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UnStraightening Lesbian: Removing the Heterosexual Lens: Sheila Jeffreys

Note: This post is part of our ongoing UnSTRAIGHTening Lesbian series, and was originally posted here.

Next up in our unSTRAIGHTening Lesbian series is Radical (“political lesbian — AKA Het) Feminist Sheila Jeffreys.

Jeffreys was born/raised in England and later moved to Australia, taking up a professorship at the University of Melbourne. Jeffreys is known as much for her criticism of lesbians as she is for her criticism of Transgender ideology. Her friend and RadFem compatriot Julie Bindel said this of Sheila:

 Jeffreys’ introduction to feminist campaigning began in the early 70s when she joined a socialist feminist group (she was later thrown out for suggesting men were to blame for the oppression of women). Sandra McNeill, who met Jeffreys in that group, remembers her as “the Andrea Dworkin of the UK. She was, and still is, seen as an extreme, man-hating feminist”. Dworkin, as it happens, lived with a man, whom in 1998 she married.

Not Jeffreys. She became a lesbian in 1973 because she felt it contradictory to give “her most precious energies to a man” when she was thoroughly committed to a women’s revolution. Six years later, she went further and wrote, with others, a pamphlet entitled Love Your Enemy? The Debate Between Heterosexual Feminism And Political Lesbianism. In it, feminists who sleep with men are described as collaborating with the enemy. It caused a huge ruction in the women’s movement, and is still cited as an example of early separatists “going way too far”.

We do think,” it said, “that all feminists can and should be lesbians. Our definition of a political lesbian is a woman-identified woman who does not fuck men. It does not mean compulsory sexual activity with women.” Although many of the more radical feminists agreed, most went wild at being told they were “counter-revolutionary”.

These few quotes alone, are more than enough proof of Jeffreys’ innate Heterosexuality and her calculating Hetero=privileged co-option of Lesbian for her own selfish purposes, we really do not need to write anything further.

BUT due to Jeffreys making a long career out of Hetsplaining Lesbian and dressing/strapping actual Lesbians in STRAIGHTBIAN frocks, we are!

In the Spinster and her Enemies Jeffreys looks back on early male sexologists like Havelock Ellis to devise how/why early suffragettes/feminists were scared away from girl on girl relationships:

Interestingly, while Ellis fails to truly define real Lesbians (biological), he comes closer to understanding us than Jeffreys EVER has or will. That point aside, Jeffreys like Adrienne Rich or Radfems in general, Homophobically fear/ed being seen as real Lesbians (ugly/mannish per Het norms). Jeffreys/Radfems fears were/are so great as to stop them in their tracks (according to Jeffreys) from “BECOMING”lesbians!

Jeffreys continues, but extends her Homophobia by dragging in Radclyffe Hall’s novel, The Well of Loneliness. Jeffreys cannot see past her own Heterosexuality to realize that Radclyffe and her novel’s characters were also Heterosexuals PLAYING at their Hetero notions of Lesbian.

Jeffreys obsessive hatred of Butch/Femme shows itself through this passage. Jeffreys ignorantly attributes Hall’s warped STRAIGHTBIAN ideas about Butch/Femme as proof of her own STRAIGHTBIAN notions of Butch/Femme.

In a nutshell, the STRAIGHT leading the STRAIGHT about STRAIGHTS who are pretending to be Lesbian.

In Unpacking Queer Politics Jeffreys begins:

Like many RadFems, Jeffreys hatred of men isn’t limited to Het males, she equally despises Gay men and blames her Heterocentric ideas of “lesbian” masculinity/masculine worship for early “lesbian” transitions. One only has to read where Jeffreys got her information from (Halberstam/Devor etc.) to understand where Jeffreys fucked up. If you are going to write about Lesbians in ANY capacity, in order to obtain accurate information, you just might want to get your information from actual Lesbians and not STRAIGHTBIANS. (Duh).

Jeffreys continues her Homophobia by citing more Radfem garbage from one of the BIGGEST Homophobes and known STRAIGHTBIANS-Adrienne Rich!

