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We’ve won, lesbians. We’ve penetrated the realm of emojis

Snark aside, queer women should never be invisible.

If you’re in the middle of writing an earnest blog post about lesbian invisibility, stop this second. If you’re at a protest against lesbophobia, a fundraiser for lesbians with allergies, or a dyke march, go home now. After a struggle that can be traced back millennia, to Sappho’s fight for her right to mournfully finger women on an island, the battle is finally over. And ladies, we won. We’ve done it, lesbians, we’ve penetrated the realm of emojis.

Emojis, of course, are those tiny pictures of things you send to people in texts/WhatsApp messages, etc when you’re feeling intimidated by the richness and depth of language, and are looking to outsource your creativity. “I’m facing a level of existential doubt and dissatisfaction heretofore unbeknownst to mankind. Words fail me; here’s a little tractor instead.”

These new guys on the emoji scene include Piper and Alex from Orange Is The New Black, a fish taco (for the love of God), and a Tegan and Sara album. This unprecedented projection of lesbian iconography on to the screen of digital communication is sure to change the medium forever.  I mean, I’ve lost count of the number of times my emotions could only be expressed by a graphical representation of a turkey baster, and now I can do exactly that. It’s overwhelming to think that, up until so recently, I’d have to settle for the words, “I’m feeling turkey baster-y.”

Snark aside though, queer women should never be invisible. And I doff my trucker hat to Katie Streeter and Kimberly Linn, the designers behind the lesbian emojis. Streeter and Linn simply saw a place in which lesbians weren’t represented and went about filling it with famously dykey things. Having said that, I wasn’t immediately sure what their unicorn emoji represented, and weird shit happens when you Google “Lesbian unicorn”.

But anyway, where to go from here? Now that we can get married, be on TV and text one another miniscule pictures of innuendo-drenched Mexican delicacies, what could possibly be next for lesbian visibility? You so rarely see any lesbian neo-Nazis so, yet again, we fall behind gay men there. But maybe, for once, that’s a good thing. What about breakfast cereal though? Count to three and a lesbian, somewhere, has just finished a bowl of Alpen. But what’s on the box? Mountains. Great lumbering, bland mountains. It’s probably about time that Coco, the Coco Pops monkey (who everyone thinks is a bloke, for some reason), came out as a lesbian too.

I’m actually quite chuffed that I can now electronically emote in Lesbianese. It’s almost like Polari, the original slang of gay subculture, getting a 21st-century makeover. Next we’ll be 3D printing strap-ons and plonking a statue of Sue Perkins peering into an oven on Mars. But back to the present. I don’t think there’s any doubt that the BuzzFeed Age is the best time there’s ever been to be a lesbian.

Eleanor Margolis is a freelance journalist, whose "Lez Miserable" column appears weekly on the New Statesman website.

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Hannan Fodder: This week, Daniel Hannan gets his excuses in early

I didn't do it. 

Since Daniel Hannan, a formerly obscure MEP, has emerged as the anointed intellectual of the Brexit elite, The Staggers is charting his ascendancy...

When I started this column, there were some nay-sayers talking Britain down by doubting that I was seriously going to write about Daniel Hannan every week. Surely no one could be that obsessed with the activities of one obscure MEP? And surely no politician could say enough ludicrous things to be worthy of such an obsession?

They were wrong, on both counts. Daniel and I are as one on this: Leave and Remain, working hand in glove to deliver on our shared national mission. There’s a lesson there for my fellow Remoaners, I’m sure.

Anyway. It’s week three, and just as I was worrying what I might write this week, Dan has ridden to the rescue by writing not one but two columns making the same argument – using, indeed, many of the exact same phrases (“not a club, but a protection racket”). Like all the most effective political campaigns, Dan has a message of the week.

First up, on Monday, there was this headline, in the conservative American journal, the Washington Examiner:

“Why Brexit should work out for everyone”

And yesterday, there was his column on Conservative Home:

“We will get a good deal – because rational self-interest will overcome the Eurocrats’ fury”

The message of the two columns is straightforward: cooler heads will prevail. Britain wants an amicable separation. The EU needs Britain’s military strength and budget contributions, and both sides want to keep the single market intact.

