The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Lesbian Is Now a Fashion Statement, Also: Gender, Identity, Roles and Feminism

Posted on | May 2, 2014 | 69 Comments

The cover of the latest issue of Flare, a Canadian women’s fashion magazine, adds new meaning to the phrase “lesbian chic.” Apparently, “loving ladies and living proud” a la celebrity lesbian Ellen Page is what stylish Canadian women are now expected to do.

Stephanie Verge’s feature interview with Page is rather tedious:

With a quiver in her voice and wearing a T-shirt proclaiming “All Love Is Equal,” [Page] stood in front of a crowded Las Vegas room at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s inaugural Time to Thrive conference and uttered the words every adolescent lesbian who’s ever watched (and rewatched) the roller derby flick Whip It dreams of hearing: “I am here today because I’m gay.” She went on to say that she was “tired of lying by omission.”

(Point One: Gay people do not actually believe that “All Love Is Equal”; they disdain heterosexuality, otherwise they wouldn’t be gay. Point Two: How does Stephanie Verge know “the words every adolescent lesbian . . . . dreams of hearing” unless . . .?)

It was the eight-minute speech pinged around the blogosphere, and one that Page and her manager planned meticulously in collaboration with the HRC Foundation. Page wanted her announcement to be aligned with a cause, ideally one having to do with LGBTQ youth (promoting the safety, inclusion and well-being of queer teens is an HRC Foundation priority). . . .

(Translation: It was was a political publicity stunt.)

“I was very nervous. I was very nervous, yes. Yes. Very, very nervous. Yes. I was emotional, deeply, deeply emotional.” Though she told her parents she liked-liked girls when she was 19, she was still coming out to herself eight years on. “You think you’re in a place where you’re all I’m thrilled to be gay, I have no issues about being gay anymore, I don’t feel shame about being gay, but you actually do. You’re just not fully aware of it. I think I still felt scared about people knowing. I felt awkward around gay people; I felt guilty for not being myself.”

(She was a heterosexual impersonator?)

One of the perks of being an out lesbian: being able to wear whatever you want. Less than three weeks after her big speech, Page attended theVanity Fair Oscar party wearing a leather-accented Saint Laurent tux by Hedi Slimane. “I felt happy and confident and the difference was huge,” says Page. . . . For years, she endured pressure to conform to industry standards, i.e., dresses, but those days are over.

OK, you can read the whole thing if you care. But what kind of simplistic reduction is this? Being a presumably straight girl means “pressure” to wear dresses, and once you come out as a lesbian, you get the “perk” of “being able to wear whatever you want”? As though there are no heterosexual women who wear pants and no lesbians who wear dresses? What is this, 1957 or something?

When I was tweeting about this Thursday night, a conversation ensued with someone who doesn’t seem familiar with feminist theory:

Maybe I’ve become too familiar with feminist theory, that I expect other people to understand the difference between sex and gender, between sexual preference and gender roles. Feminism is about the abolition of gender — that is, eradicating all “socially constructed” differences between the sexes. According to feminism, it is the oppressive male patriarchy that imposes the “feminine” role — a humiliating condition of submissive inferiority — on women. To be “feminine,” according to this theory, is for a woman to be passive and yielding toward men, to shape her appearance and behavior in ways that are acceptable and attractive to men. By contrast, feminists view the “masculine” role as typified by domination and aggression which ultimately is about reducing women to the role of “fuckholes, breeders and slaves.”

This is why lesbianism is the goal of feminism. Only by escaping male domination can women escape the prison of “gender” and the inherently violent act of male sexuality: PIV (penis-in-vagina) intercourse, which is both the means and motive of women’s oppression: “All PIV is rape, OK?” and “No woman is heterosexual”:

What men call heterosexuality is an institution where men make women captive for PIV, to control our reproductive functions and steal our labour. . . .
It’s part of the global male infrastructure that ensures men a constant supply of ready-tamed and pre-possessed women to effortlessly stick their dicks in, impregnate and abuse. The more it grows, the easier it is for each individual man to break any woman’s will and trick her into PIV and being owned by him — and maintain submission level with the help of men’s institutions.

If you don’t understand and believe this — if you recognize this as complete lunacy — then obviously, you are not a feminist.

