A Lesbian Etiquette Guide to Stealing Rural Farms

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for Autostraddle, and not just because we’ve gotten to continue our celebration of the Bisexual Takeover of 2016. The anticipation of which pop star is coming out next has been reason enough to get us out of bed in the morning, but we’ve also been blessed by Obama’s vetting of the Lesbian Takeover of America’s Rural Southern Farms (Article Nine, Section Two of The Gay Agenda).

And it’s not just us who can’t get enough of this news! The mainstream media has gotten a hold of it and some people are so excited that they’re literally screaming about it on the radio! Have you ever cared about anything so much that you’ve screamed into a microphone about it, every syllable being amplified, no – empowered? I want you to really think about that.

Truthfully, though, this is not what I saw being chosen for The Gay Agenda’s next phase of implementation. I was hoping if anything was going to be vetted by POTUS it was going to be the Lesbian Takeover of America’s Got Talent (Article Twelve, Section One of The Gay Agenda) because I think it’s fair to estimate three billion people watch it and quite frankly I’d love to be a judge, but it’s important to remember that rural farms are the heart of America and therefore their destruction is the most strategic, if boring, choice.

So, what does this mean for us? Now that everything’s been made public, the roll out on this is going to be quick. Things are going to get complicated and you’re going to have questions! What rural town from which you’ll steal land is best for you? Should you diversify and steal from multiple areas? Should you stake claim on your new land by driving a dildo into the ground?

Then there’s the culture difference. Not to mention the circumstances surrounding your acquaintance! There’s a lot to consider here and you’re probably thinking there’s just no way there’s precedence for something like this. And guess what? You’re wrong. I’ve been stealing rural southern farms as a lesbian for years. Here’s everything I’ve learned about the etiquette of it.


Write Them A ‘Thank You’ Note

If you remember nothing else today remember this: the thank you note in a rural southern setting is as imperative as central AC. It’s also your most invaluable power move.

Now technically because you’ve stolen this farm it’s not something your neighbors have necessarily given you, but still, aren’t you grateful to have it? There’s no way this can come off as pouring salt in the wounds, so get elaborate with it! “Hey y’all, thank you sooooooooooooooooooo much for this wonderful gift! We can’t wait to see where this ‘grows” with you!’ and then maybe a bunch of cry-laughing emojis.


Give Them A Copy of You’ve Got Mail

In this scenario we’re essentially the Fox Books to their Shop Around the Corner. This will be a playful suggestion of where things can progress from a state of tension if you just give it time and communicate via calculated omissions about your true self and intentions. Maybe like in the movie you’ll even get to a point where you share a dog together, as is custom in your culture.


Bring Them A Baked Good, You Asshole!

Bringing a baked good to a new neighbor is usually the responsibility of the established residents, but in this case you sort of owe them for forcibly removing their old neighbors. Bake your pie, tart or turnover with ingredients from your newly stolen farm!


Never Talk Money

Specifically, how much you’re going to make from your newly stolen farm.


Throw Your All White Party Between Easter and Labor Day

As is custom in lesbian tradition, we honor those people who have gone before us. To Dinah Shore’s All White Party. Still, that’s no reason to be untimely (read: tacky) about it.


Walk Curbside of the Women You’re Recruiting

There was a time when lesbians could take straight women on recruitment walks without the inconveniences or dangers of road traffic. Just free floating down a path together as plans for the recruitment cookout were set in place. Now it’s custom that when we take these walks with potential draftees we remain curbside to protect their vulnerable state.


Talk in Euphemisms

Around company it’s best to talk about harsh or private realities by cushioning them with softened language. After all, disassociating has been a part of southern rural life since the War of Northern Aggression! Sometimes something as simple as a woman being pregnant is too rooted in realism and she instead becomes a woman that is “expecting.” So: when referencing your lesbian bed death, explain that your lesbian bed has “passed” rather than “died.”


Draw Your Blinds When Brushing Your Gal Pal’s Hair

Brushing our lesbian partner’s hair as a means of intimacy is a thing we all do at night. Except now you’ll have to do it with your blinds drawn, because in the rural south it’s considered uncouth for a lady to be seen grooming in public. Herself or others! This one’s a bit old school, but so are you now.

Los Angeles based writer. Let's keep it clean out there!

Erin has written 207 articles for us.

