The Village Voice declares butch is back – with a twist

In the annals of Tell Me Something I Don’t Already Know, the following headline could be Volume 1, Chapter 1: “Rachel Maddow, the New Sexy.” And all the lesbians in the room go, “Duh!”

But now, a new headline, cover photo and feature story in The Village Voice confirms what we all knew and held dear in our little gay hearts for the past year or more. Rachel Maddow is bringing sexy butch back. Not that sexy butch really went anywhere. But thanks to her visibility and popularity, a new, sexy brand of butch is enjoying a renaissance of sorts.

The article asserts that a more “fashion-conscious” butch has emerged that “differs markedly from her mullet-coiffed, man-hating predecessor.” Hmm, well, there may be a new, more high-polished butch (or futch, if you will – oh funny word mash-ups, what would we do without you?) around these days. But I certainly don’t think we should lump all the more old school butches in with the mullets and the man haters.

The piece lumps Maddow, Ellen DeGeneres, comedian Julie Goldman and Top Chef chefbian Josie Smith-Malave in with today’s “kinder, gentler butch.”

Though seemingly, besides mani-pedis, make-up and better-fitting suits, what really sets today’s butch apart is that they are also desirable to men.

Wow, talk about your unintended consequences.

The Village Voice suggests butch identity has evolved from its origins as a means of survival to a feminist political statement to today’s more personality-based accessory that is less about labels and more about looking good.

The cover story also includes an interview with Maddow about her “new butch poster girl” status. She insists she wears as much make-up as her male counterparts, she picked out the Chucks for her Vogue photoshoot but did not suggest them in the first place, and that, yes, she considers herself “mannish.” As she said, “It’s not like I’m trying to be girly and failing.”

Maddow is also more than a little amused by her own fashion-plate status:

I think that is inadvertently hilarious, which is my favorite kind of funny. My whole idea about what I wear on TV is that I want it not to be the thing that you notice about what’s happening on TV at that moment.

Well, she’d better believe it. And Kate Clinton thinks she might even owe the lesbian community a round of cold medicine:

I think the prevalence of chest colds among lesbians this year has been because everyone has been doing the Rachel Maddow plus two: a low-cut jacket with two fingers of chemise. Rachel is so clear, so funny, but also, she is herself, and that is what’s really sexy to people. What we’re doing with butch and femme is playing around with stereotypes. She’s dead serious, but there’s a real sense of play in what she does.

So, what do you think of this the butch is back business? And, more importantly, what do you think of Maddow’s new blue specs? Discuss.

Thanks to AE readers GrrrlRomeo and MeL for the tip!