Everyone wants to be a lesbian

15 06 2011

So what’s going on with all these men pretending to be lesbians online? Like we don’t have enough trials of our own to be going on with, now we have to spend time trying to figure out if that increasingly interesting online chat is being conducted by some hairy fat man in a vest with a good line in conversation and nothing better to do with his time.

Like we’re not all paranoid and defended enough as it is. It’s enough to make one want to give up on the internet altogether, I tell you. After all, there are loads of us, who like many in the mainstream world of online chat, have much deeper and more intimate relationships with our online lovers than any we do in ‘real’ life. It’s one of the few spaces we can feel alone, intimate and unobserved, especially if you’re queer and live in this particularly bigoted region of the world.

So what the fuck? Last week we followed with increasing interest, the story of a blog that we carry on our links which seemed to reflect many of our own anxieties and fears – the story of a young, lesbian activist being threatened and finally kidnapped in Syria. The discovery that the blog was written by a ‘middle-aged, married American man’ aroused varying emotions across the homosexual world, ranging from outraged fury and paranoia, to amusement.

Later the same week, Paula Brooks, executive editor of the US-based lesbian and gay news site LezGetReal, was exposed as being a fake identity created by Bill Graber, who now says he is a 58-year-old from Dayton, Ohio.

Eek.

So who else is out there, (presumably) hiding from his wife, scratching his balls and busily typing away?

And why? What is it about our poor persecuted demographic that makes men want to BE us? We already know that most straight men’s top fantasy is to watch and/or participate in a lesbian encounter and we find that creepy and humiliating enough. And while we’re all for freedom of speech and would be the first to support great fiction writing, this weird and deliberate deceit of gullible women (never mind the general public and the damage done to the queer cause everywhere), ends up being just another sample of male arrogance and entitlement .





Groupthink

28 05 2011

Groupthink:
This occurs when a group sacrifices critical thinking (in order to have agreement on everything.) The primary socially negative cost of groupthink is the loss of individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking.

I have a big problem with Groupthink. And as far as I can see, it is everywhere. It starts in school, when you’re expected to believe everything you’re being taught, (even, as someone recently pointed out, when they were teaching us the big bang theory in the science class while simultaneously teaching us creationism in the religious knowledge class and no one was allowed to ask why).

Home is where you’re not allowed to cut your hair short and wear that hyper-miniskirt because of what the neighbours might say. Then we grow up and come up against dress codes, marriage rituals, sexual choices, political preferences and religious beliefs that all end up for the most part falling into the same old stereotypical categories because we’re all too scared or thick to examine just why we’ve chosen what we have in our lives.

Richard Dawkins protested about how we tend to automatically categorise children into their parent’s chosen faith.  He observed that feminists have succeeded in arousing widespread embarrassment at the routine use of he instead of she. Similarly, he suggests, a phrase such as “Catholic child” or “Muslim child” should be considered just as socially absurd as, for instance, “Marxist child”: children should not be classified based on their parents’ ideological beliefs. According to Dawkins, there is no such thing as a Christian child or a Muslim child, as children have about as much capacity to make the decision to become Christians or Muslims as they do to become Marxists (Wikipedia).

Groupthink is how we decide so many things with little or no analysis or critique. It is the brainless worship of the accepted norm, carrying with it the equally brainless sense of exclusivity and exceptionalism. It also helps reinforce prejudices, stereotypes and meaningless ritual which are often cruel, deadly or at the very least thoughtless.

Here in Sri Lanka Groupthink governs a great deal. From childhood to ancient old age we are told repeatedly to conform, to give in, to accept and to say the words ‘what to do’ in the appropriate tone of resignation. Since we have no recourse in most cases this is what we do. The punishment for rebellion is anyway quite severe, involving huge social and personal sacrifice and isolation. You only have to ask a queer person what it means to be gay in this country. Whatever their story, it will involve either persecution, exile or deception. But while the gay community has its own internal issues with Groupthink, it remains one of the bravest icons of rebellion, standing against conformity and mainstream views in this island. Because if you’re gay, you’ve already broken one of the most important rules.  You have broken out. You’ve been thinking for yourself.





Coming out…

27 03 2011

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/mar/13/dear-mariella?INTCMP=SRCH

THE DILEMMA:I used to think I was close to my twin sister. However, six months ago she got in touch with me on a social-networking site and said she was a lesbian and didn’t love her husband any more. I flipped out – mainly out of shock, but also anger. She refuses to go to counselling. At Christmas she and her husband “split up” and she moved in with my parents for all of three hours before going back to him. He is a solid guy and knows all about her supposedly being a lesbian, but is standing by her. I guess she still wants to be with him. I feel hurt and feel like I’ve lost my best friend. I’m just wondering how I can ever get my sister back, or do I have to accept she is now a stranger who I perhaps didn’t know anyway?

