Unstraightening Lesbian: Removing the Heterosexual Lens: Shar Rednour

This is another in our series of posts exposing some of the numerous offenders who have posed as “Lesbian Experts” but who are neither lesbian nor expert; originally posted here on Dirt’s blog.

Today’s subject is Shar Rednour. While outward indications seem to indicate that Shar is a lesbian (for instance, she has been in a long-term relationship with a woman for a long time now), her heterosexually-charged writings/interests/films are detrimental and antithetical to actual lesbians in many ways.

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Image: #PicsArt #FreeToEdit

Shar Rednour is yet another person who is widely viewed as a “lesbian sexpert“.  The following is from her Amazon bio:

“Shar wrote the empowering, hilarious whole-life anthem for Femmes of most ages and all genders: The Femme’s Guide to the Universe, nominated for a Lambda Literary Award…Shar Rednour worked at the original On Our Backs Magazine/Fatale Media both as an editor/writer and in video production. In 1998 she co-founded her own production company with her wife Jackie. Their explicit sex education films were best-selling and critically acclaimed and include the cult classic Bend Over Boyfriend.”

A couple of important notes on the above quote from her bio:

A).  A true Femme is a lesbian and therefore a female; thus the words “for Femmes of most ages and all genders” is a whole truckload of poppycock baloney bullshit malarkey.

B).  All of our offenders are intricately interconnected; our readers will recall Susie Bright‘s involvement with On Our Backs.

C).  Shar’s wife, Jackie, has now apparently been sucked into the quicksand of Straightbian‘s partners everywhere: the trans trend. Jack, as she now calls herself, currently describes herself as follows on her website: “They are a Trans-Butch singer/songwriter.”

D). Shar and Jackie’s “cult classic” sex education porn video, Bend Over Boyfriend, covered “the practice of a woman penetrating a man’s anus with a strap-on dildo (known as pegging)“; because…well, apparently, as (allegedly) lesbian filmmakers, they must have engaged in the following thought process: “Hmmm...Since we are lesbian filmmakers, what should we focus our energies on?? Oh!  I know!  Let’s make videos of how to bang males in the booty!

So, why, exactly, is Shar Rednour’s writing and her message harmful to lesbians?

Most importantly, by promoting herself as a “lesbian sexpert“, Rednour has a responsibility to the lesbian community to provide accurate information about lesbian lives and practices. But, instead, her bizarre portrayal of “lesbian” is vapid, highly sexualized, promiscuous, shallow, manipulative, dramatic, and often just plain incorrect.

For example: How does Rednour define a Femme Lesbian in her book The Femme’s Guide To The Universe? By dragging out the overused, incorrect, ridiculous, over-the-top stereotype that has led to much misunderstanding and trouble for REAL Femmes:

“…a heel-slinking’, lipstick-printin’, chickie-vampin’, nail-rippin’, lust-purrin’, divaluscious, high as in ozone-piercing-high femme…When a high femme glides through a space, everything halts as the experience is absorbed. Traffic stops, breaths are held, conversations falter.”

Mark our words: If you see a woman calling herself a “High Femme” or a “Queer Femme”, you can rest assured that you are dealing with a drama-queen Straightbian.

Let’s move on to Rednour’s tales in her book of being a “Femme Lesbian” (and  Rednour states that she was taught the ropes by previous offender Susie Bright):

“As the assistant editor at OOB (On Our Backs), I became close friends with photographer Phyllis Christopher and filmmaker Karen Everett. Their cameras documented our experiences in the gay ’90s. We fucked for the lens during the first days of women’s sex clubs…I could always make an extra buck there go-go dancing. Handsome, older butches were good for a free meal and experienced loving. As people came and went, lines between friends and lovers blurred into one big, lubed-up, experiment

Sorry, Shar, but orgies, exchanging sex for meals, go-go dancing, “fucking for the lens”, and partying at “sex clubs” are NOT the typical lesbian experience. While everybody certainly has a right to do these activities, when a person purports to be a “lesbian expert” and even writes a “guide to the universe”, it is bizarre when that person’s own report of “lesbian” life is diametrically opposed to actual lived experience of real Femme lesbians.

Moving on more erroneous and inaccurate assertions that Rednour makes in her book:

A lot of femme dykes are bisexual.”

Some femmes lust after self-identified transwomen, some more and some less femme in their presentation. I know many femmes lust after self-identified transmen.”

Our answer to that: Bullshit!

Again, Rednour purports to speak about/for Femme lesbians, but who she is actually speaking about/for is Straightbians.  Femme lesbians are LESBIANS. No men involved.  No men desired. No men, PERIOD.

