Dykes Next Door
Cartoonist Alison Bechdel has built an enthusiastic
following with Dykes to Watch Out For. Now as dyke
subculture hurtles toward the mainstream, Beachdel's take
is changing with the times.
You'd Never Expect When You're Expecting
Naomi Wolf was shocked, during her own pregnancy,
to discover just how little power pregnant woman have.
An excerpt from her new book Misconceptions.
Rites of Passage
Documenting the many ways in which girls mark the
passge into womanhood.
With the Wolf
Guadalupe Beundia, known as La Loba (The Wolf) is
a political leader from a destitute slum in Mexico. Her
cutthroat tactics brought services to her town and made
her one of hte nation's most powerful ward bosses
until the 2000 election changed everything.
The Evolution of a Palenstinian Pacifist
- Word: Alone
- Women to Watch
- Know Thyself: An Abuser Wrestles With His Demons
- My Line in the Sand
Page: Singing Praises
Everyone Reading The Red Tent?
Secret for Julia, by Patricia Sagastizabal
Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood,
by Sandra Steingraber
A Novel of Tiananmen, by Annie Wang
Intimacy: The Regulation of Race and Romance,
by Rachel F. Moran
of God, by Lolita Files
in Front of the Children: "Indecency," Censorship, and
the Innocence of Youth, by Marjorie Heins
-Boldtype: Kim Chernin
The Naked Sell
Daisy Hernandez, Patricia Smith and Gloria Steinem
Sarah Jones Is Not Obscene
pesticides, and other evil productsthe second-best
"lesbian place to work" in the U.S. Removing her wire-rimmed
glasses and lying back in bed, our endearingly neurotic,
perennially politically exasperated heroine throws her
arm across her forehead and cries (inside a thought
bubble): "Did I have to live to see the principles of
lesbian-feminism betrayed so utterly?" Once again, one
of Alison Bechdel's Dykes To Watch Out For has
put her finger squarely on the Dykegeist. Since 1983,
this little comic-strip community has been griping,
groping, and gossiping its way through the cultural
and political events of our time, from the butch-femme
debates to the second coming of Bush; from El Salvador
to civil unions; from Reaganomics to postmodernism.
In biweekly installments of ten to twelve panels each,
and nine collections published by the little lesbian-feminist
press Firebrand Books, Bechdel has created what some
aficionados consider to be the preeminent cartoon record
of modern lesbian-feminist historyand one of the
preeminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period. Yet,
in keeping with the modesty of both the form and the
artist herself, Bechdel says she strives in each strip
to produce a "small moment" in which "hardly anything
happens. Just like real life."
from "The Dykes Next Door"
Mo can't sleep. She's worried that her girlfriend
is cheating on her. To keep her mind off her troubles,
she dips into GirlFrenzy magazine, only
to learn that its editors have rated Monsanto-maker
of genetically modified foods,
Lately, however, a lot has been happening in real lesbian
life. Lesbians and gays have been on the cover of every
newsweekly and are in the scripts of every sitcom. Bechdel's
home state, Vermont, has legally recognized same-sex
civil unions. Even John Ashcroft was compelled to promise
he wouldn't blackball homosexual nominees for the judiciary.
But assimilationfor most, the goal of gay liberationalso
has its downside. The far-reaching, left-feminist vision
that used to give dykes their multi-culti cohesiveness
is being edged out by the likes of the Log Cabin Republicans
(in 2000, about 25 percent of homosexuals voted for
the GOP, compared with only 9 percent of blacks, for
example). Moderate and conservative homosexuals are
demanding inclusion in the military, the kiddie-paramilitary
(Boy Scouts), and what feminists have long argued is
one of history's most oppressive institutions, marriage.
The very identity that glued the gay and lesbian movement
together is being domesticated and deconstructed out
of business. And still, homophobia is far from vanquishedthe
ghastly image of Matthew Shepard crucified on a fence
post certifies that. It seems the only act in which
lesbian and gay identities have undisputed purchase
is, literally, the purchase. The last Gay Pride March
looked more like a shopping mall than a protest. Wails
Mo: "Another liberation movement up Madison Avenue without
To read the complete article, pick up the October/November
2001 issue of Ms. on newsstands today.
Judith Levine's next book is Harmful to Minors:
The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex (University
of Minnesota Press, 2002).