The institution of sexual intercourse is anti-feminist
Lesbophobia is, like lesbianism itself, invisibalised in favour of more respected social forms. The wider amorphous ‘homophobia’ serves today as a catchall for any anti-gay sentiment, but it only really captures what gay men face: prejudice and discrimination based on their sexuality i.e same-sex attraction (to other men). Anti-gay prejudice experienced by men is pure homophobia, whereas lesbophobia is purely misogynistic. It is not the same-sex element of lesbianism, that two women engage sexually together that is objected to (as we know, many people enjoy watching depictions of lesbianism in porn and heterosexual women will perform lesbianism for men’s arousal). It is the sexual prohibition against men that is hated and is the root cause of lesbophobia.
If anti-lesbianism is to do with imposing a sexual boundary against men – something all women experience opposition to and potential reprisal for when saying “no” to men or a particular man – lesbophobia therefore has a universal quality to do with the sexual politics of women as a sex.
Women are sexually oppressed as a class, whereas men are not. Not even gay men face structural oppression due to their sexuality or sex (if we are to separate oppression out from prejudice and discrimination). If we understand prejudice, discrimination, and oppression as separate forms, oppression is structural and exists both as a manifestation (a social reality) and a function (society functions only as it does through the necessary oppression and super-exploitation of oppressed groups, specifically; women and people of colour).
Our societies require women to exist as a sexual resource and must be oppressed sexually in order for it to function as it currently does and reproduce itself – through appropriating women’s sexual capacity and burdening us with social reproduction in the home – society does not need gay men to exist or be oppressed for it to function. This is not to diminish the violent discrimination or virulent prejudice many gay men face globally, but rather, to clarify that anti-lesbianism is embedded in the wider picture of women’s sexual oppression as a sex class.
As Ti-Grace Atkinson wrote in Amazon Odyssey (1974) lesbians are kind of ‘sexual renegades’ who refuse to take part in sexual appropriation by men and we face specific prejudice for that refusal. But the prejudice related to that sexual refusal only exists because of the wider context of women’s sexual oppression.
Why does this matter? Because oppression surrounding sex class (women) and sexuality (lesbian or heterosexual) are defined by social relations. Biological sex class and sexual orientations are not simply identities and the recent rapid proliferation of sexual identities has obscured that reality. Whilst women’s sexual oppression is rooted in sexual biology, it is still realised through social relations. If we were to transform social relations, we could transform women’s oppression and rid the female sex of sexual oppression entirely (that does not however mean that things like the risks pregnancy brings, the medicalisation of the female body involved, the injuries and trauma of giving birth, the enormously depleting care required for raising a child, etc. would not be difficult or disappear, but oppression does not equate to difficult or dangerous).
Lesbophobia contains very few shared terms with the homophobia gay men face because of its roots in sexual difference (biological sex). One shared characteristic is that gender non-conforming dress and behaviours commonly elicit homophobic responses towards both gay men and lesbians, or, in actuality, anyone who is gender non-conforming. Gender, as a set of social relations and norms that organise the sexual hierarchy of male dominance and female submission, is key to understanding lesbophobia and all other forms of misogyny.
If women’s oppression is due to our biological sexual reproductive capacity, lesbianism is a stumbling block to the goal of female reproduction reproducing male-serving structures i.e why women are required by society to be sexually oppressed in the first place. Lesbophobia illustrates to us the specific discrimination and prejudice women face when we do not comply with the reproductive expectation placed on all women. That anti-lesbian prejudice and discrimination shows us how important oppressive gender roles still are to our society (gender role refers to stereotypes of women as domestic, suited to the private world of the home, unsuited to the public world of work or politics and concerned with accompanying feminine pursuits such as clothes, decoration, cooking, jewellery, talking about children, ‘gossip’, etc.)
If lesbophobia is, as I claim, a specific form of misogyny; lesbophobic misogyny, it is the rawest kind because lesbianism loudly declares unwillingness to take part in women’s sexual reproductive capacity. Even if a lesbian couple decides to reproduce using modern technological techniques like IVF, that child is not male property of a father and they have not allowed sexual male access to themselves. It should be noted though that lesbian couples that do marry and reproduce, following the heterosexual model, are recently much more applauded by heterosexual society much more than others who refuse to replicate the nuclear family.
Lesbophobia in that regard is likely very similar to the prejudice ‘spinsters’ and unmarried women faced historically. It should come as no surprise the majority of witches burned were widows or unmarried women (women lacking male protection and not of domestic or sexual use to any particular man). Lesbians, and women who don’t allow sexual access to men for whatever reason, are therefore a problem for reproducing society socially as it currently exists (particularly during their years of fertility).
That refusal of heterosexuality informs almost all of the characteristics of lesbophobia. Firstly, the idea that lesbians are ugly and ‘unfuckable’: a classic patriarchal reversal. Lesbians refuse men, a refusal that must be hidden, so it is reversed into a male refusal of us. Secondly, the notion that lesbians are manlike or in fact men, to signal attention our deviance and again assure everybody we are simply not ‘normal’ women. Thirdly, sexual harassment or corrective rape, to demonstrate that lesbians, and in fact no women, can escape male sexual attention. Lastly, the figure of the isolated and unhappy ‘spinster’ lesbian who must be miserable and lonely (to show straight women what might become of them should their stray from the righteous path of marital family life).
