Equality

NYC’s Nu-Lesbian “Muffia” Posse: An Actual Real-Life Lesbian’s Take

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Every trend piece starts with a writer identifying a group of people doing something that is supposedly new or unique. And every blog post about every trend piece tries to take it down by identifying either how

(A) The writer’s just trying to provoke reactions.
(B) The trend being written about is old news.
Or (C) The trend simply doesn’t exist outside of the article.

But rather than attempting to take down or understand New York Press writer Jamie Peck’s story about “the New York lesbians making their mark on the city” — hysterically titled “Meet The Muffia” — we decided to talk to AN ACTUAL REAL-LIFE LESBIAN in New York, to see what she thinks about it.

Peck’s story identifies a few of New York’s most notable up-and-coming lesbians, which include a musician, a restaurant owner, an artist, a DJ, an actor/playwright, and a nightlife “veteran.” The conceit:

The city’s flashy, influential gay men have, for one reason or another, often overshadowed its lesbians in the media and popular culture. But that may be slowly changing.

But, of course, is it? Or was this just a good excuse for someone to put “Muffia” in a headline? I talked to an actual New York Lesbian I know who, like many of the women Peck talked to, lives in Brooklyn. Meet Alexandra: 27, works in film, lives in Williamsburg.

RS: UM PLZ TELL ME HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS. Because my feelings are MIXED. What did you take away from the article?
Mainly that the author focused on a subset of lesbters. Oh! I just made a word! “Lesbian-hipsters.” Lesbsters? Sapphosters? Etc. Also, that there are Lesbians in Brooklyn doing creative stuff while not wearing Birkenstocks. Shocking!

But seriously, anything?
I did take away a few names I hadn’t heard. so that was news to me. But I know quite a few creative lesbians.

Do you feel like part of this so-called Muffia?
Yes and no.

O RLY?
I do in the sense that I guess I fall under the author’s definition — I don’t “look” like the stereotypical lesbian of the Lilith Fair Days, whatever that is. I work in film, but I like to have a diverse group of friends. I don’t just hang out with the “Muffia.” And, to be honest, although there’s plenty of community to be had, if you roll through [infamously hip Williamsburg gay bar] Metropolitan on a Wednesday night, it seems really clique-y. I mean, I know I fit in, but there are packs of friends and not tons of interaction between groups that don’t know each other.

You wouldn’t identify yourself as a member of The Muffia, then?
I would never say I’m in the Muffia. Because it sounds ridiculous.

So you’re saying that, from your vantage point, anything resembling a so-called L-Word-like community might be inaccurate?
Inaccurate in that it’s only a small part of what the NY lesbian scene is. This article was really only looking at a subsection. There are all sorts of non-Birkenstock lesbians doing other stuff. All walks of life. And the “hippie” lesbians do exist, you just won’t see them at Choice C*nts. I also think it’s ALWAYS been the case that there are lesbians that don’t fit a stereotypical mold, whether their creative types or businesswomen or whatever.

Like all humans! Would you assume, from reading it, that the piece’s author is a lesbian?
Either a lesbian who’s really digging on the Brooklyn Sapphoster scene and wanted to highlight, or a tourist who went out one night to Tandem and realized they could try to label another group of people… again. And by tourist, I mean someone who hasn’t been to Brooklyn. Ever. All of the women in the article look like just about every young woman on the L train, you know? So of course it’s a novelty to someone not accustomed to it. I think it’s kinda strange to label them as the “Muffia” because none of them said, “Oh, I want to create and be in this all-lesbian community.”

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Trend Pieces.
I think most of them want diversity, but it’s comforting to know you’re not alone… or something.

So, conclusion, Muffia: Good or Bad for Perception of Lesbians in New York?

Hm. Muffia is derived from Mafia. Therefore BAD. The idea of a diverse group of women doing their shit, hustling and kicking ass? FANTASTIC. This isn’t an illegal takeover to be feared by homophobes. It’s an embrace from people who’ve got a lot to give and i guess are finally getting some credit. Although, I’ve given [“Muffia” musician] Holly Miranda her credit since I saw her play with the Jealous Girlfriends four years ago.

So basically, lesbians are like everyone else in Brooklyn who has doing shit four years before everyone else in the world.
HEY. Holly Miranda rules. Hard. And so do these other women. I just don’t think we need to label it. We have enough of those. I realize I might get flack for saying all this…

No more than some invalid commenters, I promise. They’re harmless unless contagious. Though not a paid writer, do you think you could come up with something better than Muffia?
Probably! I mean, I got the ball rolling with “Lesbsters.”

Fair enough.
Let me get back to you on it. I can do better than that. Something that doesn’t invoke an illegal organization. Nor is pejorative. No, really, give me a minute to think on this.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]

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