Posts Tagged ‘Lesbian’

Lipstick On My Lab Coat

Lesbian femme scientist pin-up girl from the I Heart Brooklyn Girls Calendar 2009. Awesome! Retro styled, femme woman presenting the sexy side of science. A bit of fun, not too serious. Could this be an image to use for getting lesbian women interested in science?

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I am currently in the research phase of writing a fictional novel set in 18th century India. I know this has nothing to do what so ever with science and lesbian scientists, but in my readings I have come across the progressive Hindu view on love, including same-sex love.

In the article, Same-sex weddings,Hindu traditions and Modern India in the Feminist Review, Ruth Vanita discusses how in modern progressive Hinduism and medieval Hindu texts there is acceptance of same-sex love. This acceptance is based on the idea that love is the product of attachments formed in former lives and that these attachments persist from one birth to another (rebirth) and that marriage is supposed to outlast one lifetime. That a couple in love, whether same or opposite sex, of a different class or caste, must have been lovers in a former life and that they are destined to be together. Through this belief, same-sex couples in love and wishing to marry achieve some acceptance. Some Hindu practitioners/scholars have suggested that same sex couples must have been cross sex couples in a former life and that marriage is the union of two spirits/souls and the spirit is sexless.

Although I am primarily an atheist (with some spiritual beliefs) and am skeptical about the concept of reincarnation, rebirth and past lives, the concept of love outlasting a lifetime and that two souls/spirits have been previously in love is an extremely romantic and wonderful view, even of it is not physically possible. And this concept and way to explain same sex love touches a cord with me. The feminist in me however doesn’t totally like the idea that same sex lovers were cross sex lovers in a past live, for the reason to explain same sex love in the concept of heterosexual love, but nonetheless this is an interesting concept.

I think that it is an extremely positive thing, that one of the world’s largest religions has, in some sections, an accepting view of same sex love. It would be great if Christianity and Islam were to develop a more accepting view (there are some areas of Christianity and Islam (Sufism) that appear to be a bit more accepting that other areas of these religions).

Vanita, R (2009) Same-sex weddings,Hindu traditions and Modern India, Feminist Review 91:47-60

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I am myself. I chose to say that I am a lesbian. Yes that is what I am, but I also want to feel comfortable with how I express and define my sexuality. As a feminist I am a little loathed to use terms such as ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ as they are mostly societal constructs. But as a scientist, I acknowledge that there are traits that are influenced my female and male hormones and underlying genetic differences. I don’t like to define myself completely as a woman in a feminine way, but I have to once again acknowledge that I am feminine in how I ‘display’ myself. I like to wear dresses and make-up and look like a lady! But not because society says I should, but because that is what I LIKE and identify with. I know I have been somewhat socially conditioned when I was a girl and young woman – which I rebelled against a little – I didn’t wear dress for about a year and I loathed pink, but as I grew up I embraced being a woman and was proud to be a woman. I wear pants and dresses, but sometimes when I am really in touch with my own lesbianism and identity, I want to wear dresses a lot and be all feminine and girly. Loving my lady and being in touch with my sexuality makes me want to be more girly. I consider myself a ‘semi-femme’ as I identify and like the lesbian/queer expression of femininity, but the definition that femme relates to attraction to butches and the butch-femme convention/interaction/dynamic doesn’t fit with me. I’m not really attracted to butches and I don’t think the femme identity has to be defined by necessitated by interplay with the butch identity. This is my own personal view and how I choose to identify if I want.

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I’m a red lipstick wearing, pin-up girl loving alternative feminist, scientist and writer. I’m out and proud about my sexuality. I am engaged to my wonderful girlfriend of fours years. I love pin-up girls of the 1940’s & 1950’s, particularly the alluring mixture of beauty, subtle sexuality, femininity and confidence. I also admire burlesque (including retro style burlesque) and the Rockabilly culture. I like also the fashion and style of the 40’s & 50’s along with alternative fashion. I’m also a feminist who stands for many ideals including – equal rights, human & civil rights, animal rights, socialism, environmentalism & conservation, social justice, acceptance of all people, the end of war and violence and encouragement of scientific, health & medical research. Professionally I am a scientist and former research student (in medical/health research) and I aspire to become a fully fledged science, health and medical writer. My dream is to write about science for a female audience and specifically a lesbian/bisexual/queer/transgendered audience. In this blog I wish to explore being a lesbian scientist along with my other diverse interests.

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I work long hours and I want to spend time with my girl – my fiance, but my desire to write is strong. So I write my blog, read scientific papers and brainstorm novel ideas while lying in bed next to my girl. Week nights and saturday and sunday mornings spent writing. I fit it in when I can, because my girl and our relationship are number one. No matter what!

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As an original and retro styled pin-up girl fan and a scientist, I think it would great to have scientist pin-up girls. Empowered, intelligent, lady scientists with retro styled fashion and make-up. Oh, red lipstick would look a treat with a crisp white lab coat and funky sneakers! As a sex positive feminist, lesbian and an empowered woman who is proud of her female and lesbian sexuality and her intellect and scientific abilities, I think this would be so fun, empowering and a chance to express science and sexuality. I’d promote this and join in. Maybe this would also help get a lesbian audience interested in science and the achievements of female scientists, all but in a kind of around about way. Bring on the retro styled lady scientist pin-ups!

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It’s a simple fact – sex sells and promotes. You pick up a lesbian magazine and there is a certain amount of ‘sex’ and sexy women (including real lesbians) used to promote and symbolize and ‘speak’ to a lesbian audience of an event, movie, book or sex toy. But i also think that young lesbian women view this in a certain way – from an empowered, feminist, sex positive, non-exploitative way. They recognise the sexiness of the woman, but also see her as a fellow woman, not just an object of sexual gratification. I do think there is fine line between objectification & trivialization and empowered sexuality in making science sexy (in the form of sexy female scientists) for a lesbian audience. But I believe it can be done and be used as a tool to encourage more women, and particularly lesbian women to be interested in science. Could an image or a number of images of sexy, intelligent, empowered young female (including lesbian and bisexual) scientists be all it takes? Female scientists in lab coats, latex gloves and closed in shoes (the slightly uunsexy stark reality of working in a lab)? As a lesbian scientist I’d have to say this would spark my interest and I’d want to read more.

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