The #ButchBoudoir Project

Butch Boudoir Project by Graciela Valdes 1.jpg

So one day a new friend and I were talking about doing a boudoir shoot. As usual, I have her go to Pinterest and create a Board with inspirational images. I don’t like to copy other photographers, but I do need to get a feel for the vibe my client likes. See, some people define sexy as wearing a white flowing gown in a field of sunflowers and on the other end of the spectrum are the 50 Shades of Grey people, right? So I always ask my clients to define what sexy means to them.

Well, my buddy came back a few days later with like 2 photos on her board. Two! Out of the entire Pinterest catalog!?!? What happened?! Pinterest is a universe of images! She says, “There are no boudoir photos of people that look like me and have my style!” Dammit if she wasn’t right.

She’s quite masculine of center, a self-described “Butch”, if you will, and so we sat there thinking, This Sucks! But then we realized it was a major opportunity to create our own damn Pinterest Board! So we brainstormed her style, personality, The Hair (she’s obsessed with The Hair!), and we created a shoot that suited her style, attitude and fun nature. She’s introspective, a total nerd, flirty and funny with a great sense of humor. So we threw all that in a pot and this is what we got!

Check out the slideshow below (sound on) for the full experience. You can scroll through the photos one by one below that.

Scroll down to read the words of Gabby Horner, founder of the #ButchBoudoirProject, as she speaks about her experience leading up to the shoot, what’s to come and how your can get involved.

#ButchBoudoirProject is born! - By Gabby Horner

Mindlessly scrolling facebook one day I saw a post about a queer feminine woman's boudoir shoot, and she talked about how it was empowering to put on sexy underwear and have photos taken, encouraging everyone to try it out for themselves. As usual I saw it, got all feminist excited and said "fuck yeah!' about it and then rolled on to the normal thoughts of. . . 'this post clearly isn't for me. I don't look like that and I don't wear 'sexy' underwear.” And then I scrolled on. But for some reason this particular post stuck with me. I let the idea keep mulling around in my head. . . What would a sexy photoshoot even look like for someone like me? A Queer, Curvy, Butch Woman. .I could not imagine it. When I told Graciela this, she was stunned. But she could see it. One conversation with her and the ideas were flowing. Then I spoke to close friends about the concept, and they had tons of ideas too! I was like, this is awesome but then how come it's not out there at all?

That’s the moment I realized this was much bigger than just one photoshoot...that this needed to be a movement. Because I am not the only woman who sees these ultra feminine boudoir shoots and thinks 'oh that’s just not for me' and moves on. But...why isn't it? I found photos of really fit MMA-type women in their sports bras and boy shorts. I found plenty of hot photos of butch and masculine-presenting women in full suits and ties! But...what about those chubby butch women? Where were their bodies underneath those suits? Our identity isn't only in what we wear or even how we cut our hair. We are humans with bodies and sexuality underneath all of that. Where is our body positivity and us embracing what we feel sexy in that doesn't cover every inch of our skin?

So here we are. I pushed the envelope. I put on what I feel sexy in...a suit and tie, my Doc Martens, some flannel, and suspenders, some queer AF gear....and then stripped right down to my unicorn underwear. But just doing it, and sharing it, is not enough.

The Butch Boudoir Project is an ongoing movement to empower Butch and Masculine of Center Women and Non-Binary Individuals, celebrating their identity, sexuality, and visibility. You can learn more about the movement, how to support it, and how to participate at ButchBoudoirProject.com

- Gabby

So, here’s what I learned…

Being a Fort Lauderdale Boudoir photographer, particularly in the space of “Butch Boudoir” photography, is an awesome opportunity to learn something new; I always say that each shoot teaches me something. This portrait session was no exception. First, it confirmed to me, as shoots do time and time again, that we are all the same. Tall, short, thin, thick, ultra feminine or ultra masculine…

  • We each just want to be free to express ourselves as we please - free of judgment, guilt or shame

  • We want to be loved

  • We want to love ourselves, wholly and fully

  • We want to have a good time!

and, finally, REPRESENTATION MATTERS.

So, we did it! We made our own Pinterest board representing masculine-of-center women, butch women, women who dress in a masculine style, LGBTQ women, queer women boudoir shoots. Check out our Pinterest Board!

- Graciela

Scroll through the images at your own pace here: