Change Your World-NOT your Body

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Michfest: Defending women only spaces


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Women only spaces are quickly becoming relics of the past. Michfest has struggled for decades to remain one of the last stands for women only space, but even she has buckled in the last 10 years with the rise of "queer" theory, a detrimental lull in lesbian pride and the demise of radical lesbian feminism.

You've all read/heard radical lesbian feminist writing/discussing the multi-layered issues revolving around queer theory and lack of radical lesbian feminist politics that are hurting lesbians and women only spaces. But the truth is even if we were to removed these two components I believe lesbian pride alone would have preserved womens spaces and seen us through these difficult times.

Before queer theory reared its self delusional head, and radical lesbian feminism was a mere backdrop it was lesbian pride that gave rise to womens voices and created womens spaces, including Michfest. And it was lesbian pride that maintained womens spaces and promoted lesbian music, lesbian workshops, and lesbian trade which helped to fund women only spaces.

When I was 20, through circumstance I became privy to an underground radical lesbian feminist chapbook. I quickly got myself added to their list and received this chapbook once a month in a plain brown envelope with no return address showing. I had never seen or read anything like it, nor have I since really. Its pages were filled with radical lesbian ideas, lesbian politics, lesbian erotica, lesbian plays and shorts and lesbian essays written by every colour of lesbian under the sun, all of which filled me with a lesbian pride I didnt even know I possessed! A lesbian pride I had until a few years ago forgot or rather relinquished to adult pleasures, adult problems, adult living.

Until I personally felt the onslaught of malecentrisms tight grip upon my community, my Femme/Butch community my lesbian pride had been in a long slumber. Like rip van winkle before me when I awoke and actually looked around me, REALLY looked, I did not recognize the lesbian landscape that had once inspired me to pride. I take full responsibility for losing sight of my lesbian pride, for its going from a full on 20/20 focus, to periphery to letting it slide out of eyeshot altogether. And I feel the burden and the weight for having lost my lesbian pride everyday. Everyday when I look around my lesbian community and all her branching sub-communities and see them swarming with the buzz of patriarchy and the sting of misogyny it is MY skin that raises with the swell of poison, MY flesh that no balm can sooth, my blood cells racing to my heart envenomed!

I take that responsibility and with precision and precise calculation I shift my lesbian pride back into the forefront, back into focus. Because it is no longer merely a matter of my needing my lesbian pride, but my community needing my lesbian pride! My community needing me to drape her in cheese cloth protecting her from the bombilating interlopers hovering 'round her.

Pride and inspiration are infectious, if each of us who have lost our lesbian pride rediscovers her, her silky smell, her strong hands, her gliding touch, her slow whispering breaths in our ears, together we can rend our lesbian community from the lesbian bed death she has experienced for far too long and bring her once again to the climax of lesbian pride!

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