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Lesbian_Feminist_Jackie_Clune

Because Choosing Your Sexuality Never Happens, Right?

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See these two lesbians? One of them is named Jackie.

She wasn’t always a lesbian. Jackie was not “born that way.” She grew up in a “very traditional Irish Catholic” family and attended Catholic schools. She never had any youthful feelings or experience of being gay.

Lesbianism never crossed her mind: “There was no question I’d ever be anything other than heterosexual. It never occurred to me that there was anything else to be.” Jackie was very successful as a heterosexual female. At 17, she fell in love with a “hugely attractive” guy with whom she had a “very intense” relationship that she expected would last forever. Obviously, it didn’t. Jackie became a lesbian at age 22. Why?

I had studied feminist literature at university
and it opened my eyes to the possibility
of sexuality as a life choice.

What? Sexuality is a choice? And this is what college girls learn by studying feminist literature? This is surprising to most people. For more than two decades, we have been told two things:

  1. Gay people are born that way. Homosexuality is a genetic trait, the gay rights crusaders told us. Therefore, the identity-politics argument was made that it was wrongful discrimination to treat homosexuality as a behavioral abnormality, subject to conscious control by the rational mind. Furthermore, we were told, it was ignorant hateful bigotry for any religious organization to condemn homosexual behavior as a sin. All laws, customs, language and practices that expressed disapproval of homosexual behavior (whether as morally wrong, psychologically abnormal or socially undesirable) were therefore deemed illegitimate. By this logic, gay people were an oppressed minority, whose status was compared to the condition of African-Americans under the regime of Jim Crow, or even Jews under the genocidal tyranny of Nazism. Anyone who did not accept the “born-that-way” explanation (which we were assured was Science with a capital “S”) was said diagnosed as suffering from an irrational fear called homophobia. Not only was homophobia regarded as a mental disorder, but it was also a moral failing. If you didn’t accept the entirety of the gay-rights agenda, including the “gay DNA”/”born-that-way” rationale, you were an ignorant bigot, suffering from homophobic delusions, motivated by a four-letter word: HATE.
  2. Feminism is just about fair and equal treatment for women. Some people still believe this. It is amazing to me, having spent the past few months immersed in the study of feminist literature, that anyone could think mere “fairness” — e.g., equality of workplace opportunity, where employees are judged strictly by their merits — was what feminism is really about. From its inception in the 1960s, modern feminism avowed its eternal enmity to the normal lives of normal women. Betty Friedan infamously denounced the lives of American housewives as comparable to Nazi concentration camps, and feminists have repeatedly condemned as male-supremacist oppression – the patriarchy! — the normal woman’s life of men, marriage and motherhood. As soon as the Women’s Liberation movement erupted within the New Left, many feminist spokeswomen identified themselves as lesbians and argued that lesbianism was the only authentic expression of feminism, as resistance to patriarchal oppression. Lesbianism, they said, was the only possible way to achieve the radical meaning of “sexual equality” that feminism advocated. Lesbian feminists (“The Lavender Menace”) have never stopped advancing these arguments, theorizing heterosexuality as a condition of servitude that men impose on women, and which women only accept as an admission of their own inferior status in a male-dominated society.

Never, at any time since 1970, have radical feminists retreated from their insistence that lesbianism is a choice, a choice with political meaning, a choice that any woman can make, and which all women should make, if they wish to “smash patriarchy.”

The rhetoric of radical feminism expresses the ideology of radical feminism, and we need not wonder where this ideology leads, because feminists made their objectives unmistakably clear.

The Lesbian rejects male sexual/political domination; she defies his world, his social organization, his ideology, and his definition of her as inferior. . . . Lesbianism threatens male supremacy at its core. When politically conscious and organized, it is central to destroying our sexist, racist, capitalist, imperialist system. . . .

Lesbians cannot grow politically or personally in a situation which denies the basis of our politics: that Lesbianism is political, that heterosexuality is crucial to maintaining male supremacy.”
Charlotte Bunch, “Lesbians in Revolt,” 1972

Every woman who remains in sexual relation to man is defeated every time she does it with the man because each single experience for every woman is a reenactment of the primal one in which she was invaded and separated and fashioned into a receptacle for the passage of the invader. . . .

Gay revolution addresses itself to the total elimination of the sexual caste system around which our oppressive society is organized. . . . It is now recognized that any Marxist-Socialist analysis must acknowledge the sexist underpinnings of every political economic power base. Gay liberation cannot be considered apart from women’s liberation. . . . The lesbian is the key figure in the social revolution to end the sexual caste system, or heterosexual institution.”
Jill Johnston, Lesbian Nation: The Feminist Solution (1973)

F**king is a large part of how females are kept subordinated to males. It is a ritual enactment of that subordination which constantly reaffirms the fact of subordination and habituates both men and women to it, both in body and in imagination. . . . A great deal of f**king is also presumed to preserve and maintain women’s belief in their own essential heterosexuality. . . . It is very important to the maintenance of male-supremacy that men f**k women, a lot. So it is required; it is compulsory. . . .

