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).
Why Popular Lesbians Matter? (part 1.)
Who are popular lesbians nowadays, popular in the meaning that are recognized (also) in the mainstream and why they matter? They matter for obvious reason, they represent (good and successful) role models for lesbians of all ages and walks of life.
In the USA the most popular is Ellen Degeners with her talk show Ellen She is funny, she has peculiar quizzes, she hosts popular people from wide range of professions and fields as well – she promotes their work, life experiences and achievements.
In Europe one of the most well-known is Anne Will, TV host at ARD 1 (Germany's TV and radio broadcaster).
They are one of the reasons why I created this website. Namely, throughout two decades surfing on the internet I came across to only a few lesbian websites. For years there have been only American lesbian and bisexual website Afterellen (AE), created in 2002 by Sarah Warn – it started with reviews of shows like The L Word, Once and Again, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Tipping the Velvet etc. In 2008 a European version of AE was founded as eurOut.org by Sandra Showtime.
In 2009, another American lesbian, bisexual, queer website Autostraddle was founded by Riese Bernard and Alexandra Vega. It is website that tries to cover more diversity within LBTQI+ community. It is also more orientied towards everyday life of LBTQI+ women and not focused only on entertainment.
In Canada there is a queer website Lez Spread the Word (LSTW) that covers Canadian lesbian and bisexual artists (filmmakers, photographers, fashion designers, DJ's).
There is Onemorelesbian (OML) website that aggregates video content that exists on other sites. There are not articles or reviews on the site, however.
In Europe there hasn't been any similar website as Afterellen or Autostraddle. There is a French website Barbi(e)turix culture, politics, art, fashion, travel, sport, book and film reviews and all that you can do as LesBisex in Paris.
There is also another French LB-website called Emma Recaimer (ER). However Emma hasn't written any articles or reviews on LBT-women in film, TV- and WEB-series and music. Just short paragraphs of introduction of new LB-films, series, songs and fantasy couples.
One of the reasons why I also created my website is as Karen Frost (also contributing author of LL-Passion website) wrote in her article 'Lesbians, Hollywood is Not the Savior of Our Intellectual Movement' on AE pointing out how she lacks new lesbian intellectual influencers and I can nothing but totally agree with her. I have missed some intellectual lesbian influencers for years too: where are the days of Gayle Rubin, Eve Sedgwick, Monique Wittig, Judith Butler, Monika Treut, Chantal Akerman, Rose Troche with all their wit, innovative, dare and creative ideas and presentions in theories, novels and films? Therefore my LL-passion website aim at articles and reviews using philosophical, educational and scientific theories to explain topics of lesbian and bisexual love, sexuality, emotions, sexual orientation etc. and the same applies for film, TV-or Web-series. Sometimes I also present scientific research results on different topics and present lesbian and bisexual scientists, philosophers, artists and their important intellectual and/or art work.
Sometimes I do use more 'light' style of writing articles like this one and reviews, however. Style of writing also depends on the article's theme and the contents of the film, TV-or Web-series.
And latter brings us to the second part of the article. Naming USA successful and important lesbian and bisexual actresses (older and younger generation) as our role models.
Ellen deGeneres (sitcom Ellen 1994-98 and Ellen DeGeneres Show 2003-), Jodie Foster (Taxi driver 1974, Silence of the Lambs, 1991, Sommersby 1993, Nell, 1994, Contact 1997, Anna and the King 1999, Panic Room 2002, Hotel Artemis 2018), Rosie O'Donnell (The Rosie O'Donnell show 1996-2002, Rosie Live 2008, The Rosie Show 2011-12, The View 2014-15, The Fosters 2014-18), Ellen Page (X-Men Last Stand 2006, Juno 2007, Inception 2010, X-Men Days of Future Past 2014, Freeheld 2015), Portia de Rossi (Ally McBeal 1998-2002, Arrested Development 1998-2018, Nip/Tuck 2007-2009, Scandal 2014-2017), Raven-Symoné (The Cosby Show 1989-92, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air 1992, Dr. Dolittle 1998, Dr. Dolittle 2 2001, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement 2004, Tinker Bell etc. 2008-15), Jane Lynch (A Mighty Wind 2003, I Do & I Don't, Two and Half Man 2004-14, The L Word 2005-09, Glee 2009-14, The Good Fight 2017-18)
Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City), Holland Taylor (The Practice 1998-2003, D.E.B.S. 2003, The L Word 2004-08, Monk 2005-07, Two and a Half Men 2003-15), Lily Tomlin (Nashwille 1975, The Late Show 1977, All of Me 1984, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe 1991, Short Cuts 1993, Grandma 20015), Kelly McGillis (Top Gun 1986), Cherry Jones, Meredith Baxter (All the Presidents Man 1976, Paradise Texas 2005, Family 1976-80, Love Boat 1977-82, Family Ties 1982-89, Finding Carter 2014-15), Sara Gilbert (Roseanne Show 1988-97, 2018, The Big Bang Theory 2007-10, 2016, The Talk 2010-), Jasika Nicole (Fringe 2007-2009), Guinevere Turner (Go Fish 1994, Itty Bitty Titty Committee 2007), Wanda Sykes (The Chris Rock Show 1997-2000, The Wanda Sykes Show 2009-10, Alpha House 2013-15, Blackish 2015-).
TV hosts: Rachel Maddow (The Rachel Maddow Show 2008-).
European lesbian and bisexual actresses:
Nadin Matthews (Die Rüden 2017), Leonore Busch (2+4 - Der n-tv Talk, 2004-06), Hella von Sinnen (Sat.1 improvisational comedy show Genial daneben 2003-, Venus and Mars 2001, Crazy about Paris 2002), Fiona Shaw (Hedda Gabler 1992, all Harry Potter films, Black Dhalia 2006, Mrs. Wilson, 2018, Killing Eve 2018-), Heather Peace (Lip Service 2010-12), Saffron Burrows (Enigma 2001, Troy 2004, Boston Legal 2007-08, Mozart in the Jungle 2014-18), Maria Schneider (Last Tango in Paris 1972, The Passenger 1975), Muriel Robin (La Griffe 2002, Fugueuses 2007, Robin revient, tsoin, tsoin 2013, Momo 2015), Emma de Caunes (Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra 2002, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly 2007, Rien dans les poches 2008, Dune 2013, Ransom 2017-), Ramona Leiß (Egon Schiele 1981, Hotel Paradises 2005, Sturm der Liebe 2008), Maren Kroymann (Nachtschwester Kroymann 1993-97, Flemming 2009-12, Wendy 1,2 2017, 2018), Elena Anaya (Sex and Lucia 2001, Van Helsing 2004, Room in Rome 2010, The Skin I Live In, 2011, Wonder Woman 2017), Adèle Haenel (Water Lilies 2004, Suzanne 2013, Love at First Fight 2014, BPM - Beats per Minute – 2018), Erika Linder (Bellow Her Mouth 2016).
TV hosts: Anne Will, Leonore Busch (Das Thema 2006, Europa@n-tv 2007, Busch@n-tv 2009), Enora Malagré (on France 4:Touche pas à mon poste! 2010-, 4 Nouvelle Star, ça continue...2013, Derrière le poste on 2014-), Charlotta "Lotta" Bromé (various shows for Sveriges Radio, Christmas Eve host at SVT), Sandra Berneda (On Telecinco De buena ley 2009-12, Hable con ellas 2009-14, GH VIP: El Debate 2016-, Volverte a ver 2018), Anne Kejser (comedy show 'Slemme, slemme piger' 2009).