Again, Jeffreys criticises lesbian role playing by citing the likes of mentally fucked up Heterosexual Women (STRAIGHTBIANS) like Joan Nestle/Sally Munt/Leslea Newman/Judith Halberstam. 

Jeffreys again uses faulty information from warped STRAIGHTBIANS. It is well known at this point that the inappropriately named “lesbian sex wars” were fought by hypersexual STRAIGHTBIANS on one side and prudish STRAIGHTBIANS (like Jeffreys) on the other… actual Lesbians were NEVER involved!

MOST interesting, though, is that Jeffreys (“lesbians who criticized“) admits to being turned on by what SHE calls dominance/submission/sado-society! Jeffreys merely convinces herself that she is better than the Califia’s and Nestle’s because she fights her NATURAL Hetero/sexual urges!

Sheila, honey, Lesbians don’t have urges to be fucked by men regardless of who’s on top!

Jeffreys then cites pro-pedophile STRAIGHTBIAN faghags Gayle Rubin and Pat Califia 
to cast more aspersions on Gay men leading poor little “lesbians” astray! Sorry, Sheila, you would have to be either a complete fucking idiot or STRAIGHT (or both) to know neither of these warped freaks are Lesbians.

Well, Sheila, you got one thing right in your Julia Penelope description(STRAIGHTBIAN), she is from the US!

From Lesbian Heresy Jeffreys continues her warped Homophobic diatribe of STRAIGHTBIAN ROLE PLAYING, or, as she INCORRECTLY deems it: “butch/femme“:

Yes, Sheila, Lesbians actually agree these STRAIGHTBIANS are sick motherfuckers, but what they are most certainly NOT are fucking LESBIANS!

Sheila just about gets it (close, but no cigar…pun intended): Yes, sexual abuse often informs warped Hetero/sexual role playing…among STRAIGHTBIANS!

Sheila fails over and over and OVER to understand the obvious fact that these women are not Lesbians, but, rather, they are Heterosexuals who are role-playing “lesbian“… JUST LIKE SHEILA HERSELF!

Sheila, Carolyn Stack? Really??? Straight therapist giving advice to STRAIGHTBIAN couples about STRAIGHTBIAN sex/lack thereof has fuck all to do with Lesbians again, how???

Sheila, Sheila, Sheila. You’re striking out yet again!  Margaret Nicholls and Joann Loulan might be therapists, they are certainly not Lesbians!

Despite having much to say about Homosexuals, Jeffreys fails miserably to write with any accuracy about Lesbians, Gay men,  or Homosexuality period and the same is true of much her ideas on Transgenders:

Statement From Dirt: “Sorry, Shelia, as a Butch Lesbian who has spent more than a decade documenting female transition (Who is Transitioning), I have yet to find a single Butch Lesbian who has transitioned. While I’m sure there might be some, they are VERY. VERY rare. You, Sheila, again confuse sexually abused STRAIGHTBIANS playing at being male who transition, NOT Lesbian and most certainly NOT Butch!”

“Identified” being the operative word, Sheila! They weren’t “proud lesbians, Sheila….they weren’t Lesbians at all, hence “identifying as gay men” early in their transition. You might want to familiarize yourself with cross-sex hormones and their effects on Hetero/Homo brains.

Holly Devor, Sheila, is a Heterosexual female who transitioned…NOT a Lesbian and therefore NOT a reliable source for Lesbian accuracy!

Because Sheila has no actual knowledge of real Lesbians, she likes to recycle STRAIGHTBIANS who she incorrectly believes are fucked-up sicko Lesbians in effort to give heft to her hatred of STRAIGHTBIANS who are not like her/other Radfems.

Sheila fails to make the simple connection that “CHOOSING to be a lesbian” and “CHOOSING to be a femme” amount to the very same thing:  TOTAL BULLSHIT!

Sheila, clearly Sally here isn’t even a fucking Dyke, yet here you are wholeheartedly taking her word as “Butch Lesbian” truth. Why? Because she states what YOU want to hear! That’s not very good investigative writing ,Sheila, and it’s certainly not “academic research”: any fucking 3rd grader could do a better job!