The feminist lesbian’s style, activities, desire and values are obviously and profoundly noncongruent with the principles of male-supremacist culture. . . . She does not live as the complement to the rule of heterosexuality for men. She is not accessible to the penis; she does not view herself as a natural object of f**king and denies that men have either the right or the duty to f**k her.”
Marilyn Frye, Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory (1983)

In this section we will examine the type of bond, called ‘love,’ that develops between men and women. . . .

If love of men arises from terror brought on by male threat to female survival, women have to defend against any feelings that might challenge our love for men. Is this one of the reasons that most women vehemently deny their own lesbian feelings? . . .

Because of the coercive conditions under which heterosexual love arises, it has a regressive quality for women. . . .

“Women in general cling to the dream that men care about us and will protect us from violence. Denial is so strong that women believe that men are protecting us — we forget from whom — even as they oppress women.”
Dee Graham, Loving to Survive: Sexual Terror, Men’s Violence and Women’s Lives (1994)

Heteronormativity includes the multiple, often mundane ways through which heterosexuality overwhelmingly structures and ‘pervasively and insidiously’ orders ‘everyday existence’ . . . Heteronormativity structures social life so that heterosexuality is always assumed, expected, ordinary, and privileged. Its pervasiveness makes it difficult for people to imagine other ways of life. . . .

Heteronormativity also rests on gender asymmetry, as heterosexuality depends on a particular type of normatively gendered women and men.”
Karin Martin and Emily Kazyak, “Hetero-Romantic Love and Heterosexiness in Children’s G-Rated Films,” 2009

This anti-male/anti-heterosexual ideology, as the reader may perceive, is not about “equality.” Instead, what radical feminism teaches is that men are inferior — morally defective, incapable of love or kindness, and predisposed to violence by which they terrorize females, brutally imposing upon women the humiliation of heterosexual intercourse. This belief system (feminism’s esoteric doctrine) is encoded in a public rhetoric (feminism’s exoteric discourse) intended to persuade the uninitiated that the major premise of the feminist syllogism (all women are victims of male oppression) is true, so that women are generally receptive to anti-male arguments. Thus, the public is told, women are denied freedom and choice, women’s oppression is evident in inequality, women are harmed by sexism and stereotypes, men are obstructing women’s rights, women are subjected to male harassment, etc.

If we learn to talk this way, we inevitably begin to think this way. Once we internalize the basic feminist belief system expressed by such language — the esoteric doctrine being encoded in the exoteric discourse — we are then prepared to accept further claims that would be rejected as absurd by any person with a common-sense perspective. Consider feminist “gender theory,” for example. Any student who has enrolled in a Women’s Studies course in the past 20 years is familiar with the critique of “gender” elaborated by Judith Butler and other proponents of what is sometimes also called “queer theory.” Professor Butler sees the sex/gender binary as both a cause and effect of the heterosexual matrix. What this means is that our common-sense association of certain traits, attitudes, behaviors and roles as either male or female is inextricably linked to a presumption of heterosexuality as natural. Professor Butler’s book Gender Trouble “deconstructs” our ordinary belief that males naturally are (or ideally should be) masculine, and that women natural are (or ideally should be) feminine. This sex/gender binary is a product of (and contributes to) the belief that heterosexuality is biologically natural, psychologically normal and socially desirable.

Are you following me so far? Good, because here is where it gets really tricky: Judith Butler is not completely wrong.

The attributes we normally label “masculine” and “feminine” are directly connected to heterosexuality, and to the normal roles which men and women assume in their normal lives of work, leisure, love, sex, marriage and parenthood. There is a reason why, after all, the subtitle of Professor Butler’s book is “Feminism and the Subversion of Identity.” In its radical (esoteric) meaning, sexual equality is synonymous with androgyny, so that men and women are equal because they are identical and interchangeable. “Gender” cannot be the legitimate basis of identity if masculinity and femininity are shown to be artificial, so that the way to achieve equality is to abolish gender. Men and women can become equal only if men and women cease to be different.

Rather than do a complete “deconstruction” of Professor Butler’s theory, let me instead merely affirm that she is correct: Insofar as men and women are different in meaningful ways, they can never be equal in the radical sense that feminists mean when they speak of “equality.” Furthermore, to address the subtext of Professor Butler argument, as men and women become more “equal” (androgynous, as the sex/gender binary of male/masculine and female/feminine erodes) heterosexuality is destabilized, becoming less functional and less normative, thus homosexuality becomes more acceptable as an alternative.

