julie murphy

I want to make a point on the “lesbians sleeping with men” trope

There is an over abundance of stories about lesbians falling in love with or sleeping with men.

There are a ton of shitty examples (Chasing Amy, Kissing Jessica Stein, The Kids are Alright) in mainstream media.  For some reason filmmakers in particular love to tell this story (though literary adult fiction does it a lot too).  It always ends with the lesbian either staying a lesbian, turning straight, or adopting some vague no labels bs so she can be with the dude.  

I know no lesbians who like these stories.  They are sick to death of seeing them.

There is a dearth of stories about ‘lesbians’ falling in love with or sleeping with men and realizing that they’re actually bi.  

 You never ever see this in media.  Seriously I’m struggling to name an example.  Maybe Tina from the L Word?  But that’s kinda a stretch since her character arc was an inconsistent train wreck so it was hard to tell what she was realizing there.  Erica Moen has written about it in her comic work that is autobiographical, but I can’t think of any fictional stories about this besides the upcoming Ramona Blue.

Bi women love these stories.  They are desperate for more of these stories.  They hold onto the aforementioned shitty example movies because they’re all we can get.  I’m a big believer in needing more bisexual-using-the-b-word representation in media for bi people but frankly in a desert, sometimes you drink sand.   I know plenty of bi women who have a soft spot for films like Chasing Amy because for years it was the closest thing to bisexuality or their story of bisexuality that you could find on screen.  We understand they are problematic, but we still cling to them.   Its deeply unfair to heap scorn on bi women for cherishing those scraps when scraps are all we’ve been given.  

This is a clear case where the lesbian experience with this as a trope and the bi experiance with this as a story is very different.  For people who don’t understand why stories like Chasing Amy and Ramona Blue are wanted and cherished by bi women, this is your chance to listen to what we are saying about our real life experiences and how it plays into our desires for these stories.  You have a chance to learn here.  Please consider doing so.

- Sarah 

THE FAT GIRL GETS THE GUY AND WISH FULFILLMENT

I am so lucky to get reader email. I say lucky, because it’s sort of incredible that anyone would even take the time to contact me when there is homework to do and children to feed and presidential candidates to make fun of.

That being said, reader email can be all over the place. It ranges from OMG-I-LOVE-YOU-THANK-YOU to DIE-BITCH-DIE. The best conversations usually happen somewhere in between. And yet you might be surprised to know that the reader email that breaks my heart the most has nothing to do with my book.

Since DUMPLIN’ released on September 15th, I have received so many versions of this email so many times that I’ve decided to publicly respond. The email usually goes a little something like this:

Julie,

I really loved your book so much, but I just don’t feel like it’s believable. The hot guy doesn’t go for the fat girl in real life. And two guys like Willowdean? I wish it could be true, but I just don’t buy it. The rest of the book was great. Thank you!

- Lovely Reader

In the words of Willowdean herself: SIGH. 

I understand. I get it. I do.

This post (though it may seem like it) is not about my book. I am human. I wrote a book. It has imperfections as do I. The fat girl getting the/a guy is not an imperfection. It is not unbelievable. In this way, I can tell you that the book I wrote is not broken. The world around us is. We have been taught that we are not worthy. We are not deserving. It’s a lie.

No matter how badly we want to love ourselves and our bodies, society has trained us to have this knee jerk reaction/pit of your stomach feeling that says HA! NO WAY WOULD THAT HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE!

So every time I get this email, I want to give the person on the other end a suffocatingly tight hug and whisper in their ear, “The fat girl gets the guy. Or the girl. Or the person. Or the thing they want. YOU get the guy/girl/person/thing.” 

This isn’t about hot boys. This is about wanting, demanding, and having things we (FAT PEOPLE!) are not “allowed” to have. But I will say this: when you see a fat person and a thin or traditionally attractive person together, it isn’t some accidental universal slip. It isn’t always a fetish or a case of aiming low. (Though sometimes it is and that’s another post for another day.) In most cases, it is two people who have come together as a unit because they are wholly attracted to one another. Inside and out.

Society is broken. But you don’t have to be and choosing not to be is the first step to fixing the world we live in. 

YOU get the guy. You get the girl. You get the person. You get the thing–WHATEVER it might be. Believe it, because this isn’t wish fulfillment. It’s fucking true.