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Femininity

January 1, 2010

I want to quote from Dykes-Loving-Dykes: Dyke Separatist Politics for Lesbians Only, Chapter 4, titled Butch-Hatred is Lesbian-Hatred.

Femininity isn’t a harmless diversion or form of self-expression.  It’s not creative, it’s not “freeing,” it’s not daring or sexy.  It’s just the same tired phoney heterosexist crap.  Spend plenty of time and energy on your nail polish, hair-do’s, dresses, diets, body-shaping exercises, poses and games; fantasize yourself as the center of sexual attention, make everything into a sexual game, get yourself further and further away from female reality, from real female Lesbian power identify more and more with het values – shit, you could be that woman in the lipstick commercial.  Just substitute a Butch Lesbian for the prick that’s panting after her.  If your lover or friend doesn’t like that kind of crap, you’ll teach her how fun it can be.  How much time and interest does this leave you for Lesbian politics, fighting patriarchy, forming real Lesbian cultures?  Why be a Lesbian at all if you so admire male and het values?

The fact of the matter is that heteronormativity privileges feminine females, at the expense of women who are not feminine, especially those who have always rejected femininity.  Women, lesbians, have the choice not to accept heterosexist society’s approval at the expense of lesbians who reject it and are punished for it.  Choosing to be the image of men’s misogyny, and touting that choice as “natural,” “fun,” and sexually titillating is female-hating and specifically lesbian-hating.  If all lesbians rejected femininity, lesbians who have always rejected it, since they were little girls, would not be singled out and especially targeted for anti-lesbian bigotry, violence, and discrimination.

And for those who would claim that the insistence on political integrity is oppressive of privileged feminine females, the authors, Bev Jo, Linda Strega, and Ruston, have this to say:

Politics that support femininity either assert that Femness is an oppression, which makes it difficult for politically responsible Dykes to argue against it – or they assert that femininity is simply a matter of personal taste and preference, which implies that anyone objecting to it would have to be a dictatorial powermonger. (No Dyke has the power to stop others from selling out.  As the oppressed, all we can do is object.)

Heterosexist Lesbians aren’t usually content with being oppressive – they like to boast that they’re “P.I.” (“Politically Incorrect”).  That way they can pretend they’re original, brave, and revolutionary, instead of passively conforming to male rule.  Lesbians who admire and follow such male-defined politics as femininity, “Lesbian” porn, soado-masochism, passing as het, supporting “Lesbian” pregnancy, or protecting boys’ and men’s “rights” to be in Lesbian space often pride themselves on being “Politically Incorrect.”  Those who protest the selling out are considered boring bullies.  After all, it’s easiest to silence someone by turning them into a joke.

8 Comments
  1. January 2, 2010 2:20 am

    I’m about 3/4 of the way through with the book now, and I’m not even sure why I bother writing this blog after reading so much of it. Every thought I’ve ever had on the matter of separatism has already been written in clear, to-the-point language that is accessible to any lesbian who’s interested.

    What I’ll say about this portion in particular, though, is that there are very few lesbians online who get just how lesbian-hating femininity is. Especially interesting to me is Satsuma hanging out at UCP’s. UCP is obviously a lesbian-hating lesbian (why else be “undercover” about it?), but one would think a woman as lesbian-identified as Satsuma claims to be would steer clear of her.

  2. Mary Sunshine permalink
    January 2, 2010 3:44 am

    Margaret,

    I’m so happy that you got the book! I didn’t know if it was still available.

    That was from the golden age of lesbian separatism, for sure. You have come the closest to articulating that consciousness of anyone that I have yet discovered on the internet.

    That’s a pre-internet book. 1988, I think. So, through your blog, you have brought that consciousness to the net to collide with anti-female non-radical feminism.

    Huzzah! 😀

  3. atheistwoman permalink
    January 2, 2010 3:54 am

    If at any point I ever get my own paypal account, I must have that book! Yes, I have been watching the happenings at UCP with horror. Why I still read is a mystery–perhaps to confirm to my brain that such idiocy does exist and continue? Oh the goddamn blue highheels!

    It’s funny/sad that all these great insights we all think we keep having have in fact been done before, and there really is no need to re-invent the wheel. But of course that was why Amy’s library was so valuable.

    Although I do like your unique spin on things anyway. I’m not sure if anyone has said quite what you have about blackness and lesbianism–regardless I do appreciate it in an easily available format like the web. If I go nuts someday I think I will start a feminist bookshop (without all that queer bullshit). Mwah.

  4. berryblade permalink
    January 3, 2010 6:26 am

    Wow, just that excerpts have made me want that book.
    ” How much time and interest does this leave you for Lesbian politics, fighting patriarchy, forming real Lesbian cultures? Why be a Lesbian at all if you so admire male and het values?”

    This is so true. I don’t want to sound horrible, but I know this sex-poz “lesbian” who strips, wears makeup, heels, dresses + the whole kit & kaboodle & she’s fucking/dating a guy but she still expects people to call her a dyke/queer/male/lesbian/whatever the flavour du jour is. It blows my mind.

    “Heterosexist Lesbians aren’t usually content with being oppressive – they like to boast that they’re “P.I.” (“Politically Incorrect”). That way they can pretend they’re original, brave, and revolutionary, instead of passively conforming to male rule. Lesbians who admire and follow such male-defined politics as femininity, “Lesbian” porn, soado-masochism, passing as het, supporting “Lesbian” pregnancy, or protecting boys’ and men’s “rights” to be in Lesbian space often pride themselves on being “Politically Incorrect.” Those who protest the selling out are considered boring bullies. After all, it’s easiest to silence someone by turning them into a joke.”

    Ahhh. This runs so true.

    I think it might have been in “Not for Sale” that I read about “lesbian bdsm erotica” or some other such nonsense which was basically just a short rape story – and how shit like that has no place in lesbian culture/lifestyle/attitudes/values/xyz. I quite agree.

    Do they sell this book on sites that aren’t Amazon? Google is not working for me for some unorthodox reason 😦

  5. berryblade permalink
    January 3, 2010 6:28 am

    Ah, sorry for the double post but Mary Sunshine answered my question – pre internet book that is older than me 😛

    And atheist woman – let me know when you open it, so I can come and live there… and by live there I mean come in every day and buy books.

  6. January 3, 2010 8:21 am

    I’ll see if I can send an email to Bev Jo about interest in the book. I believe she still has copies available, and it would be great if lesbians got it from her. I’ll let you know what I find out.

  7. January 3, 2010 11:05 am

    OK, so I’ve gotten a response back from Bev Jo, who confirmed that there are plenty of books and welcomes requests. If you’d like one, I’d be happy to share her email address with you. Send me an email to the address on the about page, and I’ll give you the info. It’s much better to buy from one of the struggling authors herself than to add to the revenue of the big online book-sellers.

  8. berryblade permalink
    January 5, 2010 1:26 am

    Excellent, thanks Margaret, I’ll e-mail you tonight after I’ve been paid.

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