Studies show sex robots increasingly unsafe

The following “fake news” article was inspired by this real article and was written for your entertainment.

July 18, 2068

By: Nathan Green

WASHINGTON – Growing numbers of men are concerned that their Total Lifestyle Companions™ (TLCs™) may be unsafe after numerous reports of hacking, often by ex-wives. The hacked TLCs™ have been reported to turn against their owners by making disparaging remarks, destroying items in the home, and even committing acts of violence. In response to this growing issue, TLC™ owner Hugh Hogbottom has founded a non-profit organization called Consumers of Robots Advocacy Protection or “C.R.A.P.” which, according to its website, exists to “Protect the interests of owners of all personal robotic devices” by “researching, lobbying and making safety issues known to the public.”

I was able to speak to Hogbottom in his home in Northwest Washington. On the day of my visit, his TLC™, named Bobbi, was properly behaved. She welcomed me into the home and served coffee for us as we sat in the living room to chat. The house looked tidy and cared for, and Hogbottom told me it had been over a week since the last incident.

“She behaves most of the time, but there have been a few incidents,” he said. “I’m constantly on edge because I don’t know what might happen next.”

Photo credit:

He shows me the one piece of evidence he has of Bobbi’s misbehaviour, although, as he explains, most of the incidents haven’t been recorded. The piece of evidence is a slip of paper that was supposed to have been a shopping list.

“I told Bobbi to write some things down that I needed,” he said. “I dictated some items to her, but when I looked at what she had written, instead of seeing my list, it said: ‘Every man, deep down, knows he’s a worthless piece of shit.’ I was shocked. At first I didn’t understand what had happened.”

At six-foot-three, with an athletic build, Hogbottom appears to be a pillar of strength, but when he speaks of his betrayal by Bobbi I see the weariness and pain in his eyes.

As well as the shopping list incident, there have been many incidents of Bobbi making shocking remarks to him, sometimes in front of friends. On one occasion, Hogbottom says he was telling his friends about the time when he gave his ex a triple-orgasm, and Bobbi suddenly shouted “You lying bastard, you were absolutely pathetic in bed!” Hogbottom says he was shocked and humiliated.

“I began to suspect my ex-wife had hacked into Bobbi. I did marry an ‘organic’ woman before getting my TLC™, and I think she may be jealous. I left her five years ago because I wasn’t getting what I wanted out of the relationship, and I think she’s upset because she realizes the TLC™ is a more satisfactory partner than her. I ended up going online and finding lots of stories of the same thing happening to other men. I realized we needed to raise some awareness and protect ourselves.”

Indeed, men have been increasingly making these reports. According to research carried out by the C.R.A.P. foundation, 32% of men report that their former organic wives have at some point hacked into their personal robotic devices for malicious reasons. Of that group, 65% report that their robot has said something negative toward them, 86% say their robot has deliberately destroyed their home or possessions, and 7% say their robot has attempted to harm them during sex, by either strangulation or by cuts or burns to the penis. One man, Peter Clutterbuck, experienced the worst nightmare of men who use personal robotic devices: his robot, Tootsie, released a sharp blade through her front-hole during use, severing his penis. He says her front hole, which was usually a great device, had suddenly become “like a guillotine.” Clutterbuck joined the C.R.A.P foundation from his hospital bed, and vowed to “make sex robots safe again” so that nothing like this would happen to another man.

“It’s rough out there,” says Hugh Hogbottom, as he nervously sips his coffee. “Things are getting worse for men every day.”

So why do women do it? Hogbottom blames jealousy.

“Organic women know they can’t measure up to the appeal of robotic companions. My Total Lifestyle Companion™ is beautiful, doesn’t age, doesn’t nag me, keeps my house clean and always wants sex. My ex-wife couldn’t compete with that, and she knows it. That’s why she wants to hack the robot, to get even. I suspect this is the case in most hackings. What organic women need to realize is that 64% of men are now choosing robot partners over “organic” ones, because they are getting a better deal. This is progress, it’s the way of the future. If organic women want to compete, they’ll have to step up their game.”

