Petaluma, ca @TheTeaRoom | Dec 09
Polly at verymadcows has responded to my call for dialogue. I am going to quote Polly extensively and comment in line. Poly is very complimentary. Thank you Polly. I am going to focus on our disagreements, but I think we actually agree on a lot of things.
Jasper’s interpretation of female sexuality is just the same as most of the rest of the human race. Jasper thinks active female sexuality doesn’t exist.
And this is why Jasper, and large swathes of the rest of the male human race are so disturbed by lesbians. Not political lesbians, actual lesbians. Ones that like cunts.
If I was going to get all POMO at this point, I’d start talking about Monique Wittig and how lesbians destabilise the heterosexual matrix. But it’s really a lot more simple than that. The majority of heterosexual human males don’t want to believe females can possibly have active sexual desire. And even more specifically they don’t want to believe lesbians exist, because where does that leave them? Hence a lesbian cannot possibly be a female who actively sexually desires females.. She has: according to Jasper (or at least Jasper’s friend) to be a woman who is afraid of being sexually desired by men.
Polly, I am not sure what your definition of “active female sexuality” is, but I do believe in strongly gynophyllic females. I think most of the human race have bisexual tendencies. The 100% gay or straight individuals are the exception. The Gay/Straight binary is a social achievement rather than a biological one. You say elsewhere that you are a gender atheist. Well I am a homo/hetero atheist.
So in my world Lesbian is a social category populated by the Female-Born, who identify as being 100% gay. Many of them are 100% gay but a significant number are aroused by both female and male bodies. It is this latter category of bisexual females that I am concerned with. I have no interest whatsoever in lesbians who are not attracted to me. In fact if a Fab self identifies as Lesbian rather than as Queer my walls go up and I find someone else to talk to. Fortunately, lesbians are not my chosen dating pool.
Queer identitfied Bi-/Pansexual females are my preferred dating pool. The queer life experience is important because these Fabs know want to subvert hetero-patriarchal gender scripts. The straight-identified girls I have dated have had trouble subverting gender roles. All too often they want a male to be stronger than they are and to take control.
When a young, hip San Franciscan Fabs says “I identify as queer,” she is usually professing openness to all genders. This is the sense of queer identity being an alternative to lesbian identity. My frustration is that bisexual women of lesbian history often feel strong social pressure not act on desire for Mabs. Queer bisexual Fabs face being socially ostracized for being with a Mab. I have had sex with a few Queer Bisexual Fabs. Interestingly the two Fabs that were from out of town both remained interested in friendship post-sex. The three that were part of the local queer scene all got trippy and cut off contact and never returned my phone calls after having sex. One lesbian told me that in her circle “it was OK to fuck a Male as long as you hated him afterwords.” You had to make fun of him to your friends. This is an almost exact homology to the hetero-patriarchal phenomenon of “hogging.” The scripts of masculinity say “You can pick up a fat girl in a bar, as long as you express contempt for her to your friends.” (See the excellent “Rodeo” piece in “The Fat Studies Reader”.)
So, to reiterate I have no desire whatsoever to interact with self-defined lesbians. I also have no interest in entering Fab separatist spaces, but I do find the bio-separatist impulse to be reactionary. Not being attracted to Mabs is altogether different from projecting all your shit on Mabs. Separatism, Othering and Hate go hand in hand. Dividing humans into reified groups of Us and Them is regressive, not progressive. On the left it seems to be motivated by Nietzsche’s vengeful resentment, and is justified by Marxian terminology of class warfare. But Nietzsche showed us that class/race/gender resentment all spring from a Neo-Calvinist victim narrative which performs and supports mutual marginalization rather than ending it. Judith Butler and Wendy Brown have both explored this aspect of anti-Mab feminism.
