The Feminist Closet
Five years later, I had another “Obama moment” when I realized that I was queer. Coming to terms with my sexuality has been a complicated and sometimes painful process, but one day, while watching Ellen, it dawned on me that she was gay. Of course, I’d known that for years, just like I already knew that Obama was black. But before, Ellen’s sexuality was little more than a trivia fact; in the context of what I was going through, it became a novel and crucial revelation. Ellen wasn’t straight. Neither was I. We shared that identity. The second thing I realized was that she seemed happy. She hosted a successful talk show, married a wonderful woman (and took adorable wedding photos with her), and was well-liked by the public. If Ellen could be happy, what’s stopping me?
Well no, not really. My life hasn’t changed drastically since that fateful day two years ago. I haven’t cut my hair short. There are no edgy piercings anywhere on my body, not even on my ears. My footwear of choice is flats, not black combat boots. I guess I’m not very good at being a lesbian. And therein lies the problem.
I painted that quote on a canvas last summer, and now it’s hanging up by my bed. While visiting my room, some of my friends have eyed this quote with disdain. To them, the message it conveys seems silly, too “girly”, and even anti-feminist. Why would I allow my clothing choices to be dictated by my hopes of attracting a man? Am I implying that women’s bodies exist solely for the enjoyment of men? How can I be a feminist and care about how men view me?