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Butch Lesbian

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The contrasting counterpart to the Lipstick Lesbian, the Butch Lesbian is typically clad in heavy boots, jeans, plain t-shirts and other conventionally un-feminine attire. She'll have a short haircut and stereotypically male job, and often be taller and bulkier than her femme counterpart, though a lanky or Pintsized Powerhouse build is not unheard of. Breast-binding is optional. She will also probably be vocal about gay rights and feminism (sometimes to the point of being a Straw Feminist). She may also be quite sporty. On many occasions, she can be mistaken for a man, and even the audience might make that mistake until a Gender Reveal.

Traditionally, butch lesbians are paired up with high femmes or Lipstick Lesbians. The overuse of this trope sometimes comes under fire for allegedly enforcing the male/female dynamic in homosexual relationships.


A saying within the gay community is that a butch lesbian is "steel covering velvet" while a Lipstick Lesbian is "velvet covering steel". That's not too much of an exaggeration.

In Japanese anime and manga, expect the butch lesbian to be portrayed in a more positive and possibly fanservice inclined fashion. The name for a butch lesbian in Yuri community is "tachi", which comes from the term "tachiyaku" (the player of a male role in Kabuki). Because of her natural self-confidence she'll usually be successful in her romantic endeavors.

The butch lesbian can be seen as the Distaff Counterpart to the Camp Gay stereotype (in embracing the conventional characteristics of the opposite sex). See also The Lad-ette.

Not always a mere stereotype, several butch lesbians in culture are self-depictions or nuanced portrayals by fellow members of the lesbian community.


See also Badass Lesbian if she kicks ass and Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple if she has a femme girlfriend.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ymir from Attack on Titan, is one of the tallest characters and has a lean, muscular build. This results in some fans confusing her for an attractive male at first, especially since she wears a tunic and trousers when out of uniform. While she wears her shoulder-length hair in a ponytail with a decorative clip, she's noted for her abrasive and crude personality, as well as her masculine way of speaking. Reiner refers to her as a woman that doesn't look interested in men, something she readily agrees with. Her Love Interest, Krista/Historia, is petite and exceptionally feminine in comparison.
  • Lynn Lambretta of Bodacious Space Pirates, a rare example of a butch lesbian who is still portrayed as attractive and feminine. She does end up paired with Jenny Doolittle, a Lipstick Lesbian.
  • Dear Brother:
    • Rei Asaka/Hana No Saint Juste is this trope played straight. Nanako is her femme counterpart.
    • Kaoru No Kimi looks very butch, but subverts this trope.
  • Though her sexuality isn't made explicit, Brauma Ik from The Five Star Stories is designed after this aesthetic. Interesting, considering how waifish Mamoru Nagano's women usually are...
  • Zorin Blitz from Hellsing. In the manga, one of the other characters even calls her a bull dyke as an insult...which is ironic as the Nazis were known to kill homosexuals as frequently as Jewish people.
  • Kase of Kase-san is a short-haired, boyish track star who was widely rumoured to be a lesbian even before she got into a relationship with her girlfriend, Yamada. Yamada herself regularly describes her as 'beautiful and sort of boyish'.
  • In the manga Maka-Maka, Jun is a smoking, cocky, independent young woman to Nene's Lipstick Lesbian.
  • Maria Watches Over Us:
    • Subverted with the very close cousins Rei and Yoshino. Rei looks like the typical Butch, so an outsider like Yumi believes that it's Rei who's wearing the trousers in the relationship. Soon she finds out that she couldn't be more wrong.
    • Sei's design, especially in the manga, is similar to a stereotypical butch. It's even more so after she graduates high school. She cuts her hair very short and starts wearing pants more often (due to a lack of school uniform in university).
  • Hiraga Gennai in Ooku, to the point that many people think that she's a man on first meeting her.
  • A butch/femme lesbian couple is seen in a chapter of Pet Shop of Horrors Tokyo. One mentions to Count D that while their union isn't legally binding, "I'm her husband and she is my wife". The couple laments their inability to have children, but at the end of the chapter one of the women is seen pregnant, having eaten a cake made with eggs that cause pregnancies. It's not explained how the pregnant woman is going to explain her condition to her partner...
  • Haruka Ten'oh/Sailor Uranus in Sailor Moon, as compared to her 'femme' girlfriend Michiru Kaioh/Sailor Neptune. This is significantly played up in the '90s anime, where she is only rarely depicted in women's clothes, while in the manga she is occasionally shown in dresses (and in the final series is forced to wear a girl's uniform when she switches schools).
  • The tomboyish leader of the basketball team has a crush on Hibari in Stop Hibari Kun and is tsundere towards her.
  • Martha in Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry is a subversion, as is Ermengarde for the Lipstick Lesbian. They are deliberately set up to resemble these stock characters, and they're often seen together. There are two lesbians in the team, but it isn't them.
  • Amane Ohtori in Strawberry Panic!. Even the Girls Want Her. Kaname Kenjo, her evil counterpart, is similar. Do note, however, they look VERY feminine (Kaname especially) when not dressed up in an androgynous manner, with Amane more or less crossing into Bifauxnen territory.
  • Akira Kenjou in Kirakira Precure A La Mode, who's so butch that several characters mistake her for a boy—including Ichika, who promptly crushes on Akira until her father points out Akira is a girl. For bonus points, her Cure form, Chocolat, is the Pretty Cure of Strength and Love.

