Charmaine Crawford – “‘It’s a Girl Thing’ Problematizing Female Sexuality, Gender and Lesbophobia in Caribbean Culture” - Critical Essay (Barbados)
In this paper, I will examine how lesbophobia manifests in a post-colonial Caribbean landscape in multiple ways, whether it is through societal sanctions such as stigma discrimination and violence, or through fabricated claims of sexual immorality against same-sex female sexuality promoted by the church, state and media. From a critical feminist perspective, I will first critique dominant notions of gender and sexuality by exploring the relationship between patriarchy and heterosexism in ordering female sexuality and sexual relations. I will then discuss the ways in which lesbian sexuality and bodies are constructed to denote a kind of corporeal disorder that is unsettling or disruptive to dominant notions of hetero-femininity or womanhood associated with gender identity, sexual pleasure and motherhood. Finally, I will demonstrate how the media plays a role in manufacturing and reinforcing lesbophobia through sensationalist accounts that serve to pathologize and delegitimize same-sex female sexuality.