Lesbians Essay

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Lesbians are seen as many things in a variety of political theories, ideas, and convictions. Within the topic of homosexuality, there are many diverse and complex issues, which are interconnected in one way or another and form the lifestyle of an individual. Three authors set out to present the issue of homosexuality from three different perspectives, describing causes and reasons.

Within the selected readings of Simone de Beauvior, Adrianne Rich and Jane Rule one finds ideas which interconnect to form interesting points as to homosexuality being used as an escape or the result of influential motherly love; the ways women adapt to claim themselves manly or feminine types of lesbians; significant points where homosexuality lacks acceptance and is therefore hidden behind compulsory heterosexuality. Even though, a woman may appear to posses a male characteristic that does not mean that she is to be ultimately categorized, as a victim of homosexuality.

For those who introduce male hormones into their bodies, the results prove to be that of progressive growth of facial hair. Their sexuality is in no way determined by any anatomical fate. (Beauvoir 403) So even though hormones and anatomy set the scene for a sexual relation to surface, this does not necessarily make either of the parties involved in it, homosexual. Attraction between two women develops, because of both physical and psychological factors, as well as the found connection in the way they see life.

According to Beauvoir’s readings, it appears that homosexuality for some women, is a way to flee their social situation. Subjected to the norm of masculine dominance, a woman will seek for a way to escape her existence as the male’s object. Refusing to remain confined, a woman may resolve to distinguish herself as a lesbian, in order of unifying her desired independence with the passivity of her flesh. (Beauvoir 407) Posing as a masculine lesbian, Beauvoir suggests that a woman can also be motivated to carry on with her role, to express her disgust with the ways of submissive females.

On the other hand, what is worth considering is Beauvoir’s note that a woman’s homosexuality can be the influence of her relationship with her mother. Rich is hesitant to assume that mothering by women, is a sufficient cause of lesbian existence. (Rich 36) Beauvoir firmly believes that there are two types of motherly love, which can influence a woman’s homosexuality. One displays the kind of love, where there is simply an excess amount of it. This is an example of the mother nurturing her adolescent daughter, sleeping with her, intimately caressing her, or indulging in breast kisses.

This may seem innocent to a child in youth, but in later years, such deep affection as her mother demonstrated will be searched for, within other women. Another case of motherly love is simply the lack of it, resulting in the young girl to grow up emotionally unfulfilled. She will go looking for that fulfillment within an older woman, who is willing to tend to the young girl’s needs. Eventually, in both situations, the young girl will grow up to become a woman, and find she no longer needs the tending of her motherly care-giver.

She will try to escape the motherly embrace of the relationship, due to inner conviction that she can finally manage on her own. When a woman decides to live her life as a lesbian, she slowly bares it to mind that some women better identify with a superior or an inferior type of a lesbian. For the type that sees her self as superior, will reveal aggressiveness followed by a strong attraction towards women of the opposite behaviour. It is a great desire of this group to embrace what is called, the masculine type of a lesbian.

Sooner or later, each of the manlier lesbians face individual ways to compensate what they lack, by taking on manly qualities. (Beauvoir 404) In a reverse situation, when a woman prefers to remain feminine she agrees to follow the type of a lesbian, which asks of her to fear the male. As a result, the women’s relationship turns to become, what Rich describes as the mirror image of either heterosexual or male homosexual relation. (Rich 27) For some lesbians, it would be a dream come true, if in exchange for their complete loss of femininity, they could only reach a successful gain of masculinity.

Trying to make use of artificial methods just to enhance her pretending to be a man, in the end the woman realizes that she is only fooling herself, in believing that she is truly manly. Realizing she is unhappy to live as a woman, more so when pretending to be a man, her clear dissatisfaction with her body may turn into a disorder leading to what is called psychosis. (Beauvoir 412) Between women caresses are not intended to gain possession of the other or gradually to re-create the self through her, as there is no struggle, no victory, and no defeat. Beauvoir 416) Women tend to better understand their own sexuality, seeing that their bodies mirror one another, allowing them to explore different ways in giving each other pleasure, without the content of ownership or dominance being involved. Although Beauvoir speaks of manly lesbian who would prefer to find a partner with the opposite set of characteristics, but there are also those manly lesbians who cherish their relationships where similar characteristics are in both women. All relationships vary, as do women’s expectations, depending on the situation of the relationship as well as both parties’ psychological drives.

