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The Fetishization of Lesbians and Bisexual Women

by Morgan Paul

            Recently I’ve seen a lot of blogs/arguments/articles saying that lesbians and bisexual women are more accepted than the rest of the queer community, but clearly these are not written by queer women. I find it crucial that we first separate acceptance from fetishization. Their sexuality is not accepted, they are instead seen as objects that are simply putting on a show for the enjoyment of those watching (specifically straight men). Fetishization reduces these women to things that are only wanted for consumption by a privileged group. Of course when I’m talking about lesbians I’m focusing on femme lesbians. Most straight men have no interest in watching masculine women; those are the “real lesbians”.

Image from Creative Commons Search

Image from Creative Commons Search

Femme lesbians on the other hand are seen as a challenge for men to “convert”. I’ve heard many men say things like “She just hasn’t had the good D” or “She’s never even been with a man”. To this I always ask if they’ve been with a man and the men get very defensive and tell me that they don’t need to try it because they know they’re straight. (It’s actually really funny to see how defensive a man gets when he feels like his masculinity is being challenged.)

This illustrates how they don’t see these women as human beings capable of making their own decisions but instead as helpless creatures that need to be taught. And what about the way that femme lesbians and bi-sexual women are ignored within the queer community? I’ve been told by many people that because I’m in a heterosexual relationship then I’m straight; they obviously don’t understand sexuality…at all. Because a woman doesn’t look like the stereotype of a lesbian woman does not mean that she’s any less gay, and if a woman likes men and women, she’s not any less queer. Stop telling people what they “really” are, they’re people and they shouldn’t have to take your shit.