Friday, June 23, 2006

Spotlight Lesbianism: girls kissing girls for guys

It has been far too long since Internal Monologue engaged in some gratuitous titillation thinly disguised with a veneer of social criticism. But upon finding this article on the phenomenon of “spotlight lesbianism” (my term! I invented it! I hereby claim it for my own!) via this analysis on Pandagon I knew that this prurience drought would end:
She and a friend were drinking at a party, and some guys dared them to kiss ... so they did. "It was like, look, I'm the center of attention! Everyone's looking at me and cheering me on. It felt good being in the spotlight [emphasis added]," she says. Then she adds, "And the kissing itself didn't really bug me. From then on it became a normal thing to do."
Now the thin veneer of social criticism: Is this phenomenon as widespread as breathless columnists portray it? Is it on the increase? Is it demeaning or empowering? The Pandagon article talks about this “craze”, and compares it to the whole “blowjob blowup” that has apparently wracked some feminist blogs with controversy. (If you can’t resist finding out more, “Feminist Politics of Blowjobs” is supposedly a good place to start.)

My thoughts:
  • Yes, it would certainly get my attention. Whatever the morality of this tactic, I do not question its efficacy.

  • It wasn’t nearly as common in my high school and college experience as these articles depict. Neither was oral sex. I’m always a bit skeptical about these articles that depict the years of high school and college as some sort of universal sexual free-for-all. It certainly wasn’t for me. Of course, I was I geek/nerd way before there was an easy way to parlay that into some kind of sex appeal, and very girl-shy to boot, so maybe I just missed out.

  • I do find it a bit creepy that someone would do something sexual with someone they aren’t attracted to just to get my attention. Is my attention worth that much? Maybe it is. Maybe I’m as great as all that. But really? Not that any of these issues would prevent me from gawking.

  • I can understand how girls who are actually lesbian or bi-sexual might be uncomfortable with this kind of activity. If people started carrying Dungeons & Dragons books around just because it got people interested in them sexually, I’d feel my genuine love of Dungeons & Dragons would be somehow cheapened. Or at any rate I’d be at great pains to tell everyone that I really liked the game, and wasn’t just playing it to get hot girls interested in me.

  • C’mon, are boys really that hard to get?

  • Do girls like watching boys kiss each other? There was that scene in the American Pie 2 movie, but how representative is that? I can see how it might be fun to get someone to do something humiliating, but are girls genuinely turned on by the act?


Blogger App Crit said...

Apparently, this sort of thing is on the rise. And X isn't even necessary, though I'm sure it helps.

Last year I served on a university committee that sought to promote dialogue and understanding of the social and health risks of undergraduates. In the end, I think it was more for faculty than for students. Boy (or Girl), did I learn a lot. The times, they are a changin'.

How? From the fairly widespread use of party drugs, like ecstasy (more than you think)...a comeback of heroin...the casual nature of hook-ups (78% of men and 97% of women expected to hook up every time they went out drinking)...and the rise of, what I'll call, performative symposiastica, and what you call spotlight lesbianism, which doesn' seem to start from 'truth or dare' sort of things, but more from 'Coyote Ugly'-type performances. (The stuff that happens at some frat/sorority houses is just waiting for a Dateline undercover piece.) It's not surprising, really. Consider how every young starlet has to do a (semi-)nude spread in FHM or Maxxim or something like that and the kind of attention an event like the Britney-Madonna kiss received. A lot has been written about the changing nature of pop culture sexuality (it's not just hip hop videos) and its impact on teenagers and undergrads, so I won't get into it here. On that committee, like I said, I learned a lot.

Oh, and I don't think that these are gender studies majors doing this.

And, yes, for certian types, getting attention is that important.


5:49 PM, June 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the term "spotlight lesbianism".

To answer a few of your questions:

- I think this may be on the rise, but I am skeptical of alarmist/ sensationalist accounts that teens "today" are so much more "at-risk". In my Catholic high school in the late 80s/early 90s, people were pretty casual about blow jobs. But then again, maybe my school was especially slutty.

- As a lapsed bi girl, I do find "spotlight lesbianism" pretty irritating.

- Boys kissing boys is attention getting, too - but I think straight boys' fears of looking gay prevent them from taking advantage of this tactic.

4:02 AM, June 24, 2006  
Blogger Zachary Drake said...

Thanks for posting, anonymous. I was in high school in the late 80's early 90's, too. But I missed the casual blowjob thing, that's for sure.

Yes, I can see how the fear of being thought of as gay would quelch any possibility of the phenomenon emerging with the genders reversed.

4:45 AM, June 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lesbianism has increased a lot over the past ten years. more and more women today want to be with their own sex instead of being with a man. this makes me want to vomit. i never realized that there are so many gay women out there. no wonder why us straight men are having a very hard time meeting straight women. where are the normal women out there? i like to hear from you.

6:26 PM, August 07, 2011  

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