I desire to date self identified Queer Bisexual Fabs, but I find that the old prejudices and phobias die hard. Many hip post-dyke spaces in San Francisco use the Queer signifier to say we are inclusive of queer-identified Mabs. The inclusiveness is unfortunately more theoretical rather than real. Part of this is because part of the tolerance is liberal lip-service. proclaiming yourself inclusive does not mean that you stop projecting your shit on the “Other”, as African-Americans often find when dealing with white American liberals. The other problem is that Mab-haters show up in these theoretically inclusive spaces and treat them like Fab-separatist spaces.
This leads to the mindfuck that my Mab-body is fetishized on the crowded queer dancefloor. At the Stay Gold queer party, I was cruised non-stop. Fabs told me I was a “sexy bitch” and slapped my ass, and initiated dirty-dancing as long as their friends were not watching. As soon as the lights come on though, they distance themselves. I am just a dirty fantasy, like all marginaliized and fetishized sub-groups.
I hear the Transwoman argument that lesbians should be interested in them because they are women. They are claiming a ‘right’ to be desired. That is not my trip. I listened to queer bisexual girls and often heard “I do not like Males in dresses. I am turned on by males who subvert gender.” They liked the combo of stubble and lipstick. They were turned off when I tried to pass as female. My Male-body combined with a feminine gender was precisely what turned them on.
So my complaint is not that Queer Fabs are not attracted to me, because many of them are and they express their desire very clearly. My issue is that a relationship with me carries the same stigma that “inter-racial” dating carries in many social group. I want assimilation into non-separatist Queer space, and I am calling out the stigmatization of bisexuallity within those spaces.
According to Jasper’s friend Eileen, women become lesbians and reject femininity because they think there is no way men would find them attractive, so they reject the whole shooting match. Right, so that explains Lindsay Lohan does it? Come on, Eileen, this is just the ‘lesbians are only lesbians because they’re too ugly to get a man’ myth beloved of misogynist males everywhere rehashed for a POMO audience.
Finally, Polly, shame on you for equating my opinion and Eilleen’s opinion. I listen to her because she is intelligent and has lived the lesbian lifestyle for so many years. She makes a good informant because she is a queer outsider and refuses to drink the Kool-Aid. My guess is that she was speaking autobiographically and then projecting it onto others. She over-generalizes, and she is a queer identified bisexual rather than your definition of lesbian, but please do not put her words in my mouth.
And Jasper really, really doesn’t understand why lesbians don’t want anything to do with him. Let me spare you further pain J. It’s really simple. Lesbians are attracted to a sex, not a gender. Therefore no matter how culturally like a woman you become, you’ve still got a penis.
This is an interesting point. I have found that many of the queer bisexual fabs I have talked to express an attraction to gender rather than sex. Again and again I see Women who like butch Fabs and Transguys during a lesbian segment of their identity trajectory turn out to go for manly men and machos when they turn bisexual or straight. I myself am attracted to Femmes of both sexes. For some reason though I feel that Male-identified and Genderqueer Mabs manage to really perform femininity without apology. Mabs trying to pass as Fab so often project a low self esteem, and a desire to be invisible. They often do not get that they need to enculturate and learn the art of Femme in order to employ Femme attraction. That is a big turn off for me, and I assume for many Queer Fabs too.
When I say I’m a lesbian I mean one thing only. I’m a female person sexually attracted to female people. Now if you have a different definition fine, I don’t own words. But it doesn’t change me. And telling me that no, no, there are 12 extra neurons somewhere in your brain that are just like a female brain isn’t going to cut it either, because contrary to popular belief, the brain IS NOT the primary sexual organ.
Again this sounds like a Serranoan argument you are critiquing rather than mine. Mabs have to earn attraction by being attractive, and in my experience it is the Bisexual identified rather than lesbian identified Fabs, who I look too. That being said, I posit that a huge number of Lesbians actually are physiologically attracted to Mabs, but the the lesbian identity category requires the suppression of these inconvenient desires. See this excellent essay from lesbilicious.co.uk for an analysis of biphobia among the lesbian identified.
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Merry Consumption Day, Sweeties