Presentation of The Research Integrating LGBT – Topics In the Šmarje pri Jelšah Elementary School Classrooms by Anja LesjakRead Now
The Presentation of The Research Integrating LGBT – Topics in The Šmarje pri Jelšah Elementary School Classrooms.
In my graduation thesis titled Integrating LGBT – topics in the Šmarje pri Jelšah elementary school classrooms, a research about the inclusion of LGBT themes in schools. At the beginning, I wanted to do my research at a smaller school because I was interested in the answers of teachers who work in a small school in the countryside. I encountered a problem, since the smaller schools did not respond at my request to conduct a survey. Of the eight requests sent to primary schools in rural areas, only two answered. I assume that schools which did not respond avoided the research because of the sensitive topic. In the two schools that were willing to participate I didn't get the minimum number of required teachers to do my research. Later, I contacted one of the pedagogues at the Primary School Šmarje pri Jelšah, which communicated with the schools teachers who were willing to participate. However, since many of the selected teachers did not respond to the e-mails, I, with the permission of the pedagogue, sent a request to all the teachers at the school. The responsiveness was very poor, as from sixty-five sent emails, I received only eight replies. The last two interviews I arranged personally during interviews with the other teachers.
The respondants consist of teachers of the Primary School Šmarje pri Jelšah, who were regularly employed in the school year 2016/2017. I interviewed 10 teachers, of which were 8 female and 2 male. The average age of the teachers was between 30 and 55 years. The interviews were held from September 15, 2016 to January 10, 2017. The aim of the research was to determine whether teachers talk about homosexuality with children in school, acquaintance them with LGBT topics, such as familiarity with LGBT acronyms, rainbow family, prejudices and stereotypes towards LGBT people, peer physical and verbal violence of LGBT pupils, teachers education on LGBT topics and the ability to talk about them.
Based on their answers, I got the following results:
Knowledge of teachers about the abbreviation »LGBT«
The answers indicate that the teachers are quite unfamiliar with LGBT topics. Mostly they do not know the terms or they have not even heard of them. The poor knowledge of LGBT topics is not a good starting point for talking to children because the children expect answers. By not knowing and not talking about LGBT the children can receive a message that this is something hidden and bad.
The relationship of teachers to the LGBT and the importance of conversations
Although teachers believe that it is important to talk about LGBT themes, they prefer to avoid conversation because of their own beliefs or because of their own inadequacy for such a conversation. Here I think that the support of the curriculum would be welcome. If LGBT topics were included in the curriculum, teachers could prepare properly and make it easier for them to talk about it with children.
Talking to children about LGBT topics
Children are very interested in the opinions of the teachers. Some teachers do not share their opinion regarding LGBT topics with children. Children are usually interested if they support same-sex families, and they already create an opinion about a teacher if (s)he supports them or not. One of the teachers, however talks about children's books with LGBT contents. The teacher believes that children are very open to LGBT topics and that resistance comes usually from parents. Teachers on general also say that younger generations are more open-minded, as they do not see the topic through religion. They believe that younger generations will break up stereotypes in society. One teacher says she likes to rely on examples and personal experience. She notices that some children are very reserved during conversations and often judge LGBT people. She thinks their prejudices come from their families, however teachers teach objectivity and honesty at school.
Avoiding talking about LGBT topics
Two of the teachers replied that they sometimes avoid talking about LGBT topics, either because of their own incompetence regarding LGBT or they tell the children that they have already talked enough about this and change the topic of the conversation. Other teachers do not avoid conversation and feel that there should be more talk about it. Teachers believe that children are not talking about this at home. One of the teachers says that she advocates professional work, which means she presents the subject objectively and helps the children if they have any questions. One of the teachers says that older children find it harder to deal with differences because they want to prove themselves before the others. They feel the pressure of their peers and they stick to the majority. He also believes that LGBT topics are harder to explain to older children. He also says that those who are more pious are more opposed to homosexuality and more homophobia appears among them.
Qualified for conversation
Half of the teachers questioned their beliefs that they are trained enough to talk to children about LGBT topics. One of the teachers said she would welcome to have some didactic knowledge in this field in order to make it easier to find a way to talk to children. One of the teachers said that he would turn to help of a professional colleague regarding the LGBT topics. About half of the teachers said that they were trained enough to talk to children about it. Less than half of teachers think they are sufficiently informed about it, but that also depends on what children are asking
The ability of other teachers to talk
It is a worrying answer that less than half of teachers think that other teachers are trained enough in the LGBT area. So, not only that half of the teachers question their qualifications, more than half believe that others are not trained enough.
Use of homophobic germplasm
The fact that children use homophobic germplots and do not know what they mean shows that teachers and parents do not talk enough with the children about it. Children hear words at home, in movies, or elsewhere. Because they see that they are used as negative expressions, they begin to use them on to the others. When used, others may be (unconsciously) affected.
Suitable age of the children for conversation
Teachers have very different opinions about when is the appropriate age of children to talk about LGBT topics with them. Some think that children understand everything if we explain the topic in an appropriate way.
Teaching children about LGBT
Teachers have different ideas about how to include LGBT topics into school work. If they were included in the curriculum, this would be a support for them. The answers show that teachers need more support in their work regarding LGBT topics (Lesjak, 2017: 23 - 39).
On the basis of theory and my own research, I find or assume that the society and the school system are still very heteronormative, and that most teachers are not ready to introduce LGBT topics into their lessons which is due to ignorance regarding LGBT topics in society. This a consequence of non-support of the curriculum and institutions that determine the course of school work. I believe that the introduction of LGBT topics into the school system would contribute to the reduction of homophobia, prejudice and, consequently, peerless violence based on same-sex orientation. If we want to reduce peer violence based on sexual orientation, we need to start introducing these themes, educating teachers, parents and children. This will gradually eliminate prejudices and thus contribute to a better quality of life for LGBT pupils and LGBT people on general.
LESJAK, ANJA (2017): Vključevanje LGBT- teme pri pouku v osnovni šoli Šmarje pri Jelšah. Diplomsko delo. Fakulteta za socialno delo: 23-39.
Different Types of Partners – Who is Yours?
Who makes the best lover? The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates once held a raucous drinking party at which he posed this question. Various Athenian notables were present and they all offered different answers, reflecting every colour of the rainbow.The intrepid reporter Plato recorded it all for posterity in a work called the Symposium.
Throughout history, many readers have found their answer to our question in one or another of the Symposium’s theories, but we have to ask whether even three of the best might be missing something.
Twin Flames/Soul mates
According to the playwright Aristophanes, human beings were originally created with two faces and four arms and legs. We lived very happily as these double creatures until our creator, Zeus, cut us in half due to our arrogance and disobedience. Since then, we have roamed the earth, lonely and forlorn without our missing halves. Only Eros, the God of love, can help us find them.
Aristophanes also contends that the original double-humans had three genders: male (with two male halves), female (with two female halves), and androgynous (with one male and one female half). Males descended from the sun, females from the earth, and those who were androgynous descended from the moon. Eros must unite two men in order to restore the male gender, two women in order to restore the female gender, and a man with a woman to restore the androgynous gender. Therefore Aristophanes presents also theory of the origin of sexual orientation which no other author in the ancient world has done before. However, making us complete again is not easy. When Zeus first started cutting the original human beings in half he cut them in such a way that all they could do when they reunited was kiss and hug. These poor creatures soon died from despair. So, in a rare display of mercy, Zeus began giving each half-human a set of sexual organs. They enable us to merge with our other halves, at least for a little while, releasing us from the unbearable tension of desire. This is why sex is such a powerful governing influence for human beings and rules our lives with absolute sovereignty. Although it paints a very beautiful picture, Aristophanes’ account of true love suffers from two significant issues:
- first, regardless of how lovers physically enter into each other, they remain two persons - the full merger is impossible. This suggests that not even true love can bring true happiness, which is wrong, we hope.
- Second, how do we explain such a high divorce rate, especially when divorce so often occurs after the couple has raised a family together? It seems that in such situations, erotic desire disappears because the initial movement to create a union was completed. The same goes for couples who split up after reaching other milestones, such as building a house, establishing a business, or creating a work of art. People do not stay in one place with one passion. The very notion of there being a single right other half for each of us is therefore too simple. It reduces the lover to a pure functionality, e.g., reproductivity, while disregarding other dimensions.
Love as a Ladder Towards Divine Wisdom
Opposing Aristophanes’ account, Socrates himself offers an interesting alternative. In his view, true love is ultimately the relationship between a philosopher (someone seeking wisdom) and the wisdom he seeks. The object of erotic desire is not actually another person at all but something immaterial that gives us an anchor within ourselves. In this way, our passion and happiness does not depend on our lover but on our ability to gain wisdom and thus become self-sufficient.
For Socrates, this implies that couples always consist of a teacher, who is older and wiser, and a student, who is younger and ignorant. Neither of the lovers desires the other; they both desire to achieve the greatest knowledge — with one another’s help. Their relationship is based on strict roles: the older instructs while the younger inspires the instruction.
The greatest knowledge, which all human beings long for, concerns something we do not possess, namely: beauty, goodness, and truth. Eros itself is neither beautiful nor ugly, neither good nor bad, neither wise nor fool, neither god nor mortal. Eros is something neutral in the middle. He is a great “daemon,” or intermediate power, who conveys to the gods the prayers of men, and to men the commands of the gods. As something in between, love is always a process, always unfolding–perpetual movement towards fulfilment.