46 Comments

  1. So, what if we’re stealing land in New England? I mean, I’d assume that most of the same etiquette applies. Would it be considered inappropriate and/or try-hard to send the neighbors a blueberry pie? Would that smack too much of queering their cultural heritage (which, of course, we’re TOTALLY not doing…)

  2. I get the fun in showing Rush Limbaugh’s absurd fear in lesbian farmers taking over, but this is just gross. The land that you’re joking about stealing is already stolen. Though this is supposed to be humorous, this piece reads as a settler colonial guide for queers. Like really Autostraddle? There’s thousands of folks fighting to protect Indigenous land and combat the DAPL and hardly getting media attention (have y’all written anything about it?) and you post this piece about stealing land? I’ve been really proud to see the discussions of whiteness and white privilege on the site over the years, but y’all really need to interrogate what it means to be a settler

    • Protests Over Construction of Oil Pipeline Ramp Up, Judge To Decide Its Fate Next Month

      Yes, in this case Erin is aware that the land is already stolen. She is very much aware of what it means to be a settler. As she says, “After all, disassociating has been a part of southern rural life since the War of Northern Aggression!” She’s attacking the cognitive dissonance of rural white America. It’s supposed to read like a colonial guide for queers, following the absurd mindset of the assholes we’d allegedly be “stealing” from.

      Now, would I like to see AS cover more indigenous issues? Totally. We’ve had some articles by indigenous writers and I’d love to see more of their work too!

      Is the satire really that unaware to you? Because I’m totally willing to listen to more of your points. Heck, I just posted like an hour ago criticizing an endorsement of “The Oregon Trail” video game by AS for the same concerns about colonization.

      • I totally get the whole “we’re making fun of silly conservatives who are afraid of catching the gay” but I agree with Britt that the way it was done isn’t funny. Colonialism jokes made by people living on stolen land aren’t funny. I doubt autostraddle would condone an article about all the ways lesbians can molest other women in locker rooms, even if it were tongue in cheek at those accusing them of that. It’s in poor taste. If the pipeline is too quaint and rural to feel like active colonialism maybe we could talk Palestine.

        • Is there some reason you think AS considers the pipeline “quaint” or “rural”?

          And sure, we can talk Palestine. Particularly if we keep in mind the Jews who were native to the area when having the discussion. There’s no comparison to Israel/Palestine and the First Nations.

      • I get satire, and thanks for the correction with the DAPL article.

        Reading the piece, without knowing the author, I don’t see this understanding of being a settler. Following AS’s really amazing apology which ended on the note “As always, we welcome your feedback. We are grateful for the accountability you provide to us, and the ways you push us to be better.”

        The repetition of the phrase “stealing land” and having it treated as a joke, without any written acknowledgement that the land is already stolen or of current and historic land displacement, really bothers me. I was hoping that as a queer person of color I could make a decolonial critique and voice my concerns without having my intelligence questioned.

        • Totally. I wasn’t trying to condescend or question your intelligence. I was only trying to discuss it with you! If you felt that way, that certainly wasn’t my intention.

          I suppose personally, I take it as a given that the land is stolen. We’re talking about white rural conservative southerners. Most of us take it for granted that such people are typically oblivious or apathetic toward their ignorance.

          I’m all for the intersection of various issues. Do you think any such joke about the invasion of cishet white people spaces in North America should include a caveat that none of their spaces are theirs to begin with? What’s the solution? Is it a matter of not joking about lesbian farmers at all or is it just the lone phrase “stealing the land”?

          Please note, I’m not being facetious nor am I intending to insult your intelligence or imply you’re overreacting. I’m asking sincere questions and genuinely interested in what the solution would be in your view.

          • Joanna,just as an aside one of the main points I took issue with in this piece but hadn’t commented about was the premise that “such people” aka the rural and “ignorant” poor’s cultural differences are something to laugh at. Ashurredly had brought that up as well, and I think by all means we should make fun of bigotry, but not with a dissmisive and dehumanizing toss of the head toward people without a whole lot of prielege.

          • That’s fine, but what about those of us with a poor, rural, ignorant background? That’s MY background. Darn skippy I make fun of it. Erin understands that. I’m pretty sure her background is similar. We’re not being dismissive or dehumanizing them, that’s what *they* do to *us*.

            A lot of poor white rural conservatives consistently vote against their own interests. They reject government “interference” in their lives. They only want their bigoted little bubble, their guns, and to be left alone by “outside influence”.