I was able to track down Hogbottom’s ex-wife, Susan Solanas, to ask her for a statement. Although she did not reply to my request for an interview, I did find her personal blog where I was able to access the following comments:

“I can’t believe the things my stupid ex has been saying. We got a divorce because I found out he’d been cheating on me with several women. I asked him to go to marriage counselling and he refused, so I left him. Now he’s claiming that he left me because I wasn’t as good as his stupid sex robot. I was just going to ignore him at first, but he was writing social media posts full of lies on pages where I’d obviously find them, and it was getting so obnoxious I finally had to take him down a notch. I’m a computer programmer working in the area of control of AI, and the stupid knucklehead hasn’t changed any of his passwords since we were married, so I was able to get into his robot as easily as walking through an open door. I’ve been making the thing tell the truth whenever Hugh lies, which has been irritating the hell out of him.”

When I asked Hogbottom to comment on the content’s of Solanas’s blog, he called her a “jealous, lying bitch.”

Hogbottom believes that more research is needed to find out the reasons why the robots are getting hacked so often. He’s determined to find answers. He says a spokesman at the Total Lifestyle Companions™ company has already said they are working on ensuring the next generation of products are not hackable, but he doesn’t think this is enough.

A fundraising page on C.R.A.P.’s website says he has already reached $50,000 toward a large-scale research study on hacking by ex-wives. Donations have come largely from men and their non-men allies who don’t want to see anyone else get hurt. Hogbottom is optimistic that answers will be forthcoming.

At the time of publication, there is one notable comment on the C.R.A.P website that stands out from the others. While most comments are supportive, there is one comment from a user named “organicbitch” that reads “You can start by changing your passwords, stupid.”


So who here is a Star Wars fan?

There’s so many things to love about Star Wars. It’s a classic tale of a plucky band of rebels who take down an evil empire, and it’s got a great soundtrack too. I think everyone gets something different out of these films. Some people probably just enjoy shooting and explosions, some people enjoy the spirituality, and as for me, I enjoy the politics. At its core, Star Wars is the tale of a small group of passionate activists who beat all odds to take down a huge empire that is way more powerful than they are. They put their lives in danger knowing it’s the right thing to do, and they win. According to Wikipedia, the politics in Star Wars makes a reference to World War II, where the rise of the Empire symbolizes the rise of the Nazis. I don’t think about Nazis while watching it though. Although that’s a relevant comparison, and there are details in the original film that allude to it, when I watch Star Wars I imagine that it symbolizes the fight against capitalism. Capitalism, after all, is planet Earth’s evil empire.

I found the prequels from 1999 to 2005 downright stupid, but the sequels that have come out in the last two years have been awesome. There are more roles for women and people of colour which has been really great to see. Both sequels have been very similar to the original film—once again the group of rebels has to destroy the empire, with many of the steps along the way occurring in the same way—but this hasn’t stopped me from adoring them. I could watch this story over and over forever.

I’m going to talk a little bit about this year’s film, The Last Jedi, and I’m warning you now that spoilers will follow!

It was amazing to watch a film with Carrie Fisher in it a whole year after she died. I was so touched to see her on the screen again.

There were a few new roles for women in this film. Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo takes over for Leia Organa when Leia is injured. At first I was glad to see female leadership replaced by female leadership, but it turns out this character was portrayed as incompetent, which was really disappointing. I would have been disappointed by any member of the resistance being incompetent, and I would be disappointed that anyone Leia chose to replace her would be incompetent, but it’s even worse that one of these new parts for women in Star Wars turns out to be an incompetent woman trope. Men like to believe that women shouldn’t be allowed to do important jobs because we’re incompetent, and Vice Admiral Holdo appeared to have no plan in mind for a large portion of the film. The male hero disobeys her to save them all, only his plan backfires when she turns out to have somewhat of a plan in mind and he ruins it by running off and being impulsive. This was the only thing that disappointed me about the film. I wish they would have made this character a more satisfying one.

One of the other new roles for female characters was totally awesome. The character Rose Tico had a large role as a maintenance worker/hero for the resistance and she was played by an Asian actress. During scenes where she was talking to Finn, there were no white characters on screen. This is a vast improvement from the original trilogy, where there was only one non-white person in the whole galaxy. I love that Tico was a smart, geeky hero who had an excellent technical knowledge and lots of courage to go with it.

Although there are clues that the Empire in Star Wars is a symbol of the Nazis, to me they’ve often represented capitalists. They are an empire that rules on power and control, on belief that they have the right to rule over others, and who basically want to be in control over everything. It’s very hard to oppose them and if you oppose them you’ll basically die. There is a comment in The Last Jedi about how the galactic economy is based on serving the Empire and the only way to get rich is to mine your planet and sell weapons to the Empire. Isn’t that exactly what’s happening on planet Earth? We are literally taking everything we can from our planet to sell to the Empire, to get our little bit of riches while they control everything. There is no opting out.

