Posts Tagged ‘Freud’

 

‘Boyfriends/And girlfriends/And enemies/Those upon which we rely’ – Low

When I was a child I treated friendship as sacred. If I were to attempt some clumsy psychoanalysis of myself, these many years later, I might begin to see why. My parents broke up when I was four years old, and my world collapsed. (Unconsciously then), I think I decided that in my own life people would not be so unstable, unreliable, so breakable as my parents. But of course they were.

I say ‘child’ but this dangerous belief has of course followed me round through adulthood, so that when friendships (and romantic relationships) have broken down, I have felt a loss, an inadequacy, an anger, a shame, akin to that first big break-up of my early life. It wasn’t my fault. But nobody told me that at the time. And, even today, in the complex world of adult relations, I tend to blame myself deep down, for most things that go wrong.

But there is in me, and it is getting stronger, (thanks in part to some recent and very helpful psychotherapy), an ability to step away from that ‘guilty’ child. To see life, and people (including me), as complex and unpredictable, and to accept that. Not all friendships (or romantic relationships) last forever. That doesn’t necessarily diminish them. I broke up with my ex partner over eight years ago now, but it is only very recently I have been able to feel happy and grateful that we knew each other, were very close, had some laughs, were best mates. A Buddhist might find my revelation amusing, for they know that if life itself is temporary, the things within it are hardly going to be permanent. I always was a slow learner.

I don’t think I am the only one afflicted with a perfectionist side when it comes to friendship. I can think of one or two people out there, who are probably even more ‘extremist’ (and less reflective?) than me. They hold onto this romantic notion that if someone is not utterly wonderful and nice and the kindest bestest friend in the world, they must be some kind of devil. Freud knew about this dichotomising amongst friends and even admitted to doing it himself:

‘An intimate friend and a hated enemy have always been indispensable requirements for my emotional life; I have always been able to create them anew, and not infrequently my childish ideal has been so closely approached that friend and enemy coincided in the same person.’

I think if we want to keep our friends, and to make new ones, to keep open to life and love’s possibilities, we have to acknowledge that negative aspect in people and relationships. In hindsight, I think my ex understood it better than I. After a row, or an affair, or a terrible sorrow-filled night, when I thought nothing could be salvaged from the wreckage, he would always treat me exactly as he had before the crisis. He didn’t seem fased by our ability to be ‘enemies’ at times, as well as lovers and friends. Maybe he had a bit of Nietzsche in him, and thought:

‘The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.’

I’m not quite there yet. I still have a slightly rose-tinted view of friendship. And I still get crushed by messy imperfect reality on a regular basis. But I am learning to accept, much more than that heartbroken four year old could at least, that humans have frailties and that’s ok.

*

I first heard of this brilliant acapella group, The Kinsey Sicks, via Dan. His great blog Overuse Of The Exclamation, now features a post about this wonderful quartet.  Dan calls them wittily,  The Chicks With Schticks! Of course, ‘Kinsey Sicks’ refers to the Kinsey scale, devised by Alfred Kinsey, aka  Dr Sex. ‘Kinsey 6′ indicates someone who is wholly homosexual. My favourite ‘dr sex’, [redacted], influenced by Daddy Dr Sex Freud, prefers to remain open to the idea that we are ALL capable of some ‘bi-responsiveness’. As do I. So I am not sure I really believe the number ’6′ on the Kinsey scale represents ‘pure’ homosexuality.

But, regardless of numbers and who puts their schticks where, the Kinsey Sicks make me smile, and sometimes think too. This is what their fan Dan has to say about them:

‘Though The Kinsey Sicks clearly defy categorisation - it can be said for sure that they strive to do two things – push boundaries and cause offence. They do this both gracefully and very successfully, however, still attract a healthy population of left-wing, middle class Americans.

The majority of their songs are parodies of well-known tunes ranging from the hits of Britney Spears to numbers from the Broadway musical Chicago. The group sing acapella and so no instruments are to be seen in any of their shows. Below I have listed some of my favourite lyrics lifted directly from their songs on key issues.

