Saturday, July 14, 2012

Lesbian Feminism Essay

Lesbian Feminism Essay

Among the great number of various social and cultural movements Lesbian Feminism was probably the most controversial discipline of 1970s. Although this movement considered the rights of homosexuals it focused more on the rights of women, and particularly was directed on relationships of lesbian women. Lesbian Feminism may be viewed as a current of second-wave feminism (1960s - 1980s) influenced by homophile movements of that time. Still, this ideology was different from any gay liberation movement. Lesbian Feminism theory even produced an institutional discipline studying lesbian and feminism issues. Let us look at the distinctive features of this movement.

Before the 1970s feminist and homosexual movements had rather different ideologies and ideas. While feminism was more a political activity, gay liberation movements had social inclination. However, the second wave feminism began questioning very wide range of social issues that intersected oftentimes with problems of homosexual women. Moreover, very often feminists were identified with lesbians because of “pro-women” and “anti-men” ideas. At the same time, many homosexual women did not feel themselves comfortable in ordinary gay societies because the majority of members were sex-oriented males. Therefore, the appearance of Lesbian Feminism was rather logic as many issues of feminism and gay women indeed interrelated tightly.

Struggle against oppression and discrimination, social integration, demands of equal rights and respect - the list of major ideas of both feminist and lesbian movements is very similar. The combination of these two serious communities gave a powerful movement that addressed many political, social, and personal issues as a whole. In simple terms I would say that Lesbian Feminism presented pro-social feminism with lesbian inclination, oriented on women in general and homosexual women in particular. One of the major ideas was that women should support, love, and communicate with one another as often as it is possible, avoiding men, because the energy exchange between women is an important process. In contrast with most of gay movements that supported various levels of sexual identity (for example masculine lesbian - butch, feminine lesbian - femme), lesbian-feminist ideology declined inequality of any form, fighting for equal relationships both outside and within homosexual community. Many forms of sexual behavior, like BDSM, were criticized by the movement for this reason. The ideology supported the role of gender rather than sexual identity as issues of sexuality were not significant in Lesbian Feminism.

Lesbian Feminism became rather popular among both heterosexual and homosexual women because its denial of male superiority and patriarchy, emphasis of equal opportunities for everybody and women supremacy. The ideology soon developed in rather radical movement - Lesbian-Feminist Separatism, having a major goal to create lesbian-feminist nation. The separate feminist culture evolved, focusing on relevant issues of the movement. However, in the beginning of 1990s the popularity of lesbian feminism decreased with the third-wave feminism, and the movement became less relevant.
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