All of these contours arrange towards presenting heterosexuality as desirable or inescapable. Lesbophobia is a buttress against turning away from sexual reproduction with a man and all of the things that are intended to go with it for women; pregnancy, marriage, domestic servitude, childrearing, etc. Lesbophobia therefore is just one mechanism that secures women’s sexual appropriation by men, cements women’s domestic exploitation by men, and shores up reproduction by helping to ensure its continuance. The mistreatment of lesbians serves as a warning to all women. Is it any wonder many same-sex attracted women like to call themselves ‘bisexual’ (even when really not) in order to appease others by not signalling a sexual barrier to men?
When women refuse men’s advances it isn’t unknown for there to be the comment, “are you a lesbian?”, as if her rejection is otherwise incomprehensible. Similarly, how many of us have heard women asked why they don’t have a boyfriend through the quip of, “what, are you a lesbian?” raised as both ridicule and simultaneous warning of what she will be regarded as unless she attaches herself to a man.
In sharp contrast to the spectre of the unadmirable desolate lesbian ‘spinster’, lesbians live longer than women married to men and earn almost 10% more on average than heterosexual women. Kids do fair statistically better too without a man around as research shows there is a 0% child abuse rate within lesbian households.
What form does lesbophobia take practically? Prejudice and harassment at work are common, manifesting in the form of lesbophobic comments, often poorly disguised as ‘banter’ or ‘jokes’ (always at lesbians’ expense) that actually amount to sexualisation, sexual bullying, and sexual degradation. Within the workplace lesbians are targeted for a lack of conformity as women, despite it being far from the site of the family (the home). For some us we do not need to ‘come out’ at work, it is already guessed by everyone we meet that we are lesbians due to, basically, gender non-conformity in terms of appearance, mannerism, gait, voice, and distance from the behavioural norms expected of women (femininity).
However unique or unusual lesbians as women sometimes are, what we are subjected to in terms of lesbophobia is related to the universal status of women and indicative of how hotly policed women overall are. Being reduced to our sexuality is a universal diminishment all women face. If for lesbians, explicit refusal to have a sexuality that is available to men, lesbophobia represents a particular height of misogyny; that a woman is worthless and to be demeaned if she does not accrue legitimacy in the eyes of men. Lesbophobia directly stems from a woman who enforces a sexual boundary because her refusal encapsulates the possibility of any other woman refusing to be sexualised by men. Lesbians represent a “no” to men that is unfathomable at best, and violently hated at worst.
The lesbian couple attacked on a London bus in Camden in 2019 after refusing to perform for a group of teenaged boys who demanded they kiss each other represents how lesbophobia exists as hatred of non-compliant women. Five boys between the ages of fifteen and eighteen surrounded the women on the bottom floor of the night bus, demanding they kiss and “show them how lesbians have sex”, before throwing coins at them, which escalated to physically beating the women. Dr. Melania Geymona later wrote her account of the attack on Facebook, “I’m tired of being taken as a SEXUAL OBJECT”. Her partner Christine Hannigan later said at the trial they had been targeted “because of who they were”. But who is it that they were? Women who refused sexualisation on command.
In refusing to perform sexually for the teenage boys each of these women signalled their sexuality was their own. Not even that her sexuality was reserved for her girlfriend, or other women generally, but simply that her sexuality was her own property. Women defying the conception of themselves as the sexual property of men is a fundamental challenge to patriarchy and capitalist reproduction. If lesbians are categorical ‘refuseniks’ then so is every woman each time she refuses to be sexualised. “In the first place they came towards us because we were seen as sexual objects,” Dr. Geymonat told The Times. The wider edifice of heterosexual social relations that extrudes a woman’s sexuality from her looms large. Naturally, the lesbian couple attacked on the bus are joining the campaign to support new government legislation in the UK to make misogyny a hate crime.
Because lesbophobia is an incarnation of sexism and everyday misogyny, as a recognised phenomenon it is almost entirely absent from the gay male-centred discourse of ‘homophobia’. Gay male culture, from drag queens to the deprioritising of lesbian issues within the historical gay liberation movement, indicates a male supremacist culture.
Male domination is why so many lesbians split from the mixed gay liberation movement, so their voices could be heard and lesbian struggles prioritised for once. Some gay men do show solidarity with lesbians, but today not noticeably more than straight men do.
For those of us who have experienced lesbophobic verbal slurs in the street, or physical assault, none of the assailants ever checked if we were really were ‘dykes’ first. A woman’s lack of compliance with gender norms is enough to make a good guesstimate that she is a deviant ‘dyke’. Beyond this, I would go further and say it’s not even an estimate – what women who refuse men are really being punished for is a lack of sexual agreeability to men even visually (sometimes referred to as the ‘male gaze’). Any woman can receive punishment for refusing men, or be displeasing to men’s eye, not only lesbians.
