forget big dick energy, it’s all about big dyke energy now
A lesbian has ten dicks, remember?
For the love of kd’s bangers, why are we all so obsessed with Big Dick Energy right now? Is it because it, you know, mentions the penis -- a thing so inherently weird that even my 99-year-old granny still thought they were funny six months before she carked it. And don’t even get me started on balls.
But not everything is about the schlong. Really what we should be focusing our powers on is Big Dyke Energy -- because who runs the world? Girls. That’s who. And frankly lesbians have had to bare the brunt of quite a lot of the patriarchy for a long time, so they should be celebrated. As Tasmanian comedian Hannah Gadsby says in her (incredible) Nanette, which touches on homophobia, gender and growing up in Tasmania, where being gay was illegal until 1997: “The only people who don’t think [a joke on a lesbian] funny are us lezzes, but we’ve gotta laugh, because if we don’t -- it proves the point.”
So why do we need BDE? In the dark ages, aka pre-2000, people who openly identified as lesbians were… thin on the ground: It wasn’t something you shouted about, per se. I’ve said it before, a million times, but lesbians got a lot of bad press. Ellen got fired from from her own TV show. Ross’s wife ran off with a woman on Friends and she was painted as an utter harridan; how could she want to be with Susan more than Ross, that big flaccid handshake of a man.
And while the gay narrative is so often either painted as tragic: the young gay lover dies in some awful way, or as camp: the gay best friend you can go shopping with and boy oh boy he will find you a steal on those killer shoes, their story was at least told. By comparison lesbians… so often just didn’t really have a place in popular culture.
But in a strange way, Dykes did. To me, the phrase ‘Dyke’ brings up someone who is more visibly gay -- even if that means butch in the old fashioned way. If identifying as queer is nebulous and mysterious, being a dyke is harder, more defined.
So what actually is Big Dyke Energy? It's confrontational and confident. It’s not necessarily flat shoe and flannel but it is unashamed and it’s proud, no make-up gorgeousness. It would fight for you, fall for you, make love to you and then make you a cup of tea in the morning. You know it could take someone down, either verbally, or well, with a banging right hook. It’s attractive in a 'makes very straight women go home and have a good think about things', way and it’s also someone who can competently put up a set of shelves. You know?
So here, in the name of all things Ellen Degeneres, we share our favourite owners of Big Dyke Energy.
Joan of Arc
Saint Joan of Arc, national symbol, warrior, heroine, dressed as a man, fastening her hose, boots and tunic together so she wouldn’t be raped -- executed and burned at the stake aged 19. In 1430, the farmer’s daughter led the French army to victory over the English at Orléans. She always carried her banner into battle and stated that she preferred it “forty times” better than a sword; she proclaimed never to have killed anyway. That said, the advice she gave to her army superiors had a profound effect on their decision making. Captured in 1431, the young woman was executed by the English and their French collaborators, but her Big Dyke Energy lives on.
One year, I had salmonella and was in bed for two weeks. All I could do as I lay there, sweating like a raw chicken breast, was watch every YouTube clip of Ellen Degeneres and her wife Portia De Rossi available. Reader, her Big Dyke Energy was a balm so powerful that it soothed and healed me. Where would I be without her? Probably still flailing, dehydrated in bed tbh.
“What use am I to her, to us, if I'm living against my own grain?,” says Cate Blanchett, as Carol in the film of the same name, which tells the story of Carol Aird, and her intimate relationship with a much younger woman, Therese Belivet. IRL Cate might be married to a man, but that doesn’t stop her stuffing as much BDE into her pale pink suit as humanly possible. Bonus fact, every time she wears that suit, another lesbian is born.
The American actress dated Madonna, and I can only imagine it takes some serious Big Dyke Energy to let Madonna spread her jam on your toast.
Tessa Thompson and Janelle Monae
One day, hopefully in a not too distant future, mainstream publications will manage to interview a celebrity without asking them who they are bumping uglies with. And let’s take a moment to pause on the fact that, it only becomes a question if it is speculative that said person might be something other than straight -- or present as straight. You wouldn’t ask a married man if he was gay, would you? That said, in a recent interview Tessa Thompson did address the fact that she was dating Janelle Monae. And let’s face it, anyone who wears these magnificent trousers has enough Big Dyke Energy for two.
Quite obviously, big, big dyke energy.
Although she has never confirmed nor denied being an actual lesbian, Queen Latifah has got Big Dyke Energy. The Ladies First singer took the bull by the proverbial horns, when, aged just 19, she made her mark by rapping about the issues of black women. Topics included harassment on the streets, domestic violence and relationship issues. Think feminist anthems are scarce in hip-hop now? Imagine how challenging they were to the status quo in 1989. On top of that, the Queen has influenced some other holders of Big Dyke Energy -- Eve, Missy Elliott, Remy Ma, Ms Dynamite and Foxy Brown, to name a few.
“I’ve just got a sudden urge to say something that I’ve never, uhm, really been able to air in public,” says Jodie, looking both nervous and excited standing on stage as she received a lifetime achievement Golden Globe in 2013. “Uh, um, a declaration that I am nervous about, but I’m going to put it out there, loud and proud,” she rambles, “I’m single… and I hope you won’t be disappointed that there won’t be a big coming out because I came out a thousand years ago in the stone age, in those quaint days when a girl could open up to friends and co-workers. But now I am told that every celebrity has to address rumours of their private life with a press conference and a reality show.” Big. Dyke. Energy.
Shane from The L Word
Technically not a real person but played by Katherine Moennig (also a holder of Big Dyke Energy), Shane held her sexual powers in her skinny jeans and array of snazzy waistcoats. No woman was safe from her -- such was her influence, and if you know about the chart, well, you’ll know fine well that all roads lead to Shane.
Yes, I know that last week we said she had Big Dick Energy but she’s also got Big Dyke Energy, and I know because I made it up.
Gwendoline Christie, Missy Elliot, Blanche from The Golden Girls, Kristen Stewart, Cynthia Nixon, kd Lang, Ellen Page, Shirley Manson, anyone ever who has actually fought the fight.
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.