Thursday, November 1, 2012

I kissed a girl and I liked it...makes sense 'cause I'm a lesbian...

(Quick note: most hetero men I encounter are very respectful, and kind, and treat lesbians as humans, rather than pornographic images created for their pleasure...I'm not hating on the men-folk)

Something I've been considering fairly often is labelling. I am in a monogamous same-sex partnership, but I am bisexual. I'm not an exclusive resident of "vag-town", I am attracted equally to men and women. I get to inhabit two spaces, I get to explore different perspectives and try on different gender roles. And I get to do this in an authentic way. I feel lucky to have arrived this way. I have been in committed heterosexual relationships, and now I have a lady partner. And nothing really changes for me, except others' reactions. The way other people perceive my life shifts, but the important "me" bits don't.

this is my thinking face. 
I am paying attention to political issues like gay marriage in a more invested way; previously I was interested, but in a detached that's-important-in-a-theoretical-sense-but-doesn't-really-concern-me-much kind of way. Part of my new attention comes from being unemployed, and not really having any responsibilities. Now I've got a lot of time on my hands to think.

I have become newly sensitive to other people's reactions to homosexuality. Usually I'm the one observing, thinking about what I'm seeing, categorizing people and experiences. It's new, and it's fascinating, to be on the other side of that voyeuristic gaze.

I came across this "That's Gay" youtube clip about media portrayals of lesbian relationships. It's very funny (particularly the end Katy Perry bit), and it's all pretty accurate. You should watch it...

In media portrayals and in life...we can all easily conjure up a visual of the "experimental" and "open" young women who make out with female friends at the bar while looking sideways to see if any boys are watching. For young women exploring sexual identity, these displays are a way of exercising power and garnering attention, albeit a dangerous kind of power and a problematic form of attention.

It makes me sigh, and it makes me pretty darn uncomfortable, both as a feminist and as a bisexual woman in a same-sex relationship. Media portrayals of "lady kisses" as a performative act frankly irritate the heck out of me. I can't help but take it personally, and feel as though those "two-episode lesbians" trivialize my sexual identity, my relationship, and LGBT issues in general.

And it influences the way men look at lesbian relationships in real life. Take yesterday for example. I was walking down the street hand in hand with the missus. A young, attractive man with a dog was walking towards us (kind of like the banana encounter, only I wasn't holding any bananas this time). He took in the two of us holding hands. He smiled (how kind, I thought). I smiled back. He winked. WINKED. And then, carefully holding eye contact as he passed us, he waggled his eyebrows at me. TWICE. I burst out laughing.

It was as though me smiling at him (because sometimes I'm a friendly-type human who likes to smile at other humans) gave him permission to wordlessly extend a proposition.

I can only imagine Eyebrow Waggler was thinking that I'm either:

A) going to decide to like boys again tomorrow and give him a call...

or... (and this one's ideal)...

B) we'll BOTH decide to like boys again starting right now, because his eyebrow action was just that hot. And we'll follow him home, panting.

I don't blame Eyebrow Waggler. Honestly. I blame the cultural atmosphere that somehow gave him the misguided impression that my sexuality is a product of my fickle nature, and can be influenced by his (lame) advances. He could have at least offered to buy me a coffee first.

And don't even get me started on Katy Perry. "Hope my boyfriend don't mind". Sheesh.

Would he mind if you were shoving your tongue down another dude's throat? I suspect he might. And I suspect you might take issue with yer boyfriend playing tonsil hockey with another bro...Hmmm.

Although I can't completely honestly claim I wouldn't, given an opportunity, sample her cherry chapstick. (sorry Lisa)

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