The first time I ever saw Julie Ann Peters’ Keeping You a Secret was at the foot of my mom’s bed, face up and daunting. The image on the cover might have inspired less wariness if my mother hadn’t already informed me of the contents of the book, because I knew the image was not simply indicative of two female characters. It was indicative of two female characters in love.
Women getting it on. With each other.
Even today, this premise strikes a chord with audiences. Imagine in 1928, when The Well of Loneliness was first published in England and America. Obscenity trials tried to ban the novel. Still the book sold 100,000 copies in its first year on the shelves. The Well was one of the first lesbian novels ever published, written by Radclyffe Hall, an English author and gay lady. The novel tells the story of Stephen Gordon, an English woman living at the turn of the century discovering and coming to terms with her sexuality.
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling like there weren’t very many queer role models when we were growing up–at least, not very many obvious ones. Many of my contemporaries would recall feeling as children that there was no one…
The words “feminism” and “femininity” are only a few letters away from the same. Some people, however, force these two words to live in feuding worlds, as if someone cannot be feminine and a feminist, a person who truly believes in gender equality. This is, first of all, completely untrue, and second of all, the fact that so many people insist that the concepts of femininity and feminism need to be spread apart is actually a lingering sexist view in today’s society.