THE STEREOTYPE of the wishfully manly female homosexual has been a staple of sexology and psychoanalysis. She has also figured in political discourse at both ends of the century (most recently as a favorite whipping "butch" of the radical right) in order to mark out and contain deviations from culturally defined norms of womanliness and manliness. But there is an ambivalence in Riviere's account, an uneasy sense that these borderline cases are in fact much closer to the "normal" picture than has been realized or allowed. This difficulty in finally drawing the line between the "pathological" and the "normal" has not only shaped the course of psychoanalytic discourse, but might even be its generative conceit, as I will argue in more detail below.