Wednesday, January 15, 2014
When I Grow Up, I Want To Be A Lesbian
"A baby girl is born. It’s a girl! Pink! Baby Dolls! Dresses! Other Stuff! From this moment, the girl is groomed for life as a Heterosexual Woman. She is groomed for a life as a wife and servant for Men. She is groomed to want to have babies and raise the children of men. She is groomed for Compulsory Heterosexuality, the concept coined by Baltimore native and Radical Feminist Adrienne Rich that identifies heterosexuality as the agent that keeps Females from actualizing their full sexual and emotional capacities, an agent that denies a sexual way of being unrelated to Male pleasure – Lesbian sexuality.
All girls in our culture are groomed towards Compulsory Heterosexuality.
All of us. Including Lesbians. As Lesbians, we have been socialized since birth – like all Females – to be sexually accessible to Males. As Lesbians, many of us work for years with internalized self-hatred and misogyny before we finally are able to confront our sexual attractions and honor our sexuality. This is a long and – for many of us – a lifetime process, as we are constantly bombarded with cultural messages that Lesbian sexuality is wrong.
This grooming is part of our Shared Girlhood. This is the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the blanket that our mothers tuck us into bed with at night.
And, yet, despite this grooming, Lesbians – Women who love Women – exist.
Some “Real Lesbians” (tw, sarcasm) or “Born That Way Lesbians” note the existence of Women who have “escaped” Heterosexual grooming as proof that “Lesbians” are born, not made, that sexual orientation is innate, and that no Woman can choose to be Gay. They can only be “asexual” or “spinsters” or “ex-het” or “bisexual.”
All “Real Lesbians” have a coming out story. Many “Real Lesbians” recall feelings of same-sex attraction from very young ages, or recount anecdotes of “just knowing” we didn’t “fit” that Heterosexual Mold for which all Women are groomed. Of course, all Lesbians also have coming out stories, but these stories are deemed inauthentic if they occur after participation in Heterosexuality. And no Women is “fit” to be nothing more than a brood mare. Nevertheless, for these Born That Way Lesbians, Lesbianism must be proven in an environment that has a default assumption of Heterosexuality – the default created, of course, by grooming into Compulsory Heterosexuality."
-Cathy Brennan, from "When I Grow Up, I Want To Be A Lesbian" Shared with permission of the author. You can read the full essay here.