Saturday, 21 March 2009

A Favorita - Stela se abre com Catarina

Bom, esta materia esta na revista O, THE OPRAH, MAGAZINE, o tema, que poucas vezes e falado, e um texto longo e esta em Ingles, bom mais quem tiver paciencia, vale a pena ler toda a entrevista, vou apenas colocar uma parte dela, que se resume na primeira pagina e na ultima, lembrando que sao 6 paginas, falando sobre o assunto.:

Why Women Are Leaving Men for Other Women
By Mary A. Fischer

Cynthia Nixon did it. Lindsay Lohan's doing it. TV shows are based on it. Is it our imaginations, or are wives and girlfriends ditching their men and falling in love with other women? New science says that sexuality is more fluid than we thought.
At a Halloween party last October, Macarena Gomez-Barris, dressed as a flamenco dancer, put out a bowl of her homemade guacamole and checked on the boiling pot of fresh corn in the kitchen. She'd recently separated from her husband of 12 years, and the friends streaming in now were eager to meet her new love, who, on this night, was the pirate in the three-cornered hat carving pumpkins outside. After her marriage broke up in 2007, few of those who knew Gomez-Barris had thought she'd be single for long—"a catch," they called her—and they were right.

An animated 38-year-old, Gomez-Barris seemed to have it all—a brilliant career, two children, striking looks. Her family had come to the United States from Chile when she was 2 to escape Augusto Pinochet's military dictatorship and to pursue the traditional American dream. While studying for her master's degree at UC Berkeley, she met a charismatic Chilean exile and fiction writer named Roberto Leni at a salsa club in San Francisco. "We had instant chemistry, and he was my soul mate," Gomez-Barris says. They married and eight years later had their first child, a son.

The trouble began after they moved to Los Angeles, where their daughter was born and Gomez-Barris's academic career took off at the University of Southern California. Leni spent his days caring for the house and children. "I was in the more powerful role," says Gomez-Barris, a PhD and an assistant professor in the sociology and American studies and ethnicity departments. "I made more money and was struggling to balance my work and home life."

"Immersed," is how Leni puts it. "She lived and breathed USC. All her friends were professors, and eventually I was obsolete. I'm nothing the system considers I should be as a traditional man. I'm not ambitious. I don't care that much about money. I was brought up among torture survivors, and the most important values were in the emotional realm of human experience, to soothe and support."

His noble ideals unfortunately clashed with day-to-day realities. "Someone had to care about making money to support our family," says Gomez-Barris. Despite efforts to save their relationship in counseling, they ended up separating.

Single again at 36, Gomez-Barris dated a few men, none seriously. "They were not so sure of themselves in their careers or financially," she says. "It was a time of real exploration and personal independence, and I became very rational about the kind of partner I wanted and needed"—someone, she hoped, who would match her intellectual ambitions but also take care of her and her children.

At a party one night last March, Gomez-Barris ran into Judith Halberstam, PhD, a professor of English, American studies and ethnicity, and gender studies at USC. They had met in 2004 and admired each other's scholarly accomplishments, occasionally finding themselves at the same campus parties. But while they shared an affinity for politics and social justice, they were seemingly miles apart in their private lives. Halberstam, nearly 10 years her senior, was openly gay.

That night, Halberstam, who had also broken up with a partner of 12 years, spotted Gomez-Barris standing across the room and thought, "Now, there's a really beautiful woman." "I saw her differently then and developed a big crush on her," says Halberstam. "Yet it made me nervous, given that I have a history of unrequited love with straight women. Then again, you don't choose who you love."

Gomez-Barris noticed that Halberstam was more attentive to her than usual, even flirtatious. "She got up and gave me the better seat, as if she wanted to take care of me. I was struck by that," she says. A few weeks later, Halberstam suggested they go out for dinner, and again, Gomez-Barris was impressed by qualities she liked. "She chose a Japanese restaurant, made reservations, picked me up at my place—on time. I felt attracted to her energy, her charisma. I was enticed. And she paid the bill. Just the gesture was sexy. She took initiative and was the most take-charge person I'd ever met."

