Tag Archive | Lesbian Invisibility

“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
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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.

Everyday Lesbophobia and How It Harms Lesbians Every Day

As anyone who reads my blog and/or follows me on Twitter already knows that I have been angry lately. Very angry. Heck, let’s just be honest here, I am still angry now.

I am angry at all of the Lesbophobia I see everywhere online and in real life, both overt and covert. I am angry at false allies, faux “feminists“, Straightbians, and hetsplainers.

I am angry that nobody but a handful of fellow Lesbians seems to even notice, or care, that Lesbians are being thrown under the proverbial bus left and right.

As of this morning, I became aware of another feeling existing along with the anger:

Sadness.

Sadness is a much less comfortable feeling for me than anger. With anger, I feel “in control”, powerful. With sadness, I feel helpless.

As much as I don’t want to feel sadness, darn it…there it is.

It turns out, underlying my anger and defiance, there is something else lurking much deeper which I am not even fully consciously aware of yet myself. Something that I cannot fully articulate yet; something that I am just now beginning to see the fuzzy outline of through a thick fog of anger.

For some time now, I have been gradually coming to an uneasy realization of the increasingly obvious fact that Lesbians are ultimately on our own. I have been very resistant to this knowledge, because I don’t want to believe it.

I have about a zillion screencaps which would starkly illustrate my points about false allies, faux “feminists“, Straightbians, and hetsplainers and the lesbophobia they perpetuate.

But I won’t post those screencaps in this post, because this post is not about proving my point…interestingly and ironically, their own comments prove the very points Dirt and I are making.

Anybody who wants to see specific examples of truly appalling anti-Lesbian sentiments can peruse my Twitter timeline/replies (and the subtweets about myself, Dirt, and other Lesbians) to see the hatred, nastiness, pettiness, and sheer meanness directed at me, Dirt, other specific Lesbians, and/or Lesbians in general.

Instead, this post is about the direct and indirect toll of such lesbophobia on Lesbian lives.

Here is just a small sample of the many possible ways that anti-Lesbian actions/comments take on Lesbians, every second of every minute of every hour of every day FOR OUR WHOLE LIVES:

  • Feeling alone;
  • Feeling misunderstood;
  • Feeling attacked;
  • Feeling sickened, physically and/or emotionally;
  • Feeling chronically angry;
  • Feeling the need to constantly defend ourselves, our partners, and other Lesbians;
  • Feeling hesitant to speak up because it means facing a whole crowd of opponents;
  • Feeling invalidated;
  • Feeling invisible;
  • Feeling anxious;
  • Feeling outnumbered;
  • Feeling different;
  • Feeling hypervigilant;
  • Feeling exhausted from all of the ongoing effort;
  • Feeling a new wave of disappointment every single time someone else lets us down;
  • Feeling offended/invalidated when outsiders tell us to “be nice” or when they try to make us mediate/get along with Lesbian-hating bigots (think about it: would they ask Black people to be nice to the KKK, or Jewish people to be nice to Hitler???!!!);
  • And last on this partial list, but certainly not least: Feeling sad.

I have decided that it’s okay to feel sad today. It’s okay for myself and other Lesbians to feel any/all of the things listed above…and more…because ALL of those feelings are COMPLETELY NORMAL REACTIONS to living in a world in which the BEST case scenario is that we will never be fully understood/accepted and in which the WORST case scenario is that we are murdered, raped, beaten, fired, denied housing/employment/etc., and/or otherwise harmed for simply being who we are.

And my message to all of the false allies, faux “feminists“, Straightbians, and hetsplainers (and to all of the simpering sidekicks) who are harming Lesbians with your copious bullshit: Karma is a bitch and she sees what you are doing.

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Image: Used under license with Shutterstock.

“Dirt Is A Failed Transman”: The Urban Myth

I have written before, here, about how the urban myth that Dirt is a “failed transman” persists like a demented zombie in a low-budget horror film.

What I didn’t fully address, though, is WHY this myth is so prevalent.  I did mention that the people perpetrating this falsehood are so trapped in their own gender-straitjacketed notions that they simply cannot conceptualize the fact that Dirt is a LESBIAN, nor do they understand that Lesbian is NORMAL, but I didn’t elaborate further on the underlying causes of this tedious rumor.

But the exact WHY is crucial, and needs to be addressed directly.

Therefore, Dirt did her own post on this topic (link here).

I have also copied and pasted her post below, because I strongly feel that it is important to address the root of this prevalent lie.

