chapter  1
“To cover up the truth would be a waste of time”: Introduction
Pages 28

In order to reclaim the history of lesbian relationships, this chapter examines the social basis of the dynamics of love in committed butch-fem relationships, focusing on the organization of domestic life and the tension between shared power and butch control. Butch and fem shared a desire for love, intimacy, and a good home life, all priorities held by women in general in the twentieth century. In addition, both butch and fem usually worked outside the home in a Labor force that discriminated against women. Butch-fem relationships encompassed these two contradictory impulses: the tendency toward butch control and the tendency toward cooperation. In the 1940s, expressions of jealousy were not yet institutionalized and had little place in public life. Joanna contrasts the gay-male culture with that of lesbians on the basis of the tension over affairs. Joanna recalls that in her group, the fems were the most jealous.