The lover is a philosopher because his attainment of truth, beauty, and goodness constitutes his/her supreme happiness. Ultimately, true love is the desire for this happiness. And when something makes us happy we do not want to lose it, we want to keep it forever. In fact, it would be difficult to be happy while knowing our happiness was about to disappear. So, in our yearning for possession of the greatest knowledge, we desire immortality. We witness our desire for immortality most obviously in our urge to reproduce. But we also see it in other urges, such as in the quest for fame, making laws and in artistic creativity.
Socrates advises that he who would seek wisdom should begin by loving one fair form, and then many, and then proceed by learning the connection between them. From beautiful bodies he should advance to beautiful minds, and the beauty of laws and institutions, until he perceives that all beauty is of one kindred. From institutions he should move on to the sciences, until at last he beholds the vision of a single science of universal beauty. Then he will behold the everlasting nature which is the cause of all, and will be near his goal. In his contemplation of that supreme being of love he will behold beauty, goodness, and truth, not with his bodily eye, but with the “eye of the mind.” The vision will inspire virtue and wisdom. At this stage, the lover is dependent neither on the beloved nor on the outside world. No one will ever be able to exploit, betray, surprise or dump him. His love is now freed from pain, moodiness and instability because his beloved (immortal beauty, goodness, and truth) is always available, always stable and always with(in) him. He has become divine.
Socrates kept his promise to provide a theory of love in which the lovers are not dependent on one other, thereby avoiding Aristophanes’mistakes. He does not deliver a relationship between two people, however, but a relationship between a person and something purely immaterial. Nor can the beloved achieve the all-important vision until he himself assumes the teaching role or better said to recognize that he is as much a learner as much a teacher himself. Love is as we said, an everlasting process. Teacher tries to guide and show the student the path to discover his own potentials and his own fulfilment–his path to the highest knowledge, i.e. love, (truth, goodness, beauty) and yet there is also danger for teacher to fall into position of self-sufficiency and authority, assuming he knows the Truth while student is on his path of knowing it through the process of their encounter.
In practice, this arrangement can also make for an exploitative situation. One can’t help but think of the older, wealthy, and successful man choosing a (wo)man twenty years younger than him. (S)he depends on his knowledge, experiences, connections, and fortune to help her/him achieve what (s)he desires and he in exchange enjoys being in power and especially her/his youthful ambitions, enthusiasm, freshness, even naivety and even more he can enjoy being in power and at certain point even hinder her/his progress if seeing that (s)he became knowledgeable and empowered enough. Treating someone as a means to an end, even if that end is itself noble, can represent a rather selfish attitude that cannot be suitable for lovers (and for Kant such relation between lovers is certainly intolerable. For him no (wo)man should ever be treated as a mean to achieve his goals).
In order to prevent this pitfall teacher must be very self-awake and responsible not to use his student to fulfil his latent ambitions for power or leadership (not to misuse or abuse trust of the student) but to be always just aloving helping hand and passing on what is offered to him and what he has got to know through his own abilities and expertise.
Love as an Exchange
The politician Alcibiades, disagreeing with Socrates, presents yet another intriguing account of love in the Symposium. Alcibiades was a stunningly beautiful and desirable man. An acclaimed war hero, he had won many prestigious awards, and was universally admired in Athens. He could have just about any lover he chose. Astonishingly, he chose Socrates. He announces to the revellers at the dinner party that he fell in love with Socrates because Socrates is an enchanting speaker who ravishes the soul and changes the hearts of men. Alcibiades was surprised to find that beneath Socrates’ 'ugly' appearance lay the greatest treasure of all. This made him compare Socrates to Marsyas the great flute-player. For Socrates produced the same effect with his voice as Marsyas produced with his flute.He used the commonest words as the outward mask of the most divine truths. Alcibiades says that upon first meeting Socrates, he felt as though he had been bitten by something in the most sensitive spot where it hurts the most. Socrates awakened in him the uncomfortable awareness that he ought not to live as he was, neglecting the improvement of his own soul.
Alcibiades also compares Socrates to the busts of the great sculptor Silenus. They portray people with pipes and flutes in their mouths but they are made to open in the middle, and have images of gods inside them. To Alcibiades, the words of Socrates are divine. Alcibiades was irresistibly drawn to something very unique he saw only in Socrates. In so doing, he demonstrates a theory of love that explains why we fall in love with one person instead of another.
The twentieth-century French philosopher and psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan calls this uniqueness “agalma.” According to Lacan, romantic desire points towards a peculiar feature which makes a certain person stand out of the crowd and makes him seem to exceed all others. This is why, of all the lovers Alcibiades had ever had, Socrates is the only one he considered to be worthy. Lacan adds, however, that the agalma is actually a subjective projection not reflecting something real in the person. And this explains Socrates mysterious reply to Alcibiades invitation to become his lover — he said, “Look again, and see if you are deceived in me.” So we see that Alcibides fell in love because he saw something unique in Socrates – treasures hidden from the eyes that can be found only if you go deeper into the person — treasures of words and thoughts that help you to get to know yourself. Discovering your true self gives you the greatest self-satisfaction and happiness. At the same time, it shows you how to become a better person and help others.
Of course, Socrates devoted his life to this mission. He called it “midwifery”— helping others bring to light the wisdom that was all along within themselves. It doesn’t matter how you look, successful you are, how popular, or how important. What matters is striving to be a good person who is happy and free, knowing yourself and helping others. The problem with Alcibiades’ account of love, as Socrates, who never fell for Alcibiades, points out, is that it is more imagined than real. The man who has everything hears of a new computer or jet airplane unlike any other that has existed before, and he decides that he must have it. He infuses it with the ability to solve all of his problems. And yet, somehow, when he finally has it, it becomes just another conquest. No doubt a great part of Alcibiades obsession with Socrates actually hinged on the fact that Socrates was the one person in Athens who had the nerve to say no to him. Alcibiades could have anyone — anyone except Socrates. Socrates was therefore the final conquest, so completely enticing precisely because he lay just beyond reach.
While I find each of the three accounts of love we have surveyed insightful, I think nonetheless that they are all missing something. They all presuppose that a romantic relationship should bring a person something they have been looking for. However in the first case, we should ask ourselves, how we can actually recognize our soul mate: is there any 'sign' that would notify us we just met our soul mate? Is there a list of personal traits and features that could and should be matched in order to recognize other person as our soul mate like Plato in Phaedrus describes people following different deites and therefore possesing their interests and passions? For instance those who have passion for wisdom are followers of the Zeus, those who have interest in combat are followers of Ares and alike… Or as Plato says: »Everyone chooses his love from the ranks of beauty according to his character, and this he makes his god, and fashions and adorns as a sort of image which he is to fall down and worship. The followers of Zeus desire that their beloved should have a soul like him; and therefore they seek out some one of a philosophical and imperial nature ... But those who are the followers of Hera seek a royal love, and when they have found him they do just the same with him; and in like manner the followers of Apollo, and of every other god walking in the ways of their god, seek a love who is to be made like him whom they serve, and when they have found him ...«. (Plato, 253b). The same thing is with choosing a suitable pupil in order to pursue the realm of ideas of Truth, Goodness and Beauty. However, as Hege Dypedokk Johansen writers in her book Erôs and Education: Socratic Seduction in Three Platonic Dialogues noone of the Socrates real life pupils proved that his teachings had any profund impact on their moral and intellectual character's development: Socrates engaged them in philosophical dialogues in which they themselves had to actively participate in order to learn to be self-disciplined, imposed self-rule and turn towards philosophy: »I have here argued that Socrates’ main agenda in the examined dialogues was to try to match these youths with knowledge; that Socrates was trying to turn them towards philosophy … Can Socrates’ seductions, including the techniques he applies, be justified if ascribed to a nobler goal? In short, even though we may find Socrates’ methods difficult to accept from a moral point of view, I believe that on Plato’s account, the goal legitimates Socrates’ methods ... And the goal, I have argued, is to turn Lysis, Charmides, and Alcibiades1 toward philosophy. However, what good this did to them is, as we have seen, unclear (at best): As far as we know, neither Lysis, Charmides, nor Alcibiades went on to pursue the philosophical life«. (Dypedokk Johnsen, 2016: 160).
And regarding Alcibiades: we all know the enchatments when we fell in love with the person but we actually don't love the person. There is a difference to love and to be in love, to project our desires and wishes on to the other without actual consideration for the other: to love person requires getting to know the beloved and that requires work, time, knowledge and will to be able to adopt. Through actual love and getting to know him/her things don't look so godly like anymore.
Therefore it seems that all three accounts tell us this story: when we go shopping, we have a list of the things that we want and need, we browse through the available products, and we buy the ones that we believe will meet our requirements. We make a predictable transaction, an exchange designed to be mutually satisfactory to the buyer and the seller.
I propose that such a pragmatic approach will always undermine the true nature of love. A lover cannot be regarded as some kind of acquisition. Although the three accounts of love we surveyed were very different, they each suffered from this misconception. For Aristophanes, we must acquire our missing half, for Socrates, we must acquire a student to inspire our intellectual assent, and for Alcibiades, we must acquire the one thing no one else has. In all of these perspectives, the lover becomes a kind of burden to be evaluated, rather than spontaneously experienced. While such a deliberate approach may result in a relationship of some kind, it will not result in true love. True love must be experience on its own, without any preconceived expectations.
A lover needs not be beautiful, knowledgeable, of a certain race, social status, or level of success to be worthy of love.