Heather Findlay isn’t a Lesbian Sheila, therefore, she cannot be a Femme Lesbian! Those responsible for male and female transitions are Homophobes (like you, Sheila) and ALL the Radical Feminists who backed pedophiles like John Money simply because you IGNORANTLY dreamed/hoped gender was/is a mere construct, despite clear evidence to the contrary! Instead of tackling sex-based inequalities head on, Radical Feminists passively blamed gender for all Heterosexual female ills! The plague of Identity Politics jump-roped through the gender loophole left by Radical Feminists.

Sheila Jeffreys, being a STRAIGHTBIAN herself, willfully took at face value the word of all STRAIGHTBIANS, without a care as to how these Lesbian inaccuracies affected actual Lesbians, then or now. Sheila and her ilk succeeded in helping de-sex “gender“, which has led us to where we are today.

Bottom line: It is neither radical nor feminist to hijack “lesbian” for your own selfish gain.

Dirt and Mrs. Dirt 

“Not Femme Enough”…?

This is a post I have been slowly working on, a little at a time, because I am finding it quite difficult to process and articulate this topic; also, recently, I have been focused on my beloved sick cat, Ari, so it’s been hard to focus more than a few minutes on anything else.

Before I start trying to explain today’s topic, I wanted to mention that I’ve written before about being a Femme Lesbian, and this post will continue with that topic.

If you are interested in reading those previous posts, which are directly related to this post and which provide some important background to this post, here are the links:

Deciphering Butch/Femme

Femme: Defining Ourselves

Femme: Fact Versus Fiction

Do Femmes Wear Lipstick?

For additional related information, please also refer to Hekate’s blog, Genuine Femme, which addresses similar topics.

Today’s post is about the rampant misconceptions and outright lies about Femmes, and how these misconceptions and lies are prevalent, even within the Lesbian community.

There is a huge gap between what people THINK Femmes are versus what we ACTUALLY are.

Many people incorrectly THINK Femme Lesbians:

  • are hyperfeminine;
  • are obsessed with makeup, clothes, hair, shoes, etc.
  • are overtly seductive and hypersexual
  • are helpless, dependent, clingy, needy, etc.
  • are dumb, flighty, stupid, etc.
  • are Stepford Wives
  • are uninformed, unfeminist, old-fashioned, etc.
  • are “mimicking heterosexuality”
  • are an “identity” that can be chosen by anybody
  • are “performing gender”
  • are “really Straightbians
  • are subservient to Butches
stilettos

Shoes People THINK I Wear: Image: Pixabay: Pexels: CC0

These stereotypes have been perpetuated by a huge number of sources, including, but not limited to, so-called Lesbian experts” who are neither Lesbian nor expert, by purported Femmes who are actually Straightbians, by allegedly  Lesbian magazines/media/blogs/etc. which are decidedly NOT Lesbian, and by websites/forums which falsely proclaim to be for Butch/Femme Lesbians, but instead are just hideous mockeries, chock-full of Straightbians mingling with a few lonely, confused dykes.

Here is the truth about Femme Lesbians ~ we are:

  • REAL LESBIANS;
  • Born this way;
  • Equal partners in our relationships;
  • Independent, capable, strong, practical, etc.;
  • Typically outspoken;
  • Just being ourselves (Meaning: We are NOT mimicking heterosexuality, NOT performing gender, NOT playacting, etc.);
  • NOT obsessed with looks, makeup, hair, nails, clothes, shoes, etc.;
  • Dress appropriately for the task; function is important;
  • Can/do dress up if/when we choose to, but we don’t feel the need to impress the guy bagging our groceries;
  • NOT an “identity” which can just be adopted by anyone; because you either ARE a Femme Lesbian OR you are NOT…period.
Converse

Shoes I ACTUALLY Wear: Image: Pixabay: Wokandapix: CC0

So, you would assume that most actual Lesbians would be free of such misinformed assumptions, but sadly, this is rarely the case.

This widespread ignorance, even within the Lesbian community, results in real Femmes often feeling invisible. Sometimes, this invisibility presents itself in the form of being rejected and/or unrecognized by other Lesbians. At other times, paradoxically, this invisibility presents itself as being thought of as “not Femme enough” to some dykes who have issues of their own which leads them to partner with Straightbians.

