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

Contesting boundaries into the construction of collective identity. Abstract

Drawn from a study associated with construction of collective identification in DIVA mag between 1994 and 2004, this short article considers the contestation that is discursive of 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’ are in and between visitors’ letters, the content centers on the ‘trouble’ posed by bisexuality in this period. Visitors draw on and competition a cluster of interrelated characterisations of bisexuals: as undecided, being type of pollutant, and also as insufficient facsimiles of ‘real lesbians’, also pretty much available characterisations of ‘us’. These arguments are always handled editorially, and constantly ‘end’ with telephone calls for acceptance. This doesn’t fully recover the ambiguity with which bisexuality is managed, nonetheless, as well as the article concludes by speaking about the dilemma(s) faced by the thought community.

Introduction

The work delivered right right here originates from a study associated with construction of collective identification in DIVA, Britain’s very first main-stream commercial lesbian mag, in its very very first ten years in publications (1994 2004). Notably, DIVA continues to be the sole 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 into the 1960s and 1970s, and Sappho into the 1970s and 1980s see Turner, 2009 , for lots more detail regarding the schedule of Uk lesbian publishing) more or less swiftly became the victims of circumstances both neighborhood 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 essential and worthwhile 1st a decade, by which it discovered a foothold which had evaded its predecessors, especially therefore. DIVA arrived during the height of lesbian posh, a trend that place lesbians everywhere and nowhere at one time (Turner, 2009 ), with all the vow that even and specially ‘regular dykes about city’ would get in its pages a property (Williams, 1994 , p. 4). Also hoping to result in the publishing business Millivres Prowler a return on its investment, DIVA was an unique enterprise in more means than one.

Not surprisingly, it as well as other lesbian magazines have actually gone mainly untouched by academics. Although we have actually substantial records of females’s life style magazines like Cosmopolitan (see, e.g. Chang, 2004 ; Machin & van Leeuwen, 2003 ; Machin & Thornborrow, 2003 ; McMahon, 1990 ; Ouellette, 1999 ) or teenage publications (Carpenter, 1998 ; Massoni, 2004 , 2006 ; Schlenker, Caron, & Halteman, 1998 ; have all written about Seventeen alone), really small work has been done on lesbian publications. Even without contrast into the literature that is considerable ladies’ (and, because the very early 2000s, guys’s) mags, the human body of work addressing lesbian mags appears little. Koller ( 2008 ), Driver ( 2007 ) and Lewis ( 1997 ) consist of texts from lesbian publications inside their studies (as well as in reality all consist of articles from DIVA), and many bigger scale studies of US homosexual and lesbian mags 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 comprehensive remit.

The research from where this analysis is taken ended up being largely inspired by a need to deal with this space within our knowledge, and so a sample that is sizeable including all 95 problems of DIVA published amongst the launch problem in might 1994 and may also 2004, ended up being opted 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 period of manufacturing, and also this test allows a comprehensive diachronic analysis across a time period of crucial anal webcam social modification. It bridges two different years, a decade when the lesbian that is britishto utilize an inadequate but expedient construct) underwent significant alterations in regards to politics, legislation and her presence in main-stream news (cf. Turner, 2009 ). Generally speaking, desire to would be to create a synopsis of DIVA across ten years, describing accurately the existence and/or absence of, or modifications to, particular traits associated with the mag’s content; to explore the contexts of these faculties; and also to pursue a deeper, hermeneutic analysis for the substance regarding the mag and its particular (re)construction of lesbian identification.

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 ended up being taken, while the conversation additionally includes insights garnered utilizing two extra and complementary techniques: (quantitative) content analysis and (semi organized) interviews with key editorial staff. Content analysis ended up being conducted using each mag (coding kinds of content), each article (coding topic and individual reference) and every advertisement (coding item, regularity and size) while the device of research, enabling a form of ‘mapping’ of this sample. The interviews, with founding editor Frances Williams, her successor Gillian Rodgerson, present deputy editor and very long time staff author Louise Carolin and Kim Watson, that is now Millivres’ news and marketing manager but served for several years in advertisement product product sales and advertising, had been led by Chouliaraki and Fairclough’s ( 1999 , p. 62) advocacy of ethnographic work with discourse analytic jobs to be able to explore ‘the values, values and desires’ of individuals. The interviews had been created as a way of learning more about the founding for the magazine, its staff (functions, routines and laws), the emotions of these in jobs of energy, the imperatives lay out by the publisher and also the relationship between DIVA as well as its visitors.

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