I read this letter (and the reply) in the Guardian recently and was struck by the issues that are raised when a member of the family decides to come out as gay. All my gay friends have stories about this traditionally life-changing moment and most of their stories are positive….in the end. Over time, most families realize its not going away, and simply give in, either embracing it all or just not talking about it at all.

I remember trying to tell my supposedly liberal and highly educated family of brothers and sisters, that I was a lesbian. One of them immediately blocked it out and pretends even now that she knows nothing about it; one of them tried manfully to talk about it but later started to avoid the topic and the third is now known to have worriedly discussed it with a friend saying “I think something must be wrong with her.” (My parents, fortunately for them perhaps, are dead)

Luckily my siblings and I don’t live in the same countries so I don’t have to deal with their reactions to my lifestyle very often. I know who I am and what I feel and this is not going away to suit anyone. I sometimes wonder how such intelligent people could be so retarded about an issue like this, in this day and age…but that’s how it is.

http://www.oberlinlgbt.org/bechdel/bechdel-1.html





What you fear you will become…

28 11 2010

“…our patriarchy is so elegantly engineered that women themselves voluntarily do much of the dirty work of oppression, so greatly do they enjoy and freely choose dudecentricity as the logical conclusion of their natural-born femininity. Many Western women hardly need more than the occasional implied threat to keep them on their little painted toes…”

Patriarchy on autopilot

I think the above refers to straight Western women and how they sometimes ‘choose’ oppression, hardly even realising it. But I wonder if there’s more to it  than that…

Why is it that butch dykes often cultivate the walk, the talk and the style of men? And why does male fashion so often dictate butch fashion as well? That is, pants, long sleeved shirts, boots…

If we reject the male and the masculine in all its forms, (do we?) why do we still slavishly acquire all the trappings and accessories of outward masculine appearance?

And it isn’t always just the outward that we acquire. Butch women often manifest many of the controlling behaviours, sexist attitudes and perceptions that men hold towards women in general. Exactly which man becomes a role model is often unclear, or why, but that the model is masculine is beyond doubt.

So why do so many lesbians occupying different positions on the scale of butchness so often feel the need to mimic male behaviours, while frequently claiming to reject the entire male species at many levels? Is this about comfort? Convenience? Or the seizing of a model that is obviously freer, more liberated and comfortable with itself than the one we are born into? Are we simply trying to trade places?

If we as lesbians reject so many male values and behaviours – an entire system of patriarchal oppression in fact – (one which is more apparent and obvious in our region than most), why then are we driven to ape that which we reject?

Do we even see what we are doing and how we buy into the masculine role model all the time?

Oppression elegantly engineered, indeed…





Butch wanted

24 10 2010

Location: Sri Lanka

Wages: Negotiable with benefits

We are currently seeking women with strong butch backgrounds. Ideal candidates will come from top level roles and will be experienced in client-servicing with good negotiation and interpersonal skills. They will have a strategic mindset. Individuals shall also have a proven track record of delivering results whilst building partnerships with considerable gravitas.

The role holder shall forge profitable long term relationships and shall ensure customer satisfaction at all times.

Qualifications include:

A cheerful/ tranquil temperament
Physical strength and stamina
An interest in health, fitness and personal care
Crisis management skills
Driving skills|
A professional career or financially viable trade
Experience in pleasure delivery plus at least two additional skills
ie: cookery, carpentry, financial management
A sense of humor

If you believe you are at this level and have the correct skills, please forward your CV accordingly. Due to a large anticipated response, if you do not hear back from us within 14 days, please assume your application has not been successful.

 





The Association for the Freedom of Femme Women

26 09 2010

Article I

Name

The name of this association is the Association for the Freedom of Femme Women (AFFW) which is designated an unincorporated nonprofit association created under the laws of the Worldwide Commonwealth of Homosexual Women.

Article II

Intent and Purpose

It is the intent of the AFFW to achieve Total Freedom as defined by our membership, which definition may be subject to change according to additional requirements and needs raised by membership from time to time.

The primary purpose of the AFFW shall be to secure full and total freedom as defined by our membership, (specifics of which are set out below), chief of which is to free ourselves in every way from, and cease to be subject to, the general supervision and control of men, butch women, and other authoritarian individuals and organizations that may seek to prevent us from exploring and expressing our thoughts, our emotions, our will and most of all our sexuality, in any way we see fit.

The AFFW shall consist of Femme Women joined by mutual consent for the common, nonprofit purposes of educating and rendering assistance to fellow Femme Women and providing an accessible source of information pertaining to Femme Women and the public whenever possible.

While the AFFW does not discriminate against others on the basis of race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religious affiliation, ableness, national origin or other personal factors, membership shall be open only to those women identifying as ‘femme’, who are of the opinion that we are an unseen and oppressed minority whose needs are not being addressed and whose rights and freedoms are gravely compromised today.