In conclusion, lesbians have far more in common with heterosexual women than we do gay men. All women are oppressed due to our sex and sexuality (sexual capacity) and we navigate the sexist world around us, having the same gender expectations imposed on us, and all risk reprisal whenever we say “no” to men sexually.
Jen Izaakson is a lesbian feminist and Marxist. Jen has just completed a PhD thesis on the question of ideology and indeterminacy in Freud and Queer Theory.
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The first dichotomous division of this mass [mankind] is said to have been on the grounds of sex: male and female ... it was because half the human race bears the burden of the reproductive process and because man, the ‘rational’ animal, had the wit to take advantage of that, that the childbearers, or the 'beasts of burden,' were corralled into a political class: equivocating the biologically contingent burden into a political (or necessary) penalty, thereby modifying these individuals’ definition from the human to the functional, or animal.
- Ti-Grace Atkinson, Radical Feminism.
On two separate casts, two actresses share a last name but aren’t related, one being a principal actress while the other a swing: Brittany Mack (principal Cleves) and Courtney Mack on Broadway, as well as Amelia Walker (principal Parr) and Elizabeth Walker on the first Breakaway cruise production. There is also a third technical occurrence, that being Alexia McIntosh (principal Cleves) and Zara MacIntosh on the West End; note the slight spelling difference.
Every actress who has an accented é in their name have all been principal Aragons: Reneé Lamb (Album), Jarnéia Richard-Noel (West End), and Chloé Zuel (Australia).
Shantel Cribbs, an understudy Cleves for the St. Paul run of the NA Tour, is the only actress not to appear in the Six Worldwide music video.
Shekinah MacFarlane (former West End alternate for Aragon/Cleves and current 2nd UK Tour Cleves) had an initial contract that would’ve given her Boleyn/Seymour and Howard/Parr for her 2nd and 3rd covers respectively, but time constraints barred her from learning these roles.
Two actresses share the initials NP: Natalie Paris (West End Seymour) and Natalie Pilkington (Bliss 1.0 alternate).
Boleyn has been played by the largest amount of LGBTQ+ actresses (Millie O'Connell, Courtney Stapleton, Maddison Bulleyment, Harriet Watson, Hazel Karooma-Brooker, Kelly Sweeney and Karis Oka).
The last alternate to make their on-stage debut would be Karis Oka, an Australia alternate who debuted as Cleves on February 29, 2020.
If you count the cancelled drive-in tour, Natalie Paris is the actress who has been involved with the most productions at 4 (Album, 1st UK Tour, West End, Drive-In).
Only 7 actresses have names that lack the letter “a”; Chloé Zuel, Millie O’Connell, Kelly Sweeney, Loren Hunter, Sophie Golden, Jodie Steele, and Viquichelle Cross. Coincidentally, there’s at least 1 actress for every queen and everyone listed is a principal actress.
Harriet Watson (2nd UK Tour) is currently the only alternate with one queen away from completing swingo.
All swings in the current West End cast (barring Collette) are 2 queens away from completing swingo.
All the queens have had exactly 10 principal actresses except for Howard, who has 13 (Unless you count that time Cherelle Jay was supposed to go on as principal Cleves for that cancelled drive-in tour, then in which case Cleves’ actresses jump to 11).
Emily Harrigan (Bliss 2.0 rehearsal swing) went on as Cleves for a single Disneyland performance of Ex-Wives, technically meaning that she had her stage debut before any of her other Bliss 2.0 castmates.
Cleves and Parr are tied at 5 for the most costume changes.
Grace Mouat, (West End and 1st UK Tour alternate) debuted every queen in the span of one month.
Courtney Mack (NA Tour and Broadway) is the first alternate to initially debut in a principal role, that being Howard.
West End has had the most principal cast replacements at 4, unless you count Bliss 1.0 and 2.0 being the same production, then in which case the number jumps to 7.
On the West End’s July 28 2019 show, five out of the six who went on that day were LGBTQ+ (Millie O’Connell, Courtney Stapleton, Genesis Lynea, Aimie Atkinson and Toby Marlow), the highest out of any show.
6 different alternates have been promoted to a principal role: Vicki Manser (West End Howard), Shekinah MacFarlane (2nd UK Tour Cleves), Mallory Maedke (NA Tour Seymour), Nicole Kyoung-Mi Lambert (NA Tour Aragon and Cleves), Bryony Duncan (Bliss 1.0 Howard), and Amy Bridges (Breakaway 1.0 Seymourr). There is also Maddison Firth, a Breakaway 1.0 rehearsal swing who is slated to be principal Howard for Breakaway 2.0.
This was published 1990 in a book called Dykes-Loving-Dykes: Dyke Separatist Politics for Lesbians Only and illustrates exactly the long-standing issue with women appropriating lesbianism, using their political beliefs to try to define female homosexual existence in relation to opposing men. The agenda, of course, is to say fuck males and to fight the ever elusive and ever changing culture of patriarchy.
That’s 100% relevant and helpful for actual homosexual females....not.
I’ll make this short though, this is just to show how feminists been appropriating lesbians and applying their values to lesbian existence.
