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Archive for February, 2012

I was on my Twitter account and out of curiosity I did a couple of searches for ‘lesbian’ and ‘sapphic’. There were some genuine lesbian angled posts, but most of the results for ‘sapphic’ were for porn – obviously for a heterosexual male audience. This made me mad and disgusted! The appropriation of lesbian sex, porn and erotica for male gratification. Sex between lesbians is not at all for men. It has nothing to do with men! And I loathe how lesbian porn (directed to straight men) is described – strangely admiringly, misogynistic and objectifying. I am ok with porn in a sense (I haven’t really watched it, erotica and sex in movies is more my thing), but I am for genuine lesbian porn – by lesbians, for lesbians, featuring genuine lesbians. Because lesbian sex is for lesbians, it is our sex lives, and we have sex for our own and our partner’s gratification, NOT for anyone else! And I’m for ethical porn and sex in arthouse movies where this less objectification, genuine representations of different body types and identities and it is about sex being a combination of the physical, sexual, erotic and emotional.

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Master? No Mistress!

I have a Master of Philosophy in Health Science. But unlike someone who has a PhD, I dont have a title, not like Dr for a PhD graduate. I only get to put letters after my name – BSc, BHSc (Hons), MPhil. I can’t even call myself Master! Although I do prefer Mistress! Even though Master denotes a strange sense of equality, I’d like to be a Mistress, because I am proud to be a woman! Mistress of Philosophy! Mistress of Science!

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Can lady scientists dress sexily and glamourously and not be seen soley as sex objects and be thought of only because of their style and dress sense? I believe they can. I used to dress
glamorously/flamboyantly – in long black gothic dresses, knee length skirts and retro tops and of coarse my staple – red lipstick! Although I was not aware of how other people saw me and didnt feel it detracted from my ability as a scientist or my research work. Abbey from NCIS is a perfect example of a glamorous and funky goth science chick! Awesome. I’d love to see some retro dressed, red lipstick wearing lady scientists carrying out their research and rountine tests, writing and presenting their work, and holding their own amongst male scientists (and other lady scientists).

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Can the sexualisation of female scientists be a positive thing? Can it be a way to introduce science (both generalised and specialised) to a lesbian audience and encourage greater engagement with science in this audience? You can’t deny that sex sells, and sex is used to sell and promote to a lesbian audience. Pick up a lesbian magazine and you will see sexualised images of women (some genuine lesbians, others actors or models, others straight women) in articles, promotions and advertising. But is it done in a different way? Can you view sexualised women as a lesbian and feminist in a different way to men? Is there the same kind of objectification? Is it purely for
gratification and speaking to the most primal instincts? As a lesbian sex positive feminist I think you can view this in a different way – a combination of desire, solidarity, respect, reading lesbian cues and relating. You view the woman with respect and solidarity as a woman. You view it admiringly/sexually, because after all you are a lesbian. And you can relate, as a lesbian, as a woman to the fashion style, sexual identity (whether identifying in the same way or being attracted to that identity). Sometimes women can be represented in a way that is clearly similar to how women are represented to the heterosexual male gaze – as sex objects. I think it is possible to present science to lesbians in a sexualised way – but in a way that presents female scientists as professional, intelligent women, who are sexy and attractive (representing the diverse identies of lesbians) and are genuine, empowered and self confident. Representation with respect.

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A new chapter

I love my wife to be. We are getting married this year. We are reunited now after living apart for three months due to work. We are embarking on a new chapter in our lives. And now with my new job I have more time to write and blog on my long commute to and from work. Now I post to my blog almost everyday. And being amongst a research environment and being active in feminist and queer groups I am hugely inspired! And I am brainstorming three ideas for historical lesbian romance novels. I have also been reading up on the social conditions and historical events of the times in which I wish to set my novels. To stop procrastinating I have to choose one story and start writing!

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Margaret Thatcher, a chemist, lawyer, politican and prime minister of Britain for 11 years, had strawberry blonde hair. So who says blondes are dumb and ditzy! I used to feel strange having long blonde hair and studying science. What did people think of me? I didn’t want to be seen as a ‘dumb blonde’. I been teased in high school about my hair colour and what that implied. I didn’t have that at uni thank god. When I was halfway through my PhD (I finished it as a MPhil – Master of Philosophy), I finally made the leap and died my hair red. I’d wanted to for a while – I liked the fiery and passionate nature it implied, my favourite actress Rita Hayworth had red hair (dyed) and I never thought being blonde was really me. And I was making a statement against all those who wanted to be blonde – I was blonde and didn’t want to be! So I have had red/strawberry blonde hair since and it suits me and its as though I should have been born a red-head with my colouring and passionate nature. I’m no longer blonde haired, but I still believe society should stop ridiculing blondes for being dumb. And isnt it rather strange and ironic that so many women want to be blonde and it is seen as a sexualised and pornographic ideal when blondes are ridiculed for being dumb, ditzy and incompetent?

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