Please see Dirt’s companion post, here, about some of the possible issues dykes might have which would lead them to partner with Straightbians. I won’t be covering that in this post.

Instead, I wanted to address the issue of my being perceived as “not Femme enough” by some dykes.

This phenomenon has happened to me, although I didn’t fully understand it until recently.

For instance, I was told repeatedly by 2 previous Butch partners that I was “too athletic”, and I was encouraged incessantly by both of them to dress more provocatively and to wear more makeup, etc.

I didn’t EVER stop working out, nor did I change my appearance/clothes (because I am a particularly stubborn person, LOL!), but I will admit that such comments did bother me and make me feel criticized and unwanted.

Interestingly, although not surprisingly, both of these Butches had only dated Straightbians before me, and both went back to dating Straightbians after we broke up.

In other words, both of them were comparing me to Straightbians, and found me lacking in the hyper-femininity department.

Both of them wanted another kind of woman (a Straightbian!) who would meet the male fantasy of a sexy, seductive woman, and that is so NOT me.

Another instance in which this scenario has affected me is when someone Dirt and I know online (from our blogs or Twitter or Facebook) wants to meet us in person. I always worry about what people’s reactions will be when I don’t meet their incorrect Straightbian/sexy/seductive/MALE-fantasy notions of what a Femme “should” be.

Often, it feels that people are expecting me to show up looking/dressed like I plan to be on the cover of Vogue, but when they meet me, I am always dressed as I normally do (which certainly does NOT include high heels, skimpy dresses, or plunging necklines).

It is impossible not to feel that such people are somehow disappointed with me for not being the femme fatale of their imagination.

When I was younger, I was both puzzled and hurt by such situations. Now that I am older (and hopefully at least a little bit wiser), I finally realize that I am fine as I am; heck, I always was. I am proud to be a dyke. If anyone has the nerve to feel like I am doing it wrong, she is the one with the problem, not me.

Lesbians Are Not Mimicking Heterosexuals, Nor Do We Want To. (Duh!)

When hetsplaining Lesbian, one frequent mistake that heterosexual people make is assuming that Lesbian relationships are mimicry of straight relationships, along with the incorrect assumption that Lesbians seek to emulate straight people.

One particularly odious and completely ridiculous trope is that Butch Lesbians have “eschewed femininity” and that they are “trying to be men“, and that Femme Lesbians are playing the “straight woman” in our relationships.

No. Just NO.

It’s way past time for all of the straight people who think/say such things to remove their head from their own egocentric butts.

It is even more bizarre and distressing when such utter nonsense emerges from (alleged) “feminist allies“.

 Let’s take a look at just a couple of the multiple lesbophobic comments from these faux “feminist allies” about Dirt, and I hope that these examples will expose what they REALLY think about Lesbians and our relationships ~ underneath their FAKE, chipper “Oh, I totally support Lesbians!” rhetoric: 

IMG_1193

Please recall that Harpy is the very same individual who came up with this gem to explain our Lesbian relationship: 

Harpy

Let’s examine exactly what these self-proclaimed “feminist allies” TRULY think/feel about Lesbians underneath their bullshit “support“:

  • They are condescending, rude, hateful, and/or vicious toward us.
  • They clearly don’t understand Lesbians nor our relationships.
  • They don’t TRY to understand Lesbians nor our relationships.
  • They see Lesbians as simplistic heterosexual mimickers/wannabes.
  • They see Lesbian relationships as imitations of straight relationships.
  • They see Butch Lesbians as intentionally/willfully “non-conforming to gender norms”.
  • They think Butch Lesbians are imitating men and that they want to be men.
  • They think Femme Lesbians are imitating straight women/relationships.
  • They think Femme Lesbians are stupid, shallow, vacuous, vain, and dependent. (Which is quite an interesting perception, since they think we are imitating THEM. THINK ABOUT IT.).
  • They think that heterosexual relationships are higher status than Lesbian relationships. (For instance, in other tweets, they talked about our relationship with “marriage” and “wife” in quotation marks!).
  • They think that Dirt’s parents would/should be upset with the fact she is Butch, which shows their own underlying shocking lesbophobia.
  • They think that we are Lesbians because we are damaged in some way (“Would be intriguing to hear about her parents” is just one example).
  • They think Lesbians are simply play-acting; that our entire lives are a flimsy choice to mysteriously try to emulate heterosexuality….which doesn’t even make any sense, but apparently logic is optional for these cretins.
  • They see Lesbians only through their own narrow heterocentric lens…which is to say: they don’t really see US at all, nor do they care to.

