When I was fifteen, I fell in love with a beautiful young woman. She was a dancer with wild dark brown hair and chocolate eyes that scrunched up at the edges when she smiled. She smelled like talc and shampoo and she loved the movie Moulin Rouge. She was my first kiss.
When people find out I dated women before meeting my fiancé, I usually get one of a few looks from them. First, there is the accepting nod. This person doesn't care that I am bisexual, that's neither here nor there to them and doesn't change anything. Next, there is the subtle brow-raise of surprise. This is news to them, but often I am not questioned too much further about my sexuality, and if I am, it is harmless and just common human curiosity.
But occasionally I will meet someone who takes my sexuality personally--they either find it arousing, or disgusting, and often times their reaction will show on their face, plain as day. And no matter what I see, unbridled glee or simmering hate, it pisses me off.
You see, the reason I get so angry is because in our heteronormative Western culture (one in which heterosexuality is the preferred or "normal" sexuality), homosexual relationships are often looked at in one of two lights--fetishized or demonized. And usually it is gay women who are sexually objectified, and gay men get thrown under the bus. It is commonly acknowledged in our culture that two women kissing is sexy, while two men kissing is considered an abomination against nature.
Even now I have to wonder how many readers were enticed by this title (at least the beginning of it) and were hoping for some juicy details on just what went on between this young woman and me. And I also wonder how many of them will be disappointed when I tell them that they won't be getting any.
But this post, and this blog overall, is not an opportunity for me to exploit the inner secrets of my relationships for the sheer entertainment value of others. Instead, I want to draw attention to this issue in our society and not let it slide by, overlooked and undiscussed, as it has in the past.
The fetishization of lesbians and bisexual women is a real thing. It is propagated within our society by people cheering and hollering when two women drunkenly make-out in bars, or by songs such as "I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It". You know the tune, you've probably even sung along to it yourself. It is certainly catchy rhythmically, and who doesn't like the idea of a beautiful woman like Katy Perry making out with another girl? Well, maybe those of us in same-sex relationships who would prefer others respect such relationships rather than promoting the fetishism surrounding them, for instance.
Some of you may think I am overreacting. I have heard a lot of people, both hetero- and homosexual, say that they don't mind two women making-out just for fun, to make their boyfriends jealous, or to attract other male attention. But then, I have to ask, why do some of those same people mind when two men share a small kiss in public?
Because that's not what the media tells us we should want to see. We only want to see stick-thin supermodels kissing, not real people in real, meaningful relationships. That's just not as sexy.
Talk about a double standard. Not only are women once again subjects of sexual objectification, men in same-sex relationships continue to be ostracized for their lifestyles.
This is not an issue that can be solved overnight. While our culture certainly has made leaps and bounds in LGBTQI rights, this ridiculous prejudice that condones gay women's relationships and then turns around and condemns gay men's can change only as peoples' attitudes change.
The media won't stop perpetuating it, so we have to find other ways to put this to rest. The first step is respecting same-sex relationships equally, not for the entertainment value or the kicks they give us. Stop fantasizing and realize the reality of the situation--it's not sexy to fetishize lesbians. It's just plain prejudice.