Note: Please also read Dirt’s companion piece, Women’s Liberation-Recruiting Lesbians-When The Political Went Personal.
We’ve all heard the joke:
If a Lesbian “recruits” a straight woman to “play for our team”, we get awarded a toaster oven for our efforts.
This long-standing joke is so rooted in our collective consciousness that it was even included Ellen’s coming out episode.
Lesbians laugh along with this joke, and we even joke amongst ourselves about it. It is, after all, a funny joke, because, as with most humor, it is rooted in a long-term stereotype.
In this case, the prevailing stereotype of Lesbians is that we are always prowling the streets of Hetland to recruit straight women to jump the proverbial fence to come on over to Lesboville!
This trope plays itself out in an endless loop on TV, movies, books, and popular culture.
However, there’s a major problem with this popular stereotype:
It’s not true!
The stereotype of “Lesbian recruiting” is rooted in radical feminist doctrine encouraging and even exalting the welcoming, but incorrect, notion that “any woman can be a Lesbian!”
Many straight feminists of that time, sick of men and the roles often perpetuated in straight relationships and in heterosexual-dominated culture, enthusiastically jumped onto the radfem bandwagon, called themselves “
lesbians” and proceeded to recruit others to their cause.
In other words, the “man-hating
lesbian recruiters” whose bandwagon laid the tracks in the road that led directly to the “recruit-a-het-and-win-a-toaster-oven” trope were NOT LESBIANS.
It apparently never occurred to these so-called “
radical” feminists that co-opting Lesbian lives/space was not truly radical; because the truly RADICAL option would have been to stand their ground as heterosexuals, in order to work to revolutionize their relationships with men and to ultimately change the sexist standards of society.
Instead of doing the hard work necessary to actually change heterosexual power dynamics and society’s expectations, these radfem Straightbians instead cowardly avoided the underlying issues by running away to Lesboville, appropriating actual Lesbian lives with astonishing Straight-privileged arrogance ever since.
So, next time you hear the old toaster-oven joke, remember that it is not, and never was, Lesbians who were doing the recruiting ~ it was Straightbians all along.
So Straightbians can take those toaster ovens and shove them up their…well, you know.