Keira Knightley is just so cool.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
As somebody who identifies as being "Mostly Straight," I've still had my fair share of "girl crushes," so I was interested to read this piece in The NY Times about the apparent "resurgence" of women feeling free to express infatuation with one another.
Oh, did I mention it's purely infatuation, not attraction?
Not at all.
Because that would be gay.
A girl crush:
refers to that fervent infatuation that one heterosexual woman develops for another woman who may seem impossibly sophisticated, gifted, beautiful or accomplished. And while a girl crush is, by its informal definition, not sexual in nature, the feelings that it triggers - excitement, nervousness, a sense of novelty - are very much like those that accompany a new romance.
It's not gay.
Now, there are some interesting bits in this article. And of course, women were able to express this kind of affection more freely in the 19th century, and often wrote one another long love letters and kissed and hugged and everybody was cool with that. And it's neat that in some circles there's a resurgence of that.
But there were a couple of things that really bothered me. The first is the way "girl crushes" were categorized as giving women "safe and valuable experience in the emotions of love" and "there's every reason to think that girls can fall in love with other girls without feeling sexual towards them, without the intention to marry them."
The first comes dangerously close to implying that oh-so-19th-century idea that romantic love felt by women toward other women is somehow childish and quaint, something to give you "experience" before you have a "real" romantic relationship with a man. The second bothers me because it's another elbow in the ribs of the "not gay" variety. People can also fall in love and get married and not have sex. Well, only if they're a hetero couple, or maybe if they live in Massachusettes or Canada or Amsterdam. Or Spain, actually. Marriage doesn't neccessarily guarantee a sexual relationship, either, and like any other sort of crush or infaturation, the urge for hetero sex/sexual feeling between partners cools down over time as well.
Anyhow, I was a little struck by how clearly both the author and researchers quoted wanted to distance this kind of attraction (and yes, I'll call it attraction) from same-sex attraction (i.e. LESBIANISM) or hetero attraction (i.e. "Real" attraction).
I would also argue that some of their attempts at differentiating "girl crush" from "real crush" are kinda lame: "Crushes are typically fleeting, and infatuation often turns to friendship in this way." Isn't that true of most relationships, sexual (hetero and same-sex) as well?
I do believe that fears of "this must mean I'm a lesbian" do still really curtail the ways in which crushes/attraction between (and among) women are expressed. I've got no trouble saying that I love some of my friends, and it doesn't bother me to think, "Hey, that feeling I have toward that woman, that's kinda gay." I don't need to go around in loops and hoops and try to justify it as some sort of "special" or "different" sort of love or attraction.
I was happy that they made a nod toward men in this discussion as well:
As for men, to the extent they may feel such emotions for each other, Dr. Caplan said they are less likely than women to express them. They are not reared to show their emotions. "A man talking about emotions about another man? Everybody's homophobic feelings are elicited by that, and that's because men aren't supposed to talk about feelings at all," Dr. Caplan said.
Let's qualify that with "Men in this culture." Guys holding hands in Iran isn't anything to look twice at.
Though if you do more than that, they'll kill you.
Not that anybody's justified in being afraid to be called gay for feeling sexual toward another woman. Cause so many current cultures are so approving of that. I think it's far easier for women to justify it as childish "infatuation" (NOT GAY!!!!), and hold out for the more socially-acceptable penis, which they may prefer anyway, but which shouldn't totally negate their attraction to particular women.
What I'd love is for somebody to just up and write the article where they admit that sex and sexual expression is a social activity. It brings people of same and different sexes together. It builds social networks. It's one of the things in our evolutionary toolbox that's helped us survive: forming bonds of friendship can and does include actual touching of the Evil Corporeal Body.
Keeping us all terrified of touching each other smacks to me of living inside some dystopian novel where we're perpetually at war with a Nameless Enemy, a Society of Disinformation reigns supreme, we're all being tracked and tagged with DNA cards, and the President speaks only in doublespeak...
Oh, wait, that was me watching CNN this morning.
Had myself wound pretty tight the last couple of days.
Getting into the new house routine has been a little stressful, and getting used to my much smaller room has been a lesson in patience.
There's a trick to getting around the room without banging into bookshelves and overturning the fan that involves a lot of opening and closing the room door and the closet door in a certain order. The same attention to movement has to be applied to getting in and out of my desk chair, as well, which has about four inches of play room between itself and my queen-sized bed. In the morning, before coffee, this can be really annoying, and I've found myself, on occasion, stuck in my chair or half-fallen over onto the floor.
I'm also adjusting to new house rules. Jenn and I didn't plan this particularly well, so we've got a space that fit two people now housing three, and she and I didn't do well throwing out all of our old junk in order to make room for her SO.
Luckily, the SO is good with spaces (and drinks beer - yea! There's beer in the house!), so getting everything to fit looks nice. House rules, however, are different. The SO doesn't like doing dishes, and doesn't like looking at labels, so the labels on stuff in the kitchen (like dish soap and Lysol wipes) had to be taken off (and my "Survivor, Africa!" cup has been deemed rather cheesy, and would have been thrown out if it was Jenn's! I have compromised, and it now lives back in the cupboard instead of by the coffee maker).
There are just lots of little things to get used to, and I think that combining house-stress with gym-stress/body stress and work stress (work stress of the "I hate this job" variety as opposed to the "I actually have stuff to do at work" variety, cause I never have much to do at work. That's why I started a blog), and I was feeling pretty tired.
I've also been having some trouble with my contacts apparently drying out during the day - I don't know if it's the weather or what, but they're bugging me more than usual, and not being able to see properly is enough to put anybody in a shitty mood.
I'd like to just wear glasses, but I prefer contacts for the gym, and lugging *more* gear to the gym, even just some saline solution and a contacts case, just makes me tired. The strap on my gym bag broke, too, from carrying around too much shit, so the more spartan I can be, the better.
Work on God's War, the next book, continues. I'm still really behind, but it's moving. I'm actually really, really, loving this book. I'm in love with it. Yes. It's just a shitload of fun, and the style it's written in, the pacing, the actual story structure, are unlike anything I've done before (the subject matter, well, I've been writing women, blood and sand stories for nearly six years). Right now I'm going back and doing some editing so the rest of the book rolls a little more smoothly and I've got a better plot-setup. I'm notoriously bad at plot, and I'd like to actually *have* one this time around.
I continue to get a lot of reading done, which also helps with stress. B will be in town this weekend, which means lots of bedroom... uh, reading time, so that's good. Very relaxing.
I don't know about anybody else, but I'm really looking forward to fall weather. This summer's just been a bitch as far as the heat goes, and I'm done with it.
How the hell did I survive in Durban for a year and a half?
In any case, I wouldn't mind an Alaskan vacation right about now.
Looking forward to fall.... ahhhhh.....