One of the defining characteristics of a totalitarian ideology is that no one is allowed to question it. So it is with identity and gender politics today in leftist academic and activist circles. In the wake of the great liberation movements of the 20th century, how did this even happen?
I read a post today from a young lesbian who would be defined as “butch” by today’s standards, who is attracted to other butch women. Somehow this has become unacceptable. Taboo even, she says. She has faced ridicule and actual disgust because she isn’t attracted to who she is SUPPOSED to be attracted to: femmes. But guess who and what is cool? Trans “fags”—women who have “transitioned” into gay men. THEY are allowed to love each other.
All of this blows my baby boomer mind. When I was coming of age in the late 70s and 80s, I never heard any such term as “gender nonconforming.” Those of us who had relationships with other women would probably all be seen now as soft butch. Most of us didn’t bother with makeup or shaving or worrying about our looks. We reveled in each other. No one talked about who was “cute.” We called each other “women”—not girls. Our lover’s brain, as well as her confident way of moving through the world, were the primary attractants. We looked at the old butch-femme dynamic as quaint and old-fashioned. They were our foremothers, but we felt we’d been liberated from those rigid roles. We were simply women-loving-women. Period.
What caused this huge step back? What was the motivation to snatch away the liberation from the feminist movement—which has actually been aided and abetted by many in the LGBT community? The easy and quick answer is “misogyny” or “male privilege. But it’s got to be more than that.