You Trendy Lez, You

Lately, I’ve been reading online about feminism (particularly radical feminism) and its enthusiasm for women as superior beings. Way back when I learned about radical feminism, about 10 years ago, I learned about it being body-focused, body-centered, the liberation of the body. I read some Andrea Dworkin talking about penetration as a violent act and read it as a kind of drama piece, a monologue or something, rather than a treatise on the reality of human relationships. That’s not what she intended, probably, but who cares, I can read things how I like. The rest of radical feminism I read as being a woman-centred look at the universe. And I was certainly on board with that.

It occurs to me that I possibly missed some key texts in radical feminism. Otherwise, it would have hit me earlier that there’s a strong separatist trend in radical feminism, a desire to get these male buggers out of our hairs for good and just be women-on-women action all the time.

Speaking as a bisexual woman, I would like to say, ein minuten bitte.

First, the obvious: my dad’s a man, my best friend’s a man, my other best friend’s a man, my academic mentor is a man. My mom is married to a man, whom she loves and without whom she would be very unhappy. My mom, additionally, does not like sex with women and would not survive in a lezzie world. These are just some of the people I care about who would fall victim to a radical feminist holocaust of men. (Remember, please: I’m referring to a separatist strand of radical feminism, not all radical feminism everywhere for all time. Untwist knickers now.)

Second and quoting Philomela:

But…surely part of feminism is upholding women’s rights to have relationships with whoever they want, It also makes me think that many heterosexual feminists have no idea how power struggles and infighting play out in lesbian communities and relationships. It seems some heterosexual women don’t know that lots of lesbians are not feminists, that lots of lesbians perceive themselves and express themselves through certain sorts of masculinities, (in fact almost all of the women that make me go ooohh her! do  this)  that are often  seen as the antithesis of radical feminism.

When I was in university, it was possible to be a BUG – Bi Until Graduation – and I was lumped in with the BUG category because a) bi women are untrustworthy in their allegiance to queerness and b) I was Pakistani so for sure I’d go back in the closet when I went home (which I did, for a while, and I don’t apologize to anyone but myself for it). And if you were feeling BUGish, you would feel guilty about desiring men, doubt your own ability to stay the course of your beliefs as well as your feelings and belief yourself to be easily swayed by the cool factor. I thought I’d been easily swayed by the cool factor and that’s why my insides were turning to jelly at the sight, sound, smell, suhbat of certain women. This would not happen once I was out of this hellish den of hellish sinful sodomitic hell!

Quite.

Reading Philomela reminded me of all this just now. Of the sheer stupidity of thinking that bisexuality is a changeable state of being. Talk about self-oppression! “I am bi and with a man therefore I must be the enemy.” Meanwhile, straight women are going about saying they would be lesbian for the wo-man cause if only they could get up the guts to actually desire women. I know girls. Pussy smells funny. And you’d miss that lovely cock taste so much.

Being Bi is really fucking hard. It takes ages for your partner to feel secure that you’re not going to leave them for a different gender, that you’re not desiring the other parts in your sex life. And then there’s people constantly asking you, “Are you sure you are into men? Are you sure you’re into women? Are you sure? It doesn’t seem lke it, sometimes, that’s all. You’re not really the type.”

Kiss my ass. No bi person needs to feel guilty for desiring someone. There’s no superiority in partnering with a woman over a man. Love is love. Love may be political, but politics doesn’t dictate who you love; who you love explains your politics to you. Shows you your power and your privilege.

Asshattery. Making people feel like they’re not fighting the good fight because there’s a friendly penis in the vicinity. People are NICE. Some people are MEN. Get the fuck over it.

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5 thoughts on “You Trendy Lez, You

  1. You know, I spent a -lot- of time worrying about being “sure.” I mean, I wasted a lot of time that way; it meant avoiding -anyone- until, somehow, I was “sure.”

    These days, I’m still not “sure” of anything, much, except that the point of my sexuality, whatever it is, is not to ease the anxiety of random kibitzers; they can bloody well get their own sexuality, and piss off.

  2. i hear you on this one, resonates loud and clear. straddling binary boundaries can suck… people on both sides feel entitled to critique, doubt you, define you, exclude you (or include when convenient), and generally make sure you know that you’re not fully legit unless you fall solidly on one side or the other.

  3. Yaar, I really like the way you articulate your thoughts on bisexual-ism. I don’t always agree* but you do make me laugh and listen (such are the wonders of this virtual world). I totally agree when you say: People are NICE. Some people are MEN.

    *Not as if you’re trying to plead your case.

  4. I am so unbelievably excited to have come across this blog.
    I have no idea what sort of network exists in Pakistan for queer women, as I basically, for all practical purposes, just went there for the first time this past month. But it looks like I’ll be moving there soon, so this is at least some sort of start in terms of discovering the progressive/queer/progressive-queer circle.

  5. No no no no. I’m a radical feminist (and a Pakistani slut, married to a man, in an open marriage) and the separatism, well, I have it.

    It’s an elemental anger. I’ve written about hating men multiple times, but that is not literal, or, if it is, it’s a generalized thing that does not apply to individuals. I know and love many men.

    I don’t know if the radical feminist anger against men, as a class, and feeling of sisterhood with women, as a class, can be explained to women who haven’t been actively oppressed for being women by an uncompromising male social order (I grew up in Saudi Arabia). So I won’t try to explain it (Mary Daly’s Gyn/Ecology is a terrific radical feminist exposition though).

    But I did want to say something because I hate misunderstandings.

    Love your blog, by the way. Just found it via Sista.

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