Posts tagged with ‘Lesbian’
This should be reblogged by everyone. Even if you’re straight, you should be a supporter.
[Trigger Warnings for historical anti-queer abuses, heterocentricity, gendered language, etc. Also, sorry it’s long.]
There’s been a bit of discussion lately about m/m versus f/f, and specifically queer women writing predominately m/m rather than f/f. There has been a lot of criticism about it that takes the view that such habits put men on a pedestal over women, and value male narratives over female narratives. I can see where that might seem to make sense on the surface, but I contest that the situation is more nuanced than that.
First, I will start by saying that I have no intentions of shaming anyone for their method of engaging with sexually explicit material of any ilk (that does not harm or harmfully portray anyone). Your kink may not be my kink but your kink is valid and perfectly fine for you.
This is specifically to address my own issues as a queer female-leaning genderqueer person who is predominately emotionally and sexually attracted to women but who predominately enjoys m/m for explicit fiction, and to explain (and thereby defend) this preference and why it does not make me self-hating or misogynistic.
I love ladies, and I love ladyships, but in fiction, explicit f/f makes me distinctly uncomfortable. Part of it is a personal issue; I have hang-ups with regards to sex, and reading about people with similar body parts to mine having sex makes me feel vulnerable in very uncomfortable ways. (This is obviously not always true; not everyone in m/m or f/f is cisgender, but it’s a dominant enough trend that I feel comfortable generalizing. My issues shift somewhat if the people involved are transgender, but that opens up an entirely new can of worms that isn’t really relevant to my current point.)
Also, while I am uncomfortable reading explicit f/f in written fiction, I love lesbian romance movies. Saving Face and I Can’t Think Straight and even Kissing Jessica Stein bring me such joy. autumnyte helped me articulate why this is: A lot of the language used to refer to women’s sexuality or sexual body parts can get very uncomfortable for some people, possibly because a great many of them are used as pejoratives (with a different weight than, say, “cock” or “dick,” because of the way male privilege interacts with language).
But this is widespread enough that I’m not confident assigning broad strokes of blame to everyone having similar sexual hang-ups to me. There must be a greater common denominator. I also know it’s not because these people are misogynistic or do not value female narratives or female relationships. (In fact, like me, many of them deeply enjoy lady genfic or non-explicit f/f.) I think this has to do with the difference in how queer male sexuality and queer female sexuality has been treated throughout history.
Queer male sexuality has traditionally been shamed, hidden, cut off, and destroyed. The dominant, hegemonic male gaze of culture is so threatened by this that the only way gay men have been acceptable is if they abstain from sexuality and, indeed, are seen as desexed. (This is not to devalue people who are asexual, but refers to sexuality being coercively removed or destroyed.) In fact, many gay men who were punished for their “crimes” were chemically castrated (possibly also physically, although I can’t name any instances off the top of my head) to remove the possibility of them having sex. It was so important to the dominant gaze of culture that these people not be allowed to have sex even if no one knew it was happening. Even if they kept it a secret, only met behind closed doors, never had public displays of affection — no. That was too much. They had to remove the very possibility of it happening at all, ever.
On the other hand, queer women have had their sexuality devalued and attacked in a completely different way. We have been exploited for the male gaze, fetishized and exoticized. We have had our relationships stripped of all that makes them full and personal and for our own pleasure, and reduced to pornography suited to the male gaze. We have had our relationships and our sexuality turned into sex toys for someone else’s pleasure, not our own. Queer women are a threat when our emotions choose a woman for commitment over a man; our sex is not a threat. Our sex is a toy.
With that in mind, it is a completely different beast to celebrate explicit m/m sex than it is explicit f/f sex. One has been shut up in the dark for so many years that being put in the light is an empowerment. The other has been chained in the spotlight with nowhere to hide, so demanding it step into the light has very different implications.
This is not to say that anyone celebrating f/f sexuality in explicit material is doing it for those reasons, but is meant to say this is why some women may not feel comfortable with it. People react to empowerment differently. Some queer men may prefer non-explicit m/m as a form of empowerment; some queer women may prefer explicit f/f for the same reason. But the different histories of the way each of those sexualities has been treated by an abusive heterocentric, male-gaze culture is significant and shouldn’t be ignored.