Lesbian Utopia vs Dystopia
The stark reality of our society is seen through the lenses of a queer woman.
A lesbian utopia would be an idealistic fictional society in which lesbians were not hypersexualized, were not called derogatory names, and were not frowned upon for holding hands with their partners. I fantasise about a lesbian Utopia — a world where I can live my truth without fear, a place where I can live, laugh, and love without fear of my family rejecting me for who I am. But, sadly, it is solely a fictional world. Because the society we live in is far from ideal and far from utopian.
If you ask me, what is a lesbian dystopia? My answer will be, “Isn’t that the world we live in?” Isn’t our reality full of injustice? Isn’t it true that we are being dehumanised every day? don’t we always live in a state of fear? Fear of coming out, fear of being outed by someone with whom you shared your truth, fear of being bullied for living your truth, and fear of never having a happily ever after because of the state of the world in which we live.
Lesbians are often sexualised by the “male gaze”. The number of times I’ve heard /read the question “how does sex work between two women” or seen men talk about how lesbian sex is “so hot” is insurmountable and incredibly disappointing.
Last year, Pride Month was challenging for me since I was doubting my sexuality and experimenting with the lesbian label. I knew I didn’t need to label myself, but I find labels useful, and while I had tried out queer as a label before, it didn’t seem to fit me as well as lesbian did.
I recall how conflicted I was, how difficult it was to find novels or TV shows with appropriate representation and ones I could relate to, and how disappointed I felt as a result.
When I was attempting to educate myself, I posted a few stories about the harsh labels people use to identify lesbians, and one person called me a lesbian, then did scissoring hand and used the D-word to refer to my friend and myself. This happened while I was still questioning, and it made me uncomfortable and it enraged me. Even though this happened more than a year ago, it still haunts me.
It angers me how lesbians are perceived by the male gaze. It makes me uncomfortable every time I watch and hear about the sexualisation of lesbians.
Why can’t we be perceived the way heterosexual couples are? Is it really that difficult to imagine holding hands? Is it necessary to always associate women loving women with sex?
In high school, I was holding my girlfriend’s (at the time) hand in the field, and I recall how people stared at me. It made me quite uncomfortable, and I was constantly on guard. My girlfriend was more into public displays of affection than I was, and on school grounds, I was always careful and vigilant since I didn’t want anyone to see us as I was frightened of the outcome. I hate how queer people have to constantly be on alert and can’t let their guard down in public even if they want to.
Our society accepts women-loving-women relationships as a metaphor for lesbian hyper-sexualization. They see and portray sapphic relationships via an erotic lens, and there is a culture among males that views lesbians solely for sexual gratification.
The media has been a huge culprit in feeding these attitudes by disgorging a narrative of lesbianism that is unrealistic and unrepresentative.
When it comes to the portrayal of LGBT women in the media, it is as bad as none. The current representation is either inaccurate or primarily of cisgender feminine white women.
Whether in cinema, music, or novels. Femininity has been exclusively interwoven with sexuality; this view brazenly ignores and disregards the fact that queer women come in many colours and sizes, and it teaches LGBT+ women growing up that their place in society is insignificant unless they fit a certain stereotype. When people look at queer women, they frequently say, “but you don’t look gay,” such comments are highly offensive and hurtful. You don’t have to look a certain way to identify as gay.
Furthermore, Sapphic pornography, which was made for men by men, has been extremely harmful to how lesbianism is characterised. The entire culture of males ‘joining in’ on lesbian intercourse in pornographic media, or men who believe they can ‘change a lesbian’s mind’ because they ‘haven’t met the perfect man yet,’ has reinforced the perception that women’s sexuality is inherently fluid and simply an experimental phase. This is incredibly damaging to women in the LGBT+ community since it not only utterly invalidates the experiences of bisexual women but also presents lesbianism as readily available to men.
The myth that lesbianism is a hypersexual dream for men has been instilled into society. The number of times a male has questioned or dismissed a queer woman’s sexuality is incredibly disappointing and simply insurmountable.
To me, the culture of men who regard lesbianism as a hypersexual obsession is ridiculous. We are all well-versed in social activism, and we must adopt mass mobilisation techniques to put an end to this. This is the reality of the world we live in, and this is what I consider to be a lesbian dystopia. A lesbian dystopia is not a fictional world; rather, it is the world in which we live.