    Comic Books 
  • Alan Ford in his latest (past 500) volumes has a duo of incompetent villains and former singers names Tigre and Mammolo (Tiger and Pansy), a boyish-looking butch lesbian and her massive but very camp gay associate. She even flirts with the female lead Minuette, note  before learning that she's married.
  • Interesting case with the new Batwoman: When she was introduced in her civilian apperance in 52 it was as Kate Kane, Reneé Montoyas ex-girlfriend and she was wearing a stunning dress while having long red hair. Her superhero persona was pretty much Batman with a stylish mask, high heels and long flowing red hair of femininity. When she was reintroduced in her solo-title she was re-designed as having flat-heels in her superhero personae (the original heels were explained as the only boots her dad could find in red), her flowing red hair was now a wig to conceal her civilian identity as the short-haired Kate Kane, and she was given several tattoos that weren't present in 52. Her newly given back-story has her having been a rising star in West Point, being groomed for a leader position until rumors of her sexuality forced her to either deny the whole thing and her Reasonable Authority Figure sweeping it under the rug with the assumption that Kate would give any fuel to that fire again. Kate chose to come out.
    • Kate actually lampshades her appearance when she shows up at a high scale society dinner wearing a female cut tuxedo and as her step-mother points out:
    Catherine: Oh Kate, why couldn't you wear something more... Appropriate?... Not that I don't approve, It's your life, of course. I just didn't think it's appropriate for a formal event. It is like you are trying to draw attention to yourself.
    Kate: No, just making sure that I don't stay hidden.
    (she then went on to meet her future girlfriend Maggie Sawyer)
    Maggie: The good thing about a tuxedo (smash cut to Maggie wearing a full tuxedo while grinning like mad) You don't feel bad when other people show up wearing the same thing.
  • The Black Cat once faced off against a villainess team called "Leather and Lace". Leather dressed in a dominatrix outfit and appeared to be on steroids, fitting this trope to a "T", while Lace wore pink lingerie and flew around in a cloud of golden sparkles. They haven't had a second appearance.
  • Bitchy Butch, the lesbian counterpart to Roberta Gregory's Bitchy Bitch character. Though comically stereotypical in many regards, (and like her straight counterpart, her short fuse is just part of her personality) she's still ultimately a sympathetic character.
  • Blue Is the Warmest Color: Emma's girlfriend Sabine, who dresses in a very masculine manner, can easily be mistaken for being a man, sports a buzz cut and is an outspoken LGBT activist.
  • Dean, the leader of the vampire biker gang from Charm School.
  • Gus from Circles is a Badass Gay who is big and strong and hits the gym with Ken and his buds. She has a passion for boxing and can beat up any jerk they encounter. She also has a Lipstick Lesbian girlfriend named Lucy.
  • A theme of Alison Bechdel's autobiographical Fun Home is coming to term with her identity as a butch lesbian as her closeted gay father keeps trying to push femininity on her, among other things yelling at her to wear pearls with an outfit. Her cousins nicknamed her butch as a kid, a nickname she loved even before she knew what it really meant. At another point she was eating at a diner with her dad when a big, truck driving "bull dyke" comes in and little Alison was amazed that there were women who wore men's clothes and had short hair, and she describes how on some level she "recognized her with a surge of joy".
  • Susan Veraghen in Grendel is an Apunkalyptic Butch Lesbian Samurai.
  • Jolly Roger from The Invisibles.
  • Jill from Jane's World.
  • Shrinking Violet, in the "Five Years Later" run of Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • Hopey in Love and Rockets tends to the butch, although her dress sense and hair vary over the years (but after the Time Skip in New Stories 4, she's the butchest she's ever been, with cropped hair, polo shirts, and male-styled spectacles). Several more minor characters tend to the trope, including the aptly named Bull Marie and bisexual Lois. Maggie's aunt Vicki Glori is very sensitive about people assuming she's a Butch Lesbian because of her hairstyle, physique, and profession as a wrestler. Gilbert Hernandez's work tends more to Lipstick Lesbians or femme bisexuals, but Maricela is mildly butch.
  • From the Sandman story arc "A Game of You", Hazel. She's a woman with a butch appearance, though her personality is very gentle.
  • Roxanne Richter from Scott Pilgrim. She's somewhat a Downplayed example as she does dress casually and have short pigtails, but a fierce fighter and a skilled sword-user. She's maltempered though her job is an artist and she remains somewhat amiable with Ramona.
  • Katchoo from Strangers in Paradise, and even more so, her Aloof Big Sister Tambi. They have both slept with David, but that's probably a case of If It's You, It's Okay (or Author Appeal).
  • Maggie Sawyer was rather butch in her earlier Superman appearances, to get the message across without actually saying anything.
  • Viz has a character called Millie Tant, a strident feminist who has all the stereotypical butch features.
  • Beth in Wet Moon.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Quinn Thomas' sexual preferences are never confirmed but she's a walking stereotype so it probably wasn't felt that it needed spelling out. There are also pretty heavy handed hints she has a crush on Diana.
  • Peter Bagge's Apocalypse Nerd features a women's only commune eking out a living in the Cascade Mountains after North Korea nuked Seattle. Their leader, Lynn, and most of the other women sport buzzcuts, hairy legs, perform hard manual labor, are always armed, and are drawn in a way that makes them look buff. When Perry convinces Midge to allow him to stay for a while, she tells him that she ended up there because she broke up with her boyfriend and got involved with a girl there, but have since broke up. She tells him she won't get involved with anyone else there because there's too much Unresolved Sexual Tension as it is.

