The Femme Jury: Rating Pop Culture Butches

In 2007 we published our list of “The Top 15 Hottest Butch Women,” in which a group of our writers rated Joan Jett, Kate Moennig and other masculine women/pop culture characters on their handiness, hair and fashion, butch attitude and hotness in a tank top. Four years later, we knew we needed to do another one, with all new women (except for one — Ellen) and a new panel.

Our judges:

Emily Hartl, AfterEllen.com Styled Out writer and self-identified femme

Anna Pulley, AfterEllen.com Hook Up columnist and the harshest critic

Erika Star, Portland Scene writer and self-described “homofeminine”

Meg Streit, Chicks Getting Hitched columnist and high-femme

Trish Bendix, AfterEllen.com managing editor and femme by default of having hardcore butch love

Now “butch” is something not easily identified, but in this instance, we’re considering the elements typically associated with being a butch woman. It’s all in fun and each person/character is rated on a scale of 1 – 5, with 5 being the highest. I averaged each of the panelist’s scores to come up with their final ranking.

1. Legs in Foxfire (as played by Angelina Jolie)

OVERALL SCORE: 16.975
Handiness – 4.375
Hair and fashion – 3.9
Butch attitude – 4.2
How Hot Does She Look in a White Tank Top – 4.5

No one could deny Legs’ general bad-assness. And, lucky for her, we love the ’90s because she’s still got enough swagger to make us swoon.

Anna says, “She’s got all the trappings of butchness: The motorcycle boots, leather jacket, ribbed tank, tattoos, short, shaggy do, etc. She’s definitely handy with a switchblade, as she uses it to save Maddy from those douchey guys.”

My two cents: She started a girl gang and they gave each other tattoos. She climbs, she hangs off bridges, she will defend your honor. We honor her with the top butch spot.

2. Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (as played by Noomi Rapace)

TOTAL SCORE: 16.55
Handiness – 4.3

Hair and fashion – 4.05

Butch attitude – 4.2

How Hot Does She Look in a White Tank Top – 4

Just looking a Lisbeth give you an idea of how tough she is. And we definitely want to see her in a tank, even though Erika is correct in saying, “I’m pretty sure you couldn’t get her in a white anything if you tried. Black and shredded? Yes, please.”

It’s her dark interior that matches her exterior that has us all giving her the top ratings, though Meg notes “She looks more troubled than butch.” Still, Meg is pretty sure if “she can hack computers, she can hang a mirror.”

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