I probably shouldn’t mention this article at all, but just as with the New York story about “cuddle puddles,” I can’t resist taking the bait and getting annoyed. Apparently teenage girls have discovered that lesbianism is a great way to get boys’ attention: This Salon article by Whitney Joiner has the shocking details. (This is a new phenomenon?) The idea is that girls can make themselves look “hotter” by kissing each other; it’s the next thing to try when your clothes can’t get any tighter, and you can’t get away with exposing anymore flesh—though I suspect this same article could be written about the startling new practice of girls taking off their shirts at parties. (I especially enjoyed this sentence: “Kissing girls started earlier for Alexandra, a 16-year-old high school junior in Bellingham, Wash., a town close to the Canadian border.” Canada, that’s where all this crazy lesbianism is coming from.)
Having just read the story, I have to say that it makes teenage girls seem like the stupidest, most craven and pathetic creatures on the face of the earth, so desperate for attention from teenage boys, who are depicted as Apollos of confidence and authority who can command sexual services at their whim. If this is true, then things have really changed since I was in high school, a time when awkward, passive zit-faced guys, buffeted by waves of hormones, were merely clueless counters in status games played by girls against other girls. Male attention is just the scoreboard on which popularity and notoriety are charted. Guys are not hard to have sex with; high-school guys even less so. In general no lesbian performances are necessary; all you have to do is ask them, and chances are they will be wondering what god has decided to smile on them. As a matter of fact, this whole trend of kissing girls for attention probably owes a lot to the fact that it’s good way to avoid having to kiss (pimply, immature) guys for attention.
Joiner seems to want to indict internet pornography for creating a new paradigm of teenage sexuality, but the anecdotal evidence is kind of unconvincing. Guys have been paying attention to girls kissing—and goading them into doing it—long before they had Internet access. She also raises the welcome point that this whole kissing girls for attention thing appropriates lesbianism and passes it off as nothing more than a drunken stunt, as something no woman could do with any sincerity, which suggests that no girls could live without fighting for male attention. But then the article’s very existence, sensationalizing girls kissing girls, seems to forward the idea that lesbianism is a game rather than refute it. So is that the point of articles such as these (beyond titillation): to issue forth fresh images of female subservience? To normalize the desperate pursuit of male attention?