    Comic Strips 
  • Lois McGiver from Dykes to Watch Out For. Also Ana, June and a few others, including Alison Bechdel's Author Avatar Mo, to varying extents.
  • Unintentionally done in Dilbert. Following reader complaints that Tina the Tech Writer was too stereotypically female, he created "AnTina", the anti Tina, a female character who had liking for sports, a muscular build, and short hair. Readers were not happy with her either, claiming Adams was making fun of lesbians.

    Fan Works 
  • Ruby and Nora let Vernal keep her canon attire while being in a relationship with Raven.
  • Wicked Wiles: Dwarfs gender the world differently from humans but, in human terms, Grumpy would be a butch he/him lesbian. He's masculine, especially compared to his Lipstick Lesbian life-mate.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The documentary The Aggressives was about the culture of black butch lesbians (or "aggressives") in New York City.
  • Claude in All Over Me is a bit butch.
  • Basic Instinct. Catherine's girlfriend Roxy, despite being long-haired, epitomizes this with her unpleasant and menacing demeanor.
  • Below Her Mouth: Dallas, who sports short hair, dresses in a very masculine manner, and works at a stereotypically male job along with her sexuality.
  • The Boondock Saints had an incident of this in the opening credits of the film: though Rosengurtle Baumgartner's sexuality is never brought up, her attire and mannerisms (and subsequent kicking of one of the brothers in the crotch for cracking jokes about her 'Rule of Thumb' rant) solidify her as a member of this trope. She also has a tattoo on her neck that reads 'Untouched by man'.
  • Gina Gershon plays Corky, a butch lesbian in Bound (1996), who Gershon modelled after James Dean. Additionally, director Lana Wachowski included some details of lesbian culture into the film such as Corky's labrys tattoo, a symbol of lesbianism and feminine strength. In one scene, she's even mistaken for a man by Joe Pantoliano's character.
  • Subverted in But I'm a Cheerleader, where the butchest of the girls realizes that she's straight. Subverted quite brilliantly with Jan. Graham however is a straight example, though a soft butch.
  • Depicted and discussed throughout Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives.
  • Marijo (Josiane Balasko) in French Twist.
  • Cynthia from Girl, Interrupted.
  • A coded example, but an example nevertheless, from 1933 in the film Ladies They Talk About.
  • Life Partners: Sasha is a downplayed example. Though not so butch as some, she is the most tomboyish of the lesbians who appear in the film, including both girlfriends whom she's with.
  • Lost and Delirious: Paulie (though she claims not to be a lesbian, just into Tori specifically), would be a downplayed example, something of a ladette by her appearance and behavior.
  • Played for Laughs in My Fellow Americans. The Camp Gay Secret Service agent offers to help the former presidents hitch a ride with some friends of his. Gilligan Cut to the ex-presidents (not the biggest of men) on the back of some motorbikes driven by a chapter of the "Dykes on Bikes" motorcycle club behind two burly women.
    Kramer: (shakily) I ought to change my stance on gays in the military. The Army could use a few of them gals.
  • Risa from Out at the Wedding is a butch lesbian who is hired by the (straight) protagonist to pretend to be her girlfriend.
  • Princess Cyd: Katie is an example, with her hair in a mohawk and having pretty masculine clothing. However, she's actually short and slim, while not having a stereotypically masculine job (she's a barista). At one point she's mistaken for male, while Miranda even wonders if she's transgender (though this doesn't seem to be the case).
  • In The Producers, one of the members of Roger DeBris' stage crew is this, serving as the sole female of his crew.
  • Ready Player One (2018) Aech, aka Helen is a very butch Black woman in "real life." Her online persona is not just male, but a big, burly ogre of a warrior. Wade is a bit surprised about it, between Aech's online persona and their conversations about hot girls, Wade always assumed Aech was male.
  • Isabelle in The Spanish Apartment.
  • V for Vendetta: Valerie's girlfriend Ruth is a mild example. She's first seen dressed as a man, sporting short hair, while Valerie always has it long.

