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Staceyann Chin Nods Along with Patriarchy

April 30, 2012

Staceyann Chin writes about chasing straight women for the Guardian

There may be a thousand reasons why lesbians love the thrill of a straight girl. Maybe women who chase women possess the same rabid ego we despise in straight men, the same ego that makes a person go giddy at the thought of being “the first” for the straight girl in question. The heterosexual terrain of her flesh, untouched by other dyke hands, smacks of the virgin narrative. Who wouldn’t want to be “the first”? Who doesn’t like what feels like a conquest? A win?

Ah, Fuck.

Staceyann Chin tells me that women who love women possess patriarchy’s “same rabid ego” and frankly, — “LUGS” (Lesbian Until Graduation) — are unworthy of “the long-term emotional expense”.

Why must this be anything to “Ah, Fuck” at?

Patriarchy — power — is after all, seductive. Sex is a trick that men play on women. Why shouldn’t it be a game that women also get to play on other women? [Where — oh where — are trans people? Do they not get to play this game?]

Get real, get over it. It’s simply how it is. Women are virgins who need to be brought into sexual realization by men or lesbians. Gender is a binary. Everyone knows that lesbian sex always includes “bedposts, and clingfilm and handcuffs with fur in the middle.” And oh, everyone who matters goes to college and sits around in dorm rooms talking about love. Staceyann Chin — and straight men — have been hurt in relationships. It’s tough — this pain. Straight women and their bullshit sexuality are responsible. Fuck them.

There was one girl I liked more than the others. I watched her all the time, looking for a way to approach her. I had no idea how this sort of thing was done. I had almost given up when I found her crying in the Philosophy section of the library. I sat on the floor next to her and just waited. It broke my heart to see her sobbing. I wanted to make her stop. I didn’t think about it, I just placed my hand between her shoulder blades and kept it there. She wept for another hour before she turned to face me. My hand was still on her back, so it felt natural to pull her closer. I only intended to hug her, but she leaned in and kissed me. For the next six months we did everything together. We became Thelma and Louise. I knew we’d be together for ever.

Then one night while we were in bed spooning, her ex-boyfriend (who was responsible for the philosophical breakdown in the library) called and made a convincing argument for reconciliation. She turned over and gently told me she was still in love with him. Plus, she was beginning to tire of the clandestine nature of our relationship. She wasn’t meant for this kind of life. She wanted a house and children one day.

What?

Why do I expect our poet activists to stick out the middle finger on my behalf to straight male pathology? Why do I expect them to yell “fuck you” to narratives of wily, yet helpless females who have wasted too many people’s time with their refusal to give up their virginity?

I expected something better. Something different than the same regurgitated ode to heterosexual normativity. Something more radical than a lesbian derivative of straight male whining. Why did I expect Staceyann Chin to not imitate a hundred, brain-numbing romantic comedies and “be like everyone else, desperately looking everywhere for love”.

Or maybe we are just like everyone else, desperately looking everywhere for love. Whatever it is, the phenomenon excites us; this lascivious dance between the narrow spaces occupied by the women the world wishes we were and the women who sometimes wish they were us keeps the tradition of lesbians chasing straight alive and flourishing. Yes, we crack mean jokes about it – who wants to invest in a relationship with a LUG? (Lesbian until graduation.) And, yes, we complain about the true cost of cavorting with the bi-curious – the eventual sexual frustration (often, our sexual favours are not returned during lovemaking).

Maybe because Staceyann Chin set me on fire with her refusal to be categorized (before she shoved me inside a box).

Maybe I expected more because the revolution she promised could not be printed, could not be contained by the oppressor’s well-sharpened tools. The revolution she promised made room for everyone.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Griffin permalink
    June 16, 2012 6:32 am

    Well said ; lesbians likw Staceyann Chin are not new… there were plenty of them milling about in when I was involved in the lesbian/feminist movement. I guess they are still snorkling around. Women like her were one of the reasons I left and through her article I see I had the foresight in making the right decision. Also her article is perfect fodder for a right wing homophobe; which could lead to a reversal of the Gay Rights Movement. Is not Ms Chin aware that conservative politicians adverse to Gay rights have employed people to read blogs and sites posted by gay activists? Imagine an anti-gay congressman or senator presenting Ms.Chin’s article as an arguement against rights for gays and lesbians.
    Imagine a young person struggling to come to terms with being lesbian and coming from such a home…. Ms.Chin’s article is grist for the mill for a bigoted parent to use as an excuse to abuse such a young person.

  2. June 17, 2012 3:45 pm

    Great post. And Griffin, you’re so right. Staceyann Chin is reinforcing all of the stereotypes that have been used against us.

    Those stereotypes can be used to destroy our lives with flat-out lies. As an example, an ex-boyfriend started rumors that I was having sex with my students. And he made an equally false allegation that I was conducting illegal activities (you know the kind I’m talking about) in my apartment.

    The result is that I lost my job and don’t whether I’ll ever have another, and I was evicted from my apartment even though my rent payments were up-to-date.

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