Political lesbianism is often closely associated with radical feminism. During the second wave in the 70s, feminists in Leeds questioned the role and capable impact of heterosexual feminists. It was argued that hetero-feminists were wasting their energies on men when they could, and so should, dedicate all their energy to the feminist movement. The suggestion was not only lesbianism but also to be celibate.* This rings true to me today in regard to both the feminist cause and my personal goals.
Three weeks ago I was rejected rather callously – note my description of being ‘rejected’ and not broken up with – by my on and off boyfriend of almost seven years, for another woman. As a result, the last three weeks have been the most productive of my entire life. Outside of my nine to five job I have managed to submit an application for a trainee scheme with a rather prestigious organization, who I will not name for fear of jinxing my chances; I have submitted an application for a journalism course; I have applied to volunteer in Ghana for three months to raise awareness of HIV and AIDs; I have written three short stories and begun writing poetry with the aim of performing it as spoken word; and I have been out almost every day and night, spending more time with my friends and family than ever.
Tell me, is there anything you consider to be lacking in my life at this time other than sex?
I am not about to become celibate or refuse every heterosexual encounter or relationship that comes my way, but I will question the dedication I give to them. I believe this is necessary for almost all women in straight relationships.
It seems to me that women dedicate more of their time and energy to men than they receive, due to a lack of other commitments and interests across their life. This in turn creates a rather unfair stereotype of men being less caring and committed to relationships. If I consider all of my male and female friends, it is apparent to me that men have more varied interests. Women do not even seem to have many hobbies other than fashion – which is expected of us anyway in this sexualised, consumerist, and media intoxicating society.
I am by no means stating that all women are interested in is men. I am stating that there isn’t enough else.
At first thought I considered that this might start in childhood. Boys are much more encouraged in areas like sport, an interest which can be pursued as a hobby throughout life. However the same can be said of hobbies aimed at young girls, like dancing for example. So why is it that boys tend to continue their hobbies into adulthood while girls do not?
Similarly, while evidence shows women outnumber men in almost every type of graduate and postgraduate qualification,** why are the best jobs and salaries still awarded to men? We are conclusively more qualified but, it seems to me, empirically less ambitious. Perhaps not in mind, but in action.
These points are clearly rooted in my own personal experiences and judgements, but you cannot deny there is truth in my argument. From the moment a woman is born gender binaries and traditional heterosexual objectives are forced upon her. From the dolls she plays with as a child, to the magazines she reads and films she watches as an adult - we all know this discussion.
How else to remove these pre-determined and suffocating ideologies, or to simply concentrate on our own individual desires and objectives, than to separate yourself from the heterosexual ideal and lifestyle? What else can I suggest other than to politicise your sexuality?
This is not solely in regard to feminism. Until one can fully dedicate herself to her own personal desires in life, she should remove herself from any situation holding her back.