mention that taking on a more domineering or manly role doesn’t mean that you have to look the part but in some cases there are women who do and we call them “Doms”, “Butch”, or “Studs” the terminology may depend on where you are from. These women are women who act, dress, talk, walk, and often think like men. There are many labels in the lesbian community for women in the life and all serve a distinct purpose in being able to identify a specific type of lesbian woman.
The first label we will define is the “Femme” which describes itself by the label. A femme is a feminine woman, if seen on the street you wouldn’t think she was a lesbian (since most people seem to think lesbians look manly). A Femme will date other Femmes or will date the dominant woman it depends on what she is attracted to. The Femme can be described in a couple of different ways. First, the Aggressive Femme is a woman who is similar to the dominant woman only in her mindset. The Aggressive Femme still has the lady like appearance. The Aggressive Femme has a strong personality. She is very take charge and a leader. A woman such as this will want to date a woman she can exert her strong personality and it be accepted without resistance. An Aggressive Femme or “AG” as they are sometimes called usually will not date the dominant woman because they will bump heads a lot for the control. In my personal experience most AG’s I have met only date other feminine women who are less aggressive. This brings us to the other Femme.
The less aggressive Femme usually does not have the controlling personality. The less aggressive Femme likes to feel protected and taken care of. However, this does not mean she is weak; she is just a bit more submissive at times to her partner.
The next label that will be described is the “Dom” or “Stud”. This description should make something’s clearer. First, let’s define the word “dominant”:
Dominant is an adjective defined as being: most important, powerful or influential
The dominant woman is this definition. She believes she is in control in her relationships and is the most important, powerful, and influential person in her partner’s life. This leads the dominant woman to believe that she can do anything albeit good or bad and get away with it. The dominant woman is like a man in her thinking because she often believes that her partner is unable to keep up with her movements. The dominant woman or Dom/Stud usually will date a less aggressive Femme but there are times she will date an AG or even another Dom/Stud.
The dominant woman can be broken down as well. She comes in different styles. There are some dominant women who are harder or rougher around the edges. She almost looks like a man and her actions are so similar to one, she could fool her own mother. There are dominant women who are not as hard up but still are not very feminine and have a lot of masculine habits. The other dominant women are often called soft Doms/Studs. They are not as masculine with their demeanor and their femininity will show a little bit more.
The last label that will be described is the Stem. The Stem is a cross between the Stud and the Femme. She has a style that can be manly at times but also feminine. She is not necessarily a soft Dom/Stud but more of a girl who can look girly but also have the boyish look going on as well. It almost comes down to how she dresses and her mannerisms.
Let this be made clear, labels do not define who we are. The labels just give us an idea of the roles that happen in lesbian relationships. All of the labels described can be broken down further or described in different ways. I have not made myself the expert on labeling the lesbian community.
Personally, I choose to identify because I am comfortable with the label. I consider myself to be a dominant lesbian and the label describes me perfectly. I am my own person but I do not mind being called a Stud or a Dom. It is a part of who I am.
Excerpt from the Diary: Heartaches and Headaches: The Diary of a Dominant Lesbian