So the necessary mindset of the lover is to be oneself and to let the other be him - or herself. Love flows everywhere and between everyone. Only a state of mind that is kind, allembracing, accepting, understanding, and humble can be called love. Another person can only be truly valued and cherished when imperfections are disregarded. We are all imperfect. Imperfect beings are needy, dependent, fragile, vulnerable, and mortal. We all need love to feel complete and worthy of existing. In the end, love is as essential as breathing. As adults we have certain obligations, responsibilities, and tasks to perform and it is difficult not to see everything in pragmatic terms. But true love can exist only for its own sake. It does not exclude, bargain, exploit, or possess. If you can achieve this kind of state, then you can love anybody and can be loved by anybody. But, of course, no one can fully achieve it. The thrill of romantic passion is being able to achieve it to some degree. The “magic” or “mystery” occurs exactly at that moment when our preoccupation with our selves and our own agenda shifts and we dare to embark on a completely new adventure.
Seeing, hearing, embracing the other for what (s)he is. When finally someone responds to your wishes without 'judging' them on her/his own terms but just fulfilling them (s)he is the answer to your prayers, she heals and fills that empty hole, missing part that needed to materialize. And this is exactly the point that enables us to truly see, hear, smell the other for the first time and also to truly meet. This is also a liberation and upliftment point–because by giving what your lover needs and wishes mean that you truly see your lover as the most beautiful and precious gift regardless of how (s)he is and this awakens and liberates him/her from the old ways and we can now proceed to discovering new ways of being together.
What makes the Symposium accounts so valuable is that they give us diverse images of what love can be. It can be finding your other half, it can be finding an inspiration for intellectual ascent, it can be finding the one thing no one else has.It can be any of these things and more. But it cannot be sought out as any one of those things. Rather, it must be received and appreciated for whatever it turns out to be. By presenting various partial accounts of what love can be, the Symposium tells us that love is a gift. And when you receive a precious gift you treat it with respect. A gift makes you feel grateful and with gratitude comes happiness, gratitude of meeting the other and knowing that happiness is also what happens together with the other. This gift includes spiritual, intellectual, emotional and sexual dimension.
1) »They are all described as remarkably good-looking youths from noble families. Lysis is the youngest (around twelve or thirteen), Charmides is approximately seventeen years old, and Alcibiades – even though it is said that he has lost his youthful bloom ... – is estimated to be no more than eighteen« (Dypedokk Johnsen, 2016: 18).
Plato (2003). Phaedrus. Trans. by S. Scully. Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishing.
Plato (1952). Symposium. Trans. by W. Hamilton. London: Penguin Books.
Dypedokk Johnsen, Hege (2016). Erôs and Education: Socratic Seduction in Three Platonic Dialogues. Holmbergs, Malmö.
Five Lessons From Clexacon 2019
Clexacon is a unique event: a fan convention in which fans get to encounter and hear from actresses in queer roles, a meet-up for thousands of queer women, a space to discuss queer female and transgender representation on screen and real life social issues, and an opportunity for content creators to network and develop their projects. Although Clexacon focuses almost exclusively on American (and to a lesser extent Canadian) representation—an unfortunate Anglo bias reflecting the disparity in representation globally—there is no other event in the world like it, and it is an event that the queer community desperately needs, both for our own sakes and to show the global entertainment industry the size and potential of LGBT viewers. Put another way, the event is intended directly to celebrate the queer community, but indirectly to influence heterosexual producers and executives to provide more queer content.
As would one expect from a convention dedicated to queer representation on the big and small screen, many of the discussions at Clexacon involve interesting and thought-provoking ideas about what is needed for more representation. Here are five big take-aways from Clexacon this year:
1. We have to continue to create our own queer content and not rely on the entertainment industry to give it to us because the entertainment industry remains largely closed to minority stories and characters.
Per former “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” actress Amber Benson, Hollywood is still actively rejecting and resisting minority stories (whether race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.). In her experience pitching and writing content for channels such as Hallmark and Lifetime, she has seen Hollywood either operate on an implicit quota system, in which minorities are allotted only a tiny amount of screen time, or outright excluded. LL Passion notes this is likely to be even more true of the entertainment industries of other countries, where there are additional social and religious prohibitions on depictions of homosexuality. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “The Walking Dead” actress Briana Venskus suggested that one reason Hollywood continues to ignore minority stories is that it doesn’t view the queer community as a financially lucrative market. Why develop content for a demographic base that will not return a profit?
Although Benson expressed frustration that the pace of change toward more representation in Hollywood has been glacial, Clexacon’s panelists almost universally agreed that there has been tangible, significant improvement in minority representation in the last few years. Although there may not be as many characters and storylines as the queer community would like, there has been a great change in Hollywood in the last decade. This likely has been in part driven by the inclusion of more women and minorities in the writer’s room and in executive positions. Per “Wynonna Earp” showrunner Emily Andras, in her experience, networks are beginning to see diverse stories as a way to tell new and untold stories. Despite greater inclusivity on American TV, to achieve the amount of content that the queer community wants both on TV and in movies, we have to create it ourselves and not wait for Hollywood to slowly catch up. Moreover, Hollywood will never produce as much as we want, so we must supplement it ourselves. This need for internally-produced content is even more true outside the US and England, where queer content is almost nonexistent. If we want it, no one will produce it but us.
2. The queer community needs to be more financially supportive of queer content.
Many of the panelists brought up the same point: it takes money to make queer content, so if viewers want that content, they have to pay for it. Although it’s fair to demand that major networks, whose content is free, include queer content, in the absence of that content, we have to monetize the content producers who do include it. In their panel on “Vida,” actors Ser Anzoategui and Mishal Prada noted that the best thing fans could do to support their show is subscribe to Starz, the premium network on which “Vida” airs. Even subscribing to a single month (at the cost of $8) contributes to the viewer count and demonstrates to the network the presence of a (paying) viewership for the show. Although “Vida” has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is critically acclaimed, it is not guaranteed a third season. Starz will only renew a profitable show, so queer viewers have to help make it profitable.
Producer and actress Crystal Chappell related during her panel that season six of her webseries “Venice: The Series,” which was funded by an indiegogo fundraising campaign, cost approximately $185,000, and that she personally paid $20,000 out of pocket to fill the gap between the fundraised amount and the total production cost. Similarly, tello Films used its presence at Clexacon to publicize its indiegogo campaign to finance a Hallmark-style holiday queer romantic comedy movie. Prior to the convention, its fundraising goal was only halfway met, with only days remaining until the campaign expired. For every fundraising success story, there are tens of other stories of failure. Even small amounts, when given by a large number of individuals, can go a long way toward the creation of more queer content.
3. Queer fans have a deeply personal stake in representation, unlike straight fans who are not minorities. Their emotional connection to queer characters and representation fosters a sense of found family and community that is less pronounced in straight fandoms, and creates an inclusive environment that rewards actresses in queer roles on an emotional and professional level.
For some queer viewers, a LGBT character on screen might be the first other queer person they’ve ever seen, particularly if they live in socially repressive areas. For others, a queer character’s story arc speaks to their own life experiences and struggles in a way that straight characters’ never will. The queer experience is often isolating and emotionally fraught, but its representation on screen is reassuring, normalizing, and uplifting. As many panelists, from actresses to writers, noted, queer content has the ability to literally save lives, as individuals who were otherwise contemplating suicide find hope for the future.
Fandoms in general—both queer and straight—are characterized by their sense of community. Viewership, to fandoms, is a shared experience that begets conversation and friendship. Queer viewers, however, have the additional layer of a shared life experience, which tends to bind them emotionally on a deeper level and create a “found family.” Connecting with other members of a queer fandom often means finding new friends who have faced similar instances of rejection, prejudice, and repression, leading to emotionally supportive relationships. The “Earpers” (fans of Syfy’s “Wynonna Earp”), for example, are renowned for their boisterous engagement with the show’s cast and crew, but also for their high degree of community and supportiveness.
This difference between how straight and queer fans engage with storylines and characters is tangible. Per “Legends of Tomorrow” actress Jes Macallan, queer fans are much more likely to share personal stories with her about how her character changed their lives than straight fans. The interaction she has with queer fans is therefore more interpersonal: an exchange of stories and a sharing of experiences that leaves both parties emotionally affected. Benson, too, reflected on how the queer community had become her found family, to which she feels very emotionally connected.
4. Queer viewers need to mobilize, en masse, to support ALL forms of representation, not just femme, white, queer characters played by straight actresses.
Per Anzoategui, the queer community needs to marshal its support for queer content the way some communities mobilize for a voting campaign: plan, organize, coordinate, and carry out fan campaigns. Because the queer viewer demographic has traditionally been ignored, the queer community must act en masse in order to have its voice heard. Anything less risks further marginalization. More than that, the queer community needs to demand more diversity in queer representation. Whereas traditional queer representation on TV has focused on femme white women, the queer community must demand representation in the form of more queer people of color, masculine-of-center characters, disabled characters, transgender characters, etc. We are not a monolithic community, and our representation shouldn’t be one-dimensional either. This requires that individuals support representation everyone, including people who may be different from themselves. In short, we must be a rising tide that raises all boats, not just some of them.
Additionally, we need to do better at supporting queer actors. Venskus rightly pointed out that the queer actors panel was very under-attended compared to panels featuring straight actresses in queer roles. The community has generally lagged in its support of queer actors, a trend that needs to change. It is unfair to support queer fictional characters, but not queer people in real life.