  • A group of concentration camp inmates from the autobiographical book by Dutch author Anton Tellegen.
  • The elf, Sinai, from Black Dogs is one of these, and her partner Jacyl is a Lipstick Lesbian.
  • Mari Magot from the Ciaphas Cain series.
  • In the Circle of Magic series, Daja, the most tomboyish of the three main female characters is eventually revealed to be gay. She's a magical metal-smith, very fit, and an outright Action Girl. She does have long hair, although it's usually braided up in her people's traditional style.
    • Of the main protagonists' foster mothers, Lark fits into the Lipstick Lesbian role, while the testier, short-haired gardener Rosethorn fits closer this trope (although she's actually bi).
  • A Confederacy of Dunces features a group of rowdy, fightin' lesbians who associate with a group of Camp Gay men.
  • De skandalösa by Simona Ahrnstedt has Nora Gripklo as a 17th century example of this trope, especially if you compare her to her beautiful and docile Lipstick Lesbian lover Venus Dag och Natt. Nora used to be a tomboy, who loved to hang out with her brother Gabriel and learned how to stear a ship. And as a grown woman, she is more brassy and "mannish" than a lady was supposed to be in that era.
  • Yanang Bai in Destructive Harmonics qualifies in every aspect but monosexuality (while she is attracted to women, she also enjoys inspiring Stupid Sexy Flanders in gay men.) She's a wiry, weight-lifting 5'2" motorcycle-riding Boisterous Bruiser and the only member of an all-female heavy metal band to have short hair. She also, in-universe, placed Number Two in an online "Hottest Butches" list - she was pleased to be nominated, but resented coming in second to Rachel Maddow (a self-described "big lesbian who looks like a man").
  • In a Older Than Feudalism example, in one of Dialogues of the Courtesans by Lucian of Samosata, one of the courtesans, Lena, is explicitly seduced by a woman who reveals herself as a bald, masculine lesbian named Megilla who refers to herself as a boy and has already "married" a matron. The details aren't told, as Lena founds them too disgusting to remember.
  • Anti-Villain Tiphane D'Ath in S.M. Stirling's Emberverse.
  • The title character of Friday by Robert A. Heinlein runs into these on occasion, and while not encouraging their advances does respond to them due to her Really Gets Around nature — they turn out to be good kissers.
  • Idgie in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe with Ruth as her femme counterpart. (Although, while the book is quite explicit that they love each other, any sexual aspect of their relationship is left to subtext.)
  • The mother of gangsta rapper 50 Cent, according to his autobiography From Pieces to Weight: Once upon a Time in Southside Queens. She bought him his first bike, and taught him to deal crack.
  • Dekka in the Gone series.
  • John Doe from jPod was raised on a commune of radical-leftist-hippy-butch-lesbians.
  • Kirika from Masks of Aygrima is very aggressive and mean and acts as The Big Girl of the girls from the wagon. She is revealed to have started a relationship with Prella another girl from the wagon in the third book.
  • The One Who Eats Monsters: Described as a tomboy by other characters, Ryn is aghast at the idea of wearing high heels, and considers pants a technological leap over the skirt.
  • Sarah Dowling from Patience and Sarah comes from a family who only has daughters. Her father decided to raise his biggest daughter similarly to a son, so since age nine Sarah has been her father's surrogate son. She wears men's clothes and does manual labor, which is scandalous in the 1810s setting of the work. Sarah is quite tomboyish and Hates Wearing Dresses. Patience falls in Love at First Sight with Sarah. Sarah in turn easily falls for Patience (and only ever loves Patience).
  • Several in the works of Mary Renault: Colonna Kimball in Purposes of Love, Leo Lane in The Friendly Young Ladies, Thalestris in The King Must Die, Axiothea in The Mask of Apollo. Leo is actually kind of transgender, and in a subversion of the tropes of the day, it's she, and not her feminine lover, who falls for a man at the end. Axiothea is based on a real character, one of Plato's two female pupils, who "is said to have worn men's clothes".
  • Talia (Sleeping Beauty) from The Princess Series might be considered this, if athleticism and aggression in a lesbian character (which she is) are enough to qualify. Besides a fighter, she is a cynical, blunt-speaking Broken Bird. Her traits are more apparent by contrast with her more "femme" love interests, especially Faziya the healer.
  • Various characters in the Sarah Waters canon would be considered butch, though (due to the time period) they're not wearing the dungarees regalia. Not only are they mostly sympathetic, it's acknowledged they can even be attractive. Nan in Tipping the Velvet looks masculine to the extent she can pass as a rent boy. She later joins a community of lesbians in who have a word for a butch woman: "uncle". Waters's butches are generally teamed up with feminine girls; a butch in The Night Watch even reflects 'You couldn't go with a girl from the same side'.
  • Seveneves has Tekla, a butch Russian cosmonaut and samboist who sports a crew cut and thinks that courage is the most important trait to give to her offspring, which eventually results in her genetic line becoming specialized as super-soldiers.
  • Pip is this in Miranda July's short story Something That Needs Nothing.
  • Many characters in Stone Butch Blues, including the protagonist Jess. Jess gets gender reassignment surgery to pass as a man, not because she's transgender, but because she can't find any cultural space to be a butch woman.
  • Stephen Gordon in The Well of Loneliness, which was published in 1928, is one of the first well-known examples from Western literature. (Radclyffe Hall, the author of the novel, would also qualify as a Real Life example.) Stephen has a Gender-Blender Name because her parents expected a son. From a young age she was very tomboyish and at age seven she had her first crush on her parent's housemaid. As an adult, Stephen crossdresses and wears her hair short.
  • Diane from Dark Places is a big woman with short hair and a no-nonsense attitude, and she lives with Valerie, a woman who is "as delicate and motherly as Diane was big and hulking."
  • Winter Ihernglass in The Shadow Campaigns, who also combines Sweet Polly Oliver (she initially has to crossdress to join the Army) and Wholesome Crossdresser (even when the Army starts accepting female troops and she could legitimately drop the masculine disguise, she chooses to continue wearing short hair and male-variant uniforms).
  • The Winnie Years: Erika in Thirteen Plus One wears a wife-beater, army fatigues and combat boots, and is described by Winnie as butch. She has a femme girlfriend.
  • Gideon, the titular protagonist of Gideon the Ninth, is tall, buff, and short-haired, is very into sword-fighting, and has more than a passing interest in the ladies.