It’s Rose Tico who points out how evil it is to profit off of war. We keep learning more about how evil people become when they sell weapons to an evil empire—there is animal captivity and child labor going on in the city full of riches. The little boys who labor there are very much the proletariat of a morally corrupt society. They are shown locked inside of animal cubicles and sweeping straw from the floor, but when they get a chance, they tell stories of the Rebels who are working to stop the Empire. They are little politically-aware laborers who support the Rebellion and dream of joining it one day. To me, that was one of the most precious things about the film. The little boy who stops sweeping for a moment to look at his secret Rebel symbol resembled a communist to me. He knows the empire he labors for is evil and he wants to grow up to resist it.

Star Wars provides an interesting portrait of a resistance movement. In any resistance movement, you need a group of people with varied skills and lots of determination and teamwork. You need leaders, you need people with technical knowledge, you need fearless heroes to carry out difficult and dangerous tasks, you need people to do research behind the scenes and report to the group, etc. Of course, the resistance movement against capitalism isn’t exactly like the one in Star Wars, but the parallels were delightful. I love how the Star Wars resistance contains a contingent of fearless pilots, a contingent of war strategists, a contingent of people with technical skills, and the Jedi contingent, who provide the spirituality. I think the spirituality contingent is necessary too—they provide reminders of what exactly people are fighting and sacrificing their lives for.

It was delightful what Luke did at the end, when he sent a spiritual representation of himself to fight Kylo Ren. Through meditation he was able to summon the light side of the Force in order to counteract the Dark. I don’t believe that the two sides exist in the physical world, in the sense that they’d be capable of having a sword fight, but it’s a gorgeous metaphor about summoning love to fight evil. Yeah, I guess I like the spirituality of Star Wars as much as the politics.

It’s so satisfying to see the good guys win. They so rarely do, in real life.

I’ve always loved the original Star Wars film, and I just keep loving these new sequels even more.

Not identifying with a gender can be so much easier than this

Articles about nonbinary people are always entertaining because they promise to explain and clarify what nonbinary is but they don’t; instead they contain nothing but extravagant nonsense.

The article I’m discussing today is called  What it Means to Call Ourselves Non-binary and despite the promise of the title, sadly and unsurprisingly it contains no definition of nonbinary. (Unless the word nonbinary does in fact mean rambling text and unnecessary labels.)

Let’s dive right in:

“Being non-binary or genderqueer is inherently kind of confusing because it depends on not identifying with a gender. Therefore, it’s definitions are wide and varying and complex. Here’s how just a few of us on staff think about what it means to call ourselves non-binary. Guess what? Our definitions are wildly different!”

Okay, I’m already rolling my eyes. And just to warn you right here, if you do plan to read the full article, please take a moment to stretch your eye-rolling muscles before you start, because you’re going to be doing a LOT of eye-rolling, and you don’t want to pull a muscle.

For some reason, “not identifying with a gender” is presented as complex and confusing. Why? I don’t identify with a gender, and I find it very simple and easy. Here’s what you do: Go about your day as usual. Wear the clothes that you feel comfortable in, and go about your daily activities like you normally would. While you’re doing this, don’t bother assigning a gender label to your interests and appearance. Just skip that step altogether!  Pretend gender doesn’t even exist and ignore any messages about whether your clothing and mannerisms are “correct” or not. If someone tells you that you should look or behave a certain way because of your sex, tell them they are shallow and sexist and that you disagree with their views. Tell them that people are varied and complex and we are not stereotypes and in fact, those stereotypes are harmful and need to go. You don’t need to tell them that you don’t identify with a gender, because there is nothing odd or unusual about you at all! There is just something wrong with them. They are being shallow and sexist.

I can sum up “not identifying with a gender” in one simple phrase: “I’m a person who doesn’t buy into sexist bullshit.” Done!

Simple! Easy!

However, folks who identify as nonbinary try to take something as simple and easy as “not identifying with a gender” and turn it into something very complicated, in addition to ambiguous and vague.