So, without further ado, here is Dirt’s response, in her own words:

As not simply someone who has written about Lesbians and transition for more than a decade, BUT as a Lesbian writing about Lesbians and transition, to assuage transgender fears and prejudices, in transgender circles the world over it has become urban myth that I myself have “tried to transition” but sadly “failed“. I’m not quite sure how one would fail, apparently the myth making never got beyond fail, but there you have it. “Dirt is a failed transman.”

A little something about myths:

As there is ZERO facts/truths to me having transitioned/detransitioned/tried transitioning/tried and failed transition, what would be the analogy which motivates these falsehoods? Outside of the zillions of petty little self soothing needs/motivations that spring from the individual, there are two prime reasons for the Dirt is a Failed Transman Myth:

  1. Lesbian has been removed from Lesbians.
  2. If Lesbians don’t exist beyond RadFem anyonecanchoosetobealesbian warped ideology and gender nonconforming confirms transgender origins, then normal Lesbians MUST surely be Trans, even if we fail at it.
Myth doesn’t hide things, it distorts them.”

Prior to Transgender ideology being commonplace, Lesbians like myself were often viewed/called and bashed with phases like mannish lesbians, lesbians who want to be men, lesbians who really are men, lesbians who act like men, masculine lesbians to list a few. Insults all couched in the swaddling cozy comfort of Heterosexuality.

But also prior to Trans Trending, even prior to the DSM III, Gays and Lesbians found comfort in finding other Gays and Lesbians. We didnt feel threatened by other Gays and Lesbians, instead for many of us we felt for the first time what it felt like to BE normal! To KNOW we were normal. NORMAL Homosexuals! NOT freaks of nature! NOT sick mother fuckers who shall burn in hell! NOT Gender Non Conforming! And most certainly NOT Transgender!

How do myths get created?

Between un-signifying Lesbian and inventing signifiers for Transgender from the ashes of Lesbian, Transgender has suddenly ALWAYS existed in human history. So much so, the once Lesbian tropes used by Lesbians (and Gays) as both survival instincts and mating instincts alike, are being used to back label historical Gays and Lesbians as Transgenders of history!

In my case, Heterocentric qualifiers/traits like mannish looking, acts like a man, masculine, handsome (rather than cute or beautiful), wears mens clothes, keeps a short or cropped hair cut, passes as a man etc, with Lesbian removed from history and with me being qualified as man/nish BUT also being a biological female—queers special snowflakes/Transgenders of both sexes/Trans cohorts and allies of both sexes conclude that I’m a transgender who failed at transitioning because I remain calling myself by my sex (female)/and my sex’s proper (she/her) pronouns. And from thence, myth!

I’m not a failed transman because I am, I’m a failed transman because some people need me to be.

dirt

Lesbian Lives Matter

The following are just a small sample of recent responses to Dirt’s and my Lesbian pride-type and Straightbian-type tweets/comments/posts:

  • “I don’t see the need to label myself/anybody.”
  • “We’re all just people.”
  • “Surely ALL lives matter…”
  • “I’m just me; I don’t label myself as a Lesbian and don’t think you should limit/label yourself either.”
  • “People are more alike than different.”
  • “Views like this just cause further divide…”
  • “I’m very similar to many of my straight friends; why label myself?”
  • “I don’t feel the need to constantly define myself as a lesbian because I would still be the same person regardless of my sexuality.”
  • “Labels hurt people.”
  • “Why does who I’m attracted to have to make me ‘different’?”
  • “We should all move forward together. Not back into the dark ages of in-fighting” (in reference to in-fighting within the so-called LGBT++++ community)
  • “I’m just me. I’m more than my sexual orientation.”
  • “The only difference between me and my neighbor is I sleep next to a woman…”
  • “Sexuality is fluid; people can’t/shouldn’t be labelled.”
  • “I don’t want to label myself…I’m human.”

There are many, many more examples, but I think you get the idea.

There’s just one problem with this line of thinking: It’s utterly ridiculous.

ReadySetNo

Image: PicsArt #FreeToEdit

Well, technically, maybe it’s not completely wrong. After all, it is not wrong in the sense that we all are indeed human; because (of course…well, um…duh!!) we are. That fact has never been in question. Lesbians, like everybody else, have much in common with our fellow humans: we eat, we work, we try to stay healthy, we have friends and family and furry companions we care deeply about, we feel love and loss and hope and fear and every other emotion known to humankind, and we are mortal; just to name a few universally human traits.

Instead, what I mean is that this line of thinking is wrong (and ridiculous) in the sense of any attempt to lump all humans together into one huge amorphous blob is not only incorrect, it is damaging to everyone, including Lesbians.

And since Lesbians are my only focus, this post will cover how this “Surely All Lives Matter — We Are All One — We Are Just Like Everyone Else (Etc.)” mentality harms us specifically.