Sexuality: ‘God Bless ye femme lesbians, may good taste you display. You don’t give up your fashion choices just because you’re gay. With baggy pants and baseball caps and shirts in disarray, there’s something inbetween a bimbo toy out of Playboy and dressing up just like a twelve year old boy’.

Politics: ‘Rent a homo for your party, it’s the something that you lack. For twice the price we’ll send a couple and make sure one, but never both, are black’.

Environmental Issues: ‘BP is creepy, drilling way too deeply. If you think the problem’s just Goldman Sachs and BP, there’s a walrus I can sell you in the Caribbean sea’.

Politicians: ‘I’ll send your kids into war, I just screwed an intern on the floor. I’m not a witch, I’m a corporate whore’.

Away from the playfulness and sharp wit that I’ve come to enjoy so much in the past months, there is something much more serious about the group. Dismissed, I assume, by many simply because they dress in women’s clothes, the political charge and strong message conveyed through their lyrics cannot be ignored. They stand up for civil rights, but most attractively they enjoy taking the piss out of themselves as four gay men. They’re politically incorrect and have yet to be crushed by the Gay Mafia.

Indeed they put the sin in syncopation, the chest in orchestration and the exclusive homosexuality into the Kinsey scale. They’re loud, they’re proud and they’re fantastic. I eagerly await the release of their new CD ‘Electile Dysfunction’.’

You can also find Dan on twitter.

Some notes on seeing A Dangerous Method:

I hate Keira Knight­ley usu­ally but I thought she acted quite well in this.

I liked how her con­tor­tions of emo­tional pain were exactly the same expres­sions in tone, as when she was approach­ing orgasm due to the beat­ings from Jung.

The por­trayal of female masochism as a result of child­hood ‘abuse’ was pre­dictably lame, though I thought. Isn’t sado-masochism really a NORMAL part of sexuality?

Also Fassbender/Jung just was not believ­able as a ‘dom­i­nant’ man but is any man?

I also thought that she ‘recov­ered’ rather too straight­for­wardly with her recov­ery being sig­ni­fied by mar­riage and pregnancy.

The actor who played Freud made it for me he was very con­vinc­ing. He had a pres­ence I imag­ine Freud would have had. He also showed that Freud may have been a dif­fi­cult man.

As I said to you before, my favourite scene was on the boat where Freud refused to tell Jung his dream because it would under­mine his ‘author­ity’. How apt.

 

Full disclosure: I am a full-blown, perverse, emotional and sometimes physical masochist.

To be honest, I – and  Freud - think masochism is actually an aspect of all of our psyches and sexualities. Maybe to a greater or lesser degree depending on the person, but on some level or another we can all relate to the lyric ‘it hurts so good’.

Despite (or because of?) its ubiquity,  ‘masochism’ is often presented in our culture in the negative; it is pathologised. The recent reactions to some tweets from young women Chris Brown fans that had been collected together and circulated round the net are a good example of this pathologisation of masochism.

Responses ranged from the succinct:

to the ideological:

But the one I found the most insulting was from a journalist writing in Slate Magazine . He wrote:

“Dude, Chris Brown can punch me in the face as much as he wants to, just as long as he kisses it. (:”

‘The line above is just one of many similarly disturbing tweets that female fans of Chris Brown posted in response to his controversial inclusion in Sunday night’s Grammy Awards performance lineup. Apparently, the fact that Brown violently attacked his then-girlfriend Rihanna on the eve of the Grammy’s just three years ago does not give these women pause—the singer’s attractiveness overrides all that.

‘… others have alreadyastutely pointed out how it exposes our society’s willingness to downplay domestic violence in favor of our fetish for a good redemption narrative…as we puzzle over the psychological misfiring necessary to produce these statements…consider…this kind of dangerous masochism….’

‘Dangerous masochism’ is a telling phrase. It suggests that masochistic urges and fantasies, as expressed by those young women, is a Bad Thing. The article, along with countless other commentators, not only condemn Chris Brown, but also people who show a desire to be dominated and hurt – masochists.