The first writer, Alaina, says:

“Non-binary is the easiest way for me to publicly recognize that my gender is not woman or man or anything really, and so I keep it around. For now. But like, what does it mean? I don’t know! It means that my gender is not on the binary. Which is not very specific at all. Very unhelpful, indeed.”

So I guess this article shouldn’t be called “What it Means to Call Ourselves Nonbinary.” Instead it should be called “People Who Have No Idea What They’re Trying to Say Jabber On About Nothing to Fill Space.”

“And like, I don’t know, maybe I’m too much of a Gemini or whatever, but my innermost self changes literally hourly…. How could I expect to find a gender that expresses that?”

Wow. Why would you need to find a “gender” that expresses your hourly feelings? It’s normal to feel different from moment to moment. We have different physical and emotional reactions to each event of our days. This is standard human experience. Why on Earth do you need a “gender” label to describe the normal experience of being human? WTF.

Also, isn’t it fitting that these writers decided to use language and vocabulary that sounds like a spoken conversation among teenagers? It’s almost like nonbinary is a teenage fad!

“I just want to be able to exist and like be a person who is just themselves and is only seen as that, an individual human being. Non-binary is the closest I’m getting to being able to talk about myself in that way.”

Again, I find I’m dropping my jaw in disbelief. You were already “just a person” who is “an individual human being” before you ever heard of gender identity theory. You were born an individual human being just like everyone else. All of us are individual human beings who are just ourselves. My question to you is “What is making you think that anyone is anything other than an individual human being?” All of us, even those of us who don’t identify as nonbinary, see ourselves as individual human beings. I’m flabbergasted as to why this universal truth about humans would require a label at all.

Here’s some advice: Just live your life as an individual human being, and if anyone you encounter has a preconceived notion that you should be something in particular that they’ve come up with, they are wrong. Either ignore them or prove them wrong, as appropriate for the situation.

The next writer, Cee, says:

“I’m definitely not an expert on this, but my understanding of nonbinary is simply someone who exists outside the two option male/female gender binary.”

You sure aren’t an expert! You don’t even know the difference between gender and sex, which is essential knowledge for this conversation. Let me help you out: sex is biological, and it refers to reproductive characteristics that come in two types: male and female. In rare cases there are individuals who are born with atypical sex characteristics, but the vast majority of us have typical reproductive anatomy and are easily classifiable as male (producing sperm) or female (producing ova.) Gender is a social construct that can mean many things, but primarily it means: (1) the attributes and roles that are socially assigned to people based on their sex, and (2) a social category that is not clearly defined but which corresponds with a set of preferred pronouns.  Now that we’ve got that cleared up, yes, there is a male/female binary. It exists in nature, it’s the way we’re born, and it doesn’t matter whether we’re comfortable with it or not because we cannot change it. Gender, on the other hand, can come in infinite types, since we can keep making up ideas about gender forever and ever.

Everyone exists outside the social construct of gender because we are material bodies that exist in the real world no matter what constructs we dream up. Almost everyone exists within the male/female binary because the vast majority of us are typically male or female, and even people born with intersex conditions can often be classified as one of the sexes, because they are similar to one or the other. If someone had equal amounts of male and female sex characteristics, then I could possibly agree that they exist outside the sex binary but this is something physical, not something you can “identify” as. And there is no “third sex,” by the way. There is no sex gamete besides sperm and ova. People who are unclassifiable are still variations on the two sexes, not another sex entirely.

Cee reports having certain preferences in dress and behaviour, and she reports preferring not to have breasts. This is totally normal and none of that means she isn’t a woman. Although there are lots of women who like having breasts, myself included, there are also lots of women who don’t like having them. It’s normal if you do and normal if you don’t, and in both cases you are still a valid woman.

The next writer starts off by apologizing:

“Not to start off on the wrong foot, but I’m terrified that everything I’m about to write is wrong. I am a white, afab, spilled-glitter-on-my-tie-of-center, liberal arts-educated human with money in savings and a Toyota Corolla. What gives me the fuckin’ right, ya know?”

Holy crap! Women have always been expected to stay silent, and it looks like what she has learned in SJW communities is more of the same. She literally thinks she has no right to speak. Sure, as a person with money, she isn’t qualified to write a piece about how it feels to live in poverty, and as a white person she isn’t qualified to speak about how racial oppression feels, but she is certainly qualified to write about her own experience.

“Like, I fully expect everyone else to assume I don’t have any real problems so I’m inventing a gender crisis to seem interesting.”