In the 1980’s, a decade of reactionary politics, femininity became an accepted value among many Lesbians. Even many politically radical Lesbians, who I would most expect to support Lesbian self-love and self-respect, who usually call male bullshit for what it is, began to openly admire feminine ways of dressing and acting. Femininity! A patriarchal hype if there ever was one.
Lesbians who didn’t look the way you personally think is more useful for your cause probably didn’t care to make a political statement out of their existence. The point of lesbians seeking lesbian communities is to find other lesbians - with the exception of those who WANTED to seek out political radical lesbian communities. That is not an inherent aspect of our existence, and to be honest, it’s not even a large part of it as women appropriating lesbians usually populated those communities. Here is a recap of the origins of radical “lesbian” separatism: *** [ In the late 70s a group of lesbians in Leeds, known as revolutionary feminists (RFs), made a controversial move that resonated loudly for me and many other women. They began calling for all feminists to embrace lesbianism. Appealing to their heterosexual sisters to get rid of men “from your beds and your heads”, they started a debate, which reached its height in 1981 with the publication of an infamous booklet, Love Your Enemy? The Debate Between Heterosexual Feminism and Political Lesbianism (LYE). In this, the RFs wrote that, “all feminists can and should be lesbians. Our definition of a political lesbian is a woman-identified woman who does not fuck men. It does not mean compulsory sexual activity with women. It’s no surprise that the booklet was so controversial. “We think serious feminists have no choice but to abandon heterosexuality,” it reads. “Only in the system of oppression that is male supremacy does the oppressor actually invade and colonise the interior of the body of the oppressed.” https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/jan/30/women-gayrights “Political lesbianism originated in the late 1960s among second wave radical feminists as a way to fight sexism and compulsory heterosexuality. Sheila Jeffreys helped to develop the concept when she co-wrote “Love Your Enemy? The Debate Between Heterosexual Feminism and Political Lesbianism” with the Leeds Revolutionary Feminist Group. They argued that women should abandon support of heterosexuality and stop sleeping with men, while encouraging women to rid men “from your beds and your heads.” Heterosexual behavior is seen as the basic unit of the patriarchy’s political structure, lesbians who reject heterosexual behavior therefore disrupt the established political system.Ti-Grace Atkinson, a radical feminist who helped to found the group The Feminists, is attributed with the phrase that embodies the movement: ‘Feminism is the theory; lesbianism is the practice.’” ] ***
Lesbians’ acceptance of anything “feminine” is part of the weakening of Lesbian politics—a Lesbian parallel to the right-wing trend of het politics.
LOL good. Being a lesbian does not mean representing anything political. Also what the fuck? This is where queer activists got their penchant for calling lesbians Nazis lol. Where’s that meme that’s like, anyone I don’t like is a Nazi? lol great homophobia, Queen/dumbass.
Those Lesbians who act out the feminine model and claim it’s a contribution to Lesbian culture, a flowering forth of their “real selves,” are of course Fems
So feminine lesbians’ real selves aren’t acceptable within your framework because they trigger your contempt of gender presentation that you yourself do not have to take part of? But your “real self” - a non-lesbian pretending to be a lesbian - is commendable because you want other lesbians to act and look exactly how you do which supposedly is off-putting to patriarchy AKA you use our sexual orientation to say fuck you to men? I think not.
The het media is full of stories about the het feminist who “realizes that she doesn’t have to give up being a woman to be a success in life,” who “regrets having tried to be like a man,” and is now “rediscovering the excitement of feminine seductiveness, the fun of dressing up in high heels, make-up and skirts, and her deep need for the joys of motherhood.”
“Realizes she doesn’t have to give up being a woman to be a success in life”; “and her deep need for the joys of motherhood.” So you understand femininity = heterosexuality. This is the 80s/90s, I wonder what her opinion is now that ‘femininity’ has changed: heterosexual women wear gym clothes, lift weights, have short hair, wear no make up or minimal make up etc., and men love it. And yet I see feminists also say that heterosexual women who are like this are still trying to please men and so are still feminine even though what they’re doing and how they’re looking is not “feminine” according to the original perception. So what’s the truth about ‘femininity?’ It’s equating it to anything that heterosexual men find appealing, which changes constantly. You really want lesbians to spend time to think about how to be as unappealing to males as possible when they’re not even relevant and so don’t dominate our every thought and action (unlike you maybe because you’re not homosexual and so have to try harder?)? Please, get real.
She’s a threat to the Big Lie of “feminine woman,” and so men and their women collaborators make up all kinds of ridiculous, hateful fictions to explain away her existence. The pressure is meant to humiliate and bully her into accepting femininity, and it must put her through soul-shaking self-doubt, even if she knows other Butches.
While I do know this happens, the reason behind that is homophobia 100%, being “masculine” appearing is a red marker of homosexuality. The threat is the big lie of heterosexuality. “Feminine” lesbians were assaulted when with their partners or if found out that they are indeed homosexual, they were just less of an obvious target than “masculine” women. It’s not Oppression Olympics, this should be used to understand hate crimes against homosexual women.