            We get to make fun of that. Especially if it’s where we’re coming from. “Without a whole lot of privilege” you say. Sure, they’re poor… which I said is at their own behest. They’re also in absolute control of those areas. They are the very definition of cishet white privilege. If you aren’t white or cishet and you’re a stranger? You’re screwed. They think they own the land. They think they own the culture. Small towns can be viciously autocratic. Do you know what it’s like to live in that environment as an outsider? The only times I’ve ever been assaulted off the job were by poor, rural, white, cishet conservatives.

            So at the end of the day, I very much think people have a right to make fun of their own background and culture they were raised in. Are we going to tell POC they can’t make fun of poor white people or is it just because Erin’s white too and maybe perceived as not poor (and most writers are poor)?

            Because it sounds like a lot of your basis is “woe is poor rural white people” and that just doesn’t fly with me.

    • Yeah, agreed. I really didn’t think this piece was funny at all. Also…it felt like some kind of weird erasure of rural queer people and the weird targeting of the South. Those aren’t equivalent to settler colonialism obviously, but the piece is just hitting wrong on multiple fronts.

          • No, Rush’s statement suggests that Rush was erasing people. 😛

            Honestly, I don’t see why we’re expending energy criticizing someone intelligent and aware like Erin when she’s lampooning the ignorance and hate of Rush Limbaugh and his legion of fans.

            Erin “gets it” guys.

      • I agree with you that something is a little off about this satire. It feels like it’s not jabbing enough at Rush Limbaugh and too much at white southerners. The article is mainly satirizing Southern culture, when white rural southerners and their culture aren’t responsible for what Rush Limbaugh said. I’m also not a rural southerner myself and Erin’s sense of humor has been hit-or-miss for me anyway, so I’m willing to accept that this article just isn’t my cup of tea, but I wanted to let you (ashurredly) know that you’re not alone in your reaction to the piece.

        • I’m genuinely curious, Emsley—who do you think makes up the audience for FOX News and radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh? What audience and culture do you think Rush is tapping into? Granted, it’s not just white rural southerners, but if you think for a moment that the majority of that culture doesn’t parrot and echo what Rush said, you’re right… you’re not a rural southerner yourself. 😛

          • it just gets a little tired sometimes, poking at the south as if its problems exist in a bubble and the rest of the country is progressive and perfect. when the target is always the south, it comes off that way kinda. that not to say that the south doesn’t deserve criticism because of course it does, but yeah.

          • And isn’t Erin someone with a southern background? Isn’t she allowed to poke fun at it? Is it, in any way, “problematic” that she does so? Because if it’s just tiring you don’t need to read the article. 😛

          • i never said she wasn’t allowed to and i never used the word “problematic” but cool man. it is, as a matter of fact, problematic.

            i think erin is very funny, and i thought this article was funny also, though i appreciate you suggesting that i just not read things unless i agree with 1000 percent of what’s contained within those things. i enjoyed her knowing jabs at some of the ridiculousness of southern culture. however, like i said, poking at the south is kinda an easy target. i neither said nor meant that it was “tiring” to me personally. i said that it was tired. see also: “played out,” “overdone.” always choosing the south as the target contributes to a mindset where the assholes and the people with problems are *those people over there.* for the rest of america, the south contains those people over there. all the isms are actually only problems in the south and nowhere else. that’s why i’m taking a little bit of issue. i think don’t think that’s unreasonable.

          • So Erin automatically is contributing to this problem and isn’t aware… ? Or what? I’m honestly trying to determine the point here.

          • my point is leaving a comment with my opinion on an article which caused that opinion to come to mind. as you do.

          • All right. Am I misinterpreting your tone as defensive… ? Because that’s what I don’t understand. I just wanted discussion and elucidation. 😛

          • i just dunno what more there is to say about it. i feel like i explained where i was coming from. i’ve spent the majority of my years alive in the south, so it’s something i notice a lot and have put some thought into. went ahead and tossed in my two cents because it seemed relevant to the conversation going on. i don’t got a nickel, tho, just those two cents. 😛

  3. I’ve been to the Dinah Shore White Party and will admit it was lots of fun. So, a lesbian/queer women farming version of that should be just as good, specially since there will be the change of homemade lesbian hooch to drink!

    Can we combine the euphemism, recruitment, and baked section into one? Cause pie can work for all three.

