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

Contesting boundaries within the construction of collective identification. Abstract

Drawn from a study for the construction of collective identification in DIVA mag between 1994 and 2004, this short article considers the discursive contestation regarding the boundaries necessarily, however never ever straightforwardly, erected in the act. Analysing first a variety of articles and 2nd (and much more significantly) debates about who ‘we’ have been in and between readers’ letters, the content is targeted on the ‘trouble’ posed by bisexuality in this period. Readers draw on and competition a cluster of interrelated characterisations of bisexuals: as undecided, being a type or sort of pollutant, so that as insufficient facsimiles of ‘real lesbians’, along with pretty much available characterisations of ‘us’. These arguments are always handled editorially, and constantly ‘end’ with telephone telephone calls for acceptance. This will not completely recover the ambiguity with which bisexuality is managed, nevertheless, and also the article concludes by discussing the s that are dilemma( faced because of the thought community.

Introduction

The work provided right here arises from a study of this construction of collective identification in DIVA, Britain’s very first main-stream commercial magazine that is lesbian in its first ten years in publications (1994 2004). Considerably, 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 titles (Arena Three into the 1960s and 1970s, and Sappho when you look at the 1970s and 1980s see Turner, 2009 , to get more detail regarding the schedule of British 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 governmental modification. As a result, it really is a text whose close analysis is both essential and fulfilling the very first ten years, by which it discovered a foothold which had evaded its predecessors, specially therefore. DIVA arrived in the height of lesbian posh, a trend that place lesbians everywhere and nowhere at one time (Turner, 2009 ), utilizing the vow that even and dykes that are especially‘regular city’ would get in its pages a property (Williams, 1994 , p. 4). Additionally hoping to result in the publishing business Millivres Prowler a return on its investment, DIVA had been an unique enterprise in more methods than one.

Not surprisingly, it along with other publications that are lesbian gone mostly untouched by academics. Although we have actually considerable reports 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), really work that is little been done on lesbian mags. Also without contrast towards the considerable literary works on ladies’ (and, considering that the very very early 2000s, males’s) mags, the human body of work handling lesbian publications appears little. Koller ( 2008 ), Driver ( 2007 ) and Lewis ( 1997 ) consist of texts from lesbian mags inside their studies (as well as in reality all consist of articles from DIVA), and lots of larger scale studies of US homosexual and lesbian publications occur (see Cutler, 2003 ; Esterberg, 1990 ; Streitmatter, 1993 , and especially Sender, 2001 , 2003 , 2004 ), but no other researcher has scrutinised A uk lesbian mag with any remit that is comprehensive.

The research from where this analysis is taken had been largely inspired by a want to deal with this gap within our knowledge, and therefore a sizeable sample, including all 95 problems of DIVA published involving the launch problem in might 1994 and will 2004, had been opted for. This time around duration wasn’t therefore arbitrary a range 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 years, decade when the lesbian that is britishto utilize an inadequate but expedient construct) underwent significant alterations in regards to politics, legislation and her exposure in conventional media (cf. Turner, 2009 ). Generally speaking, desire to would be to produce a synopsis of DIVA across a decade, describing accurately the existence and/or absence of, or changes to, particular faculties associated with mag’s content; to explore the contexts of these traits; also to pursue a much much free girls cam much deeper, hermeneutic analysis regarding the substance associated with mag as well as its (re)construction of lesbian identification.

Although the analysis presented in this specific article is predominantly discursive (see below for my way of the precise texts analysed), a mixed technique approach had been taken, together with conversation additionally includes insights garnered utilizing two extra and complementary practices: (quantitative) content analysis and (semi organized) interviews with key editorial staff. Content analysis ended up being carried out using each mag (coding kinds of content), each article (coding topic and individual reference) and every advertisement (coding item, regularity and size) once the device of research, enabling a kind of ‘mapping’ of this test. The interviews, with founding editor Frances Williams, her successor Gillian Rodgerson, present deputy editor and very long time staff journalist Louise Carolin and Kim Watson, that is now Millivres’ news and advertising manager but served for several years in advertising product product sales and advertising, had been directed by Chouliaraki and Fairclough’s ( 1999 , p. 62) advocacy of ethnographic work with discourse analytic tasks to be able to explore ‘the thinking, values and desires’ of individuals. The interviews had been created as a way of learning more about the founding for the 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 and its particular readers.