BBC explores lesbianism at York

A recently aired BBC documentary saw a York academic discussing the fluidity of female sexuality.

Dawn Goes Lesbian, shown on BBC 3 over Easter, follows journalist Dawn Porter as she investigates the world of lesbianism.

Setting herself strict rules, Porter immerses herself in a world of women, moving in with lesbian housemates and working in a busy lesbian bar.

Also featuring interviews with experts on female sexuality, Porter visits Professor Stevi Jackson, Director of the Centre for Women’s Studies at the University of York.
“I don’t think we’re innately either heterosexual or gay,” Professor Jackson explains on the programme. “I think it’s very much a result of the culture we inhabit, which exerts very strong pressures towards being heterosexual in fact, and I think that without that, sexuality would be much more fluid. Most heterosexuals, men and women, never actually pause to question their sexuality,” she added.

At the Centre for Women’s Studies, Professor Jackson is a specialist in theories of gender and sexuality.

Dawn Porter is renowned for her documentaries challenging the effect of modern culture on women. These have included her controversial Super Slim Me, where she dropped to a dress size zero. She has also appeared on Channel 4’s Balls of Steel as the Man Tester, and on the popular series How to Look Good Naked.

Despite the title, Porter does not truly explore with lesbianism during the documentary; the month long investigation leads to some drunken kissing with housemates at most.

However, Professor Jackson has said she believes that ultimately, all women can be lesbians and that “life would be a whole lot more interesting” if they were.

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