It’s interesting that she brought this up on her own. Now I know this is exactly what I should think about her.

“I assumed all women felt deeply ambivalent about being women. For the first quarter-century of my life I lived into the idea that “being a girl can mean whatever I want it to mean,” and I did whatever I wanted and cut my hair short a bunch of times (but never said I wanted a boy’s haircut, always a pixie — always one centimeter and a razor fade from having my head look how I really wanted it to). At my first A-Camp, all that suddenly felt like punkass bullshit.”

Wait, wait, wait—WHOA. What are you calling “punkass bullshit”? Because it sounds like you think that the idea that women can feel ambivalent about being women is “punkass bullshit” and it also sounds like you are calling your correct statement that being a girl can mean anything you want it to is also “punkass bullshit.” I’m not sure what else I’m supposed to interpret here besides that. It sounds like you started out a non-sexist woman who accepted herself as-is but then turned into a sexist when she learned genderist ideology. That wouldn’t surprise me, because genderist ideology is profoundly and shockingly sexist. So now you think that wanting to have short hair means you’re not a woman. The 1950s called, and they want their gender roles back!

“To be clear, being a girl can mean whatever you want it to mean.”

Okay, good. So please explain, on what basis do you believe that you are not a woman, if women can be anything?

“I know that in the venn diagram of gender there are many women who share many characteristics with me except that they feel really strongly about being women.”

Huh? Who feels strongly about being a woman? I’m not even sure what that means. I just know I’m a woman because I know what parts I have and I understand what the word woman means. A woman is an adult human female, and I’m an adult human female, so I’m a woman. It has nothing to do with a personal conviction.

“It feels more and more alien when people call me “ma’am” or “lady” or “miss,” which happens a lot here in Texas. That language is so far from the way I see myself that it makes my brain hurt trying to figure out how other people still see me that way.”

I’m not sure how simple forms of address used for all adult human females could possibly encapsulate “the way you see yourself.” How would they do that? They are just forms of address. They don’t express how I feel about myself either. These words aren’t there to express any personal feelings.

My brain hurts trying to figure out how you can have a university degree and still not understand basic human anatomy and basic functions of common words.

“She/her pronouns don’t make me feel much of anything, positive or negative.”

Well, of course they don’t. They’re just pronouns. No reasonable person gets emotional about grammar. I don’t feel anything about female pronouns either, or any other pronouns. They just exist so we can refer to the people around us when we talk.

“They/them pronouns make my heart click together, make my legs stop shaking in their subconscious effort to burn off my endless anxiety.”

Oh my gawd, why? What is it with these people and randomly assigning intense emotional meaning to neutral and insignificant things? Hearing a pronoun makes your heart click together? Fer feck sake, I’m gonna write an article for Autostraddle about how conjunctions and subjunctive tense verbs make my soul fly among the heavens.

The next writer, Cecilia, identifies as ALL of the following:

  • Witch
  • Knife-Licking Femme
  • Glitter Witch Femme
  • Cyber Femme
  • Child in a Miyazaki Film
  • Futuristic Ash Ketchum
  • Cis-Passing Art Hoe
  • Neutral Cis-Passing Take Me Seriously I’m A Capricorn Rising

However, even though all these descriptions apparently describe her, the word “woman” does not. How someone can be both female and feminine but somehow “not a woman” is beyond me. How a woman can consider herself a movie character but not a woman is beyond me.

She seems to choose her gender labels according to spiritual energies and artistic expressions. It’s fine to have spiritual energies and artistic expressions, and many of us have these. But there’s no reason why any of these require a “gender” label, and there’s no reason why anyone other than herself needs to take any interest in this. I feel a lot of resonance with certain artistic expressions too, but I just experience them without going around making other people validate them for me or change the way they talk about me because of them. There’s no need for that.

The last writer mentions having to explain over and over what nonbinary means, and yet she doesn’t offer an explanation in her write-up here. You’d think that if she was in the habit of explaining what nonbinary means, and if she was writing for an article about what nonbinary means, she’d at some point define what nonbinary means? Nope! She just offers a rambling account of her life that doesn’t add up to much of anything. She likes to wear a binder and doesn’t like her breasts touched. Okay, fair enough, so you don’t like having breasts. Not all women like them! You’re allowed to have boundaries! None of this means that you aren’t an adult human female!

