By Nadine Smit
Being new to feminism means being bombarded with debate and controversy and confusion. The more you dig and research, the more you find, never really coming to a conclusion as such.
I’ve been interested in sexual orientation within the feminist movement lately, and consequently, what effect this has on the movement.
On the one hand I find this excerpt in an interview with Sheila Jeffreys, by Julie Bindel, in The Guardian, Saturday 2 July 2005:
“She became a lesbian in 1973 because she felt it contradictory to give “her most precious energies to a man” when she was thoroughly committed to a women’s revolution. Six years later, she went further and wrote, with others, a pamphlet entitled Love Your Enemy? The Debate between Heterosexual Feminism and Political Lesbianism. In it, feminists who sleep with men are described as collaborating with the enemy. It caused a huge ruction in the women’s movement, and is still cited as an example of early separatists “going way too far”.
“We do think,” it said, “that all feminists can and should be lesbians. Our definition of a political lesbian is a woman-identified woman who does not fuck men. It does not mean compulsory sexual activity with women.” Although many of the more radical feminists agreed, most went wild at being told they were “counter-revolutionary”.
On the other hand I have a quote from the 1997 movie, G.I. Jane. A man referring to men not being able to handle seeing women in the military:
“She isn’t the problem, we are…”
Feminists are more often than not stereotyped as “lesbians” and “man-haters”. In some circles, as illustrated in my first quote, feminists are expected to be lesbian, or at least non-heterosexual.
Due to this being the case, do we ignore bi- and homosexual feminists’ opinions and efforts? Do we shun what they say because they can’t be heterosexual and still have these thoughts? And vice versa…