Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Butch, Femme and other labels in the Singaporean Lesbian Community: Can we escape the Heteronormative Gender Binary?
Keywords: sexuality, gender, identity, heteronormativity, lesbian, labels
Issue Date: 11-Aug-2010
Citation: DEVAN PAMELA MARY (2010-08-11). Butch, Femme and other labels in the Singaporean Lesbian Community: Can we escape the Heteronormative Gender Binary?. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Gender is crucial to the Singaporean lesbian community, and categorization revolves around gendered identity labels of butch, andro and femme. In recent years, there has been a shift away from these identity labels, towards an idea of gender as descriptive ? rather than declaring ?I am a butch?, one suggests ?I am masculine?. While an ostensibly similar shift was instigated by the second-wave feminist movement during the 1970s in the West, the Singaporean movement has been triggered by a gradual and individual understanding that the labels are no longer sufficient to fully describe lesbians? identities and performances. Gender has become more complex than labels of ?butch? or ?femme?; even ?masculinity? and ?femininity? have become problematised. Yet, notions of gender continue to play an important role for community and identity, and gender has not been abandoned. It is only the way gender is viewed that has changed. This thesis examines how the Singaporean lesbian community negotiates everyday gender within a heteronormative society that is heavily influenced by a gender binary. While some feminists and queer theorists have argued that the gender binary is inherently patriarchal and unequal, I argue that such a perspective on gender does not take into consideration how gender is experienced by individuals, is a crucial part of identity, and is far more complex than commonly understood. I suggest that the community?s changing understanding of gender as increasingly complex and personal is a method of carving out a space within the dominant heterosexual and heteronormative culture to exist in peace and privacy.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

Show full item record
Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormatAccess SettingsVersion 
Pamela Devan Masters Thesis.pdf812.6 kBAdobe PDF



Page view(s)

checked on Apr 8, 2019


checked on Apr 8, 2019

Google ScholarTM


Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.