The Con Home piece makes the further argument that it’s only the Eurocrats who want to be hardline about this. National governments – who have to answer to actual electorates – will be more willing to negotiate.

And so, for all the bluster now, Theresa May and Donald Tusk will be skipping through a meadow, arm in arm, before the year is out.

Before we go any further, I have a confession: I found myself nodding along with some of this. Yes, of course it’s in nobody’s interests to create unnecessary enmity between Britain and the continent. Of course no one will want to crash the economy. Of course.

I’ve been told by friends on the centre-right that Hannan has a compelling, faintly hypnotic quality when he speaks and, in retrospect, this brief moment of finding myself half-agreeing with him scares the living shit out of me. So from this point on, I’d like everyone to keep an eye on me in case I start going weird, and to give me a sharp whack round the back of the head if you ever catch me starting a tweet with the word, “Friends-”.

Anyway. Shortly after reading things, reality began to dawn for me in a way it apparently hasn’t for Daniel Hannan, and I began cataloguing the ways in which his argument is stupid.

Problem number one: Remarkably for a man who’s been in the European Parliament for nearly two decades, he’s misunderstood the EU. He notes that “deeper integration can be more like a religious dogma than a political creed”, but entirely misses the reason for this. For many Europeans, especially those from countries which didn’t have as much fun in the Second World War as Britain did, the EU, for all its myriad flaws, is something to which they feel an emotional attachment: not their country, but not something entirely separate from it either.

Consequently, it’s neither a club, nor a “protection racket”: it’s more akin to a family. A rational and sensible Brexit will be difficult for the exact same reasons that so few divorcing couples rationally agree not to bother wasting money on lawyers: because the very act of leaving feels like a betrayal.

Or, to put it more concisely, courtesy of Buzzfeed’s Marie Le Conte:

Problem number two: even if everyone was to negotiate purely in terms of rational interest, our interests are not the same. The over-riding goal of German policy for decades has been to hold the EU together, even if that creates other problems. (Exhibit A: Greece.) So there’s at least a chance that the German leadership will genuinely see deterring more departures as more important than mutual prosperity or a good relationship with Britain.

And France, whose presidential candidates are lining up to give Britain a kicking, is mysteriously not mentioned anywhere in either of Daniel’s columns, presumably because doing so would undermine his argument.

So – the list of priorities Hannan describes may look rational from a British perspective. Unfortunately, though, the people on the other side of the negotiating table won’t have a British perspective.

Problem number three is this line from the Con Home piece:

“Might it truly be more interested in deterring states from leaving than in promoting the welfare of its peoples? If so, there surely can be no further doubt that we were right to opt out.”

If there any rhetorical technique more skin-crawlingly horrible, than, “Your response to my behaviour justifies my behaviour”?

I could go on, about how there’s no reason to think that Daniel’s relatively gentle vision of Brexit is shared by Nigel Farage, UKIP, or a significant number of those who voted Leave. Or about the polls which show that, far from the EU’s response to the referendum pushing more European nations towards the door, support for the union has actually spiked since the referendum – that Britain has become not a beacon of hope but a cautionary tale.

But I’m running out of words, and there’ll be other chances to explore such things. So instead I’m going to end on this:

Hannan’s argument – that only an irrational Europe would not deliver a good Brexit – is remarkably, parodically self-serving. It allows him to believe that, if Brexit goes horribly wrong, well, it must all be the fault of those inflexible Eurocrats, mustn’t it? It can’t possibly be because Brexit was a bad idea in the first place, or because liberal Leavers used nasty, populist ones to achieve their goals.

Read today, there are elements of Hannan’s columns that are compelling, even persuasive. From the perspective of 2020, I fear, they might simply read like one long explanation of why nothing that has happened since will have been his fault.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @JonnElledge.