I remain open to finding out what nonbinary means, and I will continue reading the articles I come across. But according to what I’ve read so far about being nonbinary, it can mean any of the following:

  • Being cool, special, geeky, or artsy; having feelings and experiences
  • Not fitting in with the popular clique
  • Being uncomfortable with certain body parts
  • Believing that normal human feelings require special labels
  • Requiring the people around you to refer to you by a label you like

Except for the obsession with labels, being nonbinary is no different from being any other human being. Genderist ideology requires that we apply unnecessary labels to normal human traits and take very seriously things that are neutral and unimportant. It’s a bunch of, shall we say, “punkass bullshit.”

I’m not buying it.


A fun post on search terms

Just for fun, here is a little post on the search terms that people use to land on my blog.

WordPress allows me to download a database of all the search terms that caused searchers to land here. In 2017, the top 10 most common search terms were:

peak trans
purple sage feminist
danielle muscato
purple sage fem
mtf vagina
i want a vagina
mtf pussy
what is it like to have a vagina

I really enjoy being a destination for people who type “peak trans,” but I could really do without the constant porn searches and searches for MtF genitalia.

In porn-related searches, people often ask how girls get recruited for porn. That’s because of my posts on the documentary Hot Girls Wanted where I wrote about recruitment. There are also lots of searches for “lesbian” porn, searches for rape, (including searches for specific types of people being raped), and random strings of words for genitals. Some of these search terms for specific genitals are really gross and objectifying toward people who have medically transitioned. Many of the porn searches are horrifying, unprintable, and make me want to burn down the whole world. Porn searches are always full of misspelled words, which makes me wonder if people are typing with one hand. Either that, or people are just dumb. People are gross and dumb. Anyway, I’ve gotten bored of the porn searches, and I don’t wish to dwell on them. Here are some other interesting tidbits.

Interestingly, there are always people searching to find information about lesbians and periods, often wondering whether we even get them.

do lesbians got periods
does lesbians have a period
lesbians dont need periods
how to get periods for lesbian
lesbians talking about there periods
lesbian have periods like girls
what pills lesbians use in order to stop going for periods
do butch lesbians go on their periods
do gay girls have mensuration
if am a lesbian how do i stop menstruation
what stops menstruation permanent if u r lesbian

People have other curiosities about lesbians, like where we hang out and what our sex was like in specific decades:

do lesbians hang out in public restrooms?
how do lesbians grow beards
1960s beehive lesbians
1930s lesbiansex
lesb sex 1960

Some people search for guidance after reaching “peak trans”:

why the fuck do i have to play your pronoun game
danielle muscato is not a woman
genderbread nonsense
trans activists are erasing women
i am a terf

Some people search my name plus another search term, apparently wanting my opinion on something. (I’ll take that as a compliment, thanks!)

purplesage gender
purple sage clothing
cis privilege purple sage

Some people search for radical feminism (yeah!):

giving up porn radical feminism
woman identified woman
woman identified woman concept
woman-identified woman definition
sexualization of women capitalism
mra sad pathetic losers

Some people are just bizarre:

chew your clit off transgender
women peeing her pants legos
floating lesbians sex
male and female having lesbian sex
transvestite dog walking porn

This person probably isn’t seeing much “virgina” in real life:

visible and understandable image of a virgina

Gosh, these are fun. I’m particularly curious about “floating lesbians sex”. Does this person want to see lesbians having sex while floating? In air, or in water? Hmmm….

If I had to name the most interesting thing about my (non-porn-related) search terms though, it’s that lots of people seem to be unsure of whether lesbians have normal female bodies. Yes, we do! We have periods like other women. Aside from the fact that we are attracted to women, everything about us is typical.


A few thoughts on lesbian fiction

An article written by lesbian author Julia Diana Robertson talks about how a publication changed her words when they published her interview, making her sound less lesbian and more “queer.”

“Among other things, throughout the interview, where I said “lesbian” the word lesbian was changed to “queer.”

Why were words I would never use to describe myself or my novel, like “queerness” and “LGBTQ” and “gender presentation,” put into my mouth?”

