by Boitumelo “Mimie” Sepotokele
Jade & I were sitting and chatting about a day we had and discussed this couple we were hanging with that night, and what we saw did not sit well with us, we both could not understand why should there be a dominating and a submissive partner in a lesbian relationship.
I mean we both women who identify as Lesbian and automatically we should be Feminists Right?
We should know better than to treat each other in a patriarchal manner right?
So I decided to do some research about dominance within the Lesbian community
I was asking myself many questions like : why should we label our selves as Butch, Femme, Tom etc…
Do these labels condone a submissive and dominance kind of relationship?Is the dominance/submissive relationship condoned by Age?
Or financial status?
Or is it because Most femme Lesbians treat their butch partners as “Men”?
They forget that they too are Women?
Or Maybe its because Most butch looking lesbians are actually Transgender?
So I posted this status on facebook and other groups I chat with:
Morning family, I have a burning issue lana about dominance….what’s your take on it?
I personally have a problem with it, I feel lesbians have taken the heterosexual norm about dominance. If one does not feel the need to dominate you, they feel you should dominate, Can’t we just have a relationship and be equals?
We are two women who love each other right?
So why do we want to take the heterosexual Norms and make them ours?
I for one identify as Lesbian because I am a Woman who loves other Women and Note neh “WOMEN” not “MEN” and I won’t treat anyone or be treated like a “MEN”… I simply want a relationship where am treated with love, appreciation and be taken into consideration that I am as much of a human as them…
What’s your take on this Issue @ hand?
I think that’s where we get it wrong and that’s why our relationships don’t last as lesbians. We adopt things that are not for us and will never be….
It has came to my understanding that dominance is a touchy subject within the lesbian community, with many factors.
On my research I came across Femme lesbians who don’t mind being dominated, who believe that the butch should take care of them financially and in turn they would do anything and everything for their partners, other even call their partners by handsome, husby etc
I have came across those like me who are allergic to dominance, who actually believe in 50/50 kind of relationship. Finance wise and even sexually, the kind of femmes who would like to be treated equally, who like their women as woman as can be no matter their dress code, those who would treat a hard headed butch as a woman they are.
And even came across femme lesbians who are in fact dominant them selves, the kind that will make sure that their partner is well taken care of even if the partner is not working. They would make sure that things run smoothly in the house hold and expect their partners to do their womanly duties, either butch or not and even go as extreme as controlling who their partner befriends and so on.
Even in femme on femme /butch on butch relationships, one is expected to be dominant and the other be submissive because one might appear Tomish/Femmish or has a strong character.
To me dominance is a form of power to belittle the other, as most would go to an extreme of expecting their partners to wash, cook and clean for them. And it can also turn out abusive in an emotional manner as the dominant one would think they have every right to control the submissive, the abusive behavior might go as far as sexual abuse.
This dominance thing is so extreme that if we have a Butch /Tom Lesbian and a femme lesbian Sleeping around, the butch/tom is regarded or seen as a hero or a charmer or as they would say it in my Kasi “Isikhokho”. But if she is Femme she is called Names like Isifebe “Bitch” and would be belittled even by other femmes.
I don’t know if all this is promoted by the labeling within our community or is it by us trying to look as normal as possible in the eyes of the heterosexual community?
According to me, we have to treat each other equally. I don’t get why should we adopt heterosexual Norms. It’s either you are a feminist or you are patriarchal, and it is impossible for one to be Lesbian and patriarchal.
Mimie is a feminist; activist and a lesbian mother.
She has volunteered for many LGBT organisations including the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW).