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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Opinion

Queer women are often belittled, not taken seriously


Two women gender signs hooked together

Dylan Burkett/The Cougar

Many queer women have had their experience belittled because of the stereotypes attached to how they look. Since they do not look or act in the way society views people who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, they are not taken seriously. 

This is a struggle many women of the community have faced for decades. It’s wrong and potentially dangerous.

It needs to stop. 

Feminine queer women are more than just the clothes they wear or the interests they have. 

The LGBTQ+ community is becoming increasingly diverse and more complex as more people have been coming out in a much safer atmosphere. 

For many queer women that may not fit into society’s narrative of how queer women should look, their stories are pushed to the side and are treated as a joke. There is a wide range of stories just waiting to be heard but because of society’s traditional views, none of them are being shared. 

Anyone who identifies as part of the community or is more in tune with their femininity is often dismissed. Their stories aren’t heard because they’re considered too pretty to have anything valuable to contribute. 

Because of this, they are constant targets of the male gaze because they are acceptable in society due to their feminine attributes but are worth nothing when it comes to contributing to a conversation. 

We see this in many forms of pop culture. 

An example can be the hit television show “Degrassi,” where there was an array of LGBTQ+ representation. 

Recurring character Fiona Coyne, who comes out as a lesbian, was often considered a so-called lipstick lesbian by fellow classmates due to her feminine gender attributes such as wearing makeup, dresses, or skirts and having other characteristics associated with feminine women.

Later on, she has interest in pursuing fashion and eventually attends school in Italy. Throughout Fiona’s time on the show, we can see her being targeted primarily by her male classmates as she enters a relationship with a woman who has similar attributes to Fiona. 

While this plot is for entertainment purposes, this story represents someone’s story. 

This constant over-sexualization and judgment invalidates young LGBTQ+ women. 

Their stories and experiences are rejected left and right. The unwanted gaze from people is unacceptable and won’t be tolerable. 

A queer woman who identifies as a lesbian should not be belittled for liking popular culture trends like Taylor Swift and upcoming fashion. They do not owe anyone a queer physical presentation.

“Your experiences are valid and your emotions are valid no matter what anyone tells you,” said senior psychology major Sophia.

“Unfortunately, we live in a society that treats girls and women, especially queer women, like second-class citizens,” she said. “When we try to speak out about the abuse we experience, we are victim-blamed, accused of lying or told that it isn’t a big deal. But there are people out there who will listen to you and believe you. I believe you.”

For those who have openly shared their stories, never feel like your stories and experiences aren’t valid because they are.

There are people and safe spaces who will commend you for sharing and unapologetically being yourselves. 

Saira Haque is an anthropology senior who can be reached at [email protected]

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