This article provides a perfect illustration of the sneaky ways in which lesbians are erased by “queer” culture. Queer culture doesn’t like the word lesbian, because it’s too specific, and because it describes women whose sexuality excludes men. Queer culture prefers to promote the idea of “queer women” instead. Queer women are any women who defy the traditional conservative norms of sexuality, sometimes by engaging in sex with other women, or sometimes by engaging in other outlawed forms of sexuality. Queer is a deliberately vague term—all it means is “odd” or “strange,” but it doesn’t name a sexual orientation or set any boundaries. In fact, the “queer woman” umbrella includes males.

As Robertson comments:

“I was rebranded. I became the mythological “if the situation was right” lesbian. The appropriated slur “queer,” has become the popular descriptor of choice for a “yes” girl or a “maybe” girl— An “I’m not going to rule anything out because I’m open-minded” girl. It doesn’t carry the sting of lesbian. The stigma of lesbian. The boundaries of lesbian. Lesbian is a solid “No.” ”Not even if…” And that unwillingness to bend is the very reason lesbians are targeted with insidious psychological warfare.”

As she comments later in her article, when you take the word “lesbian” out of a statement a lesbian made and replace it with “queer,” you are erasing lesbians. Even though “exclusion” is considered a deadly serious crime these days, no one is concerned about excluding us.

I have to also add something here, because it drives me crazy when I see this, and it was mentioned in the quote above: a person can’t be described as “LGBT.” It’s not possible to be a gay man and a lesbian at the same time, nor is it possible to be homosexual and bisexual at the same time. You are only one of the letters LGB, not all of them! Now, I do think you could argue that it’s possible to be either an L, G, or B while also being a T. Fair enough, but you can’t possibly be all four of these letters. When someone calls a person “an LGBT author” or “an LGBT activist,” this makes no sense—you’re calling one person several people.

Anyway, this article by Robertson got me thinking about the issues surrounding lesbian fiction. As she mentions, and as many of us have noticed over and over, there are lots of published works labelled “lesbian” that weren’t written by lesbians and don’t reflect who lesbians are. There is also a problem of writing by real lesbians being marginalized in a culture that prefers “queer women” and believes that lesbians are “exclusionary” and “bigoted.” When mainstream LGBT publications all adopt a mandate to cater to queer culture, where do lesbians get their work published and reviewed? We’re limited to advertising our work on anonymous blogs, in secret Facebook groups, and by word of mouth. We should be able to publish in mainstream publications like anyone else—we aren’t doing anything wrong by being lesbians.

I have been thinking about the genre of the “lesbian novel” and what makes it different from, say, a “queer” novel or a mainstream novel that has some lesbian content in it. I define a “lesbian novel” as a novel written by a lesbian, that focuses on lesbians, that represents us authentically, and that tells our truth so that other lesbians can see themselves among the pages. A “queer” novel, on the other hand, either represents a performative sexuality in which same-sex activity is used as a strategy to “spice things up,” or in which characters have a bisexual or ambiguous orientation. There’s nothing wrong with bisexual characters or experimental same-sex activity, there’s only something wrong with mislabeling non-lesbian characters as lesbians. Then there is such a thing as a mainstream novel which has mostly straight characters, but also devotes a small amount of text to a lesbian or bisexual character. This is cool, but it’s not a “lesbian novel” just because of a tiny bit of woman-loving-woman content.

A lesbian looking for a lesbian novel has two problems: when she looks through mainstream sources for published works, she is shown lots of material that is not authentically lesbian, and the writing that is authentically lesbian is hard to find because it hasn’t been publicized or reviewed by mainstream sources.

In another article by Julia Diana Robertson, she discusses the idea of segregated literature. She wrote a book that was designed to be a piece of mainstream literature that happened to have a lesbian love story in it, but where “sexuality wouldn’t take center stage.” You know, like straight people do. The literature that straight people write is mainstream and isn’t necessarily “straight literature,” nor does it have to focus on sexuality just because characters are heterosexual. She pitched her story to mainstream publishers, and was rejected. She found that she was expected to be either a mainstream straight writer, or pigeonholed as a “lesbian” writer who just wrote for lesbians.

Should literature be desegregated? On the one hand, it would be nice if a lesbian writer could just be a writer, and not be marginalized as only writing for a small group of people. Anybody can read a work of literature that has lesbians in it, not just lesbians. But at the same time, when lesbians try to work with mainstream institutions, we get lost, forgotten, and erased.

