Oh, those silly straight women

A rant.

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Oh, those silly straight women, the ones in need of airtime. Who create churn and who get quoted. Who open their mouths to let silly words tumble forth which then get picked up and used to fill space and time by silly media whose business it is to make money finding and broadcasting such stilly things to the silly masses.

Why silly? Well, we’re supposed to be sophisticated people. Educated. Informed. Knowledgeable. And yet? There are some seriously silly straight women out there who think that their life would be so much better and less painful in the romance, love, relationship departments if only they were gay because everything is so much easier (read: less painful) if a woman is in a relationship with a woman.

Right.

AfterEllen.com ran a post about a music video called I Wish I was Gay by an American actress/singer/someone in search of celebrity or notoriety, Jessica Lowndes. The video’s premise is that a woman wishes she was gay because all the guys she chooses treat her all the same as in, presumably, badly. Then there was her interview with an American newspaper.

“I wrote the song when I was going through a bad breakup, and I think it is something all girls can relate to,” she said. “When they’ve gone through a bad breakup, they want to throw up their hands and say, ‘I wish I didn’t have to deal with this anymore.’ We all say we wish we were a little gay.”

All girls? All girls she knows? All girls in the world? Girls not women? A little gay? What on earth is a little gay??

Perhaps I should give her a discount on my world-class media training, the one that teaches you how to graciously keep your mouth closed when you are so out of your element that opening your mouth will let people know that you do not have a clue.

But back to the video: the music is bad. The lyrics are worse. The concept as realized is cliché. And she brags about having creative control. She shouldn’t have. No, really. The interview was bad, even allowing for some editorial hijinks.

But allowing for how awful the video is, and the adolescent comments in the interview, what struck me is the absolute invisibility of lesbian, because Goddess knows, straight women don’t want to be considered lesbian, because that term — lesbian — is far too loaded with political, psychiatric, clinical, noxious baggage. No one except academics and radicals want to be associated with that label, lesbian. In fact, younger women coming out now are increasingly disavowing the term lesbian, preferring to use the term gay. After all, it’s a far more upbeat, inclusive term, isn’t it? Aren’t we all happy, shiny people? We’re nothing like those serious feminist lesbians. We’re gay! Or some refuse any label of any kind: lesbian, queer, straight. The ultimate in the maturing notion of identity and me-ism. I am just me and that’s the only label I need. Don’t box me in, don’t define me, and don’t think you know me by a label I chose not to use.

Full disclosure: I am adjusting to the term ‘gay girl’ and yes it takes up less space when texting, but, I do not have to like it much. I like the cadence of three syllables of les-bee-ahn, to the short, curt, to the point, monosyllabic gay. To me, les-bee-ahn is a linguistic, semiotic reflection of women in the same way the word gay is for men. But I get it: taking back a slur, an epithet was the last generation’s strategy. It is not so much a thing that this generation feels a need to do.

Gay today? No way

Meanwhile, back to the subject at hand. A certain level of controversy can drive sales of product. The song, I Kissed a Girl gave Katy Perry a hit record and started lots of conversation around the world. It was, on the surface, a fun dance song about a thing that seems to happen for women in their 20s: a few drinks, a few kisses, that gave a taste of Cherry Chapstick and innocent play. Ya, right. Nothing like controversy to get more people to find out what the fuss is all about.

Perhaps I Wish I was Gay is meant to be edgier, meaner. Perhaps it was designed to garner interest and sales for Lowndes so that she can get picked up by some star-making music machine. I’d say it falls flat, but for that to be true it would actually have to rise to something, and it doesn’t because it’s just plain bad. Gay in the title just to get the attention?

Oh, some straight women are silly.

To believe that it’s easier to be in a relationship with a woman compared to a relationship with a man; to believe that the kind of hurts which happen in a relationship with a man are not going to happen with a woman, well, that’s just silliness squared. And sadly, it’s sexist. You see, for a woman (or girl) to think that it’s easier to be in a relationship with a woman seems to suggest that a woman’s relationship with another woman can only be considered counterpoint to a relationship with a man, that being with a man is the only real, meaningful relationship for a woman to have, and that a relationship with a woman is second best, a knock-off of a real relationship, a pretend, wannabee but never will be, a real relationship.

That view, that it’s easier for a woman to be with a woman than it is for a woman to be with a man, suggests that a relationship between women lacks depth, emotional richness, intensity, ferocity, grace, sweetness, anger, contentment, happiness, fun, and all the other things that are felt and happen in a real relationship. That view also suggests that relationships between women don’t have the kind of emotional investments that can lead to being hurt, crushed, having your heart broken to bits. On the other hand, that view also suggests that women don’t do stupid things to each other, either. An equally sexist view.

Oh, silly, silly straight women who continue to regurgitate such culturally construed crap that only a man is the pinnacle for a relationship, and if that’s not working, go to the next not-as-good thing available, those gay girls you might play with are hardly going to make you or turn you gay.