Now, some of you familiar with lesbian culture may be asking yourself, “What about butch dykes? Aren’t they acting out a ‘masculine’ role? If feminists reject gender roles, what about women who emulate stereotypically masculine behavior and appearance?” Oh, but see, butch dykes are subverting the patriarchy by demonstrating that females can perform the “masculine” role. However, because of the transgender vogue, many butch lesbians are now undergoing hormone treatments and surgery to become “transmen,” a trend that one older feminist laments:

Why are all the butches becoming men? Why can’t they understand that gender is a social construct, and that women don’t have to conform to a feminine ideal? Isn’t that what we were fighting for — a world in which women could wear tool belts and neckties and do anything we damn well please, without the constraints of gender?
At its very core, this was the vision of the feminist movement, and lesbians more than anyone understood how transformative this could be.
Years ago, I asked the same questions, but today, this conversation makes me uncomfortable. Because I am of this older generation, I have seen things change — and not change — for a long time.
I have, in my life, loved many butches. My relationships and affairs have almost always been with masculine women and, more recently, with trans men as well.
In my experience, for as long as I have found myself in intimate circumstances with butches/studs/masculine-identified women — from way back when I was too young to be in the bars where I was meeting and going home with them — a curious thing happens. Once there is enough trust established, I become witness to a moment of confession. The confession goes something like this: “I don’t know how to explain this, but I don’t exactly feel like a woman. I mean, I’m butch, and that’s close, but honestly, I’m not sure what I am.”
Don’t get me wrong, there are many, many proud butch women who are exactly that: women. In today’s terminology, their gender expression is masculine, and their gender identity is female. They wear their tool belts proudly, and I am happy to admire the show. For them, a butch identity resolves the issue — if people have a problem with it, it’s their sexism or homophobia rearing its head.
But that experience is not everyone’s, and it never has been.

If you did not previously believe all feminists are crazy, perhaps now you’re beginning to change your mind. Feminism requires women to be fanatically certain about theory, while being perpetually confused about reality. Everything is whatever they say it is. Feelings triumph over facts. So if some women say they “don’t exactly feel like a woman,” a gynecological examination — proving that they have the biological equipment — cannot refute their feeling.

And if you are such an intolerable smart-ass as to point out that this emphasis on subjective feeling is typically feminine . . .

OK, I denounce myself.




69 Responses to “Lesbian Is Now a Fashion Statement, Also: Gender, Identity, Roles and Feminism”

  1. TC_LeatherPenguin
    May 2nd, 2014 @ 6:16 pm

    Ohh, I get it; run those ten dead sites; make a muss.

  2. K-Bob
    May 2nd, 2014 @ 7:35 pm

    Someday, “climbing back in” will be the new thing.

  3. K-Bob
    May 2nd, 2014 @ 7:36 pm

    Was hoping for NASCAR.

  4. K-Bob
    May 2nd, 2014 @ 7:39 pm

    Reminds me of this line:

  5. K-Bob
    May 2nd, 2014 @ 7:44 pm

    Josh Olin was fired for declaring that old, hateful bigots have the right to be bigoted in their own homes.. No contibution to a PAC, no attending a meeting, just two tweets, BAM.

    It’s all because shut up, they explained.

  6. CrustyB
    May 2nd, 2014 @ 7:49 pm

    Most lesbians don’t look like Ellen Page. They look more like John Goodman.

  7. Wombat_socho
    May 2nd, 2014 @ 7:52 pm

    Also, she plays EVE-Online, a/k/a Spreadsheets in Space a/k/a internet spaceships.

    I’ll be in my bunk.

  8. Zohydro
    May 2nd, 2014 @ 8:38 pm

    The list of celebrity tarts who’ve revealed that they’ve “swam in the lady pond” is long–and grows longer by the day still! Cameron Diaz most recently.

    Of course they’re saying this to titillate their fans! I often wonder if they’re being truthful…

  9. theBuckWheat
    May 2nd, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

    What a world we live in. The women who read the magazine are being exploited and lead down a path that takes them to less happiness for the sake of trendy feminist ideology. On the blog page, in the upper right corner of my page at this moment is the photo of a young woman with nearly exposed breasts that sends decidedly anti-feminist signals.

    Both women are being exploited by sex, in almost exactly contrary ways, yet to nearly the same end: to make it nearly impossible for them to have a loving relationship with a man, to form a family and to raise a future generation who know right from wrong and who can themselves be successful in life. This is the most important task of every generation. A growing number of people think otherwise to the peril of western society.

  10. cmdr358
    May 2nd, 2014 @ 11:01 pm

    It’s not like they made that choice.
    They’re born that way, don’t cha know?

  11. maniakmedic
    May 2nd, 2014 @ 11:24 pm

    Well, if teen TV shows are anything to go by, you haven’t had the real teen girl experience and are in fact a giant buzzkill and ugly nerdy girl if you’ve never experimented with batting for the other side. Which means I apparently missed out on the defining teen girl experience. And here I am thinking all this time that prom was the defining teen girl experience (which I also missed out on – by choice).