    Live-Action TV 
  • All American has Coop, who doesn't even go by her first name, Tamia. She dresses in hoodies and jeans most of the time, and typically hangs out with men.
  • During an episode of Californication, Hank visits his daughter's boyfriend's home. The young man's mother is a combination Lipstick Lesbian and Cloudcuckoolander, but her partner is a more stereotypical Butch Lesbian (with a bit of Psycho Lesbian).
  • A rare positive example of a Butch Lesbian from American network television can be found in the Cold Case episode "Best Friends." The case involves a dashing black butch woman and a feminine white woman who fall in love. Unfortunately, since it's the 1930's (when the Ku Klux Klan was still a major political power in some states), and a "cold case", it all ends in tears.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Ace is sometimes written as one, as much as was allowed by late-80's BBC programming. She's very tomboyish, her preferred methods of problem solving being "hitting things" and "blowing things up", she wears a tuxedo instead of a dress when the situation calls for dressing in formal wear, and she immediately strikes up a very close friendship with a female guest star in more than half her stories, most of which are filled with Homoerotic Subtext, and the subtext has been confirmed to be completely intentional by at least one writer. On the other hand, some writers had her show an interest in her male co-stars instead, making her average out to being a Butch bisexual.
    • Twelve's companion Bill (short for "Billie") is a downplayed example. She's definitely into girls, definitely favors tomboyish clothing, and is about as ladylike as Ace (read: not much).
    • "The Ghost Monument": Angstrom, one of the two racers, has short hair and mentions she had a wife who was killed by hostile aliens.
  • ER's Maggie Doyle, despite being long-haired and pretty, epitomizes this with her tough-as-nails personality and interest in more masculine pursuits—she likes to relax by going to a shooting range.
  • Euphoria: Rue is a lesbian who dresses very masculinely. Jules likened her fashion sense to Seth Rogen.
  • Frasier. Flamboyantly gay Gil Chesteron's wife Deb seems to be one; he describes her as being good at auto-repair, being in the military reserves, and so forth.
  • Game of Thrones: Yara is established as The Lad-ette since her earliest scenes. She dresses as the other Ironborn men do and is just as hard a drinker and tough as fighter as any of them and commands her own longship. She's revealed to be a lesbian, or at least Bi the Way in the Season 6 episode "The Broken Man". Her actress reckons it's the latter. In any case, she is definitely not straight.
  • Anne Lister from HBO's Gentleman Jack is as close as you get to a butch lesbian in 1830's England. She wears a black skirt and overcoat, carries a cane, and wears a tophat. She also owns her own estate and works to build a coal mine. Based on the diaries of a real woman, considered the first modern lesbian.
  • Christine Walter from German TV series Hinter Gittern - der Frauenknast (English: "Behind bars - The Women's Prison")
  • Nicola "Nikki" Wade from Bad Girls. Denny Blood and Al Mackenzie also fit the trope.
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Robin's doppelganger is referred to as "Lesbian Robin." LR is seen only once, always in the same take, but sports the stereotypical short hairstyle, wears what could be a man's plaid shirt and jeans, and is carrying a baseball glove, and while she walks into view, has just finished spitting (possibly chewing tobacco) into a garbage can.
  • Subverted with Grace Polk in Joan of Arcadia who looks and acts the part and whom many think is a lesbian but is straight.
  • In The Killing's third season, homeless teen Bullet fits the description (apart from being short and slight), with a masculine short undercut hairstyle, baggy jeans and hoodies as clothing, and an androgynous face. It causes Holder to initially mistake her for a boy before she corrects him.
  • Lip Service:
    • Sam and Frankie, though the latter swings both ways.
    • Fin and her football team.
  • Shane, Tasha, Candace and Dusty on The L Word. Other butch lesbians sometimes appear on that show, though Lipstick Lesbians are more common.
  • In the Modern Family episode "Schooled", one of Lilly's classmate Connor's moms partially fits the trope—she wears her hair long like her partner, but works as a contractor, wears boots, speaks in a husky voice and is quick to complain about being stereotyped (often hypocritically, since it turns out that most of the stereotyped assumptions about her are true).
  • Liz Cruz from Nip/Tuck.
  • Subverted in the TV version of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. In the book, it's stated that the main character never wears skirts. In the film, she almost always does, but she still falls in love with a femme girl.
  • Orange Is the New Black:
    • Big Boo refers to herself as a "diesel dyke" and has "Butch" helpfully tattooed on her arm. She seems to be in high demand given her many conquests throughout the show.
    • Downplayed with Nicky, who is not very feminine in personality nor appearance—has wild hair and isn't overly concerned with personal appearance—but thanks to being played by Natasha Lyonne, she still has natural good looks and has no problem attracting the likes of Morello.
    • Suzanne is a lesbian and is rather masculine. One of the COs even explicitly calls her this trope, with great distaste.
    • Downplayed with Poussey. She is a lesbian and her looks — even by prison standards — and mannerisms are conventionally unfeminine, but she still appears rather androgynous than butch and apparently doesn't identify as the latter.
  • Vida Rocca from Power Rangers Mystic Force was about as blatant about being this trope as US Moral Guardians will permit.
  • Rescue Me had an episode with the gang's Bar being over run by "Bull Dykes".
  • Shameless (UK) has Norma - a big, black Geordie trucker who lives in a caravan on the Gallagher's front garden in series 4-6.
    • Making her possibly the inspiration for Roberta, or as she prefers, Bob, an African American trucker with whom Monica Gallagher is involved in season 1 of the American series.
  • Commander Jett Reno in Star Trek: Discovery, as played by Tig Notaro. Several episodes after her introduction she mentions she's a widower who lost her wife during the Federation-Klingon War.
  • In Supergirl (2015), DEO Agent Alex Danvers is tough-as-nails and violent, wears her hair in a short, chin-length bob, and if she's not wearing tactical gear, she's wearing black leather jackets, flannel, and jeans. She also loathes heels, is the Tomboy to her sister Kara's Girly Girl, and goes through a coming-out arc where she comes to terms with her homosexuality in season 2. Her sense of style and personality is the reason why some viewers suspected that she was gay in season 1 before it later became official.
  • Dr. Elizabeth "Mac" Macmillan of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Never seen out of three-piece trouser suits, and officially revealed to be gay in the first season (though the hints were fairly blatant even in the pilot episode). The original novels amp up the butch factor even more by describing her with rather masculine features and wearing her hair in an Eton crop.
  • In If These Walls Could Talk 2, three lipstick lesbians are downright hostile to and jealous of the Butch Lesbian their fourth housemate has begun dating, outright forcibly removing her leather jacket and trying to dress her in more feminine clothes when she comes to their house for dinner.
  • Vida: Eddy. In the second season, a bunch of others are shown. They even discuss the idea of advertising that they're lesbians by masculine clothing and hairstyles.
  • The Wire:
    • Snoop, who wears men's clothing, has a gravelly voice, and is generally masculine enough that some viewers took a while to realize she was female. Her lesbianism is only revealed by a single line, though.
    • Kima is a door-kicking, beer-chugging cop who is more than a match for her male colleagues.
  • One half of the lesbian couple in the Mini Series The Women Of Brewster Place is this. She is notably the "meaner" of the two—less interested in befriending anyone in their neighborhood, preferring to hang out only with other gays, as well as much darker-skinned, raising unfortunate implications as to how this supposedly relates to her personality.