What is important is that they can enjoy their love in a state of equality. (Beauvoir 419) No matter how hard the two women may try to live out a normal life, their surroundings also play a part, which causes friction in the acceptance of homosexuality. Whether it is a matter of morals or imposed values, heterosexuality is presumed as the sexual preference of most women. (Rich 28) Ironically, a woman in a heterosexual relationship can never completely feel at ease with her partner, as he continuously poses requirements upon her, to take on different personalities at different instances.

Where as an intimate bond between two women secures their relationship, because both parties see each other as equals, and in the end, neither seeks to dominate the other. Ironically, although the meaning behind the term lesbian can for some seem quite erotic, the idea of such a lifestyle arouses contempt or scandalized disapproval. (Beauvoir 421) When it comes to generalizing an opinion of two women being together in a relationship, Rich underlines the public’s notion of their sensuality, including erotic mutuality and respect, being seen as queer, sick, or simply pornographic.

If that was not enough, further unnecessary attention is brought upon lesbians, when they are forced into denying the truth of their relationships because of heterosexist prejudice. (Rich 41) These women fear for their private life to be exposed, so they go about pretending to be heterosexual. In addition, Rich goes to further explain how lesbians carry on posing as feminine women, just so they are respected as supposedly real women.

Incidentally, in Rule’s story of two women crossing the border, when one of the two women is asked about their relation, the reply is that the two women are only very good friends. Having said that, the word very is italicized as if to imply that although the two women are a couple they are willing to pose as two heterosexuals. Although it is not definite that the two women are lesbians, one can only read between the lines when the protagonist talks about her award for contributing to the education of the American Public about the lives of Lesbians and Gay Men. Rule 85) Her accomplishment is concluded to be of no great importance during the appraisal of how much her award is worth. Without bothering to fill out a form for whatever is being appraised, the officer at the border claims for the plaque’s value to be no more, than fifty dollars. In this situation, the protagonist let the incident pass by, even though she says that sometimes lesbians choose to react violently to the first criticism. (Rule 117) Having said that, not all women are willing to keep up appearances just so they can hold their head up high.

Some women clothe their bodies with manly clothes due to their personal preference, but others insist in dressing the way they do as a defence reaction. (Beauvoir 422) Beauvoir states that most women dress to impress, or rather decorate themselves as if offering themselves. Subjecting themselves as prey -at the same time- women are falling victim to the ideology of compulsory heterosexuality. Rich explains how documented records of lesbian existence have been destroyed, for the purpose of preserving heterosexuality as idealized type of sexuality.

Not only that, heterosexual romance has been represented as the great female adventure, duty, and fulfillment. (Rich 59) Hoping to break free from any posed restrictions, which a woman faces, a lesbian’s homosexuality turns into her new enslavement, as she imprisons herself by pretending to be a man. Living a double life starts of, when lesbians who dress in mannish clothing, and are ease with their maleness, prefer the company of men rather than of women. Being around men, makes the manlier lesbian feel more comfortable than when she is around women.

She will do all that she can to avoid the company of women as they make her feel awkward, because in their eyes she is an incomplete woman and incompetent man. To save themselves such feelings of inadequacy, lesbians flock to form their own gatherings. Family relations can prove to be just as hard sometimes as social relations, for as long as lesbians are modestly ashamed and secretive, their families go on caring for them, but the troubles tend to instantly arise when they begin to live openly and proudly. Rule 117) What Rule underlines is that overall, lesbians do not insist on making their sexuality important, but simply wish for it to be accepted by their surroundings. It is apparent that there are many issues surrounding the topic of homosexuality, such as homosexuality being utilized for a woman to flee the oppressive environment in search for independence; the way a female adapts to become either manly or feminine; and the way there is lack of acceptance towards homosexuality. It is apparent all these issues are imposed by the society upon the lesbians who wish to live peaceful, hassle-free lives.

Some lesbians develop their preferred sexuality, due to the way they are raised and in the end, it is up to them to find themselves and where they belong. Trying to adapt to the identities called manly and feminine, women go through tribulations of their own as they try to fit in their surroundings. What is the cause of many of their obstructions are factors of work, social gatherings as well as family relations. In the end all that the lesbian populace proves to be is a misinterpreted group of individuals, trying to fit into our society.

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