Saturday, March 08, 2008

The categorical imperative

WARNING: This entry is not about Immanuel Kant's moral philosophy of unconditional obligations. If you're looking for Kant, you won't find him here. I kinda like Schopenhauer better anyway.

Well! Now that I've got that out of my system--I was watching this weird, vaguely vapid show entitled "Secret Lives of Women" today. I had never heard of it before, but Comcast OnDemand graciously provides a couple of episodes free, so for lack of anything better to do, I opted for an episode on so-called lipstick lesbians.

I've always been annoyed by the assumption that chicks who dig other chicks should fit into some neat little box, based on their degree of gender-role conformity. For one, traditional gender roles (including physical appearance and behavior) are pretty heterosexist. Some people, upon finding out that Mrs. Gerbil and I are married, want to know which one of us is the husband. My standard reply is along the lines of "Well, it's my job to do the laundry--and to take care of the car." That usually shuts 'em up.

So why do we have to fit into little boxes? Who makes the little boxes anyway? I rather enjoy being outside of the box--most of the time, at least.

This show featured a bunch of self-proclaimed lipstick lesbians. They talked about how much they liked being ultra-feminine girly-girls who like other girls. There were also some predictable sound bites from straight boys, the general gist being "ZOMG it is SO FRUSTRATING to see two really hot girls who are only interested in each other and not in me. WTF?"

And I got to thinking: what kind of lesbian am I? I'm certainly not butch, but I wouldn't consider myself especially girly, either. Most of the time, I prioritize looking presentable; I don't usually even think of myself as particularly attractive, though I know a lot of people (including, of course, Mrs. Gerbil) would beg to differ. Oh, and I rarely wear make-up.

Okay, so if I don't wear boy-cut jeans and act all super-butch, and I don't wear low-cut tops and act all ultra-femme, which box is mine?

I suppose you might say I'm a chapstick lesbian.


Heather W. Reichgott said...

Gerbil is so totally hot that she doesn't need silly props like low-cut tops to prove it.

Lavender said...

*points up* You guys are too cute. :-D

And makeup is overrated. I have to be FORCED to wear the stuff.

I wonder, do boxes exist for straight girls too? Wonder where I'd fit... or rather, where I wouldn't.

Sonya said...

Is it weird that I totally understand what you mean about boxes despite being straight? For some reason, lots of people assume that I'm a lesbian, with or without assuming that Sharon and I are a couple (this may be because I tend to talk about Sharon and I as an automatic "we" - a thing that most people apparently do only for couple-ish relationships.) I have been pondering a great deal lately on how society defines me and how I wish to be defined, and how the two do not remotely match. It is more difficult than it should be not to subconsciously conform to one pre-existing catagory or another.

Adam said...

Mmm... Burt's Bees...

Also, boxes are infuriating. Even the gay/straight boxes are confining. There are still lots of people who are very open who think that bi people don't exist. Hence my choice to stop identifying my sexuality at all.