  • Fairy Tales by Eric Lane Barnes has the song "The Ballad of Tammy Brown", which tells the story of a girl who was close friends with a girl named Tammy, who had no other friends in school because she spat, swore, cut off most of her hair, and everyone called her queer. When her friends heard rumors she was friends with Tammy, they ordered her to prove this untrue or become an outcast like Tammy. She follows their orders, and tells Tammy she hates her, and never saw Tammy again. She never forgave herself for what she did that day, and only wants to see her again one more time so she could apologize to her.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Jessie Kresa - who later got fame in TNA as ODB - tried out for the first season of WWE Tough Enough and later revealed that MTV asked her to pretend to be a lesbian (due to her tomboyish appearance).
  • Downplayed with Sonya De Ville - WWE's first openly lesbian performer. She's not overtly feminine and plays up her MMA background (in contrast to Ronda Rousey being given Amazonian Beauty treatment).
  • WWE tried to portray Chyna as this at first, due to her masculine appearance.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted
    • Iron Siaka, a signature character of the Sidereal Exalted. She's depicted with somewhat masculine features (including a boyish haircut), and a passion for both bloodshed and beautiful women. Ironically enough, she represents the Chosen of Serenity; it's just that she often finds serenity in beating the crap out of someone.
    • Significant Butch Lesbian characters are not hard to find in Exalted given how liberal it tends to be with social matters. There's also the Tya — sea-faring women who adopt hypermasculine lifestyle and looks to bypass a sexist restriction set by ocean spirits (the Storm Mothers won't allow women more beautiful than themselves on boats, and the Storm Mothers are ugly). Basically, a fleet of hardy sailors and angry pirates who happen to be women. While not necessarily lesbians, their distinguishing features sit well with butch lesbian aesthetics.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Sisters of Battle, being the all-female combatants that put the militant in Church Militant, often get characterized this way by fans. Granted, there's nothing officially stating this to ever be the case, and in fact different Orders have different rules (from either outright chastity to encouraging a little bit of fun now and then,) most of the ones that are mentioned are either too devout to care, or simply straight.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse: This is the stereotype of the entire Black Furies clan of werewolves.

  • In Chicago, Mama Morton is often portrayed as very butch, which puts a completely different spin on her character and the song "When You're Good to Mama" than the movie version.
  • Middle and Regular Allison from Fun Home's musical adaption. Despite being the same person, both fit the trope. Middle Allison has a pixie haircut with male clothing while her 43 year old self has a shorter haircut and wears baggy male jeans and a male polo top. In both the book and musical, Allison was forced into feminine clothing by her overly obsessive father Bruce, but after seeing a butch delivery woman at a diner (depicted through song with "Ring Of Keys"), she began to feel more comfortable with herself.
    • In the song "Telephone Wire", Allison even makes note of how much she hated being feminine growing up.
    Allison: Since like 5, I guess!/I prefer to wear boy's shirts and pants!/I felt absurd in a dress!/I REALLY TRIED TO DENY MY FEELINGS FOR GIRLS!
    • Her college roommate Joan also fits this trope.
  • Fran from the "Women's Group" scene in The Heidi Chronicles
  • In The Producers musical, Roger DeBris's lighting designer is Shirly Markowitz, a stereotypically Butch Lesbian. Incidentally, everyone else in Roger's little entourage is extremely Camp Gay.