This pathetic attempt at forced assimilation denies our Lesbian uniqueness, encourages us to deny our own true nature in order to attempt to “blend in” with society, and further contributes to Lesbian invisibility.

Saying “but surely ALL lives matter” when Dirt and I are specifically trying to stand up for Lesbian rights and attempting to address uniquely Lesbian issues is just as offensive to Lesbians as tweeting #AllLivesMatter is to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Sure, it’s true that all lives do matter, but by saying that in response to our specific points/concerns regarding Lesbian lives, is a transparent way to minimize and deny what we are saying. It is a way to try to shut us up. It is a way to attempt to make us feel guilty for prioritizing Lesbian needs before anyone else’s.  It’s a way of saying “Lesbians Be NICE!

Whenever any group expresses concerns which are specific to them, it is both obnoxious and dismissive to immediately jump to a “but all lives matter/we’re all just alike” attitude.

It is especially offensive when people are replying “But ALL Lives Matter!” in regard to Straightbians. Straightbians have a long history of messing up Lesbian lives, in a myriad of ways ranging from breaking our hearts to spreading misinformation about us to even encouraging us to transition, and they continue to do so every single day.

Dirt and I are not advocating for harm or denial of rights to anyone, including Straightbians, but we sure as heck aren’t going to put Lesbian lives on the back burner in order to kiss Straightbian butt either. (That’s already being done by almost everyone else). Plus, Straightbians already have straight privilege, and they wield it like the weapon it is against Lesbians all the time. So they are on their own, they are not our circus.

Here’s the thing: Lesbians are different. We are still persecuted for this fact, each and every day. Anyone who is a Lesbian, or even anyone who knows Lesbians well, knows this fact, and those who are denying it are clearly not Lesbians or allies themselves.

Stop denying Lesbian existence. Stop minimizing our valid concerns. Stop trying to shut us up. Stop trying to force us to assimilate. Just…stop.

Lesbians Do Not Want Men (This Is Not Rocket Science, People!) 

Several people have sent me the link to an extremely odious Huffington Post Queer article entitled “I Came Out As A Lesbian – But Then I Fell In Love With A Man“. Thanks for the heads-up!

First of all, the fact that the publisher of the article has “Queer” in their title tells us everything we need to know.

Lesbian is NOT queer, and queer is NOT Lesbian.

Queer usually equals “special snowflake straight”.

Moving on to the article itself, there is no need to even analyze it, because the title itself is a huge spoiler:

The author clearly never was a Lesbian…instead, she just called herself one, and obviously continues to falsely use “Lesbian” as her own personal badge of blinding specialness.

News flash, cupcake: You are a garden variety het. And you always were.

And there is nothing wrong with being a het…as long as you don’t appropriate Lesbian lives with your bullshit.

I find myself repeating the same fact over and over and OVER, because of the ongoing efforts to overtake and queerify Lesbian, and I will continue to do so because it obviously needs to be said:

LESBIANS DO NOT WANT MALES. LESBIANS DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH MALES. LESBIANS DO NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH MALES. LESBIANS DO NOT FANTASIZE ABOUT MALES. Etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Lesbians want other Lesbians.

This is not a difficult concept, folks.

The other thing Lesbians want is for ALL of the people who are lying about our lives to shut the Hell up.

Image: PicsArt #FreeToEdit

Lesbian Allies (or Enemies)?

In the last year or so, on Twitter and elsewhere, a plethora of straight-privileged so-called “gender critical” individuals have appeared, acting like they have invented the wheel, without giving credit to the ones, including my sweetie Dirt, who have been saying the same thing (and more!) for YEARS.

It’s fine to be late to the party (heck, I am too!), and when it comes to any kind of enlightenment, it’s always “better late than never”, but geez…how difficult is it to give proper credit to those who figured stuff out before you even noticed it??

As just one example out of many, yesterday, one of them tweeted a meme, brazenly using the tagline that Dirt has ALWAYS used, for years now, without giving proper credit to Dirt:

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Dirt’s Tagline

When Dirt, very politely, mentioned this, and I “liked” her tweet, this individual promptly unfollowed me and completely ignored Dirt’s request, instead of simply saying “okay” or “sorry” or even (imagine this!) retweeting the meme while properly crediting Dirt.

Really?  This is the act/attitude of an “ally”?

Answer: No, it isn’t.

Bottom line: Lesbians, don’t be lulled into thinking this new wave of “gender critical” individuals are automatically our true friends or allies. I learned the hard way that there is often underlying lesbophobia lurking underneath the seemingly supportive veneer.

