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Sororophobia: Differences Among Women in Literature and Culture$
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Helena Michie

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780195073874

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195073874.001.0001

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Writing Lesbian Difference

Writing Lesbian Difference

(p.101) Chapter 3 Writing Lesbian Difference
Sororophobia: Differences Among Women in Literature and Culture

Helena Michie

Oxford University Press

The chapter discusses sororophobia and sisterhood in relation to lesbian communities. The chapter opens with a discussion on Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle, which is credited as the first lesbian-themed novel to make it on the bestseller list. The novel highlights the chapter's assertion that lesbianism or homosexuality is rooted in a constantly evolving interrelationship between sameness and difference, the definitions of which change over time—for both lesbian-feminists and their homophobic counterparts. Differences in beliefs and practices within these feminist and lesbian communities regarding such issues as sado-masochism, butch-femme role playing, and race are discussed, along with their potentially divisive danger to the community. In the remainder of the chapter, the manifestations of these themes of sameness and difference are identified and examined in lesbian-feminist poetry. The chapter highlights the lesbian poet's struggle to represent this “otherness” while celebrating identity—which also mirrors the dilemma of lesbian practice.

Keywords:   sororophobia, sisterhood, lesbian, Rita Mae Brown, Rubyfruit Jungle, feminist, lesbian-feminist poetry, homophobic

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