How to be a real lesbian. 'The pink sofa' and some fictions of identity



Publication Details

Hickey-Moody, A., Rasmussen, M. & Harwood, V. (2008). How to be a real lesbian. 'The pink sofa' and some fictions of identity. In S. Driver (Eds.), Queer Youth Cultures (pp. 123-138). USA: SUNY.


This chapter draws upon, and critically considers, select textures of a contemporary queer youth cultural formation. We focus on the production of a particular lesbian youth subculture on the World Wide Web, via a site called The Pink Sofa. Building upon Giroux's ("Making the Pedagogical More Political") assumption that culture plays "a central role in producing narratives, metaphors, and images that exercise a powerful pedagogical force over how people think of themselves and their relationship to others", we read The Pink Sofa as a popular and accessible kind of public pedagogy. We explore some situated examples of queer/lesbian identity construction online and consider how The Sofa produces and also inhibits the agency of young women who build online "Sofa identities." In doing so, we allude to the idea of being a "real" lesbian. This "real" lesbian identity is a powerful, yet often meta-textural idea that haunts many discussions on The Sofa forums. In this chapter we are interested to take up these points and consider The Sofa as a kind of public pedagogy and site of cultural production that facilitates a range of performances of sexual and gender identity.

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