Butch Purse?

In a great piece called Butches, Lies, and Feminism by Jeanne Cordova out of The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader, this story of a butch purse:

I punched my black leather purse into a tighter pillow underneath my head. My purse, whom I lovingly called ‘my yin chromosome,’ had been with me through nearly two decades of the lesbian civil wars. She’d been the butt of much harassment by lesbian-feminists and stone butches who didn’t understand the difference between a butch purse and a femme purse. A butch purse is an only child. Femmes have as many purses as shoes.

I laughed really really hard when I read that, as Betty has more bags and purses stuck into nooks in closets and cabinets and drawers than I can imagine owning in a lifetime. I occasionally go around and with the largest in hand, shove a bunch of the smaller ones into it – one bag-eating bag, as it were. And yes, you guessed it: I have one bag I use daily. I occasionally switch off to a larger bag for when I’m editing a ms, and sometimes I use a tiny pouch of a bag, like when I’m going to a club and don’t want to have to check a larger bag. But mostly I use a bag until it falls apart, and then I go find a new one. If repairs can’t be made, that is.

10 Replies to “Butch Purse?”

  1. Hm…I must have a butch purse too. I have historically tried to at least do one seasonal purse swap, but here it is late June and my sensible, winter black carry-all is still on my shoulder….

    However, the ultimate “butch purse” is a fanny pack.

  2. That sounds about like me, Helen. I hate bag shopping, and it’s bad enough switch stuff in and out of a bag at the various times, never mind having to juggle dozens of them.

  3. I have a lot of purses, but realy do not switch very often,sometimes to an evening bag, but most of the time I use one for winter, one for summer, that’s it.

    I buy a lot of fancy one’s I like them as an art form, especialy evening bag’s with feathers, sequins, stuff like that, I like to look at them all lined up on a closet shelf, like my dressy shoes, seldom worn, but I like having them.

  4. I generally use one purse, but’s because I’m still figuring out how to accessorize. (Like Lizzy I do appreciate them as an art form.) ‘Course limited closet space is also a limiting factor. So probably I’ll probably never have dozens, but it would be nice to have a couple.

  5. I do it too- use it til it wears out, then feel awful about having to replace it… lol. How I get attached to something I complain about every day, I have no idea. I miss only carting around what would fit in my wallet in my back pocket.

  6. I have a small one for regular wear, a medium-sized one (my first Brooklyn Industries purchase – woo-hoo!) for my laptop, and a backpack for when I’m loaded down with scripts and stuff. These three rotate.

    GF has a messenger bag problem. She pretty much uses only one bag exclusively, but she’s a poly bag lover and we have a whole box in storage just for all her bags. 🙂

  7. as a butch who rarely carries a bag, i enjoyed your post… one time i was going to buy a “man’s purse”…i asked the guy in the luggage store if this was a man’s purse or a women’s purse…he just stared at me, afraid that whatever answer he gave would be the wrong one…..he shrugged, i laughed and bought it…..but most days, the four pockets of my jeans and my shirt pocket suffice…especially if i am with my girlfriend who carries a magnificently large bag….

  8. My spouse is like you, with one bag she likes, with lots of pockets.
    She like sit so much she has a bag of spares for when her current
    one wears out. On the other hand, I have a passel of bags, to match
    outfits, seasons, or just because I liked something about a bag on


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