One of my biggest pet peeves
Pseudo-Adrienne has a good post today about one of my two biggest pet peeves, at least for today--lesbianism as a party trick. Or a ratings sweep tactic on TV shows. (For the record, my other big pet peeve right now is women fighting each other over men.) Good god, but does fake lesbianism bug me. And it's hard for me to pin down why. I mean, I know why it bugs, but it's hard to explain why it bugs me out of all proportion.
It's probably because fake lesbianism, like cat fighting, is just such insipid pandering. I mean, here is a sexual orientation and behavior that has absolutely nothing to do with men being mimicked by straight women in order to please men. It's insulting all around--to men, for falling for it, to lesbians, whose sexual identity is reduced to a frat boy pleasing party trick, and to straight women, for having our sexuality defined as wanting to please men more than wanting to fuck men for its own sake.
From the perspective of a straight woman, I can say that I do not take this insult lightly. It's difficult enough for straight women to claim ownership of our sexuality to begin with, to make it clear to ourselves and everyone else that we sleep with men out of sexual desire, not just as a means of gaining male approval. But to play-act at lesbianism, to kiss or fool around with someone you're not attracted to to get male approval is reverting back to the older understanding of female sexuality--sexual acts performed for men and not for any intrinsic pleasure.
But what of the straight girls who experiment with other women out of desire and curiosity? Well, it's the same story--putting on a show to demonstrate that you're doing it not because you want to, oh no, because a man wants you to sends out the same message, that the main female sexual desire is to please men.
So, I really, really wish straight girls who fool around with other girls in front of the guys would just cut that shit out. It makes me bananas and if I see it, I want to throw a bucket of water on them. Except that would probably make the whole thing worse. And it would be nice if the novelty act on TV of straight women kissing each other would just go away. That's not increasing lesbian visibility so much as it's reinforcing the cultural message that women's sexuality is about men rather than about our own feelings.