Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lebowitz, de Rossi, and Wright

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

My Heroes & Sex Objects Lately

This morning, I woke up, feeling stirred by all three of these women, Portia de Rossi, Fran Lebowitz and Chely Wright -- moved, aroused, compassionate, reverent, coveting them and their talent. I find it much easier to write here on Jewish themes than on lesbian themes. Jewish themes, for me, are connected to my upbringing and family of origin and a well-established, relatively famous culture.

Lesbian themes often are connected to my desires and typically, feel too hot to touch publicly. Non-queer friends could argue, so are themes on sexuality of any sort. And that's true. That is, who am I to write about desire beyond a private journal? The facile, political response is that I want visibility for lesbians; I want us to have a voice, to have our humanity acknowledged -- I want people to understand that typically, lesbian identity includes a sexual component; we spend so much time, trying to get people to stop fixating only on the sexual aspect of homosexuality that I fear we silence it and ourselves. We want the "right" sort of positive attention.

The fully genuine answer is hinted at in a blog-entry from two years ago. I want to be as honest in my writing as Fran Lebowitz, Portia de Rossi and Chely Wright are in theirs. All of these women are intensely sexy to me because they are gifted artistically and vulnerable in their art, enabling me to relate to them; they are also visually appealing in very different ways. Fran Lebowitz is magnetic sartorially; Portia de Rossi has a gorgeous, warm smile and Chely Wright, a beautiful, soulful face.

Last night, my partner Pat and I watched "Public Speaking," the documentary on Fran Lebowitz. As much as I'm in awe of her wit, I don't want to take the advice of a writer who has said she suffers from "writer's blockade," when she says that not everyone should write -- that culture should not be a democracy, but rather, there's, "...a natural aristocracy of talent."

By contrast, a friend who's been published by "The New Yorker," once told me that she thinks everyone should be encouraged to write because really, what's the harm in it? They're not hurting anyone, sitting alone and writing. In that spirit, I maintain this blog.

Also, late last night, I finished reading Portia de Rossi's memoir. I had never seen her act till looking her up on YouTube this morning. She's good.

Likewise, I had never seen Chely Wright sing till her memoir and she came out. I've always favored R&B music, but I liked the songs I saw on YouTube and became a total fan while reading her story.

How I relate to each of these women:

Fran Lebowitz -- We're Jewish; took longer than we might have to become openly lesbian; felt out of place in formal school environments when we were young -- and she did permanently; grew up in the Tri-State (NY, NJ, CT) area; suffer on and off from writer's block; enjoy well-made clothes; are talkative; have no children.

Portia de Rossi -- We're tall (I'm 5'9.5" and she's 5'8"); she lost her father when she was young (younger than I; she was nine and I was 17); growing up, had romantic crushes on some of our best female friends; for comfort, turned to excess food -- in my case, from childhood through my 20s, though never was bulimic, since my metabolism still was so fast, didn't need to purge to ward off obesity; heard, and sometimes still hear, negative voices in my head about my appearance, even though objectively, I'm attractive -- in my case, I heard self-criticism on the size of my breasts and my androgyny; found love unexpectedly with a funny, kind woman who loves animals; have no children.

Chely Wright -- We're lesbians who realized our attraction to girls at a young age, she at nine, according to her memoir, and I at 11; we've felt we had to exile ourselves from our hometown and home region for a period, living in regions that were totally remote from our experience; growing up, she did not know from NYC and I had not been west of Pennsylvania till college; have no children.

The magic of writing is that I can say what I would be too shy to say if I were making eye-contact with anyone; that's its chief appeal to me. These women are heroes because I need heroes. I tend to stand up visibly as my lesbian self in most situations, hoping I'm helping someone somewhere by my openness, and it's comforting to see other women who are willing, also, to be visible. Their visibility as much as their talent and looks makes them desirable to me.


Stacy L. Graffam said...

Sarah, very poignant. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Sarah Siegel said...

Stacy, thanks for your kind comments. When's your next Facebook note? You always write cool stuff there.