Lesbians (no matter whether Femme, Butch, or any type of lesbian) are females who are oriented to females and attracted to females. It’s not mysterious or complicated and be wary of anyone who tries to make it complicated.

So, now that we know that Rednour misrepresents Femmes in a variety of ways (way too many to list in this post), let’s see what she has to say about Butches, starting with the title of her chapter on Butches:

“The Organically Bigendered Creature”

Hmmm.  Rednour is already shoveling the manure before the chapter even starts.  Butches are not “bigendered”.  Butches are female. Butches are lesbians.  (This is not rocket science).

Other BS about Butches and Butch/Femme relationships from Rednour:

“If she (Butch) has a femme on her arm, then she becomes a stud. It proves she has sex with pretty women.”

Good butches will treat you like a lady, which always helps to make you feel like a Queen.”

“Some of my methods can be applied to eliminate bad habits that otherwise great butches have picked up…For example, my ultra-suave wife had this annoying habit of handing me my ticket at the theater. Finally, I just let her drop it into thin air. She had to scramble around for the fallen ticket, and we backed up the line, thus embarrassing her, but she definitely got it that it was not for me to hold the tickets. Stud wife is to hand over both tickets while I smile politely at the ticket ripper. That’s my job.”

“Oh, bother! You’ve looked up and down and sideways and you can’t find a good butch, or not even a butch, to save your life, much less ego and libido. What’s a girl to do? Well, fret no more. It’s simple! If you can’t find a good butch woman, then you’ll have to train one.”

There are many things wrong with Rednour’s interpretation of Butch and Butch/Femme relationships (as with other topics, there are too many things wrong to address in a single post), but to begin with, Butch/Femme relationships are not ridiculous approximations of male/female relationships.

Femmes are perfectly capable of giving their own ticket at the movies (or pumping gas or carrying packages, etc.), and real Femmes take care of themselves and don’t play ridiculous mind-games like described here.

Also, Butches do not treat their partners as Stepford-Wife showpiece arm-candy either, and Femmes would be insulted if they did.

Finally, Butches are born, not made, so you cannot just find a random woman and “turn her into a Butch” as Rednour suggests.

Rednour goes on to give advice regarding relationships with lesbians who are transitioning:

“Many femmes date and/or mate guys who once identified as women or dykes or lesbian or butch or anything else they called themselves.”

“…you have to realize they’re” (meaning: your needs are) “going to be secondary for a while, and that you really must be open to all of his communication when he is ready to communicate.”

“Besides body changes, there are mood swings with adjusting hormones. A successful relationship depends on patience, openness and forgiveness.”

This advice for lesbians to support their lesbian partners in transitioning is a sad, misguided, damaging variation of “stand by your man“.

Since this post is already getting too long, although we have barely scratched the surface, we will conclude with Rednour’s propaganda regarding “Stone Butches”. Here are a few quotes:

“‘stone butch’ refers to a butch whose gender presentation includes the most traditional characteristics of butch, including the one most talked about: the privates. They do not get touched. Most likely neither do their breasts.”

My sex with stone butches consisted of them doing me and that’s it. Some had orgasms while fucking me, but if not, they came on their own time.”

“(Femmes should) stop feeling guilty or worried about the top’s pleasure. A good time and orgasms abound all because of you, my puddin’ pie.”

“…here are some ideas for keeping the masculine lingo orbiting during the most intimate sex acts: Refer to breasts as pecs. Call their dildo dick or cock, as in: ‘Can I touch your cock?’… Ask, ‘Do you want me to check under the hood?‘ I personally add ‘Sargent, or Big Boy or President‘.”

If you really want to know the truth about “Stone Butch”, read this post. Twisting language until it screams for mercy by referring to Butch (which is female!!) sexuality in masculine terms and by telling sexual partners to not care whether the Butch is touched/satisfied is harmful to Butches in many ways, as well as being detrimental to Butch/Femme intimacy.

Once again, Rednour’s thinking harms real lesbians.

To be fair, Rednour does also offer some GOOD nonlesbian-related advice in her book, including recipes, cleaning tips, skincare tips, and self-defense tips.  The best tip of all is to never get in the car with an assailant:

“Usually, if someone puts a gun to your gut and tells you to get in a car, he wants to do much worse things to you than simply shoot you or assault you. Your best odds of survival are to make a stink right then and there even if you get shot or hurt.”

If Rednour would stick to this sort of general all-purpose advice, all would be well, but when she markets her “lesbian“-related advice as an official guide, that’s where we run into issues.

