Monday, February 27, 2012

Women, the Election, and the F-Word

By Kelly Jean Cogswell

They say this year’s election is all about women. Which really means it’s all about men. Men sitting on panels deciding what females should do with their girly bits. Men informing females of the virtues of keeping their knees closed so tight you could hold an aspirin between them. Men trying to require ultrasounds with plenty of penetration before abortion if you should be unchaste enough to let that Bayer tablet slip.

Surprisingly, none remarked that the safest way for women to avoid pregnancy is to have sex with each other. Or those plastic implements at the Toy Box. Or assorted fruits and vegetables. Probably just as well. In this ridiculous year there might be some kind of transformative event like a spider bite or electric strike at the moment of coitus that would allow a cross between the animal and plant kingdom. And we’d get something like a sentient turnip. A creature bitter and pungent, not too smart, with an affinity for dirt.

It usually doesn’t bother me, this “women” stuff. It never means me despite my female equipment. A couple months ago, I checked out that PBS documentary, “The Independent Woman: America in Primetime,” they didn’t say lesbian once, even if it’s what straight independent women get called all the time. “What are you? A fucking dyke?”

Mainstream stuff about women actively avoids us. Especially high profile programs like UN Women, even though many problems “women” face are worse for us. Men double-down on their violence against dykes. Ending corrective rapes alone are worthy of billion-dollar efforts. And most public TV is way too pathetic to even show lesbians holding hands unless it’s Gay Pride Month. Which was too bad, because the documentary had plenty of opportunities. Like when they talked about how Roseanne did groundbreaking portrayals of working class women with normal squabbling families. Why not slip in a reference, just one, to that lesbo subplot with Nancy that had a big impact at the time?

Or why not include Ellen’s coming out episode, which was as important as the time Murphy Brown popped a baby out of wedlock. Granted, the show Ellen wasn’t as good, or as long running as Murphy Brown, but there was just as much backlash to Ellen’s “Puppy” episode. And god knows having a dyke come out was far more radical in expanding our ideas of women taking charge of their lives than showing addict nurses or drug-dealing moms, which they made a point of including.

It was near miraculous that Ellen DeGeneres resurrected herself into a talk show powerhouse who’s getting all kind of promotional work, including Cover Girl make-up. When her recent contract with JC Penney prompted such a hoo-haw from the double digit, right-wing “Million Moms” it actually gave her a boost. Thanks, Moms, for shining just a bit more spotlight on a non-breeder.

I like to surprise Neanderthals by agreeing when they tell me that as a dyke, I’m not “a real woman.” That’s been clear to me for decades. To meet that criteria you first have to reproduce. Or make big efforts to avoid doing it. Or at least wish you had time to.

In fact, feminists are the first to remind you. The battle for “women’s” rights in the U.S. is almost solely characterized by questions of reproductive rights. The leadership of the almost defunct NOW must have gone done on their knees to thank the goddess for the ruckus when the Komen Foundation tried to defund Planned Parenthood.

Don’t mind me if I snicker when I see one more self-pitying article wondering why there are so few feminists, especially young ones. This week, Salon had a post by Shannon Kelley in which she quoted a young woman as speculating that she didn’t want to use the f-word because, “It’s hard to get passionate about a cause when you haven’t faced the consequences of what you’re fighting for.” Another didn’t want to be perceived as “so hard-core – men-haters, almost masculine.” In other words, she didn’t want to be mistaken as a lesbo.

That would have been the perfect moment for Kelley to address global feminism’s little problem of dyke-avoidance, if not actual dyke-baiting, if she really was serious about “equality. Equal rights. Equal pay. Equal opportunity. Blowing up gender stereotypes.” But she didn’t. I can only imagine it was because she may have had to use the l-word, and confront the movement’s homophobic past which they seem to cling to as ardently as any confederate fanatic clings to that Southern flag. Me, I’m not afraid of the f-word. Fuck you.

Dykes don’t even get their props when The Candidates start talking about homos, because they’re still focused on men. Men doing it with other men. And why not, when even LGBT media and organizations seem like they are by and for the G of our species? Give me a carrot any day.

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