As the queer community continues to push boundaries outside of narrow definitions of what it means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), a new photo book seeks to challenge traditional understandings of "butch" lesbian identity.
From award-winning filmmaker Kanithea Powell, Butch is a compilation of compelling photographs that attempts to defy mainstream notions of about butch lesbians. Powell told The Huffington Post that her work in this collection dramatically and provocatively presents fashion-forward photos the showcase a diverse range of beautiful butch-identified women.
"I wanted to create something that moved people to conversation," Powell told The Huffington Post. "People talk all the time about how a butch woman is 'supposed' to dress and look. Well, these aren't your typical flannel, mullet having, boot-wearing butches. This book forces you to rip the blinders off your eyes and look around and see how things are changing."
"My identity plays a huge factor in my work. I’m butch and very fashion forward. I strongly believe in popped collars and mohair loafers, and I wanted to show more of that side. There are so many women out there who are like me. They are being criticized because they consider themselves butch, but don’t fit inside the 'stone butch' box. So for me, creating something that expands the definition of 'butch' was something I felt was necessary."
"Life is about creating who you are. I hope that the people who experience 'butch' are inspired to step out of their box, collapse the box, take a knife to it and live more freely."
Butch is available for purchase through Qwest Press. For more information on Powell and her portfolio, visit the Qwest Films website.