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Breaking The Taboo Against Women Loving Women by Peggy Luhrs Since Persephone was taken from Demeter, order discount skelaxin patriarchal society has done its best to break the bonds between women. Order discount skelaxin Patriarchy demands that women give primacy to men. Order discount skelaxin It implicitly and explicitly forbids woman loving, order discount skelaxin whether this be the love of one woman for another, order discount skelaxin for herself, order discount skelaxin or for her sex. Order discount skelaxin Understanding the nature, order discount skelaxin reasons and uses of this taboo leads to an understanding of the centrality of lesbians to any movement to improve the status of women. Order discount skelaxin I use the example of the Demeter/Persephone myth to underscore the fact that the first bond broken by patriarchy is the mother/daughter bond. Order discount skelaxin That bond is the emotional basis for women loving women. Order discount skelaxin All of us first learn love from our mothers, order discount skelaxin but society has insisted that women deny this bond and give their love exclusively to men. Order discount skelaxin Lesbians are women who have, order discount skelaxin among other things, order discount skelaxin broken these rules. Order discount skelaxin In this male supremacist world, order discount skelaxin all things female are devalued. Order discount skelaxin This is a suicidal course for the race and, order discount skelaxin indeed, order discount skelaxin late patriarchy distinguishes itself by its capacity to annihilate not only the human race, order discount skelaxin but the entire planet. Order discount skelaxin Mother Earth is an entity perceived as female and therefore routinely subject to rape and abuse. Order discount skelaxin This global ideology translates on the personal plane to a taboo against woman loving. Order discount skelaxin First and foremost, order discount skelaxin women are inculcated with a sense of self-hatred. Order discount skelaxin Growing up in a world where things male are overvalued and things female undervalued cannot help but leave women feeling like inferior beings. If a woman somehow escapes this conditioning, order discount skelaxin the first signs of self-assertion will surely bring her lessons in the selfishness and unacceptability of such behavior. Order discount skelaxin Organizing with women, order discount skelaxin as I have for the last fifteen years, order discount skelaxin has convinced me that the most effective stumbling block to our liberation is the internalized self-hatred that comes from living in a woman-hating world. Order discount skelaxin If we have such a hard time valuing ourselves, order discount skelaxin how can we change society's evaluation of us? Women constantly put men first in a way men never do for women, order discount skelaxin no matter how heterosexual they are. Order discount skelaxin Lesbians break the taboo against women bonding and deny the imperative that a man should be the first interest of every woman. Order discount skelaxin For this heresy, order discount skelaxin they are severely punished by the family, order discount skelaxin state, order discount skelaxin church, order discount skelaxin and the priests' heirs, order discount skelaxin the psychiatrists. Order discount skelaxin More subtly, order discount skelaxin their entire existence is erased in the culture. Order discount skelaxin They are labeled unnatural (as are spinsters) and they are said to wish to be men. Order discount skelaxin While lesbians may wish more access to the world (which is considered male), order discount skelaxin they prefer being women. Order discount skelaxin We are not to love ourselves; it is selfish for a woman and self-respecting for a man. Order discount skelaxin We are not to love our sex: that's strident for a woman and normal for a man. Order discount skelaxin We are not to love another woman; that is unnatural, order discount skelaxin perverse and insurrectionary. Order discount skelaxin Men are not to love other men homosexually either, order discount skelaxin because that is perceived as playing a female role and therefore degrading. Order discount skelaxin Lesbianism is the strongest and most overt expression of women bonding we have. Order discount skelaxin The repression of lesbians reflects the degree to which women in general are kept down. Order discount skelaxin Women are socialized in heterosexuality to insure that they continue to see their work as their natural realm, order discount skelaxin so that their unpaid work at home will be mystified. Order discount skelaxin Lesbians contradict this conditioning and challenge the prevailing economic system's use of women. Order discount skelaxin Women usually do the housework, order discount skelaxin even if they work themselves, order discount skelaxin and are expected to be emotionally supportive of men as well. Order discount skelaxin Many conversations with women, order discount skelaxin as well as my own experience, order discount skelaxin convince me this kind of emotional support is rarely reciprocal. Order discount skelaxin Lesbians offer this kind of support to each other and can enable themselves and each other to do other work. Order discount skelaxin Defining women's role as naturally to serve men is the major reason lesbians are labeled as unnatural. Order discount skelaxin Virginia Woolf wrote that men wish women to "reflect them back at twice their size." Lesbians refuse to do this and are disdained for their refusal. Order discount skelaxin Whenever women begin to bond, order discount skelaxin despite their socialization, order discount skelaxin men have done their best to stem the tide of independent women. Order discount skelaxin As Carol Smith Rosenberg points out in her