It became a religious routine to my idle life to get online in the wee hours and to kill the time away by conversing with my friends via Skype. We usually share about our every day struggles in life especially our misfortunes in the dating and love departments but yesterday was different. The topic was intellectually orgasmic and left my neurons moaning and wanting for more. It was about stereotype roles that every couple should assume to maintain balance of the relationship. One of them asked me about the dynamics of my relationship with my girlfriend, to make it simple, am I top or bottom? It took me a longer pause before I could answer her question and finally I answered, “Both”. This simple question that only requires a very simple answer could imply plenty of misconceptions, cliches and stereotypes about lesbians. Because if a person will identify herself as top, she immediately assumes the male role in the relationship. If we categorize her in terms of color, she represents the blue flag. As for a person who identifies herself as bottom, then she undoubtedly assumes the opposite role in the relationship, which is the female role. With her hand wrapped around the pink flag, she embodies femininity. As for me, I don’t belong to either categories. With this kind of stereotyping about lesbians, it creates a limitation not only to the dynamics and diversity of the relationship but also to the basic human feeling or emotion which is “Love”. Before I proceed to deeper speculation about this issue, I should define the major keyword players first in order to fully understand this matter.
(Read about The Dinah: Every Lesbian’s Travel Destination)
- Gender Identity – It is an individual’s self – conception as being male or female, as distinguished from actual biological sex. (Britannica)
- Gender Expression – It is the manner in which individuals perform their gender roles. That is to say, an individual may identify as a particular gender, but that individual may express that gender in various ways. (Wikipedia)
- Biological Sex -The property or quality by which organisms are classified as female or male on the basis of their reproductive organs and functions. (Farlex Dictionary)
- Sexual Orientation – It covers sexual desires, feelings, practices and identification. Sexual orientation can be towards people of the same or different sexes (same-sex, heterosexual or bisexual orientation). (Amnesty International)
A visual explanation about the major keywords
Labels are for Tin Cans
(Read about Lizzy The Lezzy Auditions For The L – Project)
Before any conversation, we often asked the person’s preference in terms of “Femme to Butch”, “Femme to Femme”, “Softbutch to Femme” and even “Butch to Butch” (I am not sure with the last one if it does exist). Normally, when being asked with such question, I answered them, “Di Tiyak to Femme” (Di Tiyak means not specified, not sure, plainly “It”). Seriously, I am not really sure what kind of category I present. I sometimes asked my girlfriend what am I in terms of labels, she would answer me with I don’t know. Just plain “I don’t know” and my confusion about me remains unanswered.
I also have a good friend from college. One time before, she private messaged me in yahoo messenger and asked me if what do I think of her in terms of labels. Well, in the back of my head, I could say that physically she is tomboyish because she is fond of wearing baggy pants and shorts. (Yes, I am guilty of promoting this nonsense stereotyping). However, deep inside her, I could see such tenderness of a woman which contradicts her exterior manly choice of fashion. Sadly, I wasn’t able to answer her directly because I don’t want to offend her. I just said “I don’t know. I guess you belong in the middle of the color spectrum”
Hence, the dress code and the behavior being assumed and displayed are not a good indicator for branding a person’s preference. We should outgrow this stereotyping and should open our minds to change. Like the famous line “Don’t judge the book by its cover”, because first you are not a judge and second he or she is not a book or even a tin can to put labels on.
SEXUAL Orientation is a Fluid Thing
(Read about About the Real L Word)
From The L Word’s famous quote “You are straight until you are not” which means every woman just needs the right woman to come along to change her sexual orientation. Yes this might be true in some cases but there is a misconception that women changes their sexual orientation because they can’t find the right man hence, they go for the right woman. This is definitely a fallacy. Sexual orientation is not just something that we have the liberty to control like for an example, today I decide that I will be attracted to women, then the next day I will be attracted to men. It isn’t something that we can decide for. We are attracted to a certain sex because we just do and there is no further explanation to that.
Some women feels that their sexual orientation is dictated by sexual urges and desires. It might be true to some women but in my opinion, it doesn’t conform to anything except that it confuses the mind and lessens the value of love in to a mere sexual gratification. I am well aware that Bisexuals do exist through books and articles that I read but I haven’t encountered one in my twenty three years of existence. They completely bewildered me. Would it be possible for them to have the same and equal attraction emotionally and sexually to both sexes? or is it a good excuse to enjoy both worlds in a sexual perspective – or love? However I am not against Bisexuals. They have their own freedom and right to love regardless of sexual orientation. The misconception that I am trying to point out is labeling oneself as a lesbian or bisexual for these very reasons: hormones are raging, supply of men are diminishing or plainly market value for men is non existing. That is not the case, we simply became lesbians because we are genuinely attracted and love women. Period.
(Read about Prop 8 Declared Unconstitutional)
There are plenty of misconceptions, cliches, stereotypes about lesbians and sexuality as a whole. I just mentioned a few. Stereotyping should not be promoted because it conveys a different and unfavorable image to society. It will create a lack of representation and will restrict diversity. Especially to those people who have the power of the mass media, I hope proper journalism should be practiced in order not to mislead people to such stereotyping because it somehow breed discrimination and limit the expression of a person in terms of sexuality. The End.
- Britannica. Retrieved February 12, 2012 from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/228219/gender-identity
- Wikipedia. Retrieved February 12, 2012 from http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gender_expression
- Farlex. Retrieved February 12, 2012 from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Biological+sex
- Amnesty International. Retrieved February 12, 2012 from http://www.amnesty.org/en/sexual-orientation-and-gender-identity