When I come out to kids in my classes (I have to do it regularly because we get a new batch every year) I like to demonstrate my lack of gay superpowers. I prance around the classroom trying to cause a major storm or an earthquake. I even direct my evil gay ray at a random kid in an effort to influence his/her sexuality. We all stare with interest at the kid in question, who looks slightly embarrassed. We wait. The kid does not sprout a rainbow halo or even hum a show tune. We ask if he or she feels any different than they did before I exercised my evil powers. The kid shakes its head. We are disappointed. I assure the class that when my gay superpowers kick in they will know because we will have 10 straight (!) snow days just before my reports are due.
The ability to influence the weather and the sexuality of the people around me are not the only superpowers which have sadly failed to manifest themselves. According to Jeremy Clarkson, R should be able to flick through the jobs section of the newspaper and demand any job she chooses. She is Black and a lesbian. The only reason, as far as I can see, that she isn’t running the BBC is because she is not also a Muslim. I have tried persuading her to convert; we could do with the extra cash.
Last week we were also attributed with the power to suck all of the joy out of the British public. “Man-hating, comfortable-shoe-wearing, hairy-legged lesbians” dictate what can and can’t be printed in the British press. We removed the topless ladies from Page 3 of the Sun and condemned the British male to never seeing any boobs again, ever.
Fortunately, I and my evil man-hating, comfortable-shoe-wearing, hairy-legged sistren were defeated. Page 3 has been reinstated and boobs are restored to the British male. Our dastardly plan came close to fruition, but the plucky and oppressed observers of boobs fought us so valiantly that we were forced to retire, hissing and spitting.
Leaving aside the obvious misunderstanding of the relationship between lesbians and boobs, I do find it somewhat trying to have such power ascribed to me by public perception, and yet to be so powerless in real life. The rhetorical device of casting the oppressed as the oppressor is particularly cruel because it highlights exactly what we haven’t got – power.