    Video Games 
  • Linda in the original Double Dragon. The remake, by contrast, made her a stripperific dominatrix.
  • Dragon Age:
    • You can play one in Dragon Age: Origins, providing counterpoint to Leliana's feminine side with simple practicality.
    • Similarly, the player can build Hawke from Dragon Age II like this, and her default appearance can be considered to be rather butch in comparison to Isabela and Merrill. While Aveline isn't a lesbian, the implication is that she may have been interested in a female Hawke anyway, so to an extent she also fits the trope.
    • Sera from Dragon Age: Inquisition is crass and all about practicality. Being an elf doesn't diminish the effect as much as one might think. To the disappointment of many, however, Cassandra Penteghast is not this trope.
  • Brick of Reilly's Rangers in Fallout 3, who is an ersatz of Vasquez from Aliens.
  • Corporal Betsy in Fallout: New Vegas, although she's a very minor character.
  • The player can play as one in Fallout 4. However, the protagonist had a partner of the opposite sex pre-war, so it's more like butch bisexual.
  • Lonnie from Gone Home. Although the player never sees her, she is a member of the junior ROTC and is described as dressing butch even when not in military uniform.
  • Gareth from Granblue Fantasy. She dresses and acts as a man in her guise as a knight, while being in love with the more feminine Isabella.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn has the side character Petra, who flirts with the Player Character Aloy and mentions encounters with other wandering Nora tribegirls in her time. She's a Wrench Wench who would've probably fixed up muscle cars and drive a motorcycle if she lived in modern times.
  • Baozhai in Indivisible is a swaggering, hard-drinking Noble Demon Pirate who enjoys liquor fit to strip paint off a house. She also turns bright red and struggles to form a full sentence upon first laying eyes on Thorani, cleaning up her act around the elegant deva and asking Ajna to "put in a good word" for her.
  • Juhani and her girlfriend Belaya from Knights of the Old Republic, mostly due to unfortunate character models.
  • The Last of Us: Ellie. While merely hinted at in the first game where she is only fourteen and doesn’t really interact with any other girls (although she does find a gay male porn magazine and show only bored amusement over it instead of anything else ("Hold your horses, I want to see what all the fuss is about."), and Word of God later clarified the situation. The Left Behind DLC throws all ambiguity off the window and is a story about Ellie and her best friend Riley realizing they like each other. Going by the gameplay reveals, by the time of the sequel it's no longer a secret.
  • Female Shepard tends to take this role in the Mass Effect series if played as gay or bi, especially by contrast to Liara or Traynor.
    • As of patch 1.08, Mass Effect: Andromeda allows all hairstyles on both sexes, allowing Ryder to be one. If romanced by a female Ryder, Peebee and Vetra also fit.
  • Strangelove in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is the Bifauxnen variety. She does go on to mother Otacon with Huey, but her heart still belongs to The Boss.
  • The poster girl of Overwatch, Tracer, has short Anime Hair who served as a pilot in the Royal Air Force and Overwatch, and is in a relationship with her flatmate, Emily.
  • The female boss/president in Saints Row IV is already One of the Boys, and the game parodies the Romance Sidequest by letting you "romance" any (or all) of your crew members with a single button press regardless of gender or even species (one of your crew is an alien whose mind has been uploaded into a floating spherical robot).note  Just put on a short hairstyle and only go after the girls.
  • The Star Trek Online mission "House Pegh" has Trevana, a female Klingon warrior with the typical brutish attitude. Her engineer mate B'Eler is much less of a typical Klingon, being a far better Wrench Wench than fighter, which makes Trevana come off as this.
  • Undyne from Undertale is a Hot-Blooded Action Girl who doesn't do anything without making it extreme, engages in Toilet Humor, is the head of the Royal Guard, and yep, she likes the ladies. She even hooks up with Alphys in the Golden Ending.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Comics 
  • Jordan of Agents of the Realm is the most masculine of the five girls, dressing in man's clothes, keeping her hair short and not wearing any make-up. She dates another girl, Mackenzie, and her dialogue implies it's not experimenting.
  • Amazoness! depicts Sappho as a butch lesbian, based on a description of her as "small and dark".
  • Crimson Dark: It turns out Kari is a lesbian, with a girlfriend named Ren who's also a pilot. Kari habitually has a short haircut and wears masculine-style military clothing.
  • Sidney from Distillum is bleedin' savin the world, while, by her own admittance, "not into dudes" (also, "Erin, don't go" from the flashback/vision/whatever it was might be a clue, as long as it was her memory).
  • In El Goonish Shive, Nanase had a makeover with short hair and large boots occurred shortly before she came out as a lesbian.
  • Girls with Slingshots:
    • The trope is discussed when Hazel comments that Jamie can't be a lesbian because she isn't butch. (Hazel is repeatedly noted not to know much about lesbians.)
    • It's then subsequently lampshaded when Jamie begins questioning her sexuality and goes to a gay bar to experiment. The bar is full of butch lesbians, and Jamie finds she has nothing in common with any of them. Disheartened, she talks to Hazel's Lipstick Lesbian boss Thea, who tells her that this is a specialty bar for butch lesbians.
  • The Constructicons' "daughter" in the Insecticomics. It's hard to get more butch than turning into construction equipment.
  • Ménage à 3:
    • The trope is discussed when circumstancesnote  convince the not-very-bright DiDi that she is une lesbienne; she has to be stopped from hacking her hair into une coupe Longueuilnote  and getting rid of her pretty dresses because she is convinced that she is "too big to be the femme."
    • Pro wrestlers Roxie and Lynn both play the trope (ahem) straight, but in a moderate way. Both are quite compact and muscular, have short hair, and seem to avoid "girly" traits like dresses or obvious makeup — and both are, indeed, wrestlers. However, both are more wiry than bulky, and Lynn especially can be downright dapper, dressing up (when out of costume) in suits and the like. Maura calls her "handsome".
  • Lucile from A Modest Destiny plays this dead straight.
  • Questionable Content:
    • Dora seems to think Tai (rather small and cute for the stereotype) qualifies. Veronica apparently agrees.
    • After Faye begins working in robot repair, the lesbian characters notice she has become "buff". Sure enough, she later ends up in a relationship with the even more buff "Bubbles" despite having had no interest in female partners previously.