5. Self-care is important for everyone.
Anzoategui works with a therapist to handle the stress of filming emotionally taxing scenes. Macallan takes planned time away from social media to recharge and re-focus on the important things in her life. “Legends of Tomorrow” actress Caity Lotz knits to keep off social media. In multiple panels, panelists discussed the need for individuals to find ways to take care of themselves mentally and not be consumed by either the addictive pull of social media or the toxicity present in society. As the world becomes faster and the feedback from social media creates instantaneous effects, both positive and negative, it’s important to maintain mental equilibrium, in whatever way works. This is especially true for people who are already feeling stressed by other factors in their lives. From yoga to meditation, reading to dancing, we must all find the things in life that bring us joy and serenity and create a designated time and space in our lives to do those things.
Are We, As Democratic Society, Truly Ready For Equality And Freedom?
Mary Shanley, in her article “Just Marriage – On the Public Importance of Private Union,” (2004) talks about private, intimate relationships and the public sphere as viewed through the law on martial union. Analyzing laws at that time, she exposed problems regarding the isolation and unequal treatment of women, gays, and the poor, and she contemplated modern alternatives that would foster principles of equality and liberty more consistent with democratic society, based on equality, individualism, reciprocity and the liberty of citizens.
I agree with her that the reformation of “martial union” has been necessary, since the changed definition of martial union would benefit more people and their lifestyles. However, I argue that this change would not fully satisfy demands for legal equality and freedom if it does not include modern changes in intimate areas (which law must satisfy). These changes would show more freedom and equality in intimate relationships and more flexibility in recognizing relationships (open relationships, homo-bisexual relationships, etc.). For example, Shanley, in contrast to Marta Nussbaum, only briefly mentions emotions – love and compassion – which are very important for modeling and activating a just democratic society (and at the same time forming and contributing to institutions and laws). Nussbaum claims that there is a two-way street between institutions and laws on one hand, and beliefs, values and personal judgments on the other. Since judgments are represented in laws and institutions and vice versa, institutions and laws stimulate certain emotions, values, beliefs and judgments in citizens.
1) Shanley opens her research on the formerly unjust marriage laws in the USA, which were based on a conservative notion of marriage. Conservatives believe that marriage is union of one man and one woman and it should be a union for life. The basis for the marital relationship is reproduction, as children are society’s future. In this union, men and women have specific roles: man is the provider, and his wife is a “homemaker.” This union is the family’s foundation and enables a “healthy” foundation for society because it prevents “degeneration” and other “weaknesses” such as crime and poverty, and it raises overall economic welfare. The basis of marriage is therefore “natural,” because it is based on historical tradition and the Bible.
The above mentioned notion of marriage law is problematic, however, because it is unfair to citizens and unions that do not meet specific conditions (homosexuals, the poor, polygamists and alike as Shanley mentions). Equality in front of law, however, is a requirement for the lawmaker, who defines the border between social life, which is legally set, and life outside the public sphere. The lawmaker must follow the constitutional principles that frame the country as a legal entity, and only legislate those areas of social life which are encompassed by that legal definition. But at the same time, the lawmaker cannot legislate contrary to legal principles. This is what Shanley tried to argue when she pointed out the necessity of reforming US marriage laws at the time she wrote the article.
Shanley presents two critiques, or alternatives, to the conservative notion of marriage law at that time:
– First, contractualism tends to abolish marriage law on a national level. In other words, it rejects its special public-legal status and tries to substitute it with individual contracts. Contractualists say that when the right to get married is denied to some or given unequally, it is contrary to the constitutionally given rights of modern democratic society and it is ignoring the humans rights of equality, free personal decision, and pluralism. Thus contractualism would, using individual contracts based on the clients’ needs and desires, satisfy the notion of universal equality and freedom because it would make marriage possible for hetero-, homo-, bisexual and polygamous partners, men and women alike: “abolishing marriage as a legal category is a step necessary for gender equality. Marriage by contracts replaces gender stereotyping and protectionism of traditional marriage law with the recognition of individuality and equal agency of the partners. Marriage partners should be treated as rational actors capable of knowing and articulating their interests” (Shanley quotes Fineman; 19-20: 2004).
However, Shanley does not agree with the contractualists’ solution because contractualists take individuals to be rational and autonomous decision makers, who form community based on personal preferences, benefits and sources of personal pleasure, written and confirmed with contracts. This union is, to her, a union based on the principle of “give-get” and could be called an intimate version of consumer society. It does not give enough attention to individualists’ social and emotional needs (such as the need for love, reciprocity and co-dependence). It does not consider individuals’ variableness and moodiness; it does not address circumstances in which an individual can find himself (death, accident); it does not consider that marriage is higher-entity which exceeds individuals and ties them into a union with a “shared destiny.” A mere contract between married people does not express ethical, moral, loving and unconditional commitment to the other person(s) or to the relationship for a longer or even life-time period.
In my opinion, Shanley`s critique is imperfect because we know that heterosexual marriage served through Western history as a certain rational-economical-procreative contract: marriage was a tool which families used to increase their power, financial status, and reputation and assured a future for the family’s legitimism of authority through descendants (for some, this is still true). This type of marriage was not about love, morality, security, dependence or establishing a higher identity in which two became one and shared a common destiny. Shanley speaks about marriage as a romantic and enlightened project in which being in love (co-dependency and reciprocity) was a personal free factor for getting married that came into exsistence only in 19th century. Nonetheless, nowadays contractualists, beside a basic (heterosexual, procreative, economical) contract marriage matrix, try to enable legitimacy for all other intimate connections with different types of contracts.
We can also dispute Shanley’s critique of ethics and morals and commitment over time and say that contractualists are right. William Godwin already was in favor of the utilitarian theory of morals in his work “Research on Political Correctness” in 1793. He claims that we do not need to stick to moral regulations. Instead, we have to reach our moral decisions by comparing good and bad consequences of our eventual acts in each chosen situation. This was the foundation for the radical critique of conventional rules and institutions, together with the institution of marriage. “In his opinion marriage was morally unjustified and unreasonable (it distracted independent thinking) because marriage makes impossible to judge each exact situation, each personal and possible relationship based on their distinctions. It is based on absurd /expectation/ that inclinations of two human beings will coincide in longer time period. When we force them to work and live together we submit them to inescapable measure of distraction, arguing and misfortune” (Primorac quotes Godwin; 2002: 97).
- But Shanley is correct when she criticises that contractualists do not emphasize enough the state’s positive acts to promote and increase equality. Contracts, after all, can still maintain inequality (for example, inequality between a man and a woman in a marriage based on a contract). Although I have some second thoughts on Shanley`s objections to contractualism, I agree with her desire to see marriage’s reformation toward equal status and public good. As Sullivan says: “Marriage is not only a private contract it is a social and public recognition of personal commitment. As such it is in the highest public recognition of personal integrity” (Sullivan; 1995: 179). Thus Shanley`s purpose is to “preserve the idea that marriage is a special bond deserving of public status while rejecting-as incompatible with liberty and equality-important elements of the traditional view of the purpose and proper ordering of marriage” (Shanley; 2004: 6)7. She believes that marriage should be changed in order to serve as public institution which promotes public good - liberty and equality (man’s, woman’s and citizens’) - and presents successful combination of justice, intimacy and love.
Shanley claims that the social meaning of a life-long union (marriage) consisting of two adults is the fulfillment of emotional, sexual, moral, ethical (reciprocal respect, understanding, trust, help) and economical needs, wishes and partners’ interests. All these enumerated things must also be allowed to same sex partners, partners who live in polygamy, or a poor community, because these individuals satisfy mutual needs which could be a burden to society. Having the law changed in this way is important because it accelerates psychosocial and emotional stability and financial and legal security. It gives also the feeling of citizens’ social acceptance and support, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, class and race. I also agree with Shanley that we need to do more on other fields of public life and activity for effective change, especially in the area of work, and in this way change the laws on work relationships, the pay system, social care, child subsidies, and child care.
2) But what I find lacking in Shanley's reasoning about the reform of marital law is that she never broaches the discussion of the intimate relationship itself, for in a sense this is what is the real content of marital law. She never even tries to present the argument that we need freedom and equality in this area of our life, too (regardless of intimate relationship being part of our private sphere). Nussbaum rightly warns that facilities and legal systems are not embodiments themselves of eternal, perfect rules and structuralised relationships. “They are living systems which on one side embody people’s right emotions, values, beliefs and judgments and on the other side they raise appropriate feelings, values and judgments in them. This two-way relationship runs simply because we do not have a perfect system or perfect (compassionate and loving) individuals, this two things interchange and supplement” (Nussbaum; 2001: 185). So Nussbaum, in fact, claims that in order to have pluralistic, equal, and free democratic society, we need not only set, just institutions and laws, which will embody feelings, beliefs and judgments, but we also have to educate citizens and raise them to be loving, tolerant, free, equal and compassionate individuals – through a modern concept of (confluent) love which embodies the aforementioned values, beliefs and emotions. Sullivan’s thinking is similar when he says that “the law can indirectly influence culture if it persists on equality for all citizens and vice versa” (Sullivan; 1996: 170). Before Nussbaum and Sullivan, Rousseau and Tocqueville also showed that institutions and laws teach citizens how to define concepts of primary goods, responsibilities, convenient care for others, etc. They showed how institutions can, in different ways, encourage or slow down and form emotions which retard compassion; for example, feelings of shame, envy and disgust.