Lesbians Need A New Symbol

Note:  Please also read: Dirt’s companion piece, “Double Female Symbol-Not Lesbian-Then or Now” for additional information/explanation.

Dirt and I have been talking and writing for a while now about how Lesbian has been consistently misrepresented, used, and abused…twisted in a whirlwind of hetsplanations, pornifications, and outright lies.

Even the universally recognized symbol for Lesbian (intertwined female symbols) is NOT LESBIAN.

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“Lesbian” Symbol (NOT!)

Why?

Well, there are many reasons; Dirt’s companion piece, “Double Female Symbol-Not Lesbian-Then or Now” for more reasons/explanation.

The piece of the puzzle that I am focusing on today is: this symbol does NOT accurately represent Lesbian because 2 females kissing, holding hands, or even making love does not mean either/both are actually Lesbian. Any 2 females can do any of those things, of course, but it is NOT “Lesbian” unless the individuals involved are BOTH Lesbians.

Here’s the truth: If something doesn’t involve actual LESBIANS, it is NOT LESBIAN.

In TV shows and movies, if there is even the slightest whiff of flirtation between 2 female characters (even if either of the characters was f**cking a man 5 minutes earlier and/or goes on to f**k a man 5 minutes later)…BOOM…people will immediately start talking about a “Lesbian scene” or “Lesbian subplot” or “Lesbian subtext” or “Lesbian kiss” etc. etc. etc., ad nauseum.

The following is but a very small sample of the NON-lesbian characters/scenarios in TV and movies that have been incorrectly called “Lesbian“:  (Note that I am not talking about whether or not the actors themselves are straight; I am talking about the characters/scenarios):

1). Roseanne Barr’s famous “Lesbian” kiss with Mariel Hemingway in the episode “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. While addressing homophobia, an admirable goal, was the reason given by Barr for including this scene, unfortunately, calling kissing a married straight woman a “Lesbian” (or “gay” as some  people, including Barr, incorrectly insist on saying) scene undermines real Lesbians by implying that we are defined solely by physical contact or action. Lesbian is lesbian, and straight is straight, regardless of physical/sexual activity.

2). The entire hideously offensive “Lesbian” movie “The Kids are All Right“, in which Julianne Moore’s allegedly “Lesbian” character f**ked a male like a minx throughout the whole debacle, only to claim at the end of the movie that such straight behavior didn’t mean she wasn’t a “Lesbian“.  Um…yeah, it does, in fact, mean just that.

3). Almost every “Lesbian” storyline in Orange is the New Black, starting, but sadly not ending, with Straightbian Piper’s on-again, off-again affair with Alex. This decidedly NON-Lesbian storyline is foreshadowed in the Season 1 official trailer, in which at approximately .36-.37 seconds, Piper’s mom asks “You were a lesbian?” and Piper (sitting with her MALE fiance) replies “At the time”. No, no, no, no, no! You either are, or you’re not, a Lesbian, Piper. To make matters even worse, the OITNB Lesbian characters who are REAL Lesbians are portrayed as sexual predators (Big Boo) or killed off (Poussey).  Boo, Hiss.

4). Thelma and Louise has been applauded as an excellent example of “Lesbian” subtext. Bullshit. Both Thelma and Louise were straight women who needlessly got themselves into a difficult situation, making progressively worse and worse decisions…including Geena Davis’s character first willingly making out with a guy in the parking lot (who turned out to be a wannabe rapist) which resulted in the very reason they became outlaws, then later f**king a male thief’s brains out. The whole sad nonsense culminated in them driving themselves off a freaking cliff.  Thelma and Louise are not heroic feminist icons, and they are definitely NOT Lesbians.

5). Xena: Okay, this last example actually pains me to discuss, because I was a Xena fan. I realize now that I was so starved for Lesbian representation that I was willing to scarf up the “subtext” scraps the writers and actors threw us. I was willing to overlook the “maintext” plots involving male romantic entanglements. I was willing to deny my own discomfort when the show could not be trusted to even acknowledge us, much less actually care about us, despite the fan base being heavily Lesbian. Now it’s time to admit that the  so-called Xena “Lesbian subtext” was only a pitiful broken bone thrown to the hungry Lesbian audience, all the while maintaining the true heterosexuality of the 2 main characters to keep their ratings, and their straight privilege, intact.

The examples of such NON-Lesbian scenarios go on and on and on and ON.

It is time to stop this foolishness. We need to stop calling any female/female innuendo “Lesbian”. I know I said it before, but I will say it again and again and again:

If something doesn’t involve actual LESBIANS, it is NOT LESBIAN.

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