I do not defend the actions of Mr Brown. I do not think he should be committed to a life of isolation as a result of his crime though. And I have no interest in his ‘redemption’ or otherwise. But I do defend the right of people to express their sexual desires without judgement. And, I thought gay men (the journalist is I think gay and he likens women’s masochism to that of gay men) of all people would too.

A gay man who I have a lot of respect for, who runs a cracking tumblr blog, How Upsetting, had this to say about Chris Brown back in Spring 2011:

‘The willingness of people to ignore Chris Brown’s violence is a sad indictment of our society’s attitude towards domestic violence. I wrote on Twitter previously – society will have reached a good place when domestic violence is viewed in the same light as paedophilia. Completely beyond the pale.’

Whilst I agree that domestic violence should not be hidden and treated as a trivial issue, I do not think it should be viewed in the same light as paedophilia. In fact, I do not even think paedophilia should even be seen in quite such a dim light as it is.

This demonising of people’s sexual urges as well as their acts, and making monsters out of men, is precisely the process whereby homosexuality has been presented as a disease and a ‘sin’. Of course, I differentiate between consensual sexual activity and non-consent, but I do not think turning people who are involved in sexual and domestic ‘abuse’ should be turned into a ‘type’. A type that is worthy of judgement and damnation.

And, again, Freud (and Foucault) agrees with me. His work on infantile sexuality has shown that whilst the power dynamics between adults and children are obvious, children do have their own autonomous sexual urges and desires. And, the fact the age of consent is different in different countries and different time periods shows that the very concept of ‘childhood’ is not fixed but changeable.

http://howupsetting.tumblr.com/post/3781644541/the-redemption-of-chris-brown-that-wasnt

But I am not here to defend paedophiles or people who beat up their partners non-consensually. I am here to defend masochism.

Somebody else who defended masochism was Anita Phillips. In a review of her book, In Defence Of Masochism, Mark Simpson wrote that masochism has been elevated

‘to a kind of super-heroism; how long before we hear lit­tle boys whin­ing: ‘Mum, can I have a leather har­ness and cling-film cape for Xmas, please?’.

Which almost begs the point of a book with the name In Defence of Masochism. How­ever, a recent Euro­pean Court rul­ing asserted that assault can­not be con­sented to (which means, of course, an end to box­ing, surgery and sup­port­ing Arse­nal) sug­gests that there is still an argu­ment to be made. And, even if most peo­ple who don’t wear wigs and sus­penders for a liv­ing are more laid back about the issue, there are still a num­ber of com­mon mis­con­cep­tions and prej­u­dices about masochism — most of which Anita Phillips dis­patches here with aplomb. Most notably, the idea that masochism is always some­one else’s per­ver­sion. Phillips inves­ti­gates, via Freud and Amer­i­can aca­d­e­mic Leo Bersani the uni­ver­sal­ity of masochis­tic impulses, the thin line between plea­sure and pain, and shows how the cur­dling of these impulses into a con­di­tion and a type changed what it means to be human.’

I think those young women saying they wanted to be beaten by Chris Brown were simply being ‘human’ and the reactions to their comments were presenting them as ‘inhuman’. I have had a similar experience of being ‘dehumanised’ as a result of being the ‘victim’ of domestic violence. Once I was stood in the magistrates court, trying to secure an injunction against my ex who had previously stalked me and broken into my house to beat me up, I could not explain that actually, at one point in our relationship, it ‘hurt so good’. That would have lost me my case. So I had to deny an aspect of myself in order to ensure my own safety.

Now I am no longer in the courtroom I still feel judged about my sexuality. When I tried to explain this to people on twitter who were condemning Chris Brown, and the women who tweeted in support of him, I was told my personal experience is ‘irrelevant’. Well, it is relevant to me. And it is relevant in forming my views on those young women, on Rihanna’s relationship with Chris Brown, and on feminism in general.

