There is a movie called Bound. It concerns a lesbian couple who connive to steal a whole load of money the mob. Great movie. It was pumped full of lesbian “chic” and action; suspense with witty dialogue, and yes! The lesbians were hot!
This left me felling a little odd, not that the hot sensation I just mentioned is new to me. Oh no, I was quite accustomed to the sensation of being attracted to women of that persuasion. What bothered me was the sensation itself.
I realized how the little information I had about lesbians was processed, and delivered to me through the media by men, including the directors of the film. (So, here I am, a straight male, writing about lesbians. Coincidence?)
The media. That’s what we’re pumped full of, so I’ll start there. If I’m to understand the television correctly, gay men are either good looking ( a la Will and Grace) or absolutely daffy (a la Will and Grace again). Women are red hot and fierce (“lipstick” “Chic”) or are beefy and manly (“butch”). But this has been explored before by people much more capable than yours truly. I’m concerned with other things.
I was chilling with friends a few weeks ago, just several guys and the token girl. The conversation was as languid as the humid August evening, yet suddenly the girl had weaved in an admission of a bisexual into the fabric of our conversation. The air hung thick with male lust being pricked by this coy lass with dark eyeliner. Oh yes, she had our full and earnest attention now.
Again, I was bothered. Bothered this time, because I had heard all this before. But not in a trusting secretive manner, where true emotions were viable. It was said with the quicksnap delivery of someone who buys their clothes at the trendiest designer, someone who listens to music no one else has heard, someone who uses words so fabulously elaborate that no regular Joe would have the time or anal-retentiveness to emulate said vocabulary.
She spoke like a hipster. Her lesbian experience was…hip.
I don’t blame her for being a hipster, and I don’t blame her for treating lesbian experimentation (fiction or not) as something dangerously hip and drop-dead cool.
I don’t blame her because it’s being packaged that way to me as well. And with that we reach my point: Lesbianism is being packaged as “cool”, sold as a “fad”, and all us dumb mainstream heteros are buying it. In fact, it’s “coolness” is outshining it’s tender humanity to this straight writer, and this makes him sad.
Never underestimate humanity’s appetite to take honest human emotion and sterilize it for masses. I think of logos. I think of packages. I think of official stamps of approval.
Has this happened? If Lesbian Chic is all us mainstream squares see, is it becoming all we know? There are true lesbian emotion that are flittering around you and around me as I type this…I feel I should remind people of this.
Cultural Theory Review: The word “Queer” was a derogatory term, but the term was reversed by Queer Theorists, to become a term of empowerment. Now, on the crest of this bright and hopeful new millennium, we have a T.V. Show: Queer Eye for The Straight Guy.
Would I do well to heed their fashion advice? After all Queer is so…hip.
Does the hooting and hollering of the horny young bucks of Louie’s seem empowering? When young straight women make out with each other for applause and alcohol, does it cheapen the bond of two real lesbian women (women who could be simultaneously making out in a much more dignified arena)? Their kisses are not for beer and lascivious looks, not for the thrill of supercharging the air with panting male lust…but simply because they have romance in their eyes. They like each other…maybe love…maybe not…
As you can tell, I have no answers, only questions, concerns, and comments.
I wonder how a lesbian feels about this. Is it amusing? Is it hurtful? Is it good that at least awareness is being raised no matter how misguided? Is it misguided? Is the answer a more active alternative media with an active emphasis on homosexuality? Am I just an over-analytical guy with a head brimming with moral concern and half-assed ideas?
Perhaps. But I would really like to know some answers, or at least other comments, concerns, and questions. Write to the Blueprint, give us your opinion on the matter. Or better yet, write for Blueprint. If I’ve proved nothing else today, I hope I’ve proved that a rudimentary grasp of journalistic prose is not necessary to write for this magazine.