I could go on and on, but I think that is the general summation of the falsehoods that these false allies TRULY believe about us when you scratch underneath the shiny surface of their “help“.

Once again for the slow learners: Lesbians are NOT “mimicking straight relationships” nor are we “trying to be men” (nor any other obnoxious variation of these lies). WE ARE LESBIANS. Lesbian lives/relationships are IN NO WAY related to these outlandish claims. 

These same individuals will tweet all day about how transgender individuals are allegedly trying to coerce Lesbians into sleeping with them (yada yada yada) ~ and some uniformed brown-nosers therefore mistakenly think that means that these mean-spirited twisted sisters support Lesbians:

Rya

Attention Lesbians: These faux feminists and their fawning fans are not allies to Lesbians, and they are most certainly not our friends. Furthermore, Lesbians don’t want, nor need, their so-called “help“. These people are not only NOT helping Lesbians, but they are a HUGE part of the problem themselves, by continuing to believe and to spew hateful lies and/or ignorant misconceptions about Lesbians.

With every hateful and/or ignorant tweet, these people are showing their true lesbophobic colors.

So: Keep it up, harpies & sycophants, because I WANT Lesbians to see the truth, and these folks are proving what Dirt and I are saying with every venomous word.  

The Sadly Predictable Stages of Hetsplaining

Note: Please also see Dirt’s post on the same topic: Lesbians: SEEING the Forest because we are Not Trees

Dirt and I have been attacked on Twitter by hetsplaining straight “feminists so many times now, I have discerned a predictable pattern of behavior which delineates the stages of hetsplaining:

Butt in to a conversation uninvited;

Attack viciously; twist everything being said beyond all recognition; falsely claim we are misogynists, racists, etc.; even sometimes stooping low enough to insult us personally by attacking our appearance, our relationship, etc.;

Rage all out of proportion to the situation; using all emotion with no logic whatsoever;

Block us so we can’t see what they are saying;

Incite others to attack;

Enlist others to continue the drama;

Subtweet about us, knowing we cannot see what is being said to defend ourselves (which is quite cowardly).

(Rinse and repeat ad nauseum with each new wave of straight “feminists” who pick up the gauntlet).

You can remember this sadly predictable pattern of hetsplaining by using the acronym BARBIES. The most recent brouhaha involved a Barbie harpy (see below).

And for just ONE example of how these hetsplaining harpies treat Lesbians who don’t kowtow to their straight-privileged BS, here’s just one of many insulting tweets Dirt and I have been subjected to for simply stating our opinion:

Harpy

And people wonder why I say that Lesbians are on our own…but, seriously, with “feminist allies” like this, who needs enemies?

Lesbians and Emotional Cheating: A “Dear Lesbian” Question

I recently received a “Dear Lesbian” request via my Contact Form to write on the topic of emotional cheating and Lesbian couples. This link to an article entitled “Emotional Cheating And Lesbian Couples: Why It’s An Issue” was included as an overview of the topic.

This is an excellent question, and I appreciate that the reader took the time to ask me to write about it.

First, let’s define “emotional cheating”. Although there are many ways to define it and the definition is certainly open to interpretation (as it is certainly subjective to the people involved), I would define “emotional cheating” as when a friendship between one member of a couple and an outside person crosses an invisible but tangible boundary and veers sharply into the area of inappropriateness.

