In this op-ed, Linzy Rosen explains how she learned to recognize and deal with misogyny from other women.
Let’s see if you know this one. Two lesbians spot each other…they silently contemplate whether it would be feminist to make the first move. Needless to say, it can be difficult to navigate the world of queer women. Oftentimes, queer female dating is viewed as easier than heterosexual relationships — the only challenge that exists will be avoiding bed death in the very distant future, right? I used to balk at the complaints of my heterosexual friends’ relationships, and I once even held the idea that dating or hooking up with women would be simple. Since then, I’ve come to know that these ideas are just unfair stereotypes. In truth, lesbian relationships, like any others, can be really, really hard.
I was not just looking for women to Netflix and chill with when I started to swipe habitually on dating apps. I was nearly drowning myself in the wonderfully cozy queer dating pool of the greater Boston area. Her, Tinder, Bumble, JSwipe, and OkCupid became my BFFs. While my reaction to a match ensued a Pavlovian response of lust and salivation, it was always short-lived. This was due to a sinister reason that I didn’t expect to encounter while trying to date other women: misogyny. I realized very quickly how misogynistic and heteronormative ideals impact the way we queer women interact with one another.
As prominent author and Cornell professor Kate Manne describes, “misogyny is the law enforcement branch of patriarchy,” meaning it punishes women who do not fit into its mold and rewards those who do. In essence, misogynistic ideals train and sculpt women into “perfect” prototypes. This is relevant to the lesbian community since, although many of us do not date men, we are still exposed to gender-based societal conditioning. Many of us, such as myself, were raised with misogynistic notions like “men chase women,” “men set the pace.” Sound familiar?
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