Sadly, Shar Rednour, like our other offenders in this series, promotes and disseminates incorrect and harmful information to, for, and about lesbians which furthers true lesbians’ invisibility and fosters misconceptions both within the Lesbian community and with the public at large. And that is why she makes an appearance as one of the “Dirty Dozen”.

Dirt and Mrs. Dirt

09/09/2016:  Updated to add:  Thanks to a commenter (Bartek), I realized that the exact meaning wasn’t clear regarding this quote by Shar: “If you can’t find a good butch woman, then you’ll have to train one.”  To clarify, that particular quote was part of a chapter about how to “turn a woman into a Butch” through manipulative behavioral shaping methods (which is an impossible feat because Butches are born, not made).

10 thoughts on “Unstraightening Lesbian: Removing the Heterosexual Lens: Shar Rednour

  1. Why does EVERY straightbian presented here seem to be histrionic? I’ve met couple of girls who claimed to be high femmes and while I don’t know for sure whether there were really lesbians or not, they were ALL extremely selfish, narcissistic and manipulative. Does anybody else see a correlation?
    “She had to scramble around for the fallen ticket, and we backed up the line, thus embarrassing her, but she definitely got it that it was not for me to hold the tickets.” – horrible, she’s showing it as an example of a ‘good femme behavior’, but it’s abusive and shouldn’t happen in ANY kind of relationship! People often think that there’s no abuse without hard physical or psychical violence, but in this case that poor butch woman was purposely humiliated in front of many people, so she could ‘learn her lesson’. I think this kind of abuse it’s much worse, because it’s almost invisible. The abuser slowly destroys self-confidence of their lover and often no one realizes it until it’s too late.
    It’s tragic that she got so mad about stupid theater tickets, but later stated that “a successful relationship depends on patience, openness and forgiveness”. Oh, really?
    But at first I interpreted these words “if you can’t find a good butch woman, then you’ll have to train one” differently than you. Not “find ANY woman and train her to be a good butch woman” but “find ANY butch woman and train her to be good”. Both sounds awful though. People are not circus animals, so you can teach them to perform tricks for your amusement, Shar. :/

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Thanks for commenting!

      First, I should have been clearer about that quote (“if you can’t find a good butch woman, then you’ll have to train one”) more, but we were running out of room. The entire chapter was about how to train a woman (any woman) into “being a butch”. Basically, giving tips on behavioral training to “shape” behavior. So, that is what Shar apparently meant, but you are correct that the meaning was not entirely clear from that quote alone.

      I do think there is a correlation between most “Straightbians” and histrionic, attention-seeking behavior, not only with these examples, but I can think of some women I have known over the years who fit into those categories. Interesting…might be a topic for a whole post sometime!

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      • Thanks for clarification! It’s still very disgusting way of thinking. I can’t believe that Shar actually earned some money selling her books, I guess it’s easy to spot a bullshit when she wrote that femme lesbians can be bisexual. Whenever I’m trying to find sense in this sentence, I get the 404 error. Not found!
        Being histrionic is all about playing roles. And since lesbian often get unwanted attention from men (and my observation is that straight histrionic women lust only for male attention, they often perceive other women as their rivals), playing a role of a lesbian may seem as a perfect solution for most of histrionics. I wonder how many of these women really *believe* that they’re lesbians?
        The sad thing is that histrionics are usually very charming, very charismatic and very good at manipulation, so they have real power to change how people perceive lesbians or even how lesbians perceive themselves. Some young girls may really think they need to become loyal servants of their Femmes, or else Femmes will lost their interest.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Interesting points about histrionics and the connection with “Straightbian” behavior!

          I think this topic does deserve it’s own post; because, although it would be impossible and unethical to “diagnose” strangers, there are indeed certain behavioral/personality traits uniting many of these situations.

          Thanks for the ideas to consider! 🙂

          Like

  2. Very interesting points about histrionics in the last few comments. In my RL experience with straightbians, this “type” seems to be a lot about ego, and a lot about the high of having their opinions taken seriously for the first time. Moving into the lesbian community as feminine, straight-passing bisexuals or whatever they are is a big move up in status, and they seem to leverage that privilege into a platform that they probably didn’t have access to before. I think it’s telling that they are so attached to “femme” as a label (instead of lesbian, for example) because what they are really enamored with are hetero gender roles, and are looking for a place where they can make that dynamic work in their favor, instead of men’s favor.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, and thanks for commenting! Great points & well said!

      Yes, I agree that it seems that Straightbians wield their inherent straight privilege as a “weapon” in the lesbian community; and instead of assimilating into the lesbian community, they typically filter their view of “lesbian” through their own heterosexual lens, making their interpretations of “lesbian” unrecognizable to real lesbians.

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