the itch that dare not speak it’s name
Girlfag, by Janet W Hardy; Published by Beyond Binary Books; Available in Paperback (2012)
Janet W Hardy is a world travelling sex educator with at least 10 books on alternative sexualities to her credit, including the seminal 1997 Ethical Slut, a sort of manual / workbook for polyamorous relationships. Girlfag is the story of her journey from a suburban high school in Southern California to the beginnings of that career... sort of... Between anecdotes, personal reflections, snippets of poetry, dreams, plays and even pieces of other’s biographies, Girlfag is much more tentative and eclectic than a traditional memoir.
Some readers may recognize the idea of the Girlfag as an emerging subculture of women attracted to gay or bisexual men, specifically women who identify their desires more closely with the desires of gay men for other men, than with those of heterosexual women for men.If you’re familiar with this movement, you may be expecting Girlfag to be a manifesto of sorts, which I confess I was. However, just as it’s too slippery to be a memoir, it’s also much too exploratory to be a manifesto.
It is, instead, one woman’s efforts to communicate her realization that, despite living in the post-Stonewall world, she still found herself with a feeling, with a desire, that she could not quite name or express. In that sense, it is a story with a surprisingly universal moral: there’s always going to be more complexity to actual desire than there will be to the narrow channels and names we communicate desire through - we have not even begun to scratch the surface of all the itches that we have to scratch.
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