As Simpson wrote in response to Philips’ book:

‘Masochism’ is one of the inven­tions of late nine­teenth cen­tury sex­ol­ogy in the Gothic shape of Baron Dr Richard Von Kraft-Ebing. It was only ever intended to apply to men; women were ‘nat­u­rally’ masochis­tic, so plea­sure in pain on their part was not ‘per­verse’ and there­fore not a prob­lem to be explained or pathol­o­gised. This was part of a shift in gen­der roles in the West in the Nine­teenth Cen­tury which was con­cerned with, we are told, insti­tu­tion­al­is­ing women’s sub­ju­ga­tion. As Phillips points out, ‘Dante’s ordeal in the Inferno to be reunited with Beat­rice, to John Donne’s love poetry, sac­ri­fi­cial mas­cu­line love has been a cru­cial theme, only in this [20th] cen­tury has what for many cen­turies seemed the nat­ural, desir­able form of male love been rede­fined as effem­i­nate per­ver­sity, masochism.’

Phillips believes that this refor­mu­la­tion of male iden­tity that excluded masochism made mas­culin­ity ‘bla­tantly misog­y­nisitc, emo­tion­ally inept and homo­pho­bic’. She also believes that it was this new mas­culin­ity which led in part to the ‘cor­rec­tive’ of fem­i­nism. Iron­i­cally, the exclu­sion of masochism from the male psy­che has pro­duced a pub­lic sce­nario of their pun­ish­ment and chas­tise­ment by women which con­tin­ues today. The fem­i­nist is Ms Whiplash.’

So I think presenting ‘dangerous masochism’ as a problem confined to ‘oppressed’ women reinforces the gender binary, and the culture in which men are presented as sadists to victimised women.

Whilst I am sure people reading this might say, ‘yes, but this was a crime, not the consensual actions of a couple engaging in S and M’ I don’t remember seeing those people celebrating consensual S and M relationships. The only time this topic gets raised in most circles seems to be when someone gets badly hurt against their will (usually a woman), or when it results in a court case.

The people who have rushed to pass judgement on those young women, I do not think are helping those or other young people be open about their sexual feelings, which, if Freud, Simpson and I are to be believed, inevitably will include masochism.

And in their crusade against Brown, which, incidentally does not seem to take into account the feelings or voice of Rihanna, they are, in my view, on a hiding to nothing.

http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/rude-boyrude-girl-2/

 

Mr Fuck Theory doesn’t like Mr Freud very much. And I don’t like Mr Fuck Theory. But I want to put our emotional responses aside to try and explain why I disagree with Fuck Theory’s ‘critique’ of Freud’s ‘conceptual violence’ in relation to femininity and homosexuality.

Here is Fuck Theory’s post:

http://fucktheory.tumblr.com/post/4070969035/the-blind-spot-of-an-old-dream-of-symmetry-the

‘The Blind Spot Of An Old Dream Of Symmetry

The implications of this conceptual violence proliferate in a great number of directions, all of which are best summed by Luce Irigaray’s typically dense and brilliant formula, “A man minus the possibility of (re)presenting oneself as a man = a normal woman.”

As is often the case in Freud’s reading of homosexuality, homos and women both lose out; homos because their object is a “false” object, a misdirection of energy “properly” directed to a vagina, and women because their anatomy is stripped of any specificity:  the only thing that matters is the penis doing the penetrating, whereas all holes are pretty much the same.’

———-

Basically FT is saying that Freud has decided that anal sex between men is simply (but also perversely) what men do in the absence of a vagina in which to put the penis. Because, as Paglia put it so succinctly years later, ‘Penis Fits Vagina’.  Freud is misguided, because the man whose anus is penetrated, according to critiques of  ‘Freudian’ theory, is presented as ‘the woman’. And this assumes only women can be penetrated. And that the act of sex is primarily penetration by a man of a ‘woman’.

Now, I need to go back to my Freud to demolish this argument effectively. And I don’t have his  Three Essays on The Theory of Sexuality to hand. The main thing I noticed from reading that book was that Freud’s use of the term ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ or ‘active and passive’ did not necessarily relate to ‘man’ and ‘woman’ and that this is important!

But, the real reason I reject FT’s which is the basic ‘feminist’ critique of Freud, is partly, actually, due to those ‘emotional responses’ I mentioned before. As Freud has taught us, often our ‘gut’ reactions are the most significant.