Article III

The Definitions of Total Freedom

1. We shall be free to walk anywhere at any time without being subject to comments, jeers and other offensive remarks about our hair, clothing, breast size or any other personal characteristic from any man or woman.

2. We shall not be made to feel guilty in public or in private for our choices of sexual partners, by any man or woman.

3. We shall not be expected or obliged to be consistent about our choices of male and/or female sexual partners. It shall be understood that an FW shall enjoy perfect freedom to choose and discard partners as she thinks fit and shall not be mentally or physically penalized or punished for such actions by anyone.

4. We shall not be expected or obliged to regularly cook for our partners and/or families unless we voluntarily choose to perform such activity.

5. We shall not be expected or obliged to indulge in any domestic activity including all general housework, child care, pet care, car care, garden maintenance, marketing or any other household activity, unless we voluntarily choose to perform such tasks.

6. We shall not be expected to desire children or to bear children unless we voluntarily choose to do so.

7. We shall not be expected or obliged to manage household accounts, bill payments, bank matters or the organizing of fund-raising or other events or any other secretarial activity unless we voluntarily choose to perform such tasks.

8. We shall not be expected or obliged to host social gatherings, dinner/lunch parties or any other activities unless we voluntarily choose to perform such tasks.

9. We shall have the right to refuse to perform any such voluntarily undertaken tasks at any time we wish.

10. We shall have the right to dress as we choose at all times. This clause shall include all related matters pertaining to length of hair, length of hemline, showing of skin and all fashion choices regarding dress, shoes and accessories.

11. We shall reserve the right to colour and maintain our hair as short or as long as we wish, at any time.

12. We shall have the right to go to work or not, as we wish. We shall have absolute freedom in our choice of profession. We shall not be expected or obliged to share finances unless we choose to do so.

13. We shall have the right to absolute privacy including our mail, email, mobile phone and all other personal communications.

14. We shall enjoy the right to maintain as many friendships as we wish. This shall include anyone we choose, regardless of race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religious affiliation, ableness or national origin.

15. We shall not be interrogated or subjected to bullying or mental or physical harassment of any sort whatsoever, by anyone, including our partner/s.

16. We shall not be expected or obliged for any reason to stay in any relationship that we have chosen to abandon.

17. We shall have the right to demand sex as often as we require it.

18. We shall not be expected or obliged to offer sex unless we wish to.

19. We shall not be judged for any choices we make. Instead we shall at all times expect the love and support of all those around us that we deem our friends and family, this organisation included.

20. These articles shall be subject to change as and when the membership sees fit.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned have executed these Articles of Association

on this__________ day of ______________, 20__.

______________________________

President (or alternate title)

ATTEST:

______________________________

Secretary-Treasurer (or alternate title)





How to own a leopard

22 08 2010

Why do people take photographs?

I mean it. Do we know why we keep taking photographs? Everywhere we go, whatever the event or circumstance, someone will produce a camera, usually one of those tiny ones the size of a matchbox that shoots immensely high resolution images that can reproduce at hoarding sizes, and start clicking.

There is hardly any place left in the world where photography is inappropriate, except perhaps some far northern states of india where extremely photogenic tribeswomen walk around in brilliantly coloured saris – any photographer’s dream shot, especially those with visions of national geographic wallpaper floating before their eyes. These women however have stern and fixed ideas on the matter of having their picture taken by every passing tourist and you will be roundly cursed in hindi every time you point your camera at one of them.

I like this.

I like the fact that there is still a no go zone or two left in the world where cameras and photographers are not welcome. On a recent visit to a wildlife park I realized that there exists in many an amateur photographer’s mind, a sort of hierarchy of wildlife in which the leopard undoubtedly reigns supreme, closely followed by the elephant, crocodile and bear. All the other animals of the park come a poor third, while the birds hardly register at all, (unless you are one of those peculiar people who actually prefer birds to leopards and walk around with a bird book in hand trying to identify each one.) Birdwatching has its own set of rules and hierarchies, and some birds give you extra points when reported later over dinner, especially the rare or colorful ones.

So the creatures of the wild are now reduced to popular photographs with no value beyond show and tell. Observe the jeeps, vans and buses full of yelling sightseers that career over the dirt tracks of yala in pursuit of some poor animal who is then surrounded and photographed by twenty five people at once, all using high end cameras worth shitloads of money which couldn’t take a bad shot if you tried.

People take photographs to ‘capture’ a moment, a place, a face or action. These are then framed and kept as memories. Most pictures aren’t worth anything unless they are shared. This means that every picture is something we plan to show/share, even before we click. But what really happens is that you start to lose the reality of the moment, the place and the face. Everything is seen through the lens and our desire to possess the picture becomes greater than our pleasure in the subject.

The world around us is astounding. It keeps changing and no one can ever possess the smallest fraction of it. The next time you go to yala, leave your camera behind.