Keep Your Heterosexism, Jezzies
Lindy West has written a post on Jezebel making the argument that when a woman’s boyfriend tells her that her vagina is repulsive, it’s time to break up with him. Aside from the cis-privilege of the article (there are people who do not identify as women who have vaginas, too!), I found the article both funny and spot on. A relationship in which one person is shaming another person’s body is not a healthy relationship and should be terminated ASAP.
Many of the Jezzies in the comments section, however, posted things like:
I get that people think they’re being funny, but ironic heterosexism is still heterosexism. These comments play on a stereotype that gay men find female bodies disgusting and repulsive. They position gay men as the ultimate misogynists, who are so anti-woman that they are literally repulsed to the point of vomiting at the sight of a woman’s vagina.
I know that gay men have said and would say something stupid like “vaginas are repulsive”—I’ve seen it myself. But clearly so will straight men, as will people who are not men (one such commenter on that post who identifies as a straight woman said she’s “weirded out” by vaginas because they are gross…yeah…). I also know that there is no shortage of misogyny and sexism among gay men. But these are not necessary characteristics of gay men.
Body shaming is something that people of all gender identities and sexual orientations are capable of engaging in. Lindy is right—it’s some grade-A bullshit that should be avoided and rejected. Perhaps she should next tackle her commenters who are engaging in the same fucking thing only with a touch of heterosexism to spice things up.
I don’t wish to be a jerk; I’m just genuinely curious. How exactly can the Jezebel article be changed so it is not heterosexist? Also how can it be changed so that it is not reflective of cisgendered norms? All I could come up with is using the term “partner” instead of sex specific terms and not referring to vaginas as “lady bits” and the like. Also, I dislike genitalia being referred to as “vagina”. Technically, the vagina is only one part of the vulva and for some people not even the most important part. I wish more people would use “vulva”.
I didn’t say the article was heterosexist. I said the commenters were being heterosexist. The actual article just use some language that is cis-normative and trans-exclusionary.