Feminists’  ‘gut reaction’, their instinctive dislike of Freud, could be because he prioritises the role of the ‘phallus’ in sexuality and our psyches (which women, lest we forget, do not possess). Gay theorists such as FT may dislike him because they too prioritise the role of the ‘phallus’ and Freud’s analysis suggests that being gay means taking it ‘like a woman’ and losing the power of the…cock.

People think I am the one obsessed by cock. But whole analytical theories and political arguments and identity movements have been built up around this pink, squidgy (and sometimes not so squidgy) member. The thing I like about Freud is he doesn’t hide it. He says- look! Boys and Men have Cocks! They appear before them as babies and dangle infront of them and the women in their lives. They preoccupy their dreams, they wake with them hard, or leaking fluid. They see other men’s at the urinal and compare them. They build buildings in their image. They find that women (and other men)  can’t take their eyes off them. And women, they can only ever really, as  Julia Kristeva would admit if she were being honest, see themselves as ‘she who is without a cock’.

Philosophers such as Irigaray, and feminists, and Fuck Theory, are trying to supress the importance of the cock, by blaming Freud for noticing it. This seems so unfair to me. And if anyone is doing any conceptual ‘violence’ I think it is them.

I think Mr Fuck Theory can’t deal with the idea that if, (and it’s a big if) and when he bends over to take it, he may be somehow ‘emasculating’ himself, even for the briefest time. So he makes out the anus is this special hole, where special ‘manly’ things happen that is so different from the vagina, which is what girls have.

FT acknowledges that women can have anal and vaginal sex, but he does so to make the point that the anus and the vagina are ‘qualitatively distinct’, and that by implication gay men and women are ‘qualitatively distinct’ I can’t help but feel.  Now,  I am a woman who has had anal and vaginal sex. My experience is only one person’s. But I think personal experience, and Sigmund should agree, is valuable in discussing sexuality. Mr Fuck Theory never discusses his personal experience, beyond telling us he ‘fucks’ (theory and MEN’s anuses).

There are differences between vaginal and anal sex. One of the differences is I worry more during vaginal sex that it may lead to pregnancy. Another is that the anus is tighter than the vagina. And the man tends to seem to find it more ‘naughty’ to do anal. Also, I find it easier to do anal without facing my partner, and harder to have vaginal sex, without facing my partner. Sometimes I don’t want to see his face, or mine reflected in his. Another difference is it feels to me, in my body, that the route to ‘me’, to my self and my emotions, that vulnerable place inside where everything can come crashing down at any minute, is via my vagina. It came as no surprise to me, that after I had ‘escaped’ a violent (including ‘conceptually violent’) relationship with a man, that it was vaginal intercourse that could leave me frightened, crying, shaking, vulnerable, every time I ‘had it’ (because, boys and girls, being penetrated is something that ‘happens to you’ not something that you ‘do’) for months, or maybe a year afterwards. I have not spoken to men about this, but I wonder if there is a route that leads to their inner self? Because if it is not via my anus, could it be via theirs? (Maybe it is via their mouths – and we all have one of them).

But I can’t articulate these specific differences, or ask these questions, using the language of feminist and gay ‘anti-Freudian’ theorists. They are too busy both denying and thus reinforcing the ‘feminine v masculine’ ‘active v passive’ roles in sex that Freud identified.  Because if you deny something too heavily you end up just emphasising how important it is. Mr Fuck Theory is saying: Gay men are MEN, who don’t have VAGINAS who are DIFFERENT from WOMEN. They  are not women because they have a COCK! And really, who would want to fuck, let alone be a woman? I note with some amusement that though they share a critique of Freud, the feminists and the ‘gayists’ tend to use this critique to deny what they have in common: ‘we are not faggots’ say the feminists, ‘we are not women’ say the faggots. I suspect Freud might be amused by that too, if he were around to see it.

I think Mr Fuck Theory is proving Freud’s point. I think he is saying ‘suck my dick, Sigmund’, but the lady doth protest too much.

