August 9, 2012

“It is to crave her company; to be intoxicated with her mere existence. It is a longing for her to be intimately entwined with you and your life because you believe the intimacy you can spin with her will reach a place in you that nothing and no one else can. It’s the aching in your chest when things are unsettled with her; the lightness in your step when things are well. Thoughts of her constantly running in the Background. And it happens between two women– or from one woman towards another– even when everyone else around her is conspiring, often violently, to prevent it from happening. That is to be a lesbian. ”
Fantastic. Must Read.

Revolutionary Combustion

On a previous episode of “lesbian and feminist are not synonyms,” I argued that the term lesbian should not be appropriated by women who reject heterosexual relations on a political basis, rather than a sexual one.

First, let’s review again what a “political lesbian” is. There are various interpretations, but one of the clearest  definitions is given on page 5 of the 1981 Love your Enemy? booklet– which, incidentally, makes an interesting read despite the pdf’s poor quality:

We do think that all feminists can and should be political 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.

This would be better described as political celibacy. A feminist does not magically transform into a lesbian merely by forbidding herself to fuck men. Lesbians do not reject relations of heterosexuality for primarily…

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4 Responses to “”

  1. yttik Says:

    Sending you a hug, Gallus. Hang in there.

    Interesting article. Gyn/affection, huh? That works for me. If someone truly believes in equality between men and women, then you have to love women. We love men, we excuse men, we make accommodations for men, we cater to men, we make men the center of the universe. Women not so much. Equality demands that we show women the same praise, tolerance, compassion, empathy, whatever, that we and our culture show towards men.

    I have to laugh, that tired old “lesbians hate men” always baffles me. Maybe some do, but the real haters are those of us who are attracted to men and try to live with them. Well earned hatred, I might add. I think it was Mary Daly who said, “Men? I don’t even think about men!”

  2. Bev Jo Says:

    I agree that being a Lesbian is choosing a heart/soul/mind/body connection with other women. We discussed on our book, “Dykes-Loving-Dykes: Dyke Separatist Politics for Lesbians Only,” that part of what has damaged our Lesbian Feminist communities is women coming out as a cold political decision based on hating men, but not yet loving women. Of course if you love girls and women, you hate those who rape, torture, and kill them. That can make a strong Radical Feminist, but not a Radical Lesbian Feminist.

    I believe all girls begin being in love with other girls, but, because of the intense punishments and rewards, most decide to choose males, and therefore learn that mind/heart/soul and body disconnect. So now in feminist groups women talk about how they must be het because they don’t feel sexual towards other women. They have learned to think about being a Lesbian from a male perspective. To truly become Lesbians, they have to return to their core, their original female-loving selves. Being a Lesbian is first about love, and the feelings of passion follow. (“Sex” is so imbued with male definition that I don’t even like using it for us.)

    Most of the women I saw who came out through feminism did fall wildly in love with other women, and quite quickly. There was also an awareness to try to root out their male identification and not bring that into their new Lesbian relationships. Now, it is too much the other way. And for the women still allied with men, they seem mostly to be terrified to even consider that there is another option than het. Radical Feminist Celibate is one option. But no, that political choice of rejecting men does not make a woman a Lesbian. Yet.

    It is far better for Lesbians if women do not claim our identity and access to us if they are still closed off from women in that intense heart/soul/body way. They can be our allies, but not yet one of us.

    • yttik Says:

      BevJo, i don’t think het women have wanted to claim lesbian identity, I think it’s been forced on us. The first time you step out of line as a girl, you’re labeled a lesbian. And so it goes, every time you say no to some guy, you’re a lesbian. Every time you do something powerful, you’re a lesbian. It was a slur designed to keep women in check, but it’s failing because many women have embraced it, reclaimed it.

      Unlike many transactivists, I don’t think het women want to invade lesbian spaces or co-opt anybody’s identity. I think many of us just see the common bonds that we share as women, so we are natural allies. In fact, I’m troubled by the whole concept of identity, because it serves to divide women even more. We’ve seen the mess transactivists have made with the concept of identity, but
      the real problem is that women don’t have an identity of our own, the culture defines us (in some pretty negative ways.) Finally finding an identity of your own is kind of seductive because everybody wants to belong. The thing is, identity starts to divide us into smaller groups, so rather than being a powerful force comprised of half the human race, we become several small factions all
      competing with each other. That’s not to say that lesbians shouldn’t have an identity all of their own, it’s just that in the big scheme of things politically, women should not use identities as a way of defining ourselves, because it makes us smaller and less powerful than we are. Half the human race is a pretty powerful concept.

  3. SheilaG Says:

    Lesbian is about a love for women. Men have nothing to do with this equation at all. It is men who hate women with a passion, men who destroy the world, men who commit 90% of the violent crimes worldwide, and men who rape, terrorize and kill women on the streets.

    So men hate women. Women aren’t killing men in massive numbers, aren’t raping hundreds of thousands of men.

    So man-hating is just a sterotypical anti-lesbian trope designed to prevent women from loving women.

    Men get way too much attention, and when we take the attention off of men, they go into a rage. They are very vampiristic in sucking women’s energy up.

    Women loving women, women making love to women, women falling madly in love with women– it is these experiences that define lesbian existence, and it’s why the primary moment of lesbian existence is falling in love with women.

    Men had nothing to do with this process, and are in fact meaningless to me from a love perspective. Men have no clue what love is, don’t love women, they only love control, and ownership. They’ll tell lies just to immitate women, according to Sonia Johnson.

    A lot of what I read on straight women’s blogs is a hatred of men, huge anger at men, but this is not the wildly passionate erotic love of women.

    I too hate the term “sex” when used with women.
    Sex is too loaded a term, too male penis focused, and making love to a woman is about this passionate all encompassing experience that has no comparison to what hetero men and women do in bed.

    Male sexuality really messes up everything, and it is true that women who have been married to men for eons and then come out as lesbians— not the same experience as my lifetime of passionate love of lesbians. Sure I can love all women to a degree, but love making with the “male” defined lifetime of sex, is not really lesbian eccstatic passion to me at all.

    The lesbian is madly in love with lesbians, feels this incredible connection, an erotic love that is the source of all our power. And it is delightful, even if it is unrequited at times, it still is a powerful connection that we feel. Men might feel this desire for women, but it becomes SEX OBSESSED and PIV focused, but it is not erotic power at all; it is vampirism and control.

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