That is why we feel this is the time to present the idea of a modern confluent relationship: it is based on an equal relationship that embodies the principles of equality, freedom, and reciprocity; a relationship not restricted by sexual preferences and monogamy, as sociologist Anthony Giddens defines it. Giddens differentiates confluent love from passionate and romantic love. First, he divides passionate love (amour passion) from romantic love (romance) and romantic love from confluent love. It is typical that passionate love overtakes a man (charms him and can lead to religious enthusiasm) so that individuals in love can neglect everyday duties and surrender themselves to an ecstasy which belongs to the other (transcendent) world. This love has never been about the individual; it always serves to achieve other goals – temporary idealisation of the other joins a durable relationship with the loved object. Consequently, passionate love, from the standpoint of social order and duty, is dangerous and therefore never admitted either as necessary nor as satisfying the foundation for marriage. It has been seen as adulterous, even. Passionate love was mostly typical for aristocrats. Romantic love developed from these ideals (or idealisation of the other) and included elements of amour passion but still differed from amour passion and from Christian ideals. The influence of romantic love has been seen from the 18th century onward and it introduced the image of a story to an individual’s life. It is no accident that the verb “to romance” also means to tell a story. The story has now become individualised and places “I” (the ego) and the other into a personal story which does not have a special connection with broader social process (Giddens). Love was for the first time connected with freedom.
Amour passion was always liberating, but only because it altered the everyday routine (and this characteristic separated amour passion from other existent institutions). Romantic love meant that freedom is connected with reflection and consequently with self-execution. Therefore, romantic love claims a certain degree of self-questioning: why do I fall for the other? What does (s)he feel for me? Are our feelings deep enough to last? Romantic love separates both individuals from broader social circumstances in a different way then amour passion. “It ensures long-lasting life, directed in advanced expected future which both partners will shape in their own way. At the same it time creates 'shared story' which helps to divide marriage from other views of organised family and society and gives it special privilege” (Giddens; 2000: 52). Romantic love has remained until today, at least for women, the prevailing ideal, but it no longer means that the love will last a lifetime. Today’s romantic love “focus sexuality in expected future where girls see sexual contacts as detours on the way to final love relationship” (Giddens quotes Thompson; 2000: 56) which does not directly lead to marriage. The reasons for this are hypocrisy and inequality offered by the law to women: as much it was sometimes, on one side, the only tool of autonomy and adulthood, on the other side it was also a phenomenon of new kind of captivity and dependence of a man, which Shanely also discusses.
Today, we are working intensively to abolish this contradiction. Marriage was all this time connected with love, and when men and women began to separate it from the external factors on which it was traditionally based, the love relationship did not need equalisation with marriage but only with love. This relationship, named by Giddens the relationships of confluent love, is part of the general modification of intimacy at the end of 20th century and is characterized merely by a tight and lasting emotional bound with another human and which can or must lead to marriage. “Confluent love lasts only if the two sides think that it is mutually satisfactory and refers to situation where two people step into social contact because of the contact itself and because of what each person can gain when socialising with another person” (Giddens; 2000: 64).
This way, romantic love takes us to confluent love, which presumes equality by emotional and sexual giving and taking. “Love can in this position develop only as much as much develops intimacy and to what extend are partners willing to reveal worries, needs and vulnerability” (Giddens; 2000: 68). Sexual exclusiveness is in this relationship is defined by the partners’ agreement, however that do not mean that an equal relationship promotes a promiscuous and permissive relationship where partners can do what they want. These relationships are usually still binary. The main change is that in an equal relationship, confluent love does not have support from outside but must develop merely on the basis of intimacy, reciprocity, trust, equality and freedom. The question is how to establish a balance between autonomy and dependence: partners must try to preserve mutual trust and allow themselves certain freedom. To trust someone means to refuse opportunities where one can supervise, dominate or tries to suppress partner’s activities.
Unique for confluent love is also idea that it is not specially bound to heterosexuality. “If orthodox marriage has not became one among life styles yet, although in fact it is, it is partly because of institutional delay” (Giddens; 2000: 158). Giddens continues: “Confluent love which is not necessarily androgynous, is perhaps still structuralised around differences, and presumes a model of 'equal' relationships where it is important to know the characteristics of another. With confluent love is individuals’ sexuality only one of the factors which must be accepted when negotiating.” Giddens believes that gays and lesbians started to develop “equal” relationships before heterosexuals because they had to live with each other without traditional frames of marriage, in circumstances where partners were nearly equal. The expansion of homosexuality and bisexuality occurred when people started to look on sexuality as a characteristic which we can discover and understand reflexively, question and develop. Or as Giddens explains based on some findings of Foucault’s “History of Sexuality”: “Today we discovered and opened 'sex' so that it is easily accessible when different life styles develop. This is something we all have or raise and it is no longer natural circumstance which individuals accepts as in advance given condition. Sexuality works – we have to discover how - as some sort of I (ego’s) feature, can be shaped and is primary connecting point between body, personal identity and social norms” (ibid: 22). I (ego) and personal identity are today for everyone reflexive projects and are more or less incessantly questioning past, today and tomorrow.
GIDDENS A. (2000): Preobraza intimosti; Spolnost, ljubezen in erotika v sodobnih družbah – Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love and Eroticsm in Modern Societies. Ljubljana, *cf.
JOGAN M., MAJERHOLD K., MLADENIČ D. (2006): Enakost žensk in moških v znanosti in raziskovanju v Sloveniji – Equality of Women and Men in Science and Research in Slovenia (Central European Center for Women and Youth in Science, EU Framework 6, Project). Ljubljana, Partner Graf.
LUHMANN N. (1986): Love as Passion, The Codification of Intimacy. Standford, Standford University Press.
NUSSBAUM M. (2001): Upheavals of Thoughts, Cambridge University Press, MA.
NUSSBAUM M. (1998): Sex and Social Justice. Oxford University Press, London.
PERRIN E. (sept. 2005): »SB 427 Study Commision to Study all Aspects of Same Sex Civil Marriage and the Legal Equivalents Thereof, Whether Referred to as Civil Unions, Domestic Partnership, or Otherwise«. State of New Hampshire, http://nh.glad.org/EllenPerrinSB 427Testimony.pdf
PRIMORAC I. (2002): Etika in Seks (Ethics and Sex). Ljubljana, Krt.
PRIBAC I. (2001): Moralna pogodba za samoljubne ljudi (Moral Contract for Self-Loved People). Ljubljana. Krt.
SHANLEY M. L. (2004): »Just Marriage – On The Public Importance of Private Unions«. Oxford University Press, London.
Online Queer Female Media is Dying…What Now?
Bottom line up front: online queer female media is on its deathbed. It is no longer a question of “will it?” but rather “how soon?” Given the (woefully short) history of online queer female media, it seems almost certain that the current landscape of a few major sites will be replaced by a constellation of small, individually run sites within the next two to four years. After that, the market could either regroup into a few large sites again, or it could stay indefinitely atomized. The answer depends on financing.
In the past two years, there have been multiple articles on multiple media platforms identifying the slow and somehow inexorable death of LGBT journalism. These articles clearly and concisely trace the rise and fall of queer media, linking its decline to increasing demands on the part of corporations for profit margins over social benefits. The conclusion that these articles generally reach is that because the heterosexual males running the business end of media conglomerates can’t see a way to monetize queer audiences, they have preferred to shutter LGBT sites rather than to explore alternative ways to monetize their readership. As John Paul Brammer writes in his article “The Lesson of Into”: “A resolution would require a fundamental restructuring of how media writ large operates and who operates it, a gutting of the offices of authority under capitalism.” Writers like Brammer are right: queer sites are bringing in insufficient revenue to cover their overhead and pay their contributors. To blame the decline of these sites on straight, white males, however, is an oversimplification. I would argue instead that the closure of queer news sites has little to do with sexual orientation and everything to do with how regular individuals, the faceless readers who make up a site’s traffic, interface with the Internet. In short, just as video killed the radio star, the Internet has inadvertently killed online media.
In her article “Does LGBT Media Have a Future,” former AfterEllen and Into editor Trish Bendix admits that the problems that queer journalists and queer media sites are facing are not totally limited to our community. In just one week in January, for example, layoffs were announced at BuzzFeed, Verizon’s media division, and Gannett, a print newspaper conglomerate. News sites everywhere have been tightening their belts and trimming already small staff for years (popular blogs like The Toast were shut down years ago). Bendix argues that much of the problem, for both LGBT and non-LGBT sites alike, is revenue-based: most advertising money isn’t spent on online sites. As a result, online sites must find an alternative source of revenue or they will quickly go under financially, and historically, LGBT sites have struggled to find that alternate funding. But one reason that the queer press feels like it is being hit harder than “straight” press, if such a thing were to exist, is that there were so few LGBT outlets to start with. If twenty-five newspapers out of 1,000 close across the United States, it becomes a small but interesting data point about the future of print journalism. If five LGBT sites close out of ten, it’s a massive existential crisis for the field.
When it comes to websites for lesbian and bisexual women in particular, this financial dilemma—which had been looming on the horizon since 2014 at the latest—has brought us to a crisis point. Bendix recently tweeted that AfterEllen was for sale again (it was last bought by Evolve Media in 2014), and in her article, she mentions that the founder and CEO of Autostraddle, Riese Bernard, is considering selling Autostraddle because it is barely surviving financially even with subscriptions, private donors, advertising, and events like its annual A Camp. If both these two bastions of queer female journalism and pop culture are lost, there will be all but nothing left. While Curve may be able to continue as both a magazine and a website, kept alive by its ad revenue and subscriptions to the print magazine, the rest of the queer female media landscape will be completely atomized, dispersed between generic news/pop culture sites that occasionally publish LGBT content (Huffington Post, Slate and Buzzfeed, for example) and small, individual lesbian sites run by one to three people as unpaid passion projects.
