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(97 Posts)
AskBasil Sun 08-Jun-14 13:51:13

This subject came up on another thread but I didn't want to de-rail and I thought it's worth discussing.

I realised I haven't really thought very much about how distinct lesbophobia is from more generalised misogyny - I'd always sort of lumped it in together and assumed it just comes from a dislike of women actively choosing to live life which is conspicuously and happily not focused around a male. To that extent, it ties in with misogyny directed against single mothers (or single women in general).

But there's also the issue that someone who is a lesbian is visibly in charge of her own sexuality independent of a man, which is threatening to the status quo and compulsory heterosexuality - is there the idea that she might give other women ideas (there is with single mothers)?

Someone on the other thread raised the issue of other parents, employers etc., treating lesbians as if they are predatory males; again this is bizarre because I haven't actually ever come across a woman who has expressed the idea of being threatened by predatory women in the same way that we may feel threatened by predatory males. Is it because a woman who is not deemed to be a passive recipient of male sexuality, must therefore be an untrustworthy predator and is this a reflection of mad attitudes to sex as well as actual dislike of women being visibly in control of their own sexuality?

I don't really know what I'm trying to find out here, just want to discuss and learn.

LoveSardines Sun 08-Jun-14 14:01:11

One of my more senior work collaagues is a lesbian and people seem very confused about it.

Someone mused as to whether she "liked men in general or not" and I said that probably she liked them or not depending on their personalities like, you know, any other person.

the whole flummoxedness seems odd. maybe because there are less visible lesbians around the workplace IME. Gay men people seem to have no problem with, they seem to understand that they are, you know, normal people who happen to fancy men and that other than that they will have a personality likes/dislikes much the same as any other person.

Most odd.

I do think that for some men ((and women? only ever heard it from men) there is a "but what are they for then?" confused thing when they encounter a lesbian.

LoveSardines Sun 08-Jun-14 14:02:11

And yes a couple of people have hinted that would I be worried she was after me or something BUT this was said by MEN and I was too polite to point out the enormous irony there.

AskBasil Sun 08-Jun-14 14:13:22

LOL at men being worried lesbians are "after" them.

What is that?


LoveSardines Sun 08-Jun-14 14:26:48

No no they thought I might be worried lesbians were after me! Not after them, that would be ego a step too far for most, thankfully!

But the irony of that coming from blokes is ridiculous!

AskBasil Sun 08-Jun-14 15:19:04

Oh I see, that makes more sense.

Yes the irony of that.

Did you point that out?

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sun 08-Jun-14 16:11:28

Do you remember the awful post one of the regulars (forgotten who!) put up when she turned down a guy who approached her, pointing out her girlfriend, and he absolutely flipped?

That was misogyny squared, I think - "not only are you rejecting me, you're rejecting any male owner. Bitch."

Dragonlette Sun 08-Jun-14 16:27:14

I only know a couple of lesbians, but I would have no more problem getting changed in front of them than I would in front of any other female acquaintance. I would have a problem getting changed in front of a male acquaintance, because I have grown up knowing that men are interested in me sexually and some of them don't take no for an answer. I don't think that about lesbians, because I've never met a lesbian who has been aggressively sexual towards me, I've had a couple who asked me to go for a drink when I was younger but they were perfectly ok when I said no.

The lesbians I know now all work in schools, and they are not "out" at school because they know how some people will react. So they constantly refer to "my friend x" when it's really their dp, they won't hold hands as they would naturally do when out and about because they are worried that pupils will see them and they will be harassed at school.

AskBasil Sun 08-Jun-14 16:33:13

I can't remember that one BillnTed, may have missed it.

Am just thinking about these men being concerned for Sardines' sexual comfort around lesbians. Does this go back to the idea that if a woman is not in a situation where her sexuality is presumed to be controlled by a male, that must mean she's an out of control predator and therefore Sardines would be as likely to be harassed by a lesbian as by a rapey male? In other words that lesbians must be on the same footing sexually and socially, as male predators, not just ordinary males (whom these men aren't worried will harass Sardines)?

Or is it that they think no one will harass her but someone might fancy her and again, if a man fancies her that's OK and harmless, while if woman fancies her, that's the world turned upside down? is that a "giving other women ideas" scenario again?

AskBasil Sun 08-Jun-14 16:35:00

Dragonlette I think I would be more uncomfortable getting undressed in front of a man because they have been socialised to assess and appraise me and they do it all the time in normal conversation with you - eyes flicking towards your breasts etc. whereas that doesn't happen with lesbian women.

