Stripes, ox blood red, plaid, and . . . girls kissing girls? Apparently at Spring 2013 Fashion Week, it’s becoming trendy to be a lesbian.
It’s unclear when stereotyping became okay, but one stylist, Mel Otterberg (who works with Rihanna), put it thusly: “I think when you see girls running around in Air Jordans and baseball caps, then yeah, something’s moved. I’m not sure I’ve ever thought of that look as ‘lesbian,’ necessarily, but I can say that in the past year, Rih’s wearing combat boots in situations where before, nothing but four-inch-heel stiletto booties would do.” So he doesn’t necessarily call athleticism and comfort lesbian traits, but um, what is he trying to say? Wait a minute. WTF?
Fashion press is making it sound pretty fashionable to be a lesbian, with “lesbian chic” becoming a pretty common term and one site saying that lesbian chic may inspire models to start dating each other. Um, okay.
We think it’s great that it’s being more widely accepted to be a lesbian or gay (or bi, trans, queer, etc.). But here’s why this is a bit of a problem. “Lesbian chic” makes it sound like you can just choose at will to be a lesbian. Ask any lesbian you can find, and they’ll pretty much let you know that’s far from the case. Being a lesbian is something girls are born with, not something they do because Karl Lagerfeld says it’s trendy.
Being gay or lesbian (or any other member of the LGBTQ community) isn’t a choice. It’s who someone is. No one wakes up in the morning and is like, “Dude, I’m going to be a lesbian today!” just like no one randomly decides, “Hey, I’m going to be black today. It’s Friday, isn’t it?” Of course not, because your ethnicity is something you’re born with. Runways wouldn’t make it trendy to be black, because that’s offensive: Being black isn’t something that goes in or out of style–it’s something you’re born with and it’s something that’s permanent. So is being a lesbian. So why is it okay for them to assume that you can turn a switch on and off to be a lesbian or straight?
There’s also a bit of a gender double standard at play. Men are visual creatures, so they get pretty turned on by lesbians (because it’s like double the fun)–and since, as Miss Representation pointed out, men run most of the media, is it really surprising that they’d make it trendy to be a lesbian? Think back to a few years ago: Katy Perry sang “I Kissed a Girl,” which also trivialized and made it seem like a choice to be lesbian, into one of the biggest pop music careers going. She also made “Ur So Gay,” which essentially employed a bunch of stereotypes about gay men to insult an ex. Not that cool, right? (We’re glad she’s moved on from that.)
The fact is, making it trendy to be a lesbian is essentially trivializing lesbians and everything they go through just because they were born wired to kiss girls instead of guys. In a lot of states, lesbians can’t get married, and as other members of the LGBTQ spectrum, lesbians face a lot of intolerance, and calling combat boots and hats “lesbian chic” isn’t helping their plight any. Making it trendy to be a lesbian is actually a roundabout, indirect, and perhaps unintentional way to proliferate homophobia and ignorance. And that’s not a good look.
Do you think it’s trendy to be a lesbian? Do you think making it trendy to be a lesbian is helpful or harmful to the LGBTQ community? Do you think being gay is a choice? Tell us in the comments!