I don’t think I know a single bi woman who hasn’t at some point been interrogated over her sex life (But how many women have you actually slept with? How do you really know? Don’t you actually just prefer men?) so why is it so hard for some of us to make the very short jump and realise that that shit might just happen to lesbians too? I mean if we tease this out a bit I’m sure lots of us have noticed that generally bi women are assumed to be liars who are courting male attention and have to prove themselves through sexual availability, and bi men are assumed to be liars who are really solid Kinsey sixes who only use women as a cover or to make their life easier, because yanno women are only good as life tools and why would you even want one as a partner. You have women coming out as lesbians getting open disbelief that they could not be interested in men and massive hostility because they are not available as pretty objects, people telling them that really they just want to be men and G&B men spitting the word lesbian through their teeth like it’s foul medicine.
Can we not see the common thread? As different groups we’ve got different issues and people pull shit with bi women they don’t with lesbians and vice versa, but that doesn’t automatically mean lesbians have institutional power over us, and frankly in my time in the gaysphere, the number one block to my comfort and fun has been men. They think they can comment on and paw at my tits; they assume I must be an accessory of a gay man if I’m out with him, because there’s no reason I could be out for myself; they assume I’m straight because we’re straight until proven gay and even after that we’re probably still not really being truthful; they strike up conversation with me at a uni LGBT event, accept drinks and then undermine and insult me until I get the message and leave the conversation; they knock back me and my friends at the door of a club because we’re an all woman group and the boys smoking outside are eyeing us disapprovingly; they comment on my clothes and body as if I had them in mind when I was getting ready; they see my skirt and think it’s safe to start slagging off butch women and lesbians to me because I must hate and fear them and they want a woman to confirm their bigotry, and they might as well pat me on the head sometimes when they find out I’m bi, with looks on their faces that say I just became a harmless silly creature in their eyes, a stupid girl who doesn’t know her own mind or the world but is non-threatening because I fuck men and that’s the way it should be. In short, they’re fucking misogynists.
So, doesn’t it follow that if they find me silly and non-threatening for my bi-ness (I’m not saying that’s a universal reaction but I’d be amazed if most other bi women haven’t encountered that ‘Oh YOU’ head tilt) that they could take a woman identifying as a lesbian as a piece of aggression? I’d need a fat fuckin salary to be arsed assessing what the hell men’s problem is, but the thing is that even if they actively don’t want to fuck us, a lot of them sure as fuck think we should still be theoretically available. Haven’t you ever had the straight boyfriend who you come out to who has the “ooh can I watch BLAHHHHHHHHH” reaction, but then one day he gets it through his head that you really do love women/don’t want to hear him use slurs/could potentially leave him for a woman, and then you end up in a fight? One ex said “I was ok with it but I didn’t think you’d take it this far,”, ‘this far’ being asking him to stop using gay as a pejorative. Some friends listened to me describing a missed opportunity to get off with a sweet girl that I knew leeringly, then started up the mocking chorus of “leeeesbian, leeeesbian.” when it became clear that I was genuinely pining for her. They hate women and think we’re useless so they don’t understand why we’d choose to be together.
Sure, we’ve all seen lesbian women who wave gold stars proudly, make unsolicited sneering judgements on bi women’s fuckability - hell I had EWW ARE YOU A DIRTY BISEXUAL shouted at me by a lesbian ‘friend’ in a public bar in a right wing student union that was full of men, but here’s the thing. Women who do or have fucked men are dirty and bad and diseased - doesn’t THAT sound like an awfully familiar idea! And it wasn’t invented by lesbians who love other women, it was invented by shithead men because of their myriad of issues. I’m not saying any of this stuff is ok, but a woman giving you a lot of internalised misogyny, or shaming women for sex with men without considering that it’s total bullshit and also incredibly damaging for LBQ survivors of abuse by men, or just plain being a shithead for the sake of a stupid joke, doesn’t add up to institutional power. Lots of women who aren’t blonde make dumb blonde jokes because it gives you a minute leg up on the ladder, but that doesn’t mean they fucking oppress blondes, it just means they get to be assigned a different misogynist caricature while having the illusion that they’re a class above.
Sure, I have fears that are directly linked to me being a bi woman. I worry that unless I declare myself up front in a gay bar a nice conversation could end extremely awkwardly and horribly; I worry that I’ll have something like DIRTY BISEXUAL or EWW YOU FUCK MEN shouted at me again and end up back in the toilets, triggered and crying my eyes out over being damaged goods; I worry that I’ll be seen as promiscuous and an easy target by predatory men; I worry that I’ll end up in another LGBTQ group where someone wants to hold me up as a ‘real bisexual’ against those dirty stupid teenage girls, but none of this adds up to lesbians fucking oppressing me. We need to really think about where the shit we get comes from, what power it’s backed up with, and then ask ourselves if we can honestly say that lesbians have some real advantage over us.
This ended up a total tl;dr rambling post but I guess what I’m saying is that I’d be a fuck ton happier if I could spend my time in what’s supposed to be my community with other women who love women, pushing back against the shit we get, the misogyny, the objectification and the hostility instead of trying to stop fellow bi people online blaming lesbians for our problems.