‘A REAL LESBIAN WOULDN’T TOUCH A BISEXUAL WITH A BARGEPOLE’

Contesting boundaries within the construction of collective identity. Abstract

Drawn from a study for the construction of collective identification in DIVA mag between 1994 and 2004, this informative article considers the discursive contestation for the boundaries necessarily, however never ever straightforwardly, erected along the way. Analysing first a variety of articles and 2nd (and much more significantly) debates about who ‘we’ have been in and between visitors’ letters, the content centers around the ‘trouble’ posed by bisexuality in this age. Visitors draw on and competition a cluster of interrelated characterisations of bisexuals: as undecided, as being a type or form of pollutant, so that as insufficient facsimiles of ‘real lesbians’, also just about available characterisations of ‘us’. These arguments are always managed editorially, and constantly ‘end’ with calls for acceptance. This will not fully recover the ambiguity with which bisexuality is managed, but, therefore the article concludes by speaking about the dilemma(s) faced by the thought community.

Introduction

The work delivered right here arises from a study of this construction of collective identification in DIVA, Britain’s very first conventional commercial lesbian magazine, in its very first decade in publications (1994 2004). Dramatically, DIVA continues to be the actual only real commercially successful, nationally distributed lesbian mag, 1 celebrating in 2014 its twentieth birthday celebration, an unprecedented milestone for the lesbian mag when you look at the UK, commercial or perhaps. Where other games (Arena Three within the 1960s and 1970s, and Sappho when you look at the 1970s and 1980s see Turner, 2009 , for lots more information in the schedule of Uk lesbian publishing) more or less swiftly became the victims of circumstances both regional and worldwide, DIVA has survived in a time period of considerable social and change that is political. As a result, it really is a text whose analysis that is close both crucial and worthwhile the initial ten years, by which it discovered a foothold which had evaded its predecessors, specially therefore. DIVA arrived during the height of lesbian stylish, a trend that place lesbians everywhere and nowhere at one time (Turner, 2009 ), with all the vow that even and specially ‘regular dykes about town’ would get in its pages a house (Williams, 1994 , p. 4). Additionally looking to result in the publishing business Millivres Prowler a return on its investment, DIVA had been an unique enterprise in more means than one.

Regardless of this, it as well as other lesbian magazines have gone mainly untouched by academics. Although we have actually substantial records of females’s life style mags like Cosmopolitan (see, e.g. Chang, 2004 ; Machin & van Leeuwen, 2003 ; Machin & Thornborrow, 2003 ; McMahon, 1990 ; Ouellette, 1999 ) or teenage mags (Carpenter, 1998 ; Massoni, 2004 , 2006 ; Schlenker, Caron, & Halteman, 1998 ; have got all written about Seventeen alone), extremely small work has been done on lesbian publications. Also without comparison to your considerable literary works on ladies’ (and, considering that the very very very early 2000s, males’s) mags, your body of work handling lesbian mags appears little. Koller ( 2008 ), Driver ( 2007 ) and Lewis ( 1997 ) consist of texts from lesbian mags inside their studies (as well as in reality all include articles from DIVA), and many larger scale studies of US homosexual and lesbian adult sex cam publications occur (see Cutler, 2003 ; Esterberg, 1990 ; Streitmatter, 1993 , and specially Sender, 2001 , 2003 , 2004 ), but no other researcher has scrutinised A uk lesbian mag with any remit that is comprehensive.

The analysis from where this analysis is taken ended up being largely inspired by a want to deal with this space inside our knowledge, and therefore a sample that is sizeable including all 95 problems of DIVA published between the launch problem in might 1994 and might 2004, had been plumped for. This time around period had not been therefore arbitrary a variety as it can appear; being the first to ever critically examine this text with an intention in discourses of identity needed the analysis of an amazing amount of manufacturing, and also this test allows a thorough diachronic analysis across a time period of crucial change that is social. It bridges two different decades, ten years in which the Uk lesbian (to utilize an inadequate but expedient construct) underwent significant alterations in regards to politics, legislation along with her presence in conventional media (cf. Turner, 2009 ). Generally speaking, desire to would be to create a summary of DIVA across ten years, describing accurately the existence and/or absence of, or modifications to, particular traits regarding the mag’s content; to explore the contexts of these faculties; and also to pursue a much much much deeper, hermeneutic analysis regarding the substance of this mag and its particular (re)construction of lesbian identity.

Although the analysis presented in this specific article is predominantly discursive (see below for my method of the precise texts analysed), a blended technique approach had been taken, in addition to conversation comes with insights garnered utilizing two extra and complementary practices: (quantitative) content analysis and (semi structured) interviews with key staff that is editorial. Content analysis had been carried out using each mag (coding kinds of content), each article (coding topic and individual reference) and every advertisement (coding product, regularity and size) because the product of study, enabling a type of ‘mapping’ of this test. The interviews, with founding editor Frances Williams, her successor Gillian Rodgerson, present deputy editor and few years staff journalist Louise Carolin and Kim Watson, who’s now Millivres’ news and marketing manager but served for several years in advertising product product product sales and advertising, had been led by Chouliaraki and Fairclough’s ( 1999 , p. 62) advocacy of ethnographic operate in discourse analytic tasks so that you can explore ‘the values, values and desires’ of individuals. The interviews had been created as a way of learning more info on the founding associated with mag, its staff (functions, routines and laws), the emotions of these in jobs of energy, the imperatives lay out because of the publisher as well as the relationship between DIVA as well as its visitors.