book "Disorderly Conduct": "The years before and after WW I saw women's greatest professional visibility and political activism ... Order discount skelaxin Neither before nor since have women been so political -- and so politically successful. Order discount skelaxin They battled for Peace, order discount skelaxin suffrage, order discount skelaxin child labor and protective labor, order discount skelaxin for birth control and sexual liberation." She then notes, order discount skelaxin "During these same years, order discount skelaxin male politicians, order discount skelaxin aided by male physicians, order discount skelaxin sex reformers and educators launched a concerted political attack condemning female friendships as lesbian and separate female institutions -- educational or political -- as breeding places for 'unnatural' sexual impulses. Order discount skelaxin These attacks constituted an integral part of the 1920's assault on feminists and radicals." This is still going on, order discount skelaxin in ever new and subtle forms. Order discount skelaxin Few political strategies are as old or effective as Divide and Conquer. Order discount skelaxin All dominant groups use it to retain power. Order discount skelaxin In a nutshell, order discount skelaxin this is the basis of the taboo against women bonding. Order discount skelaxin If women were united, order discount skelaxin self-affirming, order discount skelaxin women loving feminists, order discount skelaxin male supremacy, order discount skelaxin with its attendant privilege, order discount skelaxin would quickly collapse. Order discount skelaxin This is not to blame women for their current status. Order discount skelaxin Men have used economic sanctions, order discount skelaxin labeling, order discount skelaxin and all the power of the church, order discount skelaxin state and family to police women into their male defined role. Order discount skelaxin They have used rape and brute force as well. Order discount skelaxin The forces ranged against us are tremendous and it is a tribute to women's amazing creativity that we have survived and progressed despite such odds. Order discount skelaxin The system of heterosexual hegemony is so normative and institutionalized that women often enforce it for men. Order discount skelaxin This is the saddest and perhaps most effective way of keeping women divided. Order discount skelaxin It is the impetus behind this article. Order discount skelaxin As a feminist, order discount skelaxin I know the reasons men wish to label me unnatural and erase my existence. Order discount skelaxin It is much harder to experience the same treatment from women, order discount skelaxin when one knows they are acting against their own ultimate self-interest and the selves of all women. Order discount skelaxin Recently I read the following: "From the beginning of the women's movement to the present day, order discount skelaxin a significant number of homosexual women assumed the leadership in the numerous struggles and ... Order discount skelaxin through their energy awakened ... Order discount skelaxin the average woman to awareness of their human dignity and rights. Order discount skelaxin Considering the contributions made to the women's movement by lesbians for decades, order discount skelaxin it is amazing that the large and influential organizations of the movement have never lifted a finger to improve the civil rights and social standing of their numerous (lesbian) sisters." The date of this quote is 1904! It could be Vermont and the current ERA struggle, order discount skelaxin the situation is the same. Order discount skelaxin Lesbians have done so much of the work in the women's movement and every struggle for women's rights, order discount skelaxin yet their sisters have usually not responded in kind and, order discount skelaxin worse yet, order discount skelaxin have denied or censured lesbians out of their own fear. Order discount skelaxin The right is waging a homophobic campaign against the passage of the ERA. Order discount skelaxin Representing male supremacy, order discount skelaxin they use the same tactics. Order discount skelaxin Homosexuality is a scapegoat issue, order discount skelaxin trotted out to obscure their real agenda, order discount skelaxin which is economic. Order discount skelaxin The money behind STOP-ERA is right-wing money protecting its interest in the heap labor pool that women provide. Order discount skelaxin This is the real issue that so far neither side has addressed. Order discount skelaxin Some of the women in the pro-ERA forces are so lesbian-phobic as to give the right a real advantage. Order discount skelaxin If we are to be beaten with the club of homophobia and our own side holds the same club, order discount skelaxin are we not aiding and abetting the opposition? The right functions on fear and the antidote to that is not defensiveness, order discount skelaxin but courage. Order discount skelaxin I'm proud to be an unnatural, order discount skelaxin selfish, order discount skelaxin strident woman. Order discount skelaxin I recognize those epithets as misogynist censures and tributes to my effectiveness. Order discount skelaxin I'm proud of lesbians. Order discount skelaxin It takes courage to live a life with so little social support and many economic and social sanctions against it. Order discount skelaxin Lesbianism represents one way of replacing the woman bond that patriarchy has done its best to destroy. Order discount skelaxin It is a real achievement. Order discount skelaxin If lesbians can have the courage to live our lives and support the women's movement, order discount skelaxin surely our sisters in the fight for women's rights can have the courage to support lesbians. Order discount skelaxin http://www.mountainpridemedia.org/oitm/issues/1986/02feb1986/taboo.htm