Meanwhile, girls who accept femininity—the vast majority, unfortunately—are accepted as “real girls” and encouraged to take pride in their feminine ways. There are degrees of femininity, of course. Some Fem girls accept the complete emaciated drag queen sex-object ideal while others take on just enough feminine identity to still be accepted as real girls.
“Real girls.” I was definitely acknowledged as a “real girl” when I was still more “unfeminine” in my appearance and not out than I am right now being out. What degree of ‘femininity’ am I considered to exhibit now according to feminist praxis, who knows. Either way, my relatives disagree that any amount of femininity would make me a ‘normal’ female. My mother was sad toward the end of her life because she felt conflicted that I wasn’t a ‘real’ female. You know what would’ve changed her perception? Being with a man and having kids.
It means spending time, energy and money on nail polish, perfume, hair-do’s, dresses, diets, body-shaping exercises, poses and games; fantasizing yourself as the center of sexual attention, making everything into a sexual game, getting yourself further and further away from female reality, from real female Lesbian power. It means identifying more and more with het values and choosing to see yourself through men’s eyes.
I thought femininity was clothes, makeup and seeking to attract men. Then it’s wanting a family and diet and exercise, which aren’t exclusive to heterosexual men and women. But because heterosexual males find that appealing in their lives it’s considered feminine? So, again, “femininity” is anything heterosexual males find appealing in females. Got it. And that answers my question about what her thoughts probably are on contemporary “femininity.”
Most importantly, choosing to be an obvious Lesbian is about living with integrity. A Butch’s choice to resist femininity is the choice of a female who’s being true to herself, choosing to be as alive to her female self as possible, regardless of the punishments inflicted on her as a result. I find in that resistance a key to Dyke power, Dyke beauty and Dyke love.
A lesbian being an actual lesbian - not pretending to be one or basing her existence on her capability to spite heterosexual males and females - and living her damn life is living in integrity period. Associating a lesbian’s life with political intent and political values has no integrity, is manipulative and is suspect as hell.
William F Buckley’s sister, Patricia, once followed the example of Ignatius Loyola (sorta) and punched Ti-Grace Atkinson in the face for saying that Mary the Mother of God had sex. And this anecdote doesn’t activate me as a feminist really but it strongly does as a Protestant. I feel so profoundly Protestant in the face of this historical fun fact.
- Reading: Tales of the Lavender Menace by Karla Jay (part 1 here)
On organising a women-only dance event as part of the GLF, and asking their “heterosexual sisters of the women’s movement” to attend, out of fear of failure of the event:
“We asked them to come to the dance as an act of support. Many of the women I knew from of Redstockings and Rat [Rat Subterranean News, a radical bi-monthly that had begun publishing in fall 1969, taken over by militant feminists in 1970] agreed to come. Just under the surface of solidarity, however, lurked tensions. When I mistakenly asked one woman twice, she accused me of trying to transform her into a lesbian.
Some of the women I asked refused to attend. Many of them objected to the very notion of dances for the same reasons I did. A few feminists had additional objections as well. One woman, writing for Rat, expressed a “ fear of breaking down this political, nearly formal relationship with my sisters and sisters I would meet.” Her phobia about “dancing with sisters because it means ‘sexual’” was one I encountered often. It might have been difficult for straight women to appreciate just how political a women’s dance was. In New York State it was illegal for two people of the same sex to dance together. Just by dancing, we were challenging as system that refused to let us be ourselves.“ p. 127-128
And here lesbophobia lurks. There is a palpable fear emanating from the straight women Karla Jay’s writes about, the fear of being seen as a lesbian. What would be so terrible in being mistaken for a lesbian by other women? Nothing, unless you hold—and you know the society you live in holds—a terrible view of lesbians, as disgusting and despicable creature, as sex-crazed deviant women. Lesbians are just women who happen to be only attracted to other women. Nothing to fear here.
“Lesbians whose only involvement was withe the Women’s Liberation Movement were generally no better off than those of us connected with the Gay Liberation Front. Most heterosexual feminists were no better at hearing us than gay men were. Conservative elements of the women’s movement were openly hostile to lesbians. For instance, Betty Friedan had branded us a “lavender menace.” Lesbians, she believed, would blight the reputation of the National Organization for Women [NOW] if its members were labeled “man-haters” and “a bunch of dykes.” The very threat of such an appellation led NOW to deny the number of lesbians in its ranks. Lesbophobia was so virulent that NOW omitted the name of the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis from the list of sponsors for the First Congress to Unite Women, a conference that NOW organized in November 1969 as a forum for New York area feminists.” p. 137
How hypocritical do you have to be to accept financial donation but refuse to name the benefactors? As I have previously touched upon, the reason for this hostility was mostly a question of appearance in the eyes of men and the mainstream media. The reputation of the women’s liberation movement had to be safe-guarded, lest women participating be described as lesbians, that supreme insult. What a shame that would have been, if these respectable heterosexual women were put in the same basket as lesbians. This performative lesbophobia is but an attempt at appeasing the dominant males, to make sure that even if women are campaigning for a little betterment of their existence, for a little relief from their oppression, men are still not too displeased with them. It’s an attempt to diminish the backlash. But how much are these heterosexual women loosing by compromising in such a way? Haven’t they already lost? By being afraid of what the public and especially the men will think if they are associated with lesbians, have they not immediately failed at liberating women? Because lesbians are women too. As long as one woman is in chain, we are not free, even if this woman is a lesbian.