 

I found out that Gaga’s latest album and single were to be called ‘Born This Way’ towards the end of last year. My heart sank.  I knew it was going to become, if not a popular gay anthem, at least a symbol of the worst kind of essentialist thinking around sexuality. Unfortunately my fears have been proven right. The single went straight to number One in the American Billboard charts, and gay rights organisations and campaigns have been using it as shorthand, as way of securing the ‘gay’ identity as fixed and natural. We all know it is a crap song. We all know Gaga is looking a little less triumphant than she says she is feeling. But this doesn’t really matter. It is serving its purpose, ideologically speaking.

I’m beautiful in my way / ‘Cause God makes no mistakes / I’m on the right track, baby / I was born this way,”

If I have to see those words or hear them one more time I might just declare myself ‘straight’.

The most recent confirmation of the discursive power of Gaga’s lyrics, that she apparently wrote in five minutes flat, comes in the form of an article in Salon.

http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2011/0/21/is_lady_gaga_right_about_sexual_orientation_poprx/index.html

Ominously, the article is called ‘Fact Checking Lady Gaga’s Born This Way’. Because pop songs are now scientific papers that have to be ‘fact checked’? How very clinical.

Rahul Parikh, the author of the piece, quotes a psychiatrist, Ron Holt to support his view that we are all, indeed, ‘born this way’. Holt says that sexual orientation

‘refers to a person’s erotic response, regardless of the gender that evokes that response. Sexual orientation, he says, is fixed. This is in contrast to sexual behavior, which a person can alter. In other words, people can’t change their sexual orientation, but they can hide it.’

I don’t quite understand this paragraph, as I thought ‘sexual orientation’ was dependent on the gender that evokes sexual response. But anyway, Holt’s assertion is that sexuality is fixed. It is what we do with it that is open to change, or, as Parikh says, what we hide.

In a rather deft move, Parikh then goes to put Freud, the Grandaddy of modern theories of sexuality, up against Lady Gaga, a popstar, to show how the Austrian psychoanalyst and philosopher was surely lacking in his understanding, that he was wrong and Gaga is right, ’cause God makes no mistakes’. And Gaga, as a major 21st century celebrity is a kind of God.

‘Freud, unlike Lady Gaga, took the position that it was environmental, the result of child-rearing. If you were a boy, and your mother was overbearing or your father cold and distant, you were more likely to be gay. Freud’s view dominated medical discourse for much of the 20th century’.

According to this Salon article, the ‘constructionist’ view of sexuality which came from Freud, ‘may have led to various attempts by religious groups to try to “convert” gays “back into” heterosexuals’ . Because if something is not fixed but is dependent on environment, it can be influenced, tampered with, ‘cured’.

‘Science and sensitivity began to creep into that discourse’.says Parikh. Ah yes, because when it comes to studies of sexuality, science is known for its sensitivity isn’t it?

‘In 1973, the word “homosexuality” was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the bible of psychiatry. The 1990s were an era of discoveries that began to point toward a biological basis for sexual orientation, including a then hotly discussed 1991 study showing differences in the size of certain parts of the brain between straight and gay men. Since then, science has built a case against Freud and in favor of Lady Gaga.’

The ‘hotly discussed 1991 study’ is actually a very dodgy piece of research indeed, which has been discredited. The idea of a ‘gay brain’ is a sort of Frankenstein sci-fi fantasy, that Mark Simpson demolishes much better than I could:

And yet, like a zombie rising from the dead, Simon Le Vay’s ‘gay brain’ is resurrected on a regular basis, not least by Salon itself. In 2010 Salon promoted a book by Le Vay which was really only rehashing his already proven to be wrong theories:

http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2010/10/24/simon_levay_gay_brain

If that wasn’t bad enough, the Salon article then goes on to quote at length, another discredited ‘sex’ scientist: Michael Bailey. According to Salon, Bailey ‘is very confident that Lady Gaga is right.’ As if they have all had a conference together where Gaga has performed ‘Born This Way’ and had it approved by a panel of experts.

Even Bailey and Parikh  admit that ‘there are some subtleties you have to get through before you can understand that’ we are ‘born this way’. And by subtleties he means, ‘bullshit science’.

‘For example, if we are “born this way,” then why do studies of identical twins, some done by Bailey himself, reveal in many cases that one twin is straight and the other is gay? If they’re genetically identical, how can they be anything but the same in every way?’

