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Twentieth Century America

Decent Essays
Faderman takes a decidedly social-constructionist analysis as she examines lesbian life in Twentieth Century America, arguing from the start that its definition has less to do with innate same-sex attraction than with external sociopolitical influences. It is apparent that in the debate between the “essentialist lesbians” and “existentially lesbians” she offers no apologies (and plenty of reasons) in siding with the latter. Not only does she explore how the sub-culture continually responds to external pressures such as conservative politics and institutional biases but deeply analyzes how then the community expands and contracts to its marginalization and oppression. For instance, she describes numerous times (such as the butch/femme role enactment and the demand for a regulated sexual intercourse between women in the 1970’s) when the lesbian community – and corresponding social movement – enacts various border patrolling and internal policing to maintain its strict identity as women to keep the pressure and agents of the patriarchy outside. It is this policing and its motives I find so applicable to my work. The lesbian community has undergone many tribulations as a targeted…show more content…
If spaces don’t register such movement it risks becoming encased in a temporal amber, frozen in stubborn philosophy and therefore stuck in outdated policies. It is important to note that while Faderman notes in her conclusion that the lesbian culture/social movement has been evolving (noting its different iterations throughout the 20th Century) she cannot imagine this metamorphosis encapsulating transsexual lesbians. It seems that, much like those lesbian/cultural feminists she critiques, she too has fallen victim inside an essentialist version of the
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