Rita Mae Brown decried the leadership of NOW as “consciously [oppressing] other women on the question of sexual preference…. Lesbian is the one word that can cause the Executive Committee a collective heart attack. This issue is dismissed as unimportant, too dangerous to contemplate, divisive or whatever excuse could be dredged up from their repression.” (p. 138)
“I some ways the stage was already set for a massive lesbian rebellion. Not all feminist groups, of course, were as homophobic as NOW, and a number of radical women were quietly experimenting with lesbianism. Redstockings’ “prowoman line” publicly supported all women, including lesbians, even if many straight women privately considered our concerns less weighty than those of women who had to do battle every day in the master’s bed. Ti-Grace Atkinson, who had broken from NOW in October 1969 and founded The Feminists, may have been the most pro-lesbian. The Feminists was the only group to limit the number of married women in its ranks. Ti-Grace preached abstinence (the Republicans today would adore her) but accepted lesbianism as an alternative form of sexuality, at least until the revolution had equalized power relations between the sexes. In Amazon Odyssey, a collection of her writings published in 1974, Ti-Grace wrote that “lesbianism has been a kind of code word for female resistance. Lesbianism is, in many ways, symbolic of feminism as a political movement.” She admired lesbianism as a “full commitment” to other women that surpassed the part-time involvement of the women who were married or living with a boyfriend. Of course, some heterosexual women, including Ti-Grace, were fully devoted to feminism, even though they had never engaged in lesbian sex.” p. 138
In a way, it is a relief to learn that some straight women were supportive of lesbian voices. But there also comes the worry that straight women are merely supporting a version of lesbianism that they find palatable and useful to further their own interests. Ti-Grace Atkinson said that “lesbianism has been a kind of code word for female resistance. Lesbianism is, in many ways, symbolic of feminism as a political movement.” but lesbianism is nothing more than female exclusive attraction to women. Nothing political about it, nothing rebellion, nothing of resistance to men. It’s a state of being, and denaturating it as something in relation to men is not helping lesbians. As if we were only lesbians because we hate men, as if we were only lesbians because we want to fight patriarchy. This kind of reasoning opens the door wide for political lesbianism, which is an insult to lesbians.
“But this provisional acceptance was an exception in a movement that was apologetic, dismissive or even downright derisive about the presence of lesbians in its midst. Calls for attention to lesbian issues were attacked as divisive. […] [J]ust as many of the GLF [Gay Liberation Front] women believed that our liberation was intrinsically linked to that of gay men, lesbian/feminists felt a pressing need for the women’s movement to recognize our oppression. As Sidney Abbott and Barbara Love later wrote in their 1972 book Sappho Was a Right-On Woman: “For Lesbians, Women’s Liberation is not an intellectual or emotional luxury but a personal imperative. Living without the approval or support of men, Lesbians desperately need women’s rights. For Lesbians, independence and responsibility for self are lifelong realities and not merely interim needs between support by father and support by husband”.” p. 138-139
Despite lesbians having a strong stake in women’s liberation, because we cannot really compromise with our oppressor or be satisfied with the status quo, lesbians’ voices and expectations are dismissed by mainstream feminism. Again, we might be accused of not having any interest in women’s liberation (because we are not married to men) or of not knowing what we are talking about (because lesbians live in a vacuum and are never oppressed by men), when we could bring some detachment and clarity on the subject of men.
The Lavender Menace action took place in response to mainstream women’s liberation movement completely disregarding lesbian voices. However, it doesn’t seem to have changed much. A few workshops were organised, but things soon returned to the previous normal.
“Although it seems like a long time ago, mainstream feminists still remember the Lavender Menace action. In 1987 I was invited to an awards ceremony […] Afterward, in the lobby, I found myself standing next to Betty Friedan. I was certain that she wouldn’t recognise me—it had been more than a decade since she had last seen me. But she hadn’t changed much, so perhaps I looked more like my old self than I thought. Betty scowled at me. She shifted her drink to her left hand and crooked a gnarled finger in my direction.
“You! You!” she squealed. “You caused me so much trouble!”
I laughed, even though I didn’t think she intended to be funny. “No Betty,” I replied, “you caused yourself trouble. Get over it.” And I walked away.” p. 145-146
Lesbians are not the enemy. We too want women to live free from oppression by men. We just happen to have different experiences than those of straight women. This makes our inputs all the more valuable because they might shed light on some previous blind spots. And remember, lesbians are women too. We also have a stake in women’s liberation, and we deserve to live free of oppression.
First part here.
just pokémon the muses would have on a team they might make or some they might gravitate towards. Not every pokémon listed will have a story/list of headcanons to accompany them because I am lazy.