Intrigued as Gomez-Barris was, it still never occurred to her that they would be anything more than friends. While she'd been attracted to women at times, she assumed she would eventually fall in love with another man. "I was still inscribed in a heterosexual framework that said only a man could provide for my kids and be part of a family," she says.

On a warm spring night in Malibu, after attending a film screening together, Gomez-Barris and Halberstam walked on the beach, a beautiful pink sunset rounding out a perfect evening. They kicked off their shoes and ran, laughing, through the rising tide. "At that point, things were charged with sex," Gomez-Barris remembers. Her feelings deepened, and not long afterward, they became lovers. "It was great, and it felt comfortable," she says of the night they first became intimate. "What blew me away was that afterward, Judith held me to her chest. So I got passion, intimacy, and sweetness. And I thought, 'Maybe I can get all the things I want now.'"
...Feminist theorists were among the first to begin to uncouple sex from gender. In 1949 French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir published her groundbreaking book The Second Sex, with the famous line, "One is not born, but becomes a woman," suggesting that classic female characteristics—passivity, shyness, nurturing—aren't just biological but are embedded by parents and culture. Today, after the women's liberation movement's crusade for equality between the sexes, thinkers like Halberstam are challenging the very definition of gender roles. And as with sexual desire, the idea of fluidity is gaining currency, as evidenced by an ever-expanding vocabulary: transgender, transsexual, transvestite, boi, heteroflexible, intersex. And many who embrace fluidity are adopting the term gender queer with pride. But as passionate as they are, those who live by their newly won gender freedom still find themselves at odds with the prevailing culture.

"I may hold Jian's hand in public," says DeClue (above, with Chen and Miles), who doesn't live with Chen, "but I am very aware of the looks I'm getting and prepared to receive disparaging words. I'm on guard." Last fall, her 8-year-old daughter felt the backlash over Proposition 8, the measure that bans gay marriage in California. "Some kids said they were yes on Prop 8, and Miles took this very personally," says DeClue. "She was hurt they would think her mom shouldn't be able to marry the person she loves because of being the same sex. Even in L.A. and in very inclusive schools, homophobia comes out." DeClue deals with such negative reactions by bringing up the subject with her daughter, and for the most part believes that Miles and her peers are more open to differences than any generation before. "I think the world will be in good hands when it's their turn to govern," DeClue says confidently.

Gomez-Barris is also trying to guide her daughter, now 3, and son, 5, through uncharted territory. At first they were confused over what gender to use for Jack, she says. But they came up with calling Halberstam "boy girl," and they love their mother's partner. At her son's school recently, when everyone had to show pictures of their parents, he simply produced three photos. "I have a mama, a papa, and Jack," he told the class.

"My dad is taller than your Jack," one kid said. That, Gomez-Barris says, laughing, was the only fallout.

"Jack is concerned about the future, worried that the kids will face discrimination," Gomez-Barris says, "but I tell him it depends on how we talk to them and their teachers." Then, too, the children are not the only members of Gomez-Barris's world who've had to adjust. When her own mother learned of her new relationship, she was shocked. "Women are our friends, not our lovers," she told her daughter. But Gomez-Barris understood. "Chile, where we come from, is a conservative Catholic country," she says. Eventually her mother came around. "I'm trying to be open-minded and realize that Macarena is a modern woman who has choices," she says now. "Jack is an extraordinary person, and he's very good with my daughter and the children."

Gomez-Barris has had a tougher challenge with some people in her community, from whom she's received the occasional insult and disapproving stare. "When you're in a heterosexual relationship, especially when you have a family with children, the world smiles on you," she says. "I'm having to adjust to the loss of the privileges and acceptance that comes with being in the hetero world, and it's hard at times."

Despite this, Gomez-Barris says she and Halberstam have an incredibly fulfilling relationship. "We're both very fiery. But we work as a team and have good communication. And Jack gives me space to be a mother and an academic," she says. "Jack is the right person for me."

Bridget Falcon, too, feels her efforts have all been worth it. On October 27, 2008, she and April Villa officially married in San Francisco. "It was the best thing we could have done," she says.

"We went through hell, but now we're in heaven."

*O, The Oprah Magazine.

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