  • In Relativity, Irina Novak always wears short hair styles, masculine clothes, and likes woman.
  • Monette's girlfriend Lisa from Something*Positive, who was initially drawn more feminine but whose character re-design around 2007 gave her a more traditionally butch appearance.
  • Sun Jing from Their Story is a tomboy with some ladette qualities and wears a tie with her school uniform, instead of the normal bow. In official art she is full bifauxnen mode, with shorter hair and masculine attire; however she has yet to cut her hair in the comics. Her love interest, Qui Tong, is quite feminine.
  • In Too Much Information, Rocky is a 6' 4" bald black lesbian who rides and works on motorcycles and her best friend and housemate is Carly, a Japanese gay transvestite Wholesome Crossdresser. After Rocky gets pregnant with Carly's child, she's rather annoyed that the resulting hormones are causing her to grow breasts, making for probably the first example of D-Cup Distress in a character who doesn't even rate an A-cup.
  • Yoona from Welcome to Room #305 has shades of this. She looks rather feminine but her personality has masculine qualities. It was more obvious when she was a rowdy, short haired kid.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Connie in Brickleberry who has a large build (parodied in that it gives her Super Strength because she's gay) is attracted to Ethel, voiced by a man, and routinely mentions she needs to shave.
  • One of Jeff's moms in Clarence is always depicted wearing masculine clothes and having her hair cut short. The other leans towards being a Lipstick Lesbian.
  • Parodied in Clerks: The Animated Series, in which all of Randall's ex-girlfriends are butch lesbians voiced by men.
    • This was once again brought up later in the episode. A group of geishas are "assigned" to Randall and said geishas claim they are there to "please him". He, completely oblivious, ends up sending them to execute minor chores, including getting him Asian porn magazines. However, in the end when he comes to rescue them, they have all changed to butch male-voiced lesbians and urge him to "continue their fight".
    • It should be noted that he doesn't date butch lesbians. They just switch sides after breaking up with him. Randall takes it as a compliment, however.
    • It is implied that Randall is the representation of "male worthlessness", which is the reason why they "went lesbo."
  • Clone High - the P.E. teacher was the clone of Eleanor Roosevelt. No explanation is given why the evil scientists cloned her 30 years before the other clones, but she's big and butch and her voice is provided by a man, who adds on an extra layer of creepy as she enjoys watching Joan of Arc's walk.
    Eleanor Roosevelt: If you like talking so much, you can talk your cute little butt down to the principal's office. Slowly. Oh yeah...
  • A banned episode of Cow and Chicken had the Buffalo Gals. A group of very manly-looking girl bikers who broke into homes to chew on people's carpet.
  • Parodied in Family Guy with a Mr. T Distaff Counterpart named Deirdre Jackson. She's the strongest female boxer in the country. Her fists are so dangerous, she's not allowed to be a lesbian.
    • When Meg tries to come out as a lesbian, she is seranaded by a barbershop quartet of Butch Lesbians all of whom are voiced by men, and one in particular has such as deep bass voice it woul have made Barry White sound soprano.
    • There is also the episode where Peter gets into a fight with another parent at a school sports fixture; being rebuked and reviled for hitting the other kid's mom, he refuses to believe it. The parent he has laid out turns out to be the butch half of a gay couple.
  • In The Goode Family lesbian couple Mo and Trish are both like this.
  • The Legend of Korra has Korra herself as a somewhat butch (or tomboyish) Bisexual, due to her Relationship Upgrade (confirmed by the showrunners) with Asami Sato in the series finale.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power had two episodes showcasing Huntara, a buff, muscular outlaw who's introduced flirting with the waitresses (and who sets Adora's eyes to sparkling).
    • Scorpia is very clearly a lesbian: she spends multiple seasons crushing on Catra, and all of her Ship Tease outside of that is with women, most notably Perfuma. She also has the kind of build that would make her very much in-demand as a linebacker if the Horde fielded a football team, and spends most of her time in military uniform. She doesn't fit the stereotypical personality, though, being a Cuddle Bug of the first order.
  • Although not her usual outfit, Patty from The Simpsons took on the attire and attitude in the episode "Homer Simpson, This is Your Wife". Then again, there were a few jokes and hints made before she came out and even Homer himself was hardly surprised at this.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Ruby is a butch lesbian: she's an alien who has No Biological Sex but she uses female pronouns, is very tomboyish, and is in a romantic relationship with Sapphire, another non-binary femme-presenting alien.
    • Mystery Girl from "Last One Out of Beach City" fits the bill appearance-wise, complete with flannel, and she seems interested enough in Pearl to give her her number.
      • Pearl herself very well may fit the bill, being heavily based on the masculine woman-loving-woman Utena Tenjou and her character development involving moving away from the traditional femininity forced on Pearls and into a more emasculate appearance. Her on-screen love interests include Rose Quartz, a fellow gem, and Mystery Girl, the aforementioned human who is very likely a butch lesbian herself. The collection of phone numbers she's seen with in A Single Pale Rose appear to all be from women as well, further establishing Pearl as a lesbian specifically (insofar as any gems are women to begin with).
    • The Topazes are large, masculine-looking (but not vocally) Gem guards who care very deeply for each other.
  • An episode of The Venture Bros. (Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman) featuring a beefy lady named Ginny who was revealed in one line to be interested in sleeping with the eponymous Dr. Quymn as well as openly being hateful of men though she says it's because she hasn't met a real man yet. She also pursues Brock Sampson— whether it's to "distract" him from the sexy Dr. Quymn or some strangely genderbent Even the Guys Want Him, it's not revealed.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender eventually reveals Zethrid as one of these. She's the tallest and bulkiest of Lotor's generals, with a deep voice and aggressive personality. Season 7 also implies that Zethrid is in a relationship with the smaller and more feminine Ezor.

Alternative Title(s): Rolls Her Own Tampons


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