Some examples of one member of a couple veering into inappropriateness with an outside person include, but are not limited to:

  • Flirting (Note: I don’t mean simply being friendly/fun and having a good time…I mean actually flirting in a way that is romantic/sexual, as if you are single and available);
  • Fantasizing about kissing/contact/sex or fantasizing a relationship with the outside person;
  • Being secretive by not telling your partner about your contact with the outside person (for instance: meeting for lunch secretly; sending private text messages without your partner’s knowledge; etc.);
  • Telling the outside person intimate details of your relationship with your partner that you know damn well your partner would be embarrassed/upset about (for instance: complaining about your sex life, or lack thereof, with the subtext of “I’m  on a bit of fishing expedition here to see if you will bite”);
  • Telling the outside person significant things that you should be telling your partner (for instance: telling the outside person that you are unhappy in your relationship; or telling the outside person something significant that you haven’t told your partner like you lost your job 3 weeks ago; etc.).

Please note that I am not saying that you shouldn’t have an outside friend who you can confide in.

What I am saying is: When your behavior/thoughts veer into untrustworthiness, nefariousness, secrecy, affair-fantasies, flirtatiousness, and/or evasiveness, you have crossed the line into unsafe territory. (Get it?) 

I think we all know the difference between being close to and confiding in a trusted platonic friend versus the slippery slope of emotional infidelity.

The article which was sent to me as an overview of the topic states that emotional cheating “happens all too often in lesbian relationships“.

I have no doubt that it does happen all too often in Lesbian relationships. However, I believe that it happens all too often in ALL kinds of relationships, not just Lesbian relationships. I truly don’t believe Lesbians are uniquely at-risk for emotional cheating, although I admit that the nuances can sometimes be trickier for Lesbians than it is for heterosexuals.  (Probably the same is true of gay men too, but I cannot speak for them).

First of all, the situation is trickier for Lesbians because…well…we’re all Lesbians.

With heterosexual couples, it would not typically be kosher for a husband of one couple to call the wife of another couple and invite her out to lunch without the other spouses present. It’s a clear boundary that is typically not crossed.

But when everybody in both couples are Lesbians, how would anyone know when things are awry?

So let’s say Lesbian Couple A (let’s call them Xena and Gabrielle) meets Lesbian Couple B (let’s call them Idgie and Ruth) and they all hit it off. Next thing you know, these 2 couples are drinking beer and eating chicken wings every Saturday night at The Watering Hole on Main Street, USA. All is a-okay, so far.

But then let’s say one day Xena calls Ruth and invites her for lunch without their partners.

Hmmmm. As a Lesbian, I must say this would strike me as amiss.

But would it strike me amiss if Xena had called Idgie and asked her to go to the gym or to go play tennis?

No, it wouldn’t.

Why?

It is difficult to explain, because it is at least partly Lesbian intuition, rather than concrete evidence, that is guiding that gut-level feeling that something is “off”.

Additionally, this topic is difficult to explain to heterosexuals because heterosexuals basically seem to think that any 2 random women could suddenly start making out and POOF!, they are suddenly in a “Lesbian relationship“. (Nope, it’s not a “Lesbian relationship” unless actual Lesbians are in the relationship).

My point is, heterosexuals don’t seem to understand that Lesbians aren’t attracted to just any female….instead, we, like everybody else, have our own tastes/preferences for partners. Lesbians aren’t simply interchangeable with each other like one-size-fits-all Legos; we’re not all going to be attracted to the same people. Like straight people, Lesbians tend to have a general “type” of person we are attracted to.

So, when 2 Lesbian couples meet, if they have a significant amount of things in common with each other, it’s often (not always, of course, but often) likely that the other couple will be similar to the original couple in their basic “types” (examples: Butch/Femme, softball dykes, golf dykes, Lipstick Lesbians…etc.).

This is most certainly NOT to say that this means that there will automatically be attraction with someone who falls within our general “type” though. Just like how all straight females are NOT attracted to all straight males, Lesbians are NOT attracted to all other Lesbians…not even all of those who are our general “type”.

My point being that if, in our hypothetical example, Gabrielle is Xena’s “type”, then it’s likely that Ruth would be Xena’s general “type” too. And if Xena is Gabrielle’s “type”, then it’s likely that Idgie would be Gabrielle’s general “type” too.

So crossover friendships between two Lesbians who find the other person in the friendship to be their “type” are potentially fraught with difficulty.

Does this mean, to use another example, that a Butch cannot be platonic friends with a Femme (or vice versa)?

