“One day, I stopped having sex with men”, thus concludes the prologue to Ovidie’s latest essay. Even if the author does not turn it into a feminist manual, she denounces how heterosexuality is not free for her and that “since the world is world, women have exchanged sex for something. Material goods, security, love, revaluation”. Taking up Monique Wittig’s expression, she decided to “break the heterosexual contract”. It is not that Ovidie “hates men, but she hates them in bed”. Undoubtedly therein lies the difference with the current trend towards misandry.
For some years now, we have been hearing young women, activists within movements that are described as neo-feminist, making the choice to unconditionally refuse all amorous and sexual relationships with men, even though their choice of object and their attraction was previously towards the other sex. They recognize themselves under the signifier misandry, arguing their decision by rejecting all patriarchal domination and presenting cisgender men as potential aggressors, particularly sexual aggressors. A young female patient, a gluer who denounces feminicide, received at the BAPU, does not hesitate to generalise and universalise these crimes with this formula: “men kill us with impunity”.
A sexual and love relationship is possible with a man provided that he is trans. The clinic with students, in the forefront of the current feminist movements, teaches us about what presents itself more on the side of the rules and new norms to be followed rather than on the singularity of an unconscious choice of object. More often than not, this “forced” choice of homosexuality is made in an inconsequential shift against the background of an already pre-existing gender fluidity. The encounter of bodies is not necessary, as the relationship can be built in the register of sisterhood and shared militancy.
These young women do not present themselves as homosexuals – a rarely used signifier – but as “lesbians”. What is the difference? It would seem that it is a will to inscribe this act in the radical feminist movement of their elders.
Indeed, “political lesbianism” is a movement that developed in the late 1960s as a mean of combating sexism and heterosexuality, which, it is argued, is a social construct. This more radical movement urged women to reject sexual relations with men, and thus marriage and heteronormative family life. It invited them to question their own submission to the heteropatriarchal system. In France, it was M. Wittig, MLF activist and author of The Straight Mind and Other Essays, who theorised political lesbianism, proposing it as an adaptation of the patriarchal system, rather than a will to abolish it.
It would seem that the contemporary version goes even further in the direction of radicality. It is refined to what we note as the effects of the “evaporation of the father”.
References from the author:
 Ovidie, La Chair est triste hélas, Paris, Julliard, 2023, p. 23. (Untranslated in English), our translation.
 Ibid., p. 23.
 Ibid., p. 81.
 University Psychological Support Office.
 Women’s liberation movement.
 Wittig M., The Straight Mind and Other Essays, Boston, Beacon Press, 1992.
 Lacan J., « Note sur le père », La Cause du désir, n°89, march 2015, p. 8. (untranslated in English), our translation.
Translation: Ana-Marija Kroker
Proofreading: Tracy Hoijer-Favre
Picture : © Marie Van Roey