The article does not answer this question satisfactory and starts using words like ‘speculation’ and ‘we don’t know’ and ‘may’  and ‘we are in our infancy of our understanding about sexual orientation’… to show that this is not a proven theory.

And that’s the thing. Nobody knows for sure how we come to ‘be’ who we are, how we come to have a certain sexuality. And nobody, not even God, or Gaga, ever will.  The key difference for me between Freud and Gaga and Bailey and Le Vay, is that Freud embraced how we did not know for sure how sexuality is formed. He did not use his ‘science’ to impose a dogmatic view of sexuality on everyone. He was far more concerned with individuals and how their development and experiences affected them emotionally. The others are trying to come up with an over-arching theory of sexuality, in order to moralise and police sexuality. In order to normalise it.

The context in which this ‘science’ is presented is America, where the ‘far right’ and Christian fundamentalists are pitched in a battle against gay rights campaigners. The gay rights lobby, and liberal America, presents sexuality as innate and fixed, because this counteracts the Christian right’s view that it is a chosen ‘sinful’ activity, or a disease that can be cured. If we are ‘born this way’ then surely God meant us to be like this? ‘Cause God makes no mistakes,right?

Except maybe he has. Because the article then goes onto mention ‘a major wild card in this entire discussion, one that puts to the test Ron Holt’s assertion that sexual orientation is fixed: women’. That’s right.  Half the population may actually not fit this scientific theory after all!

‘While most of the research has confirmed that men are “born this way,” Bailey says, there is an emerging view about women that is very different from men. “Leading researchers are beginning to believe that female sexual orientation is a bit more flexible than that of men,” he says. “Women have a higher rate of bisexual feelings than men. It’s not uncommon for a woman who has been in a lifelong heterosexual relationship to become attached to and develop a physical relationship with another woman.” ‘

But actually this attitude towards women’s sexuality being more fluid than men’s is just part of the same, ‘liberal’ conservative discourse, whereby it is actually men’s homo-sexualities which are being treated as ‘sacred’, fixed, and separate from men’s hetero-sexualities. Because it is homosexuality, and more significantly, male bisexuality, which threatens the whole concept of being a ‘man’.  Which, in America especially, is almost important as being Christian. Again Mark Simpson has written more lucidly than I can on the subject of the denial of men’s bisexuality by scientists such as Bailey.

I hope Mark might add something to this attempt at a take-down of Salon and its stroking of neuroscientist’s egos, because I know it is his field more than mine.

While I wait for his response, take a look at the photo at the top of this post. It  is from an American blog called ‘born gay born this way’.

http://borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2011-03-16T20%3A07%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=10

This is a site where people send in photos of when they were children, to prove that they were ‘born this way’. I find it quite heartbreaking. It is full of gorgeous pictures of cherubic kids, playing cowboys and Indians, dressing up in Mommy’s dresses, putting on make-up, having water pistol fights, dancing. Being children. And then accompanying the pictures are little essays explaining how these kids knew from a young age that they were ‘different’ from other kids, because they didn’t do what ‘normal’ boys or girls did.This is Amanda. Isn’t she adorable? Does she look like a lesbian to you? She looks like a kid to me!

I am depressed but also glad that Salon has produced such a blatant, disingenuous piece of journalism. And that Gaga has shot herself in the foot by making the worst and most sanctimonious pop song since —er—- Michael Jackson’s Earth Song.  Because it gives us a chance to challenge head on the ‘gay agenda’ and the ‘essentialist’ agenda of liberal America in particular.

Parikh ends his article even more cynically, by quoting The Smiths ‘what difference does it make? It makes none’. But if it makes no difference whether or not we are born or made into certain sexualities, why make so much effort to prove one or the other?

Gaga’s album hasn’t even been released yet. But she has provided the liberal ‘conservatives’ with some invaluable ammunition in their war against sexual choice. You know what? I’d rather be identified as a good old-fashioned pervert in the Freudian sense. At least then my sexuality could not be co-opted by the do-gooders and the God botherers.

SO this is for you Siggy. Touch Me, I’m Sick!