Roz Kaveney (rozk) wrote,
Roz Kaveney

Oh, sometimes I have a headache and sometimes it's a Bindelache

pigeonhed rebuked my previous post for taking seriously something that Bindel may have intended as a joke. Two points here - 1. JB has made a lot of jokes over the last few years and some of them were tasteless and offensive ways of saying what she actually thought. Given some of the things she said in her 2004 post, and claims to have apologized for, but still clearly at some level meant, I think that treating her 'jokes' as unserious is a way of letting her off the hook which I, for one, am disinclined to adopt. 2. Her jokes, as I say, usually embody what she actually thinks - so why not take them as seriously as her in-clear totally non-humourous comments? JB is a campaigner and journalist and polemicist - she never lets any of her opponents get away with careless language, so nor should we her.

Returning to her piece here, we find the interesting and not really jokey-at-all sentence - lesbian feminists who were born women are being told they are neither of these things by a number of women who were born male but believe they make better lesbians than me.

Let us be clear, I have never said that I don't think Julie Bindel is a lesbian or a feminist and have rebuked those people who, carried away by enthusiastic anger in the face of JB's provocations, have implied that there is any question about this. However, I do find the concept of lesbianism as a competition a terribly revealing one - I always thought it was an identity, or possibly a solidarity, but never a competition.

And then I realized that JB perpetually compares other lesbians to her Gold Star Lesbian status and finds them wanting - too lipstick, too BDSM and so on. She doesn't consider me a lesbian or a feminist at all of course, which puts me right out of the competition. Presumably though, the various women who have slept with me, or kissed me in attraction, or come to dinner with me - the women who regard me as a woman who happens to be trans by history - they, in Bindel's eyes, fail as lesbians too; they certainly aren't as good lesbians as she is, as far as she is concerned. And what about the lesbians and feminists who have worked with me politically, or rated my scholarship - clearly, just not as lesbian as Julie Bindel, or as feminist.

Presumably her fan club get rated as proper lesbians, particularly after they insulted a transman with some pretty random nastiness. On the other hand, at one point they chatted amicably with a deceitful demonstrator who did not identify herself as trans, and the fact that they did not instantly spot her innate male privilege or her adherence to gender binary stereotypes must worry Julie Bindel - her disciples are working at being better lesbians, but they are clearly not as good as Julie, who is Never Fooled.

Come to that, there were her on-line supporters who get very tough about the way one correspondent wrote and elaborately described how obvious it was to them that this person was a trans woman, and thus essentially deeply and unalterably a bloke. Only, well - let's just say that their transdar is not very good and they got completely the wrong wavelength. Again, Julie's disciples may be lesbians and feminists, but they fail to attain her pinnacle of perfection.

Or perhaps this whole idea of who is a better lesbian than some other lesbian is one of those very silly ideas which, like passing, needs to be dumped in the wastepaper basket of history. I really don't think I am better than JB - nicer, perhaps, smarter, possibly, funnier, conceivably. Not as mean? Jury's out on that one, I guess.
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