Sunday, 8 August 2010

OK Julie, you're not a dyke.

Warning, personal, bitchy rant ahead.

Lesbian feminist* commentator Julie Bindel was on Woman's Hour on radio 4 yesterday, talking about how offensive, as a 48 year old lesbian, she found the word 'dyke'.

Oh, Julie, Julie, Julie. You never disappoint, do you? Even though, as you yourself pointed out, 'dyke''s been no more used as an insult than 'gay', 'lesbian', 'queer' etc, you still seem to assert that this word is special. That it's inherently insulting just because YOU don't like it.
Another lesbian on the show, Diva and Lesbilicious writer Kaite Welsh, explained that she had never found dyke offensive, the insult of choice when she came out having been 'Lezzer'. Kaite being 26, the generation gap was cited as the reason for this. So, we might surmise, using the term of abuse which was applied to a specific lesbian when they came out may come over as somewhat insensitive. On the other hand, given that ALL words associated with alternative sexualities have been used as insults in the heteronormative world at one time or another, perhaps we should all just reclaim and move on, taking care that we within the queer community, never use those words negatively ourselves.

Now, Julie, you often refer you yourself and to lesbians like yourself as 'lezzers' in your columns, (usually when bashing other kinds of women of whom you do not approve, most notably femme lesbians and bisexual women, whom you appear to have conflated, but never mind)
That's fine. Variety of language and the reclamation of homophobic slurs is right up my street, (well the bashing's not, but...) But when you then get on your moral high horse about a word that YOU don't like, claiming that it has SUCH negative connotations for YOU that you can NEVER see it as positive, you kind of lose the right to throw the others around willy nilly.
Like Welsh, I am of the generation that got called a 'Lezzer' at school. So yeah, that term has a little extra sting to it and I personally don't choose to use it. Of course it doesn't help that the one writer who DOES use it does so in such offensive contexts.

I shouldn't have been surprised, I know. I mean, you're not overly known for your sensitivity or open mind when it comes to other aspects of the LGBT/Queer community, but really? ON a programme where you have come to attack a homophobic reviewer over his use of the word 'dyke', to THEN use the word 'lezzer', which your fellow guest has identified seconds ago as offensive to her, without acknowledging this, even when the person you just insulted audibly winced?... Julie, that's crass even for you.
As it happens, it wasn't the word dyke that was a problem in A A Gill's review, it was his use of it as a derogatory term which proved him to be a bigoted fool. Kinda the way you used the words 'bisexual', and 'genderbender' on Woman's Hour, Jules.

But if you don't like 'dyke', Julie Bindel, that's all to the good, because when I think of you, there's another word that leaps to mind. The word I'm thinking of tends to spout fountains of pointless and sometimes harmful drivel into women, and it does begin with D and end in an E.
And Julie, it suits you down to the ground.

*There's more than one kind of feminism. Personally I think the kind that bashes men, feminine women and the bi and trans communities at every opportuntiy is doing it wrong. But it's A feminism, certainly... *seethe seethe*


  1. OK now I get it. You posted this as a headline on your other blog with no text, so I was confused ;)

  2. I am Julie Douc--, um, Bindel's age and until this moment, I had enver even HEARD the term "lezzer." It is just stunning that she would use the term right after someone had expressed that it bothered them. Then again, strident persons exclaiming about their rights are known for stepping all over the rights and sesitivities of others while at it, from smokers to gun people to douc--,um, interviewees.

    There was a time when I was all about being a lesbian, but this sort of stupid factionalism has me to the point where, yes, I am a woman who loves women, but call me whatever you like, it doesn't change a thing.

    PS--I love the word "dyke" it sounds so definite and strong.

  3. FB, You just made my day. A recent polemic of JB's bemoaned the idea that, not always being androgynous, we were 'no longer lesbians, just women who have sex with women' . The Horror.
    You know what? Fuck yeah! I ain't NEVER been to Lesbos, but I sure know my way around a vagina.