It is true that men and women are different. And it is equally true that not every woman is like every other woman, which means being in a relationship with a woman is nothing like being in a relationship with your mirror self.

For those silly straight women who think it’s easier to be in a relationship with women, there are only three ways that’s possible:

  1. approaching a relationship with a woman as if it means nothing, with no emotional investment. Just go for the dancing and the sex and the make-up and the clothes or cuddling, and for someone to go places with and nothing more. Don’t share anything of yourself; or
  2. realizing that relationships with men are not what you want and that you might actually be a lesbian; or
  3. recognizing that romantic, emotional relationships are not something you want or need but feel socially pressured to have happen in your life. None of that is of any interest to you with anyone, man or woman.

It may surprise some silly straight women, but, women can be jerks and assholes too. And just like men, they can do stupid things, like make really bad music videos, and be quoted saying things they know nothing about.

A relationship between two people who care about each other, who share intimacies, both emotional and physical, who trust each other, who open their vulnerabilities to each other, who offer loving consideration to each other, and who, at the end of the day, want to have a life, or at least a now, with each other that makes room for two people to be who they are, together and as individuals. There is an emotional bond that’s there, wrapped with similar values and a way of working things through. And love. There’s always love to consider, unless of course it isn’t there to begin with. And that’s about the choice of partner, isn’t it?

Seems the star of the video has some work to do in that area of her life because if she makes wrong choices with men, and is playing at gay, chances are she’ll make wrong choices with women because she won’t be able to take in that the only perfect relationship is one where two people want it, work at it, and accept each other as being imperfectly perfect for each other. Now THAT’S a video I’d love to see!

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Ah, women. They make the highs higher and the lows more frequent.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

NB: No straight women were harmed in the creation of this rant.

About FS

Toronto, Canada. Writing about slices of life, the moments and minor details of which come into awareness or out of imagination and the spaces inbetween. On hiatus from writing anywhere else but here ... at least for now.
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24 Responses to Oh, those silly straight women

  1. teenbutch says:

    I completely agree, I Kissed a Girl makes me want to vomit. Half the words are saying that it’s bad to kiss girls. Oh, and amazingly, this is tomboy.

  2. Very succintly said. It is very true. I think straight mainstream girls (that haven’t deeply thought about what it is and means to be a lesbian/queer/gay/bi) don’t get the depths and similarities of lesbian / gay relationships and straight relationships. Also, straight girls that dabble in kissing girls for their boyfriend’s gratification certainly contributes to the mainstream straight perception that lesbian intimacy is for men’s interest. What a backward conservative non-understanding view. Don’t get me wrong, the visibility and acceptance and greater tolerance of lesbian/gay/bisexual lifestyles particularly in teenage culture (such as Glee) is fantastic. And along with the average person supporting gay marriage (in Australia, according to some poles, about 60% of the population supports gay marriage) being lesbian/gay/bi is a lot easier than past years. But in pop culture lesbianism/being gay/sexuality can still be treated flippantly and a topic of gossip and speculation. Which is hard when your guilty pleasure is to read gossipy crappy magazines and see who is “gay” – its a fine line for me sometimes as a feminist and thinking woman! I guess when you read a lesbian magazine and it mentions that certain women are suspected to be gay both the lesbian publishers and readers view it from a different way – there is a level of respect, rapport etc. It’s an intriguing topic and it’s good that you’ve voiced what a lot of young lesbian / gay women think.

    • FS says:

      Dear SS: Thank you 🙂. GUilty pleasures that you’re aware of I think….can work in one’s favour. 😉

  3. Sarah says:

    ” . . . at the end of the day, want to have a life, or at least a now, with each other”

    exquisitely expressed, as usual. Oh so true! (As I continue to try to get used to my “now” after my love’s life has ended . . .)

    Thanks for sharing your cogitations — best wishes for your 2012,

    –Sarah

    • FS says:

      Sarah; Thank you. You are most welcome. I have been wondering how you are. 🙂. This new year, this leap year, I wish you calm breaths and a gentling of the edges of a place and a space that is hard to get used to. Question: Have you read Mary Oliver? About her life and any of her poems?

      • Sarah says:

        That’s kind of you to wonder — I continue to put one foot in front of the other, and (still) feel myself coming back to life. The journey is not one I would have chosen, but I continue to be grateful for the help/love along the way . . . I like your “gentling of the edges” phrasing — yes, there continues to be that, thanks.

        Mary Oliver? I “tried” her several years ago and was completely intimidated/not drawn in. Perhaps I should try again?

        best wishes,

        –Sarah

      • FS says:

        I might have suggested Mary Oliver (now that I think about it…) because of an interview she gave to Maria shriver in which she talked about losing her partner — a woman — and one she’d been with for forty year. It was not an indepth interview but it was powerful.

        Oliver is seemingly simple, and not for everyone as a poet, given her metaphors are often nature. But sometimes, as you discover the world with new or different eyes, things that have sat on shelves untouched, suddenly look quite different.

