Feminist Julie Bindel Slates 'Faux Lesbianism' in Pop Culture

Julie Bindel, a feminist campaigner and co-founder of the organisation Justice for Women, has spoken out against "faux lesbianism" in pop culture.

Bindel, who has been described as a "marmite writer" over mixed reactions to her work, has attacked what she refers to as the "latest marketing tool" in popular culture.

While some argue that erotic scenes between female pop stars make bold sexual statements about women, Bindel has stated the displays are fuelled by "money and men".
Writing in the Daily Mail, Bindel argued "lesbian chic" is the latest ploy for female stars to stay firmly in the Hollywood limelight.

In her article, Bindel criticised recent images of pop sensation Katy Perry kissing the infamous Miley Cyrus that hit headlines and spawned numerous coy explanations of innocent "girl kisses".

Bindel also questioned the integrity of British model Cara Delevigne, who recently appeared in a drunken embrace with her lover Michelle Rodriguez although she has previously reportedly dated One Direction's Harry Styles. While is it quite possible Cara Delevingne is bisexual, Bindel suggested she is playing along with the "money-making" theme.

She said: "I came out as a lesbian in the 1970s, so you might expect that I would welcome any public depiction of homosexual lifestyles. On the contrary, I think this 'faux lesbianism' is far from healthy. I don't intend to get into a discussion about whether they really are in a lesbian relationship. I don't know the details and I don't much care. Whatever they do in private is their own business."

Bindel added: "But their 'relationship' is — make no mistake — being fiercely marketed."

Bindel, who appeared on the Independent's Pink List as one of the top 101 most influential gay and lesbian people in the UK, stated that such displays of false lesbianism are simply used to arouse excitement in men.

She said: "The lesbian images that Delevingne and Rodriguez and their ilk are promoting to an impressionable young audience — some of whom are at an age when they may question their own sexuality — are utterly specious. It's the kind of glammed-up, plastic lesbianism that is found in pornography — a genre that, incidentally, exclusively titillates men."

While controversial, Bindel has highlighted a trend that is becoming increasingly common among celebrities.

Recently, the erotic video Can't Remember to Forget You showcased Rihanna and Shakira frolicking naked with lyrics brazenly created to appeal to an male audience.

The premise of the video — and the song — is that the pair are forced to writhe next to each other because they are under a man's spell and "will do anything for that boy".

This display of lesbianism to pique viewers' interests is not a novel phenomenon, yet there is still the risk the sales-boosting tactic is fuelling an unrealistic stigma around homosexual women.

In 2002, the Russian girl band t.A.T.u caused a storm with their debut single All the Things She Said, which saw the pair put on a display of schoolgirl lesbianism.

The marketing worked, sparking a media storm. The video was listed on FHM and Virgin Media as one of the "most sexy videos", yet it was later revealed Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova were not actually a couple.

Since then, both Katina and Volkova have declared their support the LGBT community, although they were criticised for "pushing buttons" for a tawdry gimmick.

As Bindel says: "Such lives are very far removed from the phoney glam-lesbian image we see on the front of pop magazines."