Given the LGBT community undeniably has a high degree of social cohesion, it begs the question why queer women are unable to save their landmark sites. AfterEllen and Autostraddle are iconic, bedrock websites in the queer female media landscape. They have often played a major role in readers’ coming to grips with their sexual orientation; helping them understand their identity and find a community. Couldn’t readers raise the money to keep these sites afloat through crowdsourcing, fundraisers, and subscriptions? The answer, unfortunately, is no. In addition to Autostraddle’s example, a mere 230 donors financed season four of the Brazilian webseries “RED” even though approximately 44,500 viewers watched the season for free, proving that fans would rather watch for free than donate even a token amount. Any effort on the part of sites like AfterEllen and Autostraddle to fundraise through crowdsourcing would likely have similar anemic results. Nor could fundraising necessarily be counted on. In 2017, an effort by AfterEllen to fundraise for hurricane relief raised only $1,000, an amount insufficient to run the site for even a month.
As a hypothesis, the reluctance on the part of Internet users to pay for content would seem to be a consequence of being habituated since the 1990s to receiving free content. The vast majority of the Internet is free, like a giant library or playground that users are invited to peruse at their pleasure. Unlike a print newspaper, which charges its readers a subscription fee, none of the queer female sites have required that readers pay for their online content. Asking readers to pay now through a new subscription service would likely fail because most readers would just diversify away from the site to free content. Why pay to read articles when the Internet is full of other free LGBT content, from message boards to Facebook to Instagram to Twitter?
As noted above, the closure of the major queer female media sites will leave only smaller sites, which have a much smaller and less centralized readership and are run by unpaid bloggers. So long as these sites lack budgets, their ability to generate significant content and bring on additional contributors will be constrained, which will in turn hamper their ability to generate widespread name recognition for their sites. In time, it is possible that some of these small sites will try to advantage of the vacuum left by the loss of AfterEllen and Autostraddle to expand and replicate the growth of those very same sites in the early and late-2000s and take a similar leadership role in the queer female media. However, at present it seems they can only be successful if they are able to find a new financial model, one that either generates more advertising revenue or gleans consistent and predictable donations/revenue from readers. The silver lining is that queer media likely do not have to find the answer to this problem themselves. Given that the revenue problem affects all online media, when eventually someone finds a solution, that solution will almost certainly be quickly implemented throughout the Internet. The only question is: “What will that look like and how long will it take?”
LOVE IS EVERYWHERE
First, something totally off the topic but you will soon see the point. Just bear with me, ok? Albert O. Hirschman (1966) in his book The Passions and The Interests argues that the rise of capitalism is a function of the activity of merchants and bankers, whose labour was originally considered sinful. So, what changed? How could a morally shameful enterprise become ethically acceptable? The answer lies in the moralizing role of the interest as opposed to the passions. At first Seventeenth century philosophers used the principle of countervailing passions – they defined which passions were to be tamed and which could be used as tamers. So passions such as ambition, lust for power and lust for sex needed to be tamed by other set of passions, hitherto variously known as greed, avarice, or love of lucre (1966, 56).
Another step in this process came with the discovery of “interest” and “interests” as tamers of the passions while trying to pit passions one against the other. While the passions made unpredictable and irrational, for instance greed now defined as interest could be cultivated by work and commerce, both intrinsically innocent and mild activities – at least vis-à-vis the wilderness of other passions, as Smith argued. So Smith dismissed the whole debate on how to tame one set of harmful passions (i.e. ambition) against the other (i.e. greed) simply by equalizing passions (to be more accurate one passion) and interests. So one passion, greed, self-interest at one point just became an interest. In Smith’s writing, the pursue of personal interest came to be recognised as the key to personal and social prosperity, happiness and even peace.
So what is my point: that as long we will be caught into the debate about trying to tame one bad outlook on lesbians with other less bad outlook we won't get very far in a positive (self)presentation. Instead I will show that homosexual love is equal with heterosexual one and that there is nothing shameful about it. On what grounds? On a simple one: it is love and it is friendship as the same big passionate or romantic love and friendship in a heterosexual relationship.
But let us go step by step. It is said by conservatives that the mission of straight relationship is union of men and woman with the aim of reproduction. If we are beings just to reproduce, i.e. spread our genes then lesbians certainly fulfill this mission. We can get pregnant without a big deal and bear a child if that is what it takes to. And we can do that in old fashioned way as it was presented in film Viola di Mare (ITA, 2009) based on a true story where the main character slept with a man or we can do it in a modern way by using a sperm donor as it was presented in film If These Walls Could Talk 2, part 3 (USA, 2000).
And if someone might say of a lesbian relationship as a wasteful relationship may we point to the fact that nature itself is wasteful – if you look at woman's period we have only 2 days of ovulation per month which is 24 days per year comparing with the rest of 340 infertile days per year - an awfully small amount. If that is what counts for the equality of lesbian couple with heterosexual couple – spreading our genes - we are certainly equal.
But that is not enough, conservatives say. We need to raise our children by giving them a model in the role of a mother and father. However, studies have shown that it is enough if you keep a presence of a male figure in child's life as if in the role of grandfather, brother, uncle and as it was done in the film Tous Les Papas Ne Font Pas Pipi Debout (FRA, 1998). On the other hand there are numerous studies showing that fathers in straight families are more and more absent (because of work) and the number of one parent families is also growing and both occurences having a much stronger impact on child's development then having two mothers who are loving and present. Children in lesbian relationships are ordinary kids having the same questions as other kids, as shown in feature/documentary film Gayby Baby (AUS, 2015).
But not that is not enough again. Conservatives also say their relationships are not so crude being based only on biological base but that there is (must be) love between partners. So do we claim – our aim of being together is certainly not only to produce and raise children but loving each other (and our children). What is the base of this love? The same as in heterosexual relationship – as being said it is not only a physical communication but also a psychological and emotional communication between the two personalities (partners), as in the case of romantic love.
Giddens points out its characteristics: “Romantic love became distinct from amour passion, although at the same time had residues of it. Amour passion was never a generic social force in the way in which romantic love has been from somewhere in the late eighteenth century up to relatively recent times. Together with other social changes, the spread of notions of romantic love was deeply involved with momentous transitions affecting marriage as well as other contexts of personal life” (Giddens, 1994, 44) as shown in film Desert Hearts (USA, 1985).
Romantic love presumes some degree of self-interrogation. How do I feel about the other? How does the other feel about me? Are our feelings 'profound' enough to support a long-term involvement? “Unlike amour passion, which uproots erratically, romantic love detaches individuals from wider social circumstances in a different way. It provides for a long term life trajectory, oriented to an anticipated yet malleable future; and it creates a 'shared history' that helps separate out the marital relationship from other aspects of family organisation and give it a special primacy” (ibid). Although Giddens argues that relationships have changed and proposes a new definition of (post)modern love as a confluent love as And Then Came Lola (USA, 2009).
And our relationships are indeed the same as heterosexual ones: (romantic) love is all about trust, individualism, compassion, reciprocity and intimacy. And intimacy is above all a matter of emotional communication with oneself and others in the context of equality. In this context women are emotional revolutionaries. And it is because understanding women's emotionality is the key to understanding intimacy that Giddens also considers accounts of lesbian relationships a key source of understanding a 'pure relationship' as a general type!
And the base of our love is also friendship. As Aristotle said you are friend with someone for the sake of doing good to each other. This type of friendship is based on a person wishing the best for their friends regardless of utility or pleasure. Aristotle calls it a “...complete sort of friendship between people who are good and alike in virtue...” (Aristotle, 1966, 120) and in aspirations, wishes and interests (we add). This type of friendship is long lasting and tough to obtain because these types of people are hard to come by and it takes a lot of work to have such a virtuous friendship. He also argued that this type of friendship is very close to love.
That is why a true loving long-lasting lesbian relationship includes also being a (best) friend with the partner. Aristotle also argues that there are similarities between friendship of virtue and that of utility and pleasure, however; it is only the good that can endure in such a friendship. As Aristotle puts it, “it is clear that only the good can be friends for themselves, since the bad do not enjoy their own kind unless some benefit comes from them” (ibid.), as presented in film Julia (USA, 1977), based on true story and Fried Green Tomato (USA, 1991) although the latter is not an explicit lesbian film (however, it's considered being full of lesbian subtext which book according it was made doesn't hide it).
So the pursue of personal love's preference can be again recognised as the key to individual and social prosperity and happiness. Indeed we can say that partnership and/or marriage is only one form of love, although the most common one. Yet it is true that love also has other – and as we will show many – forms and even degrees (some are more intensive then the others). Different forms mean that we can find love between friends as we showed with Aristotle and Montaigne in one of our previous texts on this site, but also between acquaintances, co-workers or even strangers.
Future of Lesbian Films
As a screenwriter of documentaries on love, emotions and sexuality and screenwriter of films besides that I am a philosopher of love and sexuality I am thrilled to see new wave of lesbian films, such as Carol, Summertime, Women's Lake and others but what I still miss is that we haven't seen films that present a truly happy long term lesbian love, love between elder lesbians and spiritual dimensions of lesbian love yet.
I have watched many lesbian films over the period of 20 years and I can not remember a single film that has presented, described or talked about lesbian love in a form of spiritual and human evolvement and evolution. I can not remember a film about a happy peaceful long term lesbian love either or a decent portrayal of love between elder lesbians.