No, it doesn’t mean that at all. I truly believe that mature adults can indeed be platonic friends and leave it at that. But it does mean that the Butch and the Femme involved in the friendship and their partners need to be fully informed and fully aware at all times. No sneaking, no secret messages, no flirtation, no coyness, no lying…basically, no bullshit at all.

Let’s give another hypothetical example. Let’s say Dirt and I met another Butch/Femme couple and started hanging out with them every weekend. (This scenario is highly unlikely, due to the rarity of Butch/Femme making it very unlikely that we would meet a local couple, plus the fact that Dirt and I are both extreme introverts, so we aren’t ever going to see ANYBODY all the time…but hey, it’s just a pretend example anyway, so let’s just go with it).

In our hypothetical example, it would be considered highly irregular for the Femme of the couple to start emailing/texting Dirt privately and/or for them to meet for lunch or coffee without me and the Butch in the other couple present. It would be a major warning sign…not just because of the secrecy involved, although that would be a big tip-off, but also because they would be each other’s “type” so it would be atypical to cross over like that.

Similarly, if the Butch suddenly started calling me privately to talk about personal things behind the backs of Dirt and her Femme partner, it would be a big warning sign.

Does that mean that they could never call/text or see us separately? No, of course not! There are plenty of reasons such contact might happen (for example, contact might be made with one partner instead of the other due to simple convenience, like if one person is more reachable than the other; getting advice about a birthday present or surprise party;  needing specific advice on a topic that one partner knows more about; etc.).

It does mean, however, that if the situation continued to occur all the time (beyond casual contact), escalated, and/or showed any of the warning signs above, it would be certainly be a problem.

Bottom line: If you feel yourself starting to keep things from your partner and start turning toward someone else instead of your partner, it’s time to stop and seriously consider what exactly is going on before proceeding any further.  Deep down, under layers of rationalizations and denial, you know if you are romantically/sexually attracted to someone. And if you are attracted to someone, you need to admit it to yourself. You owe it to yourself and to your partner to be the kind of person who does the right thing. Be that person.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This blog is NOT intended to be professional advice, nor to substitute for the advice of a licensed professional. The reader should consult with an appropriate professional regarding all mental health needs.

Do Femmes Wear Lipstick?

Since I published “Femmes: Facts Versus Fiction” just yesterday, I have received several comments/emails along the lines of:

“But I wear lipstick”

“But my Butch pumps my gas for me”

“But I like kitten heels!”

“Maybe you’re not a Femme yourself”

etc.

Just to clarify, I didn’t say/mean that Femmes NEVER wear lipstick/makeup or get dressed up ~ the answer is: we may or may not, depending on the setting/situation and personal preference. I wear lipstick myself sometimes, particularly to work.

Regarding duties, etc., what I actually said/meant was:

Fact

The point is: Femmes are NOT “performing gender”. We aren’t play-acting or mimicking straight women. We aren’t primping and preening incessantly. We are more practical than that. While we may choose to “dress up” if the occasion calls for it and if we feel like it, we don’t feel the need to constantly prance around the world like a runway model. We wouldn’t put vanity over safety.

Here’s an example: Years ago, I took a Lesbo cruise to Alaska, and went on a group hike one day. It was over (fairly) rough terrain…in other words, it wasn’t a simple stroll on a neat concrete path. Everyone, including me, wore hiking boots, as allegedly required by the hiking guide…except for one purported “femme” Straightbian who wore…get ready for it…KITTEN HEELS (and a miniskirt)! Yes, it’s unbelievable, but…there she was. If I’d been the guide, I would have refused to take her, but it was not my call. So, this beautiful but helpless creature tottered dangerously throughout the hike, needing constant assistance. Even her girlfriend looked annoyed. I never saw Ms. Kitten Heels again, but I would bet anything that she MARRIED A MAN and is likely driving a soccer-mom van.

Also: Of course, there’s nothing wrong with dividing duties with your partner in whatever way it works best for both of you. So, there may be some instances where one partner primarily pumps the gas or one partner primarily does the grocery shopping (or whatever).

