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Soft Lesbian Aesthetic

You are usually found in sweatpants, comfy sweaters, and with a lap cat or two. Your compassion for animals often extends to your friend group, making you the go to for post breakup consolation. You most likely meet girls through mutual friends and fall very quickly into lesbian bed death.

But at least you get extra cuddles. It's not that you hate men, it's just that you don't see the need for them. You are not afraid to speak your mind and educate those around you on important social issues. You would fit in well at an Ivy league women's college and probably were on a debate team at some point.

If you have a tattoo it is most likely a quote from a female author or a bird. Slam poetry readings at a local coffee shop are your go-to place to pick up women. Seeing a girl reading a book gives you a boner. Three cheers for smart womyn! You rock the edgy girl look, to the point where most people can't tell if you're gay or just really fucking cool.

You love tattoos, piercings, and discovering new bands before anyone else. Some of your lesbian friends give you shit for still dating dudes, but screw them.

You go by the "hearts not parts" philosophy. You like to live life to the fullest and work hard to play hard. You may come across as bitchy and exclusive, but you can't help it that your friends are cooler than everyone else. So um You may be what's known as a B. Girls are pretty and soft and smell good, so we can't blame you for wanting to make out with them. Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" is your theme song.

But after a few experiments your curiosity will most likely run out. Just because you think JLaw is perfect doesn't mean you are meant to eat pussy. It's okay. We understand. The first tiny waves of trannies who came out as such—from the early, early Christine Jorgenson to the later but still early Jan Morris.

As the boundaries of transgender began to shift with new visibility and activism—and it became more acceptable to live as your correct sex with or without a complete surgical makeover—suddenly the numbers of FTMs skyrocketed. Why can't they understand that gender is a social construct and that women don't have to conform to a feminine ideal?

Isn't that what we were fighting for, a world in which women could wear tool belts and neckties and do anything we damn well please without the constraints of gender? And for feminist understandings of gender, this work has been enormously productive.

In my own discipline of literary studies, contestation over the history and theory of the lyric has sometimes considered gender, and sometimes considered the queer, but rarely considered them together. In what follows I describe the outlines of my project on a lesbian history of the sonnet, in the hopes of providing one example of the explanatory power of lesbian genders.

I argue that lesbian reading of the pleading, abject masculine speaker of the sonnet and the powerful she-lord whom he addresses make available butch and transgender subject positions, female masculinities that endow the sonnet with a queer anamorphism that disfigures rather than figures the norm.

As is so often the case with queer appropriations of canonical cultural conventions, what starts out as a limit or exclusion is sometimes creatively and campily refigured as an aesthetic. The circulation of Sapphic fragments of lyric verse in the early modern literary world is one way that stories of love between women installed themselves in the court cultures that produced the sonnet. Adopting this name offered Catullus a feminized rhetorical position that allowed for an implicit critique of the values of imperial Rome.

In addition to the rhetorical role of the speaker, discussions of gender, sexuality and power in the sonnet tradition have problematized the conventional figure of the Lady to whom the poet addresses his wooing in the courtly love tradition.

My project argues, in contrast, that the authority of the sonnet Lady can also be seen as a kind of authorship, an exertion of feminine agency structuring a courtly love tradition that has never achieved a seamless, untroubled masculinism.

It is this sonnet tradition, I argue, that was revived by women writers at the end of the eighteenth century. Henry Cary, on the Publication of his Sonnets. And the sonnet, with non-marital sexuality rooted deep in its history, lends itself well to this melancholic anamorphism. Nightly I cry,--how oft, alas! Ordain Her beauteous lip may wear the smile that stole, In years long fled, the sting from every pain!

Show her sweet face, ah show it to my soul! Only in loss does the melancholic lesbian poet possess the beloved. What critics have failed to notice, though, is that when she addresses love sonnets to a woman, things heat up.