I saw however a great deal of lousy lesbian films on the part of writing (It is in the Water, Bar Girls, Claire of the Moon ...), imitating heterosexual stereotypes or using lesbians to add a sort of juicy spice to film, i.e. to leading straight/bisexual female role (Femme Fatale, Laurel Canyon, Awol ...), weird films on the part of presentation (Mango kiss, April's Shower ...), low cost production films that resulted in bad acting and screening (Goodbye Emma Jo, Thin Ice ...), lesbians preying for their victims and sucking life out of them or using and domineering them for their pleasure (Hunger, The Vampire Lovers, Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant) and very sad and depressing on the part of how society has perceived the value of a lesbian love as something worthless, expendable, abominable and horrible due to societal perception of homosexuality which influenced lesbians themselves (The Children's Hour, Lost and Delirious, Boys don't Cry ...).
We are fed up with lesbian love stories that are overly tragic, overly sad and violent. It can be argued it is also because all great love stories, even heterosexual ones, like Rome and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Juliet and Saint Preux, are tragic and sad love stories. Well, if that was true for lesbians they would not die in such a high rate in such a violent manner for no noble, higher, spiritual cause. Lesbians in films usually do not die for moral, philosophical or sacred reasons but mostly for reasons showing how their existence is worthless, forbidden, immoral, sinful and most of all expendable.
Namely, how can be a lesbian love used (and what) for in patriarchal society (in a male and combative competitive ego world where female is usually seen merely as a resourceful means of producing more male combative, competitive egos)? None. Ergo, she is useless thus worth only killing her off as something redundant yet usable for a very short of time for the sake of the story which is clearly seen in the long history of lesbian film character(s).
For this reason I as philosopher of love and sexuality and screenwriter of films and documentaries of the same topics I wish to see a new concept of love presented on a big screen: I truly wish and desire for love stories that present a happy peaceful love; love that has a potential to be a long-term and at the same time successful, fulfilling and happy and also stories of love between adults or elder lesbians not only teenagers and adolescents and very importantly also something with a deep, lasting love in the level of sacred and divine.
As we can see throughout history, male homosexual love has been endowed with spiritual, holy and noble perceptions of love between two men since the beginnings of times, such as in epic story of Gilgamesh or even more famous Plato's Symposium and Pheado, Pindar's Theoxenus ode or Vergil's book 5 of the Aeneid and even immortalized in opera's like Handels opera L'Oreste. Yet lesbian love has never been described in such elevating spiritual or soulful words as for instance Aristotle wrote of love between Alexander the Great and general Hephaestion as“one soul abiding in two bodies.“
And where are lesbian films such as Wang Kar Wai's love films In the Mood for Love and 2046; films that deeply question and explore the notion of human desire and importance of memories, such as Tarkovsky's Stalker, Solaris and Nostalghia, films of a big unrequited love such as Ophulus's Letter from Unknown Woman, films about human mind and its big, incredible achievements like Apted's Enigma or Howard's Beautiful Mind, films that depict and unreveal the landscapes and dynamics of human psyche such as Bergman's Cries and Whispers, Persona and Silence, Ozu's films, such as Floating Weeds, Late Spring and Good Morning and Kurosava's Dreams and Rashamon to name a few?
As I started this essay by stating that I long for brilliant lesbian films that will portray big, long lasting and sacred lesbian love between two adult women I am adding to this also films that will portray a landscape of woman's desire not only desire for another woman but also as a human desire, for films that would explore the vastness of woman's memories, the complexity of woman's psyche, her dreams and her brilliant mind, the search for the truth and justice and the importance of woman's vocation and affording life she (and the way she) wishes and to love whom she desires, especially if that includes another woman!
It seems that we have a long way to the greatness and entirety of lesbian film making in all areas of woman's and/or lesbian's life but we can achieve that first by depicting what we wish, desire, want and need and then carrying out that in great film art works.
Future of (lesbian) love
As said before Western nations of love are intertwined with different historical concepts of love, all these Western concepts have a common feature: tragic notions of love, beginning with Aristotle's concept of tragedy and the tragical familial and partnership relations.Yet I propose (lesbian) love as a peaceful happy creative democratic and thoughtful vision.
Namely, lesbian concept of love does not follow Aristotle notion's of love, Christian notion of love as mother's blind devotion to her son and her son's sacrifice for his father, troubadour's notion of unfulfilled and unconsummated love due to unattianability of the loved woman, Shakespeare's tragic notion of love where both partners involved die (commit suicide because they can't be together), Rousseau's notions of unequal love of a heterosexual pair Emile and Sophia where Sophia serves as uneducated mother to her husband and his children, Freud's transference (triangle) notion of love where partners are haunted by their father's presence, defined as the superego and thus forcing partners into the repetition of their primary family roles and pattern.
Lesbian love pursues the joy and satisfaction of (women's) sexuality which offers pleasure and fulfillment to both women involved. Lesbian love involves mutual respect of wishes and desires, respect for each other's intelligence, emotions, spirit and body, it values reciprocity, two-way communication, personal growth, freedom, creativity, openness, democracy and equality.
We are against Aristotle's notion of love form because we disagree with his notion of family and life that promotes inequality among people and especially among sexes. As we read his Nichomachean Ethics, books VIII and IX he explicitly tells that man is above woman and children and they all need to obey him just because he is a man and not according to his merits. He also promotes and puts oligarchy and royalty above all people. In his opinion only upper class and royalty can serve as role models in the artwork which could teach ordinary people most important life lessons, catharsis through empathy and compassion and which we should even reproduce by seeing it on the stage.
The same inequality between sexes promotes Rousseau in his book Emile or on Education in book V. where Sophie is destined only for role of mother and wife of his husband Emile, not to mention Thomas Aquinas most notorious example of women's inevitable submission by saying that women are by nature deficient and misbegotten and last but not least Freud's Bildungsroman (novel of education) which focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the male protagonist from youth to adulthood (coming of age).
There is also a notorious book by Denise de Rougemont,Love in the Western World. If we could summarize his message into a thought it would be with his own words: The Westerners way of learning things is by and through suffering (and mostly in connection to religious suffering, especially as he argues for the gnostic and cathar beliefs of purity, goodness and truth and in context of Mary Magdalene). If that isn't the most consized version of Westerner's way of thinking I don't what it is. Is it also an echo from an old Egyptian, old Jewish, old Greek and Buddhist way of thinking? But do we really agree with these since we know all that is aimed at disdain for this and now earthly existence towards some kind of (more)enlightened but nonexistent, non-real spiritual afterworld as they try to convince us and we can attain it only through faith and belief?
By studying history of spiritual and religious theories and practices I found out there has been only one spiritual thought that praises what is 'here and now' as sacred and that is Shinto religion (but the fact is that Shinto religion has been also behind Japanese pride during the WW II. Thus the only ancient spiritual thought that could have any validation for us is marked with ugly history that has nothing to do with sacred and worshiping life, gentleness, nourishment,solidarity, freedom and democracy). We try to pave a new way that Westerner's hasn't known yet. The way is to take care of our everyday, ordinary relations and interactions. This is what matters the most: how we talk, act and do in the most common and everyday interactions with all beings, humane, animal and even plants.
Our vision stems from the Nussbaum's thoughts about love in the western world. For instance in the third chapter of her Upheavals of Thought, Ascents of Love (The Transfiguration of Everyday Life: Joyce, Democratic Desire: Whitman), she presents love as something that has not only to do with going upwards on the love ladder, as presented in Plato's and St. Augustine work on becoming an impenetrable shining rock, but also downward, as presented in various works of literature, especially in Joyce's Ulysses, (a love story between Molly and Leopold Bloom), Whitman's democratic desire for equality, compassion, and reconciliation of the sexes in all areas of everyday life, (from politics to marriage), Proust's In Search of Lost Time, Swan's Way, (a love story between Albertine and Marcel), and Beckett's Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnameable. Instead of having love only as soul-based, striped of bodily passionate love, which makes man dormant to his own desires and consequently also to his lover, as Plato and Augustine complain, or seeing a lover only as an interest-(object)based fulfillment of his appetites without true and mutual fulfillment (Kant), Nussbaum shows that love is as much upward abstract,in a universal and soulful way as it is downward by concrete (sexual) partial and bodily experience; that spirit is as important as flesh and both are sacred.
That is why Nussbaum keeps saying that love in a modern world is free, democratic, individual, mutual, (reciprocal), sensual, erotic, and compassionate, reparative love.
And besides love and sexuality Nussbaum puts a great deal of emphasis on another important emotion; she calls it the central theme of society, compassion. In Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions, Nussbaum makes an experiential argument for emotions as judgments of value. Starting from Aristotle’s account, she considers compassion as a painful emotion directed at another person’s misfortune or suffering. She then unravels the cognitive structure of compassion. The first cognitive requirement of compassion is a belief or appraisal that the suffering is serious rather than trivial, the judgment of size. The second is the belief that the person does not deserve the suffering, the judgment of non desert. The third is called the eudaimonistic judgment: this person or creature is a significant element in my scheme of goals and projects, an end whose good is to be promoted. »Compassion makes thought attend to certain human facts, and in a certain way, with concern to make the lot of the suffering as good, other things being equal, as it can be – because that person is an object of one’s concern. Often that concern is motivated or supported by the thought that one might oneself be, one day, in that person’s position. Often, again, it is motivated or supported by the imaginative exercise of putting oneself in that person’s place. I have claimed that, other things being equal, the compassionate person will acquire motivations to help the person for whom she has compassion.« (Nussbaum, 2001: 342).Compassion is linked with benevolent action.