But what I was trying to say is that many people incorrectly think that Butch/Femme couples divide up the duties based on the perceived “Butchness” or “Femmeness” of the duty itself, and that perception is simply not true. For example, Dirt does most of the cooking, and I do most of the bill-paying. I drive an old truck and Dirt drives a car. I would be willing to bet that most people would not guess those things.

The main point that I was trying to make is that Femmes are NOT helpless, hapless, frilly, little goofballs who are dependent on a Butch or anyone else to help/save/rescue us. Femmes are Lesbians, and we function as Lesbians. We know how to take care of ourselves, and we have been fending off wannabe male suitors successfully ever since…well, forever.

Our relationships with our Butch partners are straightforward and equal. There is no straight-wannabe playacting nor any false dichotomy of “the strong one” and “the weak one”. We are both strong. We are both Lesbians.

Femme: Facts Versus Fiction

I have written before about being a Femme Lesbian, here and here.  But there is so much misinformation about us, the topic deserves much more attention.

This handy-dandy little guide is intended to be a start to separating the facts about being a Femme from the numerous fictional assumptions about us.

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Fiction: “Femme is an ‘identity’ that can be adopted by anyone who chooses it (Straightbians, males, any mid-range dyke who wears lipstick occasionally….whoever); Femmes are attracted to and partner with anyone (other Femmes, random dykes, men….whoever).”

Fact: Femmes are Lesbians who are oriented to and partner with Butch Lesbians. Femme is not an “identity” that can be simply chosen by anyone; you either are a Femme, or you are not. (Ditto re: Lesbian).

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Fiction: “Femme is a ‘performance of gender’; a cartoonish mockery of every femme fatale in every second rate movie since the beginning of time.”

femmefatale

Femme Fatale: Pixabay/darksouls1: CC0 Public Domain

Fact: Femmes are simply being ourselves…we were born this way. We are not “performing” gender (nor anything else, for that matter). We are not actresses in the play of life, and it’s offensive when people assume who we are is an act.

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Fiction: “Femmes and Butches are mimicking heterosexuality.”

Fact: We are not mimicking anything. We are being ourselves…who we are born as. Again, who we are is not an “act” or a “performance”. We aren’t heterosexual, we aren’t mimicking heterosexuality, and we don’t want to mimic heterosexuality.  There is nothing straight about us; Butches and Femmes are 100 percent Lesbian. Thank goodness.

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Fiction: “Femmes are fluffy-headed sexy helpless dependent little minxes who wouldn’t be seen in public without full makeup & dress/heels/etc.; Femmes depend on their Butch to take care of them.”

Fact: Real femmes are strong, outspoken, independent, and equal in our relationships our Butch partners. We are capable of “cleaning up nicely” if an occasion calls for it; but we dress practically on an everyday basis, and we dress appropriately for an activity.  We don’t wear stilettos to Walmart. We don’t wear kitten heels to hike the Alaskan wilderness. Unless there is some sort of physical limitation that would preclude us from doing so, Femmes can, and do, pump our own gas, carry our own groceries, open our own jars, pay our own bills, and competently handle the dude at the 7-Eleven who asks for a date.

Heads-Up: If you ever see an alleged “Femme” mincing around in high heels, donning makeup constantly, giggling helplessly, afraid to break a nail, while her Dyke partner does everything for her in a “manly”, swaggering sort of way, rest assured that you are witnessing a Dyke/Straightbian partnership…NOT a Butch/Femme one.

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Fiction: “Femmes are really straight women who have ‘chosen to be a Lesbian’.”

Fact: There is no such thing as “choosing to be a Lesbian”. You either are one, or you are not. Same thing with being Femme. Femmes are Lesbians who are born Femme Lesbians. Period. There’s nothing straight about us. Don’t confuse Femmes with Straightbians.

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This post is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all of the fictional assumptions about Femmes, but rather, it’s just a basic starting point to address a few of the main incorrect beliefs.

Please also refer to Hekate’s blog, Genuine Femme, which addresses similar topics.

If you can think of more blatant falsehoods, or if you ever have any questions about Femmes, Butches, Butch/Femme relationships, or Lesbians in general, as always, please feel free to comment on any post or email me at sayebennett@gmail.com. More on this topic later…