The ending of “But I’m a Cheerleader” posed problems for our class. While trying to locate the exact reason we didn’t like it, we talked about how young the heroines were, how hard their life would be, and how unlikely it was for a high school couple to remain together. After thinking about it, I realized that for me, the conclusion was insufficient because it failed to answer the question I had wondered since the beginning. Is Megan really a lesbian? Though this might be crude or insensitive, it was never really clear to me whether Megan was being pressured into ‘experimenting’ or if her friends and family, in their vast stupidity, had somehow guessed right. If the key markers of homosexuality are vegetarianism, an aversion to bad kissing, and looking at girls, then there are a lot more lesbians out there than is currently suspected. The movie left me uneasy because I couldn’t quite fit Megan into any preformed role, and that uncertainty wasn’t resolved in by the ending. After two months of talking about gender roles and how to undermine them, I still think in terms of ‘is’ and ‘isn’t.’
I bring this up because of the stereotype of college being a place to explore new and exciting pathways, especially when women have relationships with other women. When one of my long-time friends came out recently, the reaction of another friend was: “When did you decide this?” Although my friend didn’t mean her comment in a negative way, it was seen as a disparaging accusation that homosexuality is a choice one can make. At Rhodes we have a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy that, while at the surface seemingly harmless, perpetuates the misunderstanding that prevents communication between students of opposing beliefs. As a campus, we have very little dialogue about important issues. We have pro and con sides of the dice, and each side is unwilling to even acknowledge the other. When we put the T-Shirt display on the quad, someone rips down part of the message. On a campus that is completely divested of communication, it is unsurprising that the gay and lesbian population doesn’t feel comfortable being more vocal. If groups like the GSA were more visible on campus, it would go far to help with this problem. My two friends had a misunderstanding of one another, not a fear of one another. Rhodes as a whole needs to communicate in order to educate both sides of the issue one why they feel the way they do.