  12. Zohydro
    May 3rd, 2014 @ 12:03 am

    I’ve heard that homosexual experimentation is (much) more common in girls than amongst boys, yet I believe that true preferentially homosexual attraction is rather rare in females… And I think both men and women know an attractive woman when they see one, not so much with a man… Mrs Z thinks Sean Connery is the second most attractive male on the planet–I don’t see it!

  13. JeremyR
    May 3rd, 2014 @ 12:14 am

    If one believes in evolution, homosex is an evolutionary dead end. It cannot reproduce. as for the idea of a matriarchial society, well, look at Chiraq to see how great that is. Women run the homes with out a male influence. All the men provide is STDs, semen, and tax dollars. The upside of the hallowed liberal life is that it is self destructive. Homosex does not produce natural offspring, and the ones who do either slaughter them inutero, or or fail to provide them with the life skills to live.
    Jesus said that in the end times the women would chose that which is not natural over that which is natural, that the love of mothers for their children would grow cold, and that we would live lives like those before the flood. In your wisdom, you are made foolish. The irony is you do not see it and are jester to the clown.

  14. robertstacymccain
    May 3rd, 2014 @ 1:47 am

    No, NW, a sexual orientation involves a sexual preference and, in a binary system of choice, to prefer one thing is to be averse to the other.

    Human nature being what it is, people generally believe their own preferences are superior.

    Alabama or Auburn? Alabama, certainly — it is superior to Auburn, and Auburn can go to hell.

    Trying to convince a gay person that being gay is not somehow better than being straight is like trying to convince me of Auburn’s superiority.

    The alternative hypothesis is that people are helpless as to their sexual orientation, that there are people who would very much rather be straight, but who are driven by an irrational and overpowering compulsion to be gay. OK, maybe, but how is that a source of “Gay Pride”?

    No — I’m sorry: De gustibus non est disputandum, but homosexuality is as much about rejecting the opposite sex as it is about attraction to the same sex. It may not be popular or politically correct to say so, but it’s true.

  15. Anamika
    May 3rd, 2014 @ 3:00 am

    The fashion part is…COOOL

  16. NeoWayland
    May 3rd, 2014 @ 8:50 am

    …in a binary system of choice, to prefer one thing is to be averse to the other.

    You can say a great many things about sex, but even your selections on this site show that there is something more than a “binary choice.” While you may choose to select radical feminists as the baseline, not all gays share those views. Not all lesbians share those views.

    I make it a rule of thumb that when someone offers two and only two alternatives, I should immediately start looking for the third, fourth, and fifth.

    If someone is not holding a gun to your head, why should their being gay matter to you in the slightest? Do you think they’re going to drag you behind the shed? Do you think they are going to tempt your wife into something unspeakable so she’ll leave you? I don’t.

    Should we object to the “normalization of gay culture?” No more than we should object to the “normalization” of Jewish culture, Italian art, social computing, or big box stores. If you don’t like it, don’t use it. You don’t have make it illegal and drive it underground.

    I’ve dealt with enough conservatives to know that the obnoxious ones aren’t the usual ones. They aren’t even the ones who do the work, they’re just the ones who get the attention.

    And that holds true for any group you can name.

  17. maniakmedic
    May 3rd, 2014 @ 7:53 pm

    I personally don’t get the whole girl-on-girl thing and never did. But perhaps it’s because I was raised in an environment where that was unacceptable and so was never really a choice for me. Some may say that I was oppressed and should take the opportunity to explore my sexuality. Whatever. I don’t think I’ve ever needed to kiss a girl to know I’d much rather pair up with a strong guy. And I can’t think of any girl I knew in high school who “experimented” who didn’t go full-on lesbian.

    These are bizarre times we live in. Up is down and down is up and unless your morality exists on a sliding scale you are deserving of disdain and mockery. Stop the world, I want to get off.

  18. Feminist Theory Ruins Everything: @AmyGoodloe’s Lesbian Sedative : The Other McCain
    May 6th, 2014 @ 11:18 am

    […] paper made the subject of online mockery, compared unfavorably to a steamy 1960 pulp novel. After writing about the butch “gender role” thing on Friday, I had in mind to do a follow-up, and you drew the short straw, so to […]

  19. londondave
    May 6th, 2014 @ 2:22 pm

    “Why are all the butches becoming men? Why can’t they understand that gender is a social construct, and that women don’t have to conform to a feminine ideal?”

    So they’re no longer lesbians. Just parodies of men who like to fuck women.

    So presumably the actual still lesbian are not long interested in these “men”.

    But why would a heterosexual woman want one of them as their mate.

    It’s all so confusing. But basically filed under WGAF.