For Nussbaum, a central challenge for society that wants to cultivate a broad and appropriate compassion would be to produce people who can live with their humanity, who can surrender omnipotence (i.e. awareness and understanding that we are not the only one here and that not everything needs to revolve around us all the time but that t-here are also others. Essentially, this means that we know how to limit ourselves and that we drop emotions, such as possessiveness, envy, jealousy and that people we love have also time for themselves and their interests, hobbies and friends besides us although we are someone's partner, daughter, friend etc.). For Nussbaum, compassion includes the thought of common humanity, which should lead us to be intensely concerned with the material (also bodily) as well as emotional, mental and spiritual happiness of others.
Love, sexuality, reciprocity and compassion are the most important alongside with proper communication,freedom and upbringing.
What straight women gotta do with lesbians?
This short article does not wish to provide insights into which woman lesbian is going to be eventually attracted to and even more she would like to be with her for the rest of her life and have a family with. This article aims at providing insights into incorrect assumptions regarding lesbian's taste(s) for heterosexual women.
Namely, I quite often found myself in situations when all of a sudden heterosexual married women start mentioning their husbands and I wondered why? I questioned myself, did I say something or made a certain gesture that made them assume I fancied them? I know myself, I rarely fall in love therefore I could not find any such reasons: I mean, I could occasionally feel attraction (which I rarely acted on) but actually finding myself in a relationship with a woman that always required proper context and I rather let woman chose me then I chose her and for the reasons mentioned I knew it was not me who had any emotional or sexual thoughts about those married women. For that reason I started finding such behavior by heterosexual women rather annoying and I mean really annoying to the point that I decided to write this article.
I know I already read this type of article written by other lesbians, however I must repeat their thoughts: heterosexual women do not flatter yourself that every lesbian would fancy a heterosexual woman or consider 'tasting' you intimately. If you do then it is something about yourself and the 'blame' is on your side that made you think that way, it is rather you who felt being attracted to the lesbian you encountered not the other way around. I mean, why a lesbian would be attracted to a heterosexual (married) woman, what are the reasons for such unreasonable assumption? What is so special about you and why do you think lesbians are 'treaschures destroyers' of the relationships (what made you think that at all)?
I know, contrary to common belief, not every lesbian is a promiscuous, I never had a one night stand, had only two girlfriends and with the latter I would stay with her for the rest of my life if her father didn't set to ruin our relationship from the day we met due to his political and religious beliefs and in the end he succeeded. Therefore it is a mystery to me why so many heterosexual women assume lesbians would find them always attractive because they are for instance beautiful, witty, humorous – do heterosexual women assume that every men is always attracted to them? Why would assume that, would they consider this kind assumptions reasonable and on what grounds? If we use analogy or metaphor with preference for certain tastes, colours, designes, art, even philosophies we can say 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' and we can explain that statement with Dubos's, Hume's and Kant's philosophies that tastes for something are individually prefered and unless someone expresses that preference it can not be known to the other person and even less someone can infer or imply universal taste or preference for something - it is simply incorrect thinking without providing proper reasons. Why I use analogy with tastes for human attraction? Humans have tried to make different explanations for attractions and offered different concepts of love. Here is my article History of Love on concepts of love through western history if you wish to know some of the explanations. However, humans have not provided a universal explanation of emotional and sexual attraction and marriage commitment yet. I also do not offer any explanation of the causes of attraction – why and to whom in this article.
Therefore explanation through analogy of tastes still apply. Let us explain the reasons for statement that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder': judgments of beauty are not (or at least not canonically) mediated by inferences from principles or applications of concepts, but rather have all the immediacy of straightforwardly sensory judgments. It is the idea, in other words, that we do not reason to the conclusion that things are beautiful, but rather “taste” that they are. Here is an early expression of the thesis, from Dubos’s Critical Reflections on Poetry, Painting, and Music, which first appeared in 1719 (from Standford Encyclopedia):
"Do we ever reason, in order to know whether a ragoo be good or bad; and has it ever entered into any body’s head, after having settled the geometrical principles of taste, and defined the qualities of each ingredient that enters into the composition of those messes, to examine into the proportion observed in their mixture, in order to decide whether it be good or bad? No, this is never practiced. We have a sense given us by nature to distinguish whether the cook acted according to the rules of his art. People taste the ragoo, and tho’ unacquainted with those rules, they are able to tell whether it be good or no. The same may be said in some respect of the productions of the mind, and of pictures made to please and move us". (Dubos, Jean-Baptiste. 1748,vol. II, Critical Reflections on Poetry, Painting, and Music, T. Nugent (trans.), London. p. 238–239).
And here is a late expression, from Kant’s 1790 Critique of the Power of Judgment:
"If someone reads me his poem or takes me to a play that in the end fails to please my taste, then he can adduce Batteux or Lessing, or even older and more famous critics of taste, and adduce all the rules they established as proofs that his poem is beautiful… . I will stop my ears, listen to no reasons and arguments, and would rather believe that those rules of the critics are false … than allow that my judgment should be determined by means of a priori grounds of proof, since it is supposed to be a judgment of taste and not of the understanding of reason". (Kant, Immanuel, 1790, Critique of the Power of Judgment, trans. P. Guyer, and E. Matthews, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000, p. 165.).
But the theory of taste would not have enjoyed its eighteenth-century run, nor would it continue now to exert its influence, had it been without resources to counter an obvious rationalist objection. There is a wide difference—so goes the objection—between judging the excellence of a ragout and judging the excellence of a poem or a play. More often than not, poems and plays are objects of great complication. But taking in all that complication requires a lot of cognitive work, including the application of concepts and the drawing of inferences. Judging the beauty of poems and plays, then, is evidently not immediate and so evidently not a matter of taste.
The chief way of meeting this objection was first to distinguish between the act of grasping the object preparatory to judging it and the act of judging the object once grasped, and then to allow the former, but not the latter, to be as concept- and inference-mediated as any rationalist might wish.
Here is Hume, with characteristic clarity:
"[I]n order to pave the way for [a judgment of taste], and give a proper discernment of its object, it is often necessary, we find, that much reasoning should precede, that nice distinctions be made, just conclusions drawn, distant comparisons formed, complicated relations examined, and general facts fixed and ascertained. Some species of beauty, especially the natural kinds, on their first appearance command our affection and approbation; and where they fail of this effect, it is impossible for any reasoning to redress their influence, or adapt them better to our taste and sentiment". (Hume, David, 1751, Section I, Hume, D., 1751, Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, in L.A.).
With this short expose on reason and judgment of tastes I tried to show that when married heterosexual women think or imagine that every lesbian would feel (any) attraction towards them they should follow Hume's lead of giving 'a proper discernment of its object ... much reasoning should precede, that nice distinctions be made, just conclusions drawn, distant comparisons formed, complicated relations examined, and general facts fixed and ascertained'. The same applies to their husbands if they would feel any envy or jealousy – again there is no reason for those.
Jill Sander – Lesbian Popular Fashion Designer (Why Popular Lesbians Matter part 2.)
As a young philosopher who was interested in fashion world and written a few articles about philosophy of fashion and philosophy of beauty and fashion models in 1996 (there have been only a few authors at that time) and in general who regularly wrote and translated articles about latest fashion shows and fashion models and was regularly watching weekly CNN fashion review shows I was fairly and pleasantly surprised when discovered that German minimalist fashion designer Jil Sander is lesbian. I wondered and wonder how come I have not known that before! It is almost impossible to overlook sexual orientation of such an important and amazing fashion designer.
I also always wondered how come that there have been so many gay fashion designers and almost no lesbian fashion designers. The same as I used to dance modern dance in my adolescent and student years and there have been plenty of gay dancers and almost no lesbian dancers. Where these disproportions came from I have always wondered? I still haven't gotten the answer. And obviously I am not the only lesbian who is wondering and is baffled by the fact that lots of people think that fashion is for straight women and gay men: these two articles perfectly nail my wonder and astonishment: Where Are All the Lesbians and Queer Women in Fashion? and Where Are All The Queer Girls in Fashion?
Anyway, this article is dedicated to 74 years old lesbian fashion designer and icon Jill Sander. As I read, Jill was together with her partner Angela Mommsen for nearly 30 years.
From November 2017 until May 2018 Jill Sander had her first ever solo-exhibition 'Jil Sander. Present Tense' of her 40 years long fashion designer career in Frankfurt's Museum Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Arts). Jil Sander launched her first collection in 1973 as a 30 years old woman, creating modern, minimalist clothes that would go on to redefine the working woman's wardrobe. Jil Sander can best be described as fashion’s first feminist and has the strongest claim for empowering women through what they wear. As she said herself: “I never thought of myself as a feminist, but maybe I was, since I was not happy with the way women presented themselves,” the designer says. “I think my work was more about the rapprochement of the sexes and a more androgynous look for men and women. I was looking for more supportive ways to dress myself as a working woman. And since my needs were collective needs in the era of women entering the business world, my work turned out to help them.” The exhibition showcased everything from Sander's expertly tailored coats and dresses to her popular cosmetics line and artistic collaborations, highlighting her lasting impact on what is considered modern in fashion even today.
Other famous lesbian fashion designers I could find are Patricia Field (stylist of TV-shows such as Sex and The City and Younger), Jenny Lyons (who used to be 26 years president and executive creative director of J. Crew) and Courtney Crangi (sister of fine jewelry Philip Crangi).