  4. “Should you stake claim on your new land by driving a dildo into the ground?”

    Oh my god, this sounds like an amazing idea. I was always bored by the sight of plains upon plains whenever visiting families in the Midwest rural areas, but just imagine instead of boring wheat fields, there were random dildos sticking out the ground to mark territory.

    • And this is what I’m sayin’ above…I love those plains. They are gorgeous and home and soothing to drive through. They are home to me. Dildos sticking out of the ground is a funny image, to be sure, (aside from the weird colonial implications), but they’re not necessary to beautify those “boring” rural areas in the Midwest.

      • Why do dildos have weird colonial implications compared to… everything else built on North America?

        Some people find the plains boring. They complain about fields. Don’t take personal offense.

        I tend to hate seeing too many fields (though nowhere near as much as I hate urban sprawl), but I adore the Great Plains and I wish we had far more serious efforts into preservation.

  5. Nowadays lesbian farmers get more props from fellow farmers when they save a farm from a developer. It is the new straight family that moves into the development that used to be a farm, that draws the ire of all the farmers.

  6. Eep no way, white person making jokes about stealing land. It being satire doesn’t somehow give this a free pass. If you benefit from racist colonial violence you do not get to satirise it.

    It’d be one thing for a First Nations person to write satire like this, quite another for someone who benefits from living on stolen land.

    • Is Erin joking about stealing land from First Nations peoples? No.

      Because of colonization, are white people never allowed to joke about stealing anything in North America ever?

      In this case, is Erin also a victim of cishet white majority violence and oppression? Is that specifically what she is targeting with her satire?

      If people want to get this upset and preach at the choir, I’d really, really like to see some constructive clarifications to the argument.

      • Agreed. As someone who grew up in a culture very much like the one Erin is lampooning, I was amused. Perhaps I assumed because she was so “nail on the head” that she had experience living in such a culture? It’s just too rich an opportunity for satire, this imagined idea that there aren’t already rural lesbian farmers, and that the current Federal Government is supporting this chapter of the “gay agenda”, and that Rush Limbaugh is stirring up a fury about it, and that people like my (cis-white heterosexual) uncle are actually all upset about this imagined future condition.

        I think it’s a stretch to imagine that this article is supportive of colonialism. I think the conversation about who stole the land first is interesting and instructive and always something to keep in mind, but it doesn’t change the ridiculousness of the articles that came out in the media about government-supported lesbian farmers coming to steal your land.

        • There could be an article about, say, how ridiculous it is to assume lesbians are stealing land given that the land was already stolen but that might require actual reflection and depth to the satire. Something can be satire and also accept some of the problematic assumptions of the thing it satirizes, which is what’s happening here. Also I think the folks who are like “it’s just satire!” are seriously dodging questions about the positions of white queers as settlers.

          • I’ve had very few of my questions answered, so what is it you’d like directly answered yourself?

            Incidentally, we already know how ridiculous it is to assume lesbians are stealing land given that the land was already stolen. Every satire doesn’t need to be elementary with dozens of disclaimers. I don’t see this as an issue of lacking reflection or depth. I think it’s an issue of people over-thinking and implying the writer isn’t already aware of any deeper issues whatsoever (which is patently untrue).

            See, you’re implying there’s no reflection or depth (it’s a silly little satire piece). On what basis do you think Erin is lacking depth or reflection? That the silly satire piece isn’t an op-ed on First Nations sovereignty? Should her articles on clothing include op-eds on slave labor in sweatshops?

            I’m just not seeing why a line is being drawn in the sand on this. I wish more people had actually posted on the pipeline article instead of getting bent out of shape over something unrelated.

      • Because of colonization, are white people never allowed to joke about stealing anything in North America ever?

        They aren’t allowed to joke about stealing land ever. That’s not a ridiculous line to draw.

        Also…this is like intersectionality 101. People can be oppressed by heteronormativity and patriarchy at the same time that they are privileged by whiteness.

        Idk, why not, say have more PoC writing humor pieces. I bet satire from a two-spirit author about the irony of white men worrying about land being stolen would be pretty good.

        • Yes, people can be oppressed and privileged at the same time. That’s not some stunning revelation for most of us or for the author.

          I’d love to see more QPOC humor pieces! I’ve been delighted that we’re getting them. I agree, a two-spirit author writing such a piece would be funny.

          Perhaps if Erin hadn’t said “stealing land”, but “invