It would seem that the LGBTI labels we have taken on in the continent are not enough and we have taken it a step further and found further divisions.
As African ‘lesbians’ we are now split according to studs and femmes.
Although this is sometimes helpful it also causes divisions and poses the question ‘do these divisions help us or hurt us in the long run?’
The posting of a Kenyan femme on her Facebook page about how maybe femmes for femmes should probably be a real thing, comments started and mudslinging between ‘studs’ and ‘femmes’ began.
‘Hakuna mafeelings mob.’
These are the words of one stud who seemed to have gone through quite the time with her woman. According to her femmes brought mad drama.
Studs had a couple of problems with femmes. These problems included how ‘high maintenance’ femmes were. The idea was with femmes you must pay for nice dinners, manicures, gifts, groceries and all things in between.
It gets so deep that on various occasions we have heard and read about women giving blow jobs or selling sex in order to finance the lifestyle that their woman is accustomed to. The problem is that although you are both women the idea seems to be that studs must take that ‘male role’ and take care of their woman.
But on the other hand with studs you could ‘just eat chapo and chill.’
Another major problem that studs had with femmes was the fact that often, due to femme invisibility, femmes could go off with men and quite often did. This linked to the point above because the femmes often cheated with these men because they could financially provide for them. Musings of Facebook pages and threads had studs talking about how due to the fact that they could not provide all the finer things in life femmes would always cheat with a man to get the material things they apparently desperately needed.
But this is not to be said that shade is not being thrown on both sides.
Femmes on Facebook and blogs talked about how studs were lazy, did not have jobs and never took care of themselves.
A Nairobi based femme lesbianwrote about how femmes took such care to have matching bras and panties, manicured nails, high heels and legs that had been put Veet to within an inch of their lives whereas studs simply put on whatever they wanted and went out into the world.
So now it seems that again, we have decided that even though there are two women someone needs to play the male role. Which then leads to very dodgy thinking.
A South African (who shall remain nameless because we were insanely upset at her) talked about how if she paid for a woman to have food then that woman should give her sex.
Ermmmm…how about no?
Now are femmes/women’s sex objects to our own the way that all women are to men?
There are many femmes who talk about having to be taken out by her stud and have them pay for her things even though they are both women. There are studs who want to ‘treat their lady right’ but believe it is their right, like men think it is their right, to have many women as long as they look after them.
After the everyone is done figuring out who should pay for the date sometimes people end up engaging with sexy times.
In bed people also have their ‘roles’ with the idea that studs are ‘touch me nots’ (according to one woman in Tanzania) and femmes should be recipients of penetration and the like. Obviously this is not the way for all relationships, different strokes for different folks.
But the idea of a stud not wanting their breasts licked and touched or to be fingered while a femme must turn up in lingerie and get it ‘given to her’ is more wide spread than we think. Although not all women to woman relationships adhere to these roles there are many who will talk about not wanting their femme girlfriends to ‘dominate them’ or wanting to be ‘fucked by her stud’.
Now with these hard lines that have been drawn is there space to just love? What if you are a femme who can be a sugar mommy but doesn’t want to exclusively sleep with studs…or femmes?
What if you aren’t a femme or a stud and just have a really cool look and love touching vaginas that are not your own?
Why do we have to hold so hard to labels that we did not even come up with…studs…femmes…even lesbian. The word homosexual was made up in Germany in the 1970s before that Africans were just…sexual. We had same sex relationsbut did not hold so hard and fast to the ideas behind them.
All of these divides between femmes and studs often comes down to the idea that in same sex relationships there must be two sexes: one must be ‘the man’ and someone must be ‘the woman’. Which is the equivalent of asking which chopstick is the fork and which is the knife.
But still we try as LBT women.
We try to conform to strange heterosexual rules.
And when we do these things we are severely limiting ourselves when we do these things. Did you know the clitoris is the only organ in the human body made entirely for pleasure? We can show emotions in ways not societally open to men. We can are complicated and gorgeous beings and have so much going for us.
But still we try and we create these femme/stud divides and then find reasons to not engage with each other.
When we asked some HOLAArites on social media we found that they believed these relationships should be equal, it was not about who could pay for what or who could fuck who. It was about circumstance. If you can pay then pay, if you can handle the strap on then ride it.
We need to stop taking the labels so seriously because when we do we start having conversations that make us look like we are trying to be straight. Conversations that say someone must act like this and someone else must act like that.
At the end of the day this is something you need to personally figure out in each relationship and not paint people with the same brush.
Want more about the dynamics in relationships between studs and femmes check out A Stem Coming Out Party. Also check out this post about lesbian rules that people need to break!
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