LoveSardines Sun 08-Jun-14 16:44:04

Hmm. Or maybe they are uncomfortable around gay men and so assume that heterosexual women must be uncomfortable around lesbians?

I didn't point out the irony of their comments no!

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sun 08-Jun-14 16:50:32

Sardines, was about to post that - the homophobic, "backs against the wall, lads" type reaction to gay men is probably being transposed.

HermioneWeasley Sun 08-Jun-14 16:51:59

Yes, misogynists seem to hate lesbians more than any other women - it's the ability to live happily without any level of reliance on men, I think.

TheBogQueen Sun 08-Jun-14 16:54:59

I work with quite a few women who are in lesbian relationships.

We have strong policies against discrimination in place at work (NHS) and I was pleasantly surprised about how 'out' my colleagues are. We have stonewall posters up on the walls: "people are gay , get over it."

Which pretty much sums it up

LRDtheFeministDragon Sun 08-Jun-14 16:58:52

I am dimly remembering a post of hotheadpaisan's about butch women.

But I think aesthetics has something to do with it. Obviously, some women fancy women who perform femininity in perfect standard ways. But some don't, and I think there is a certain type of man whose (possibly not very conscious) response is 'OMG, there are women who are sexually attractive to each other without being sexually attractive to me! How dare they? They should be wearing heels and fishnets like lesbians in my fantasy'.

Dragonlette Sun 08-Jun-14 17:03:00

That's very true Basil. Loads of men will look at my breasts during a conversation, but although I've got lesbian friends none of them have ever done that.

One of my circle of friends from school is a lesbian and quite gender-non-conformist as well. We had a lot of sleepovers as teenagers and she never once made me feel uncomfortable (although she didn't officially come out until university, but we'd all known since we were 11), whereas every single one of my male school friends would have taken a sleepover as an invitation to something more.

Another one of my school-friends had a lesbian mum. That was a huge scandal around school when she left her husband for another woman, but it didn't stop any of us being friends or going round to her house. Maybe it would have been different if we'd been in a mixed school. We went to a girls school and only mixed with boys at sixth form, by which time none of us thought anything about x's mum who happened to live with a woman.

Fatmanbuttsam Sun 08-Jun-14 17:05:17

I'm gay and like men....not sexually but as friends....I have a couple of male friends I regularly lunch with..they also have no issue with my sexuality or see it as a challenge to them.
And fwiw if I'm in a female changing area and would never look at another woman getting changed and think of her as a sex object.....any looks from me would most likely be in admiration (and probably envy) of their physique etc....
That's notto say I can't have random thoughts about 'she's hott' but when it comes to sex my thoughts are with my adorable partner whom I love and fancy to pieces

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sun 08-Jun-14 17:05:48


StewiesBack Sun 08-Jun-14 17:05:55

I've read a lot from Lesbians talking about lesbophobia within the gay male community: calling women's vaginas 'fish' and, therefore, disgusting. Until then, I'd always thought it was a way of differentiating the experience of lesbians with the dual oppressions of sexism and homophobia. I hadn't thought about the ways in which lesbians were othered in the gay communities (and in campaigns against homophobia.)

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sun 08-Jun-14 17:06:32

"they also have no issue with my sexuality or see it as a challenge to them."

Doesn't the challenge bit piss you off?

Nocomet Sun 08-Jun-14 17:10:22

The only hostile anti lesbian comments I have ever heard have been off heterosexual Women.

DH had a lesbian friend at uni. around the time we met and afterwards. He joked it was a pity she was attached because he quite fancied her, but only in the same way as if she had a boyfriend.

He certainly didnt take it as afront to his male ero.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sun 08-Jun-14 17:12:16

You might want to read the thread I linked then.

TheBogQueen Sun 08-Jun-14 17:13:50

Male gay friends sometimes make disparaging remarks about lesbians, cats and herbal tea grin

But on the whole in my experience, people are just friends with each other - I have gay male friends and lesbian friends who go on holiday together - blimey we all went to Greece together as students: gay, straight, bi - loads of fun

calmet Sun 08-Jun-14 17:20:36

I am a lesbian. Gay men can be incredibly lesbophobic. I have seen gay drag artists talkinga bout how disgusting women's genitals are because they smell of fish, and they expect lesbians to laugh at that.

Things in the Uk are way better for lesbians than they used to be. I have been a lesbian when it was still legal to sack women for being lesbians and when the police werent interested if you were being abused or harassed for being a lesbian.

But the most common comment I her from Het women, is that nobody cares now if someone is a lesbian. That really really is not true.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sun 08-Jun-14 17:23:35

<sorry, this is not a post, but a dance of celebration at stewiesback>

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