      • Sarah says:

        BTW, in case it interests you, a friend has created a film (currently making the rounds of film festivals) of the end of my spouse’s life, entitled “So I’m Dying . . . now what?” I hesitate to give the details or link it, but (hoping you won’t mind) the film-maker’s website is at spiritvalleypictures (dot) com, FYI.

      • FS says:

        Sarah; Thank you, and please: I do not mind at all. How very brave and cool about the film, and hospice support is always good. (Adding life to days…)

        Having the film seems bring a different dimension to the journey you spoke of in your earlier comment: having it all there to rewind, mirroring (or perhaps not) some of what’s held in memory Mind if I ponder the ramifications of that…? Memory is not a reliable source sometimes.

        First, I quite like Guelph — in the summer. 😉 Second: Wow: to the film clip. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Erin Roof says:

    Thanks for describing that video so I didn’t have to watch it.

    • FS says:

      You are most welcome…but let’s just say that we — those of us do not want to be guilty of confirmation bias — sometimes subject our sensitivities to all sorts of weird stuff, so that we can not only have front row seats to witness the witless, but also, as part of a truth-seeling mission to not take someone else’s word for anything. (Although my word is good, you, as a grammar goddess, might have a different take on it.😉 )

  5. natasiarose says:

    I completely agree! It’s sooo annoying. A woman can break your heart just as bad as a man can! Ugh. Not to be a silly gay girl…but I think it’s a lot worse. I totally wish I was straight. :p

  6. makingspace1 says:

    Odd this should come across my Inbox just as I’m thinking the exact opposite of our straight girl-who-wants-to-be-a-star. I have been pondering the fact that everything is so much more intense, and so in some ways, more painful, when it comes to women. After a lifetime of living straight, and wondering about lack of connection and all sort of relational dynamics within a long-term relationship, I’m discovering that I was right. Those same things do exist with women. But they feel so much better when they go right. And soooooo much worse when they go wrong. It’s like, finding the intensity of a relationship is only possible when you’re with the gender of person you’re supposed to be with. So I suspect our silly straight chick would indeed discover that things aren’t as intense with a woman. But jeebus. Why would you want to trade the highs and lows for the constant frustration of just not fitting, not quite fitting, ever?

    Going through some lows right now but even with that I wouldn’t trade it. What SSC doesn’t know is how close the trip is from living an inauthentic life to getting suicidal. Better to deal with your real self, real identity, real life, and live. Highs, lows, everything. Even the pain is better than the belief that you don’t deserve to live.

    I should sit down with SSC over coffee one day. Hmph.

    • FS says:

      Dear MS: You’re right: living as someone you’re not, and being acutely aware of that, can not be a good place. Living real means being open to all that life is, and it isn’t a life that’s outside of us, is it? It’s the life inside brought to fruition. I am sorry to hear that you are going through some lows. May this new year put the steps to getting out of that valley in front of you 🙂.

  7. Malkor says:

    Oh dear. I only managed to take the video for 40 seconds.

    Your dissection of that interview is delicious. Video and interview are all about publicity. One might think we should be used to people talking about things they have no clue about by now. I can’t ignore publicity trash talk about something that irks me either. Seems to be a mainstream thing.

    The way you vented in this post is impressive. One more very insightful, smart and quite witty entry.

    … being imperfectly perfect for each other. <- That line is awesome.

    My respect

    • FS says:

      Dear Malkor. Thank you very much. Confession: I did grit my teeth through the video: sacrificing my better sensibilities for the sake of learning. Or perhaps out of utter disbelief. Was I really seeing what I was seeing?? I suppose a peek into the sides of the mainstream is necessary but oh my goddess it hurts. 😉

  8. Valerie says:

    Great post! Love the touch of sarcasm in the choice of this pretty and flowery word: “silly”….
    I would have been tempted to use words like… oh I don’t know…. obliviously ignorant?… dumbfoundingly stupid? …. profoundly obtuse? .., but the effect would have been completely different. I do love your style…😉

    • FS says:

      Dear V: A touch of sarcasm? Moi?? Surely you jest. I was worried it was fairly dripping down the walls 😉.
      Thank you — I am glad you enjoyed it.

  9. bookishbutch says:

    A worthy rant🙂 My favourite is when women talk about feminism and the continued oppression of women but, feel this sick need to say – basically, men are wonderful and how they all adore them and how of course, they aren’t lesbians. As if lesbians are somehow other and men haters, I don’t get that, how does loving women make you a hater of men? But, what do I know I’m just a clueless butch🙂
    Happy New Year, it’s good to end the year with a rant. Hug.

    • FS says:

      My Dear BB: You? Clueless? As if!! It’s quite an amazing feat of perverse marketing how feminism has become associated in the public mind with all the evils of the world and with man hating. I’d love to do the new social marketing campaign for it, starting with the research, to unravel those threads of how did we get to that (American right winger sound bites nothwithstanding).

      And thank you. Have a wonderful new year 🙂

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