Whatever the problems of men and women circa 1968, when the Women’s Liberation movement began, the problems now afflicting men and women in the context of their heterosexual relations cannot be solved by feminism because these problems are largely caused by feminism. Marriages are now less happy and divorce is more common — indeed, sex itself has become less satisfying — not because men are more oppressively “sexist,” but because men are less masculine and women are less feminine. Sexual equality means androgyny, and androgyny is incompatible with heterosexuality.

Human beings are remarkably adaptable creatures. Man can survive in the frozen tundra or the harshest desert. We are resourceful and cunning animals, and the power of the human mind is astonishing. Just as it is absurd for feminists to imagine that human nature can be changed, so it is absurd to say that humans cannot change to overcome the unnatural force of feminism.

This was explained in 1974, when sociologist Steven Goldberg published The Inevitability of Patriarchy: Why the Biological Difference Between Men and Women Always Produces Male Domination, which was subsequent revised in a 1999 edition under the title, Why Men Rule: A Theory of Male Dominance. While perhaps science as added to our knowledge of male/female differences in the 40 years since Professor Goldberg explained why feminism was ultimately doomed to fail, the truth is still the truth, and human nature is still human nature. Does anyone think the heteronormative patriarchy (i.e., human nature) will surrender without a fight?

Which brings us back to Jackie, who turned lesbian at age 22 after she “studied feminist literature at university.” In her own words, she became a “radical lesbian feminist” and, it seems, was more the butch type, which made her a magnet for crazies:

I threw myself into the fullblown lesbian lifestyle — gay clubs, bars and pubs — and my relationships with women tended to be long and loving, if a little too turbulent at times.

The sheer amount of talking and analysing that went on was exhausting. The women I went out with were by and large more inclined to be insecure and to need reassurance and I found myself in the male role of endlessly reassuring my girlfriends. The subtle mood changes of everyday life would be picked over inexhaustibly.

One girlfriend was so insecure that every single time we enjoyed a night out — usually at a bar — we would have a row and have to leave. She would convince herself that I was flirting with another woman and, however much I tried not to catch anyone’s eye, she wouldn’t believe me.

Back home, we would then spend the next four hours arguing about our relationship and my feelings of loyalty, fidelity and so on. It was never-ending. It may sound prosaic but when you add female hormones into the mix, the problems are even worse. Can you imagine waking up beside a woman when you’ve both got raging PMT?

Ah, the predictable problems caused by female hormones! The irrational envy, the unnecessary drama, the insecurity, the endless talk, talk, talk — every heterosexual male is nodding his head in recognition, but guys can’t say or word or we’re “sexist,” you see. And heterosexual women don’t fully appreciate all the benefits of low-drama relationships with men, as Jackie explains:

My straight female friends thought my deeply intense relationships sounded fantastic. They envied me the empathy I felt with my girlfriend. Why couldn’t they feel as close to their husbands and boyfriends?
Unlike most men, women, of course, offer each other endless support and there’s hardly ever any lack of communication.

But — bizarre as it may seem — I found myself longing for exactly the opposite. I wanted a bit more difference, a little less talking and a bit more edge and my relationships often paid the price.

I had been so committed, I even bought a flat with one of my partners. Two years later we split up. We had been together five years and the break-up was excruciating, as all our raging emotions came to the fore.

Then in 2000, when I was 33, another seemingly ideal lesbian relationship went badly wrong. We had been together three years and I had honestly convinced myself that she was the one. But, once again, our relationship was destroyed because we got so exhausted with the emotional clashes and jealousy that never seemed to subside.

The ironic part is that I have never, ever, been unfaithful in a relationship. But having to constantly placate a jealous partner was wearying – and my relationships often paid the price.

As I pieced over the failings, I took a second look at my history. Was I picking the wrong women or was I simply not cut out to be a lesbian?

This may sound totally coldhearted, but I made a calculated decision to try men again.

Guess what? It worked. Not only did Jackie try men, but she met and fell in love a man who was quite masculine. He was divorced and had two children from a previous marriage. After 12 years as a “radical lesbian feminist,” Jackie is now not only married, but she and her husband have four children. This oppressive system of male domination? Looks an awful lot like Happily Ever After.

The British actress Jackie Clune married her husband, actor Richard Hannant, in 2008, and told her story again in 2010. She took a long 12-year round trip to “traditional family values” that included being named “Most Disappointing Lesbian of the Year” by Diva, Britain’s leading lesbian magazine, after her defection to heterosexuality.

Human beings are remarkably resourceful, you see, and human nature is remarkably persistent. No amount of political activism, nor any sort of egalitarian propaganda, can change this.

Feminism’s war against human nature is ultimately doomed to failure. Feminists may inflict casualties, and innocent people may suffer, but what is natural is also normal, and will ever remain so.

The heteronormative patriarchy is still open for business, baby. We’re winning every day. Don’t you want to join the winning team?



 

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