As we are gearing up for Kat’s birthday bash and the community festivities over the next week or two (to celebrate the release of Lighting the Way THIS Thursday, June 6!), I have had the delight of receiving quite a few submissions for Kat’s birthday club. Kat has received a hand-drawn birthday postcard, several fan-fic stories, and plans for how to celebrate her day. For those of you who read “Tomorrow” in Coming to Terms, you’ll know that Kat has never before celebrated her birthday.
You’ll get to see the wonderful line-up of birthday wishes, one per day for as long as people send them in.
What I’d like to talk about today is something serious. One of the comments Kat received was, “What do two women do in a bedroom, anyway?” There were comments about strap-ons and her perceived sexual life with Natalie.
I’d like to talk more about these kinds of comments and kinds of assumptions that are made about two women who love each other.
When two women love each other, it must be:
- based on genital parts coming in contact with each other
- deficient because no penis is involved
- valuable only to the extent that it imitates male-female genitals coming in contact with each other
- a source of lurid, titillating curiosity for heterosexual speculation and viewing pleasure
- sexual, rather than platonic
- a rejection of men, due to rejection by men, or a political statement about men–in short, even in the absence of men, it must be centrally related to men
The irony is that Kat and Natalie’s story is, at heart, a love that defies definitions. One reader said, “I want Kat and Natalie to kiss so badly that I can taste it” and that they are obviously soul mates. Another reader said it reminded her of her own college roommate, years ago. Yet another reader said it made her think about a girl whom her family loved while she was younger.
The attack on Kat and Natalie, the ugliness and the assault, happens because a few guys feel entitled to certain responses from two adolescent girls. When I wrote this story, I was so adamant about Kat and Natalie not being clearly defined as lovers because the physical details of their bedroom life have absolutely no bearing on the “right” of boys to attack them. Because Kat and Natalie were perceived to be lesbians (because why else would any girl refuse the advances of a drunken college boy after midnight in a dark area of campus?), they were attacked and shamed. Their actual, biological, physical sexuality was irrelevant.
As Sir Patrick Stewart said so poignantly and passionately in this video, violence against women is never the answer. Physical, sexual, emotional…it is never the answer. While it is true that there are many forms of violence and women can also be perpetrators, the violence committed against women does not end with the visible marks of fists and beatings. The violence of reducing women’s love to voyeuristic, titillating pleasure is a violence just as long-lasting and just as dehumanizing.
When one girl walks in public holding the hand of another girl, do we really need to know what happens in the bedroom behind closed doors? Do we need to know the precise contact points of clitoris and labia and vulva? Is it possible…gasp…for one woman to love another without it being sexual?
When I wrote my first F/F sex scene, I found out that I could describe the intimacy and connection in a way that didn’t sully the characters, myself, or readers. (I understand that many people read, write, and enjoy erotica. I respect them and support them. Kat and Natalie, however, are different. Not better or worse, just different.) I found that writing the sex scene was beautiful in its own way, and it deepened and enriched the story between Carene and Leila.
Kat and Natalie, however, are my special couple. Their love is a sister-partner-friend-roommate love (at times almost parental, with Natalie looking out for Kat) that is the love all of us have felt when we have found a female friend who loves, supports, and infuriates us.
What I hope readers will take home is the realization that the love between Kat and Natalie is universal. It’s not something to titter about while making jokes about sex toys; it’s the purity of love when one human being connects with another.
Please come and help us celebrate Kat’s birthday in the next few days and weeks. But most of all, please open your heart to a different kind of love.
(and if you’re bringing a wooden spoon for the birthday girl, at least give her something nice as well!)