What is obedient, always accessorized, and compliant in becoming what men desire? A) Barbie B) Lesbians or C) all of the above. According to Exodus International, a group dedicated to “freeing” lesbians from...being lesbians, the thing a lesbian most desperately needs for both happiness and heterosexuality is: A MAKEOVER (cue 80’s music, PJ’s and a pillow fight).
According to Willa Moberly who gives the Exodus makeover sessions, the traditional 60’s sex roles are the appropriate roles and characteristics for each gender. It is through creating these external roles that with “a more secure feminine identity…they (lesbians) will be able to choose heterosexual relating.” These sessions of make-up, hair styling and polished and painted nails is an attempt “to show them how pretty they can be” so they can “break free… from an appearance which would cause men to back away from them or to not even want them.” Sexual orientation isn’t about YOUR sexual desires, it’s about who desires you; well for women at least. The type of makeover Moberly suggests for gay men: a softball game.
As Exodus International testimonies from women detail, becoming a straight woman has far less to do with accepting yourself and far more to do with gender roles. As 35 year old “ex-lesbian” Melissa Fryrear found out: “I also began to learn about this thing called womanhood. Goodness! Who knew there was so much to learn: plucking eyebrows, hair bleaches, hair waxings, facial mud masks, eye lash curlers, manicures, pedicures, push-up bras, tummy tuckers, rear-end boosters, last year’s colors, and next year’s fashions?” Does joining Exodus International comes with an automatic subscription to Cosmo? I suspect so.
But it isn’t just Evangelical ex-gay ministries that hold out this pink-ruffled unicorn and rainbow painted dream of what being a woman SHOULD be; the Atlantic monthly writer, Caitlin Flanagan, famous for her quote “When a mother works, something is lost” told a LA Weekly reporter of her newfound enthusiasm for evangelical Christianity. Does this have something to do with her view that a modern and fulfilled woman is one who stays at home, has dinner ready and ever sexually available to her husbands needs (somehow ignoring that there are currently only 27% of mothers lucky or rich enough not to work)? In doing all this is she the perfect woman? When asked, Caitlin acknowledged it was so.
And Caitlin's lucky hubby? Rob Hudnut, an executive at Mattel whose job is....making Barbie movies (writer AND producer). He even gets part lyric credit for the Barbie song, “To be a Princess.” During my work at a video store, I often saw Barbie indoctrination films….I mean, DVD’s. Besides occasionally being found slumped over the counter from a sugar coma and calling every animal I walked by Princess for the next three days (Hello Princess Kitty!, Hi Princess Bluebird!) what leapt out was the overwhelming enforcement of gender stereotype, particularly the male villain Preminger. We clearly know he is evil because he is prissy and feminine, complete with poodle (The DVD received Christian Movie Review’s highest rating: Mostly Moral). One can only assume that diabolical dykes will show up in a later Barbie film.
As for me, I have no wish to be a plastic replica. Barbie, I reject you. I love women, in all their diversity and strength. If Barbie, makeovers, eyelash curlers and making sure your “man” is satisfied are the expectations of being straight or a woman or both then we have handed our brains and identities over to Mattel and the Evangelical Alliance. These are not people I trust with my identity.
To quote the lesbian singer Melissa Ethridge: Mothers, tell your children: be quick, you must be strong. Life is full of wonder, love is never wrong. Remember how they taught you, how much of it was fear. Refuse to hand it down - the legacy stops here.
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10 hours ago