Reanne Atkinson “Strength and beauty--it’s the perfect combo to destroy you. You’ll regret challenging me.”
pokémon 1: Milotic ♂ / lvl. 79 / relaxed / competitive [move set: dragon pulse / aqua tail / iron tail / ice beam]
She was really lucky to encounter a Feebas to begin with. She had taken to walking by the lake to cool off after things got out of control within her house, and she’d often complain aloud to the sea or simply vent to nobody as she sat close to the water’s edge. Sometimes, she’d be able to spot some sort of pokémon in the distance.
As she continued her visits, she’d be able to tell the silhouette in the distance was present more often; sometimes, it’d seem it was slowly growing closer to the shoreline. Eventually, she learned it was a Feebas that had been listening on her the whole time.
Over time, she grew to adore the Feebas, because it had always taken the time to listen to her troubles (even if it may not understand them) and also because it may also be constantly judged for its appearance--something she could easily relate to. In a small way, she could connect with the little guy. And so, she made a point to visit much more often, sometimes bringing some food for it as well.
Once she was able to start her pokémon journey, she immediately came back to the sea, pokéballs in hand, to meet with her now close friend. Happily joining her, Feebas had become her partner pokémon. From there, the two grew closer as she progressed through gym challenges and routes across the region, her small companion eventually evolving into a beautiful Milotic.
She often thinks of her Milotic as much better than herself, despite their potentially similar circumstances.
pokémon 2: Mienshao ♀ / lvl. 77 / sassy / inner focus [move set: drain punch / focus blast / aerial ace / stone edge]
Mienshao, on the surface, looks like it’d clash with Reanne a lot, and it did initially. They didn’t get along at first as seen with disobeyed commands and ruining perfectly good food back when it was a Mienfoo. Well, it’d make sense since trainers didn’t often ask pokémon to willingly accompany them.
But over time, they did get along, after Mienfoo began seeing Reanne’s insecure points during the times it’d get hold of her foundation or take her hair ribbons while she was napping.
After those incidents where Mienfoo saw those tears and genuine shut in periods, it began to lay off on the minor bullying, opting to try and get along despite their clashing personalities and because Reanne had genuinely been trying to bond this entire time by making personalized pokémon food for everyone on the team.
Since then, Mienshao has taken to making sure the ribbons Reanne wears are in top shape and notifies her if her foundation is running low.
pokémon 3: Haxorus ♀ / lvl. 78 / adamant / mold breaker [move set: draco meteor / dragon claw / rock tomb / earthquake]
pokémon 4: Volcarona ♀ / lvl. 76 / rash / flame body [move set: bug buzz / fire blast / overheat / u-turn]
pokémon 5: Golurk - / lvl. 77 / lax / iron fist [move set: shadow punch / earthquake / focus punch / hammer arm]
pokémon 6: Bisharp ♂ / lvl. 78 / serious / defiant [move set: metal claw / night slash / x-scissor / brick break]
GENERAL VERSE HEADCANONS
Reanne does intend to eventually challenge the champion. Whether or not she actually wants the title is up in the air.
Explores the Unova region during the events of Black and White 2 and has her fair share of taking out random Team Plasma grunts.
Lives in Nuvema Town. It is unknown whether or not she was actually born there.
Really affectionate with her pokémon, but she doesn’t dote on them as much in front of other people as she has somewhat of an image to keep. Her team is aware of this and clearly just play along with it all, especially her Bisharp.
Marcel Brändle “You seriously want to battle me? Fine, let’s just get this done and over with.”
pokémon 1: Hydreigon ♂ / lvl. 75 / hardy / levitate [move set: tri attack / crunch / dragon rush / dragon pulse]
pokémon 2: Houndoom ♂ / lvl. 76 / brave / flash fire [move set: flamethrower / fire fang / crunch / inferno]
pokémon 3: Arcanine ♂ / lvl. 74 / gentle / intimidate [move set: extreme speed / thunder fang / heatwave / outrage]
pokémon 4: Honchkrow ♂ / lvl. 73 / timid / insomnia [move set:night slash / dark pulse / wing attack / foul play]
pokémon 5: Weavile ♂ / lvl. 73 / bold / pressure [move set: blizzard / dark pulse / shadow ball / fury swipes]
pokémon 6: Mightyena ♂ / lvl. 72 / lonely / quick feet [move set: take down / bite / sucker punch / swagger]
GENERAL VERSE HEADCANONS
Marcel really does not care about champion title or being the “best” trainer out there. Literally just does whatever he feels like. Most of the time, that involves him travelling and learning about the little traditions of each town he visits.
His unofficial home base is located in Humilau City. Though, it is to be mentioned, Marcel is usually travelling in other regions rather than actually being home. It’s rumored he’s not actually from Unova at all.
How his pokémon even got this strong if he doesn’t care about battling? Well, enough trainers challenged him, that’s what. On top of him letting them help him practice his own magic. Yes, he’s still a wizard (though passes of as psychic) in this verse.
Rumored that his true residence is that of the abandoned Almia Castle located in the Almia region. He knows of the legend/myth tied to the location but calls it bogus. But it sure makes good fun to scare anyone who comes by by making the place seem like it’s haunted.
