Surface Tension: Love, Sex, and Politics Between Lesbians and Straight Women


Representing a fascinating spectrum of feelings and opinions about lesbianism, the friendships women share -- or fear -- and the rich diversity of personal choices women make today, this collection of brash and thoughtful essays, stories, and interviews offers
-- Dorothy Allison on what it means to be a lesbian
-- Carla Trujillo on the ...
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Representing a fascinating spectrum of feelings and opinions about lesbianism, the friendships women share -- or fear -- and the rich diversity of personal choices women make today, this collection of brash and thoughtful essays, stories, and interviews offers
-- Dorothy Allison on what it means to be a lesbian
-- Carla Trujillo on the impact of "sexual betrayal" by an ex-lover
-- Elizabeth Wurtzel on the creative freedom experienced only by lesbians
-- Susie Bright on the sexual dance between lesbians and straight women
-- Guinevere Turner on the pain of reconciling one's sexual orientation with past relationships

The voices of Dorothy Allison, Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan, Susie Bright, Sarah Schulman, Gloria Anzaldua, and other women--lesbian, bisexual, and straight--come together in this illuminating exploration of the relationships among women. National ads/media.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Addressing seemingly all the permutations of lesbian/straight relationships and identity (the friendship between gay and straight women, straight women who pass as gay women, bisexual women, sexual relations with lesbians who eventually become straight), poet and essayist Daly's collection is certainly wide-ranging, but it's also rather formless. Many of the pieces are confessional, but readers (or readers likely to buy this book) will find that the guilt, the disapproval, not to mention the mechanics, sound familiar. Some writing is jargon-filled (``culturally I am woman-identified''; ``I told Becky it was a little hard for me to be nonreductive'') or just bad (``maybe she's desirous in general currently and I'm receptive to desirousness.''). There is some good writing: notably Lisa Palac's delightful, bemused description of sexual experimentation through the personals and Guinevere Turner's touching account of a chance encounter with a woman who shared her childhood in a commune. Two straight women, perhaps because they are outsiders among outsiders, give very clear readings of social and political complications: Ann Powers discusses the muddled issue of straight women committed to queer politics, while Daphne Merkin is painfully honest in her opinion that male homosexuality has a greater validity than lesbianism: ``When I think of two women together, I think of it as the default position... I have no doubt that somewhere in this assessment floats a sadder, more insidious piece of reality, having to do with the way women continue to be perceived by society at large and how we in turn assess one another.'' (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684802213
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 1/18/1996
  • Edition description: Original
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 0.59 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 9
Between Girls 17
"How We Met": An Interview with Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan 29
Kat 34
Like Cutting Off My Arm 38
Working Out 47
Can't Help It 55
lifeline 64
Till Men Do Us Part 70
The Kick Inside 82
What Is It About Straight Women? 95
A Closet of One's Own: On Not Becoming a Lesbian 99
Wives 111
An excerpt from Trilogy 126
Queer in the Streets, Straight in the Sheets: Notes on Passing 133
Conceptual Lesbianism 142
Photographs and My Faux-Lesbian Body 151
Almost a Dyke: In Search of the Perfect Bisexual 160
The Queer Kitchen 169
The Old Age Home 175
Sharing the Bathroom 178
Low Cut 186
Interview with Jessica Hagedorn 197
The (Fe)male Gaze 202
If Only I'd Been Born a Kosher Chicken 218
The Disappeared 231
Listening 236
Contributors 247
Permissions Acknowledgments 253
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