I’m mostly in favor of lesbian writing being a separate genre for a niche market. I wouldn’t want to “sell out” by submitting my own writing to a publisher who wanted to make my work more palatable to either straights or “queers.” I am happy to write for a limited audience, and I’d rather represent lesbians authentically than make a lot of money. I’m not concerned about writing literature where the focus is on a storyline and sexuality isn’t the main theme—I actually prefer when lesbian sexuality is the main theme.

But lesbians should be able to be mainstream writers if they want to be. There’s a paradox going on here where going mainstream would be good for us but it would also be bad for us. We need mainstream representation and visibility, but we also need the authenticity that comes from being in control of our own publications. Imagine if we could have both though? If we could have authentic lesbian representation from mainstream publishers, then that would be a sign we were no longer discriminated against.

I do hope to read more novels written by lesbians and review them here, but as you all know, my reading list is long and always growing. If only I could quit my day job and just read and write full time!

Dear readers, do you have any thoughts on lesbian writing and publishing?


Video: Crash on the pressure to transition

Must-watch video.

Crash also wrote the full text on her blog if you prefer to read.




Here is an interview with Derrick Jensen and Robin Wall Kimmerer about gratitude. The excerpt that caught my attention and made me want to read more was this:

“And when we really practice gratitude, it brings forth a sense of enoughness and sufficiency, I think. It makes you feel rich when you’re grateful. You think “Oh my gosh!” You enumerate all these gifts that are around you. And I think in a sense there are practical consequences of that emotion of gratitude; they are that we take less. And when we look at climate change, when we look at the biodiversity crisis, we all know that that is, in a linear way, related to our own consumption. And so if gratitude can be a control or a restraint over our own consumption, gratitude then becomes a really powerful tool for caretaking, for the earth. And so that’s one of the things, I think, that the earth asks of us, is gratitude.”

Kimmerer describes the relationship we should have with the natural environment in terms of gratitude—viewing the things the earth gives us as gifts with intrinsic worth, rather than “resources” to be bought and sold. This perspective is incredibly important and I think that viewing the world this way is necessary for our survival.

I love the way she sees the natural world and I love how she explains greed in terms of a lack of gratitude. Some people turn their whole lives into an endless pursuit of material things, and this vice has gotten out of control to the point where it’s killing our whole planet. What these people need is to really experience the intrinsic value of what they have, instead of trying to always have more. I think the reason they keep wanting more is because they have failed to feel grateful for what they already had.

Kimmerer says this about the importance of paying attention:

“And I think that one of the first places that I always start, especially with my students, is with attention. That in a world that gives us redwoods and mosses and salamanders, we should at least be paying attention to all of those beings and gifts, and to the fact that our lives are utterly dependent on them. And that kind of paying attention is what I think’s needed to bring us to a place of feeling that we live in a world made of gifts, rather than a world made of natural resources.”

Recently I wrote a post about spirituality in which I explained that my personal sense of spirituality is related to the ability to feel awe. I think this is a similar thing that Kimmerer is saying —we need to pay attention to and appreciate the intrinsic value of the things around us, and with this attitude, we realize we are constantly surrounded by gifts.

The way you can feel awe about something is to sit still and focus on the experience of that thing. When I took a mindfulness course, I realized that absolutely everything can be awesome, if I really allow myself to experience it. We did an exercise where we ate a raisin mindfully, and it’s amazing how a simple exercise can be so impactful. I was able to be mindful of the whole experience of holding a box of raisins in my hand and watching my hand as it opened the box, and then I took the time to notice the taste in my mouth instead of just swallowing it right away, and I figured it out—I understood what mindfulness feels like. It wasn’t about the raisin, of course, it was about learning how to pay attention. I actually noticed that day how complex the human hand is, and how not only is it complex how the fingers work to perform tasks, but we can do all sorts of complex things automatically, without our conscious mind even getting involved. I had a good cry that day over the miracle that is my hand, and that exercise really enhanced my ability to see what could be called “miracles” or “gifts” around me. The main things that keep me out of despair are gratitude and awe. Feeling this way has done wonders for my mental health.

To see someone taking this concept and applying it to how to deal with climate change was just beautiful and amazing. I recommend reading or listening to the whole interview—every bit of it is fantastic and important. (Here’s that link again!) This is a concept we have to understand in order to build a sense of spirituality and to understand how to save the world.

The reason this interview was brought to my attention is because our dear comrade Miep has been transcribing interviews that Derrick Jensen does on his show Resistance Radio. Thank you so much Miep—I love the gifts you bring to me!