Bev Jo is one of my mentors. She has taught me so much. Her lesbian feminist clarity is honest and straight forward. Refreshingly so. I will always be thankful of the day I first discovered this book.
Thank you Bev.
I read Bev Jo’s book online and I really enjoyed it. It’s very insightful and I like how it focuses on women, particularly the dynamics among lesbians. Pretend radical feminism (or “radfems”) focus so much on trying to “fix” men and basically ignore that lesbians exist. So it’s nice to read a book that focuses on lesbians.
I also like the term “childfree”. It’s nice to see someone critique the sacred cow of motherhood. Being a mother may be hard, but that doesn’t mean that mothers aren’t seen as “real women” compared to childfree women. Like heterosexual mothers, lesbian mothers expect childfree women/lesbians to schedule themselves around them—because if you don’t have children, your free time and what you might have going on in your life is considered insignificant. There are plenty of ways employers and the government privilege mothers over childfree women too.
Even before I got into radical feminism, or any kind of feminism, I wasn’t interested in having children because pregnancy grossed me out. I have a political reasons for not having children now, such as supporting lesbianism and not wanting to burden an already overpopulated planet.
I think one reason why this book is so controversial is because it acknowledges that there are hierarchies among lesbians and other women, and it makes you look hard at your life. The book is not a pity party meant to excuse any bad choices you made in the past or are currently making. That said, it’s not like the book is trying to make you feel bad about yourself, just look at yourself in a new light.
I could claim that “compulsory heterosexuality” is why I thought of myself as heterosexual for a while, and then bisexual (in the early 2000s; it was trendy). But, I grew up with relatively liberal parents and in the era where there were public lesbians on TV. I was never sexually active with a man (which is good because I was a young teenager) but I did think of myself as het, then bisexual for a while. I think I had a sort of boyfriend for a while. I did make some foolish choices in my early teens, but I came out as a lesbian when I was a teen. It wasn’t really a political choice. It was more that I realized that I felt stronger connections to women, whether it was as friends or romantically, then with men.
Bev Jo grew up before women’s liberation and still choose to be a lesbian since she was three. I think lesbians like her should be viewed as role-models and not weirdos or freaks. Plus, if lesbians who are lifelong-lesbians are treated as equals, wouldn’t that be good for the community because no one would feel alienated and it would be easier for women to come out? I think the reason why lesbians like Bev Jo get alienated is because she disproves the “all lesbians were het/all lesbians were with men” myth just by existing.
Lesbian communities and relationships are stronger when you unlearn heterosexist ways of thinking. Plus it’s refreshing that this book doesn’t excuse het women’s hatred of lesbians or any other woman’s collaboration with “she’s just a victim too!”
Bev Jo’s book is pretty awesome. It’s refreshing that while it does talk about male violence, it doesn’t buy into the popular belief that if you just socialize men correctly, they will be non-violent little angels. I’ve noticed that while a lot of people in the gender critical community are okay with me pointing out that you can’t change your sex, and that “transwomen” are really just men. But it has to be called “male-socialized” violence not “male violence”.
I like how Bev Jo acknowledges that yes, while all women are oppressed, there are still power deferential. Het women have more privilege than lesbians, and lesbians who aren’t obvious are going to have an easier time. Not to mention, great discussion of butch oppression too. I also think that overall book is a good discussion of how and why women betray each other for patriarchal awards and how to be kinder to each other.
Like another commenters on here, I also prefer the term childfree. I am an anti-natalist and so is my girlfriend. Before I read Bev Jo’s book, I did not know that artificial insemination created way more male babies than was natural. That is clearly not a good idea for women, especially lesbian women, to create more of our enemies than is natural. In other countries like India and China female infanticide is common, resulting in a lopsided sex ratio. Do we really need to start creating that here?
Also, other than the trans cult worship, for a long time I’ve always felt that the obsession with having children that a lot of the big alphabet soup organizations promote was offensive to people who choose to be childfree. Bev Jo made a good point that all it is bragging that gay and lesbian couples are complying with the patriarchy. It’s like, “we may be a same sex-couple, but our kids grow up hetero just like is normal and are well-adjusted with patriarchal ideals.” And there was a really good point that willingly playing around with semen and getting pregnant was just heterosexuality! I think one reason why I was uncomfortable to call myself as lesbian for a while as a teen was because the popular stereotype (and sadly oftentimes true) of the “lesbian” couple getting the turkey baster full of semen to have a kid and having a creepy relationship with the sperm donor. I didn’t want to have kids or have any men hanging around. But all in all, that was just being het.
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