Niko Mendel “Don’t you dare mock me and my pals over here! You’re going down!”
pokémon 1: Banette ♂ / lvl. 68 / jolly / insomnia [move set: shadow ball / hex / sucker punch / faint attack]
This Banette was like a parasite at first. While its antics were harmless, it certainly did make Niko look like a fool at times.
But, it’s quite obvious that Niko treasures the hell out of it. Knowing it is a cursed doll, he essentially holds onto it at night while he sleeps. This actually made Banette warm up to him quite a lot.
After Amelia broke up with him, he began doing this much more often.
pokémon 2: Dusknoir ♂ / lvl. 69 / quiet / levitate [move set: confuse ray / shadow punch / ice punch / future sight]
pokémon 3: Umbreon ♀ / lvl. 68 / gentle / levitate [move set: quick attack / confuse ray / moonlight / last resort]
pokémon 4: Cofagrigus ♂ / lvl. 69 / quirky / levitate [move set: protect / ominous wind / destiny bond / shadow ball]
pokémon 5: Spiritomb - / lvl. 70 / serious / wonder guard [move set: confuse ray / ominous wind / dark pulse / sucker punch]
pokémon 6: Mawile ♀ / lvl. 56 / lax / hyper cutter [move set: crunch / sucker punch / iron head / vice grip] deceased
Mawile was his girlfriend’s favorite pokémon, but why does Niko have one? Well, Amelia was forced to break their relationship because of her brothers’ threats. Not wanting them to hurt him, she decided it’d be better if she simply broke up with him. In exchange, she had given him her partner pokémon.
The short reason as to why this Mawile passed was simply fighting to prevent Team Rocket from going through with their plans in Lavender Town. While trying to protect Cubones from losing their skulls, Mawile’s lax nature led to a fatal mistake in judgement.
Other notable pokemon companions: Mismagius ♀, Gothitelle ♀, Haunter ♂
GENERAL VERSE HEADCANONS
Has a bunch of ghost/ghost-like pokémon to allude to his main verse status as undead; Niko is fully alive and human in this verse.
As such, ghost types/soul pokémon actually are more drawn to him. And Niko can befriend these guys pretty easily.
He and his team are tight-knit to the point where an insult about one angers literally everyone else.
Is penpals with Lian. At least during the times he’s not actually residing in Lian’s house in Sinnoh anyway.
Niko used to live in Lavender Town, set in the Kanto region. Maybe that’s why the ghost types like him so much--he often visited Pokémon Tower to leave flowers for the lost pokémon, especially his Mawile.
He goes back annually to leave flowers at Mawile’s grave. Even his new pokémon mourn with him, despite the fact they probably have no idea who or what Mawile was to him.
He’s not really over Amelia at all. He’s still heartbroken, yet he never makes a point to contact her since she told him not to.
Lian Everhart “I’m not one for battling, but I guess I could give it a shot.”
pokémon 1: Ampharos ♂ / lvl. 67 / brave / static [move set: thunder / thunder punch / iron tail / hyper beam]
Team mediator along with Crobat when everyone else gets carried away messing with Lian.
pokémon 2: Luxray ♂ / lvl. 66 / careful / intimidate [move set: iron tail / giga impact / discharge / thunder fang]
pokémon 3: Pachirisu ♀ / lvl. 65 / naughty / pickup [move set: sweet kiss / discharge / protect / super fang]
Pachirisu and Niko teaming up is the worst thing in existence. It’s like they try to get him all flustered and annoyed. In fact, it’s become quite obvious that Pachirisu would follow Niko anywhere if Lian somehow was out of the picture. Thankfully, Lian is first on the loyalty list.
Though, the little squirrel does try to step in when Niko takes things too far, such as the fake proposal rings and whatnot (IE. those rings are just failed crafts).
This could mean that it’s somewhat possessive of Lian, not wanting to give him at all.
And this often leads to bleeding bite marks on Niko’s arms.
There’s probably some inside jokes Lian is sadly left out of.
pokémon 4: Wigglytuff ♂ / lvl. 65 / naive / cute charm [move set: double edge / body slam / shadow ball / focus blast]
pokémon 5: Gardevoir ♀ / lvl. 67 / modest / synchronize [move set: future sight / magical leaf / wish / psychic]
Gardevoir is his saving grace from Niko’s shenanigans and all his stress. It knows how to calm him down easily and efficiently, something he appreciates a lot.
Also helps heal Niko’s bite injuries when Pachirisu gets too angered with the antics.
Plays neutral along with Luxray when the shenanigans are rampant--stays out of the way of the chaos. But gets really scary when things get out of hand for too long.
pokémon 6: Crobat ♂ / lvl. 66 / mild / inner focus [move set: air slash / poison fang / steel wing / air cutter]
Other notable pokemon companions: Pichu ♂, Persian ♀
GENERAL VERSE HEADCANONS
Lian works in various Pokémon Centers for the most part. He can easily be found travelling to other centers to back them up if they need more hands to work there, hence why you even find him travelling at all.
He lives in the Sinnoh region’s Resort Area and is housemates with Niko, unless he is out travelling again to which they consider themselves penpals.
In this verse, Lian is a regular human being as well. No special healing powers for him.
He is not likely to leave Sinnoh.