Dating a Stem
In the world of queer individuals, especially lesbians, many terms denote a particular preference of the individual. For example, ‘studs’ are those who acknowledge themselves as masculine, while a ‘femme’ is a person who is on the feminine side. Besides, there are other labels like ‘masc’, ‘dyke’, or ‘butch.’ There are a few others who are referred to as ‘no labels’, or ‘verses.’
These are all labels that women assign to themselves and are all about their personal choices and mindset. Amongst all of these, there are the ‘stem’ women who are also often referred to as ‘no labels’, or ‘verses’ or ‘soft butch’. This is because these women consider themselves in between the femme and studs.
How does it feel to date a soft butch? Why should you date a soft butch? What are some of the dos and don’ts to remember? You’ll find the answers to all of this down below.
What Does Stem Mean in LGBTQ?
As per Urban Dictionary, ‘stem’ is an exclusive word used by the LGBTQ community and is a combination of two categories. It was initially used within the Black and Latinx LGBT community while the white and the Caucasian community used the word ‘soft butch’ or ‘Futch’ which is a combination of butch and femme. The racial angle has now started to fade out and is used by lesbian women of all colors.
What is a Stem Girl?
A stem girl is a lesbian who is a cross between a femme and a butch. On the sexuality spectrum, this person’s gender expression is both masculine and feminine. So, there’s a mix of characteristics in her style – she might dress up like a stud but wear makeup or grow her hair long like a femme.
Simply put, there’s a touch of masculinity and femininity in her. Her dressing sense could be feminine, but she may enjoy masculine activities and hobbies. She feels emotionally and physically like both a stud and a femme.
What is a Stem in a Relationship?
Within the lesbian community, equality is a major goal. Acceptance of one another’s sexual preference is another. However, for a soft butch who is too masculine for a stud or too feminine for a femme, finding an understanding dating partner proves to be a challenge.
Be it their physical appearance, how they carry themselves, how they deal with their sexuality emotionally, and how they portray themselves to their partners, many go about their lives confidently. However, in most cases, their relationships turn out to be disappointing because the partners are unable to distinguish between the dual energies. Many a time, a stem has to change her choices forcibly, which means that depending on their partners’ expression, they may either play an active or a passive role in their relationships.
7 Reasons for Dating a STEM Girl
Dating a Stem is a brilliant idea. If you have come across someone who is midway and you find her to be interesting, here are the reasons to go ahead and date her. Remember, this is a person who is in between but with the same emotions and feelings as any other member of the queer community.
1. They Can Carry Themselves Very Well
Give them any attire, and they will know how to carry themselves in it. They are pretty well aware of how to look presentable at their best. Whether it’s shorts or baggy pants with tees, or a lovely seductively-cut evening gown, you know there’s no competing with them for the best looks.
Since their dressing sense is quite adaptable and they like to keep it flexible, they’ll understand your pain points too. No problems will occur on days that you are not in the mood to look your best or the other way around.
2. One person, two companions
Yes, that’s right. Dating a soft butch means that you have a stud and a femme, both at the same time. You can experiment in manifold ways to make your relationship stronger. There could be varied experiences and all of that from the same person that you love. How beautiful it can be?
You want a stud; she is there for you. You want a femme; she’ll be happy to take up the role. There's so much flexibility with a soft butch.
3. They are Games for Almost Everything
That’s the fun of dating a stem. Whether you want to spend time doing some masculine activities or feminine, she’ll always be ready to be with you. Because that’s her thing. So, whether you want to rock n roll, or spend your weekend cheering for your favorite soccer team, your partner is always there for you. It can be so much more engaging to spend time together doing things that both of you love.
4. You’ll Love Their Attitude
Your girlfriend is not the type that can be pigeonholed or compartmentalized into one mindset. The best part is that they are open, be it their attitude or approach. The ‘damn-care’ attitude comes from confidence, and you will love it. Their self-confidence is also eventually going to rub on you.
Let’s get it straight! They are not in the ‘label’ game. If you are, then dating a soft butch may not be the right idea. But if you are game, her easy-going demeanor is going to soon become an asset for the relationship.
5. They are Self-Sufficient
Yes, most stems are very happy to be what they are. They are comfortable with their sexuality. They will love you unconditionally, but they can survive on their own. There's a mystique about them that you will always find attractive. Without any labels, there’s less stress about what they can and should do. From one point to the diagonally opposite point, they’ll fit in with so much ease that you’ll pretty soon want to know more about your companion and her independent streak.
6. They Gel Well Your Straight Friends
That makes your relationship with a soft butch pretty exciting. They will mix with your straight friends with so much ease. With your male friends as masculine and with your girlfriends as female. The best part is that they will be all updated on the latest gossip in your friend circle and keep you up-to-date. May even act as a cupid between a male and female friend of yours. All in all, you’ll hardly have reasons to complain about them not mixing with your other friends.
7. They’ll Have Something to Teach You
If you are a stud, she will teach you to showcase your feminine side and vice versa. This way, you can have fun from both worlds. Whether as a pillow princess or as a Batman, there’s always going to be some learning when you date a stem. If you are in the mood to learn, then find a soft butch and get started.
How to Dress Like a Stem?
A stem usually likes to dress like the masculine gender. But it is not the sure-shot way to dress up. This means that she can dress up with a bit of feminine touch too, blurring the lines.
In general, though, she likes to wear menswear-inspired attires. At the same time, she’ll keep her hair long and wear noticeable makeup like a femme. There’s a typical tomboyish look that she’ll flaunt.
Popular Dressing Style of a Stem Girl
- A white oversized button-down shirt over baggy track pants and matching white sneakers. This gives a boyish look. A pink stripe on the side of the pants with subtle makeup looks cool.
- Makeup for a soft butch could include smokey or cat eyes with glossy lips.
- A tracksuit with a sports bra and athletic sneakers gives a sporty look to a stem girl. A bit of skin show with the sports bra is a feminine trait else; the overall look is boyish.
- Button-up shirts with baggy pants give a typical masculine look and are a good attire choice for stem lesbians. A belt adds to the look. The shirt can be kept open with a tee underneath for a casual look.
- When wearing full sleeves shirts, the sleeves can be cuffed up to show off the biceps.
- Shorts, high socks, and sneakers with a striped T-shirt look great on a soft butch. The tee could have graphic illustrations too.
Do’s & Don't of Dating a Stem
If you are in an all-women relationship and your partner is a soft butch, keep a track of the dos and don’t to maintain adequate space, respect, and love in the relationship.
- Love the person and not for their sexual expressions.
- Be open and accept them for who they are.
- Give them confidence by showering your love.
- Show sensitivity and be loving at all times.
- Don’t try to judge them. They have to deal with enough of that outside.
- Don’t force them to be something or someone they are not comfortable with.
- Don’t superimpose your ideas about their dresses or how they carry themselves. Let them be their way.
- Don’t treat them as if they are abnormal or sort of.
Femmes, Studs, soft butch, and more. These are all terms to denote and acknowledge gender expressions in the lesbian community. Sexual preferences, styles, self-perception, etc., are all individual choices. If a woman is fine with identifying herself as midway between feminine and masculine, that’s her prerogative. If you find the idea of dating a stem exciting, go ahead and date her. A soft butch or not, she is the same person that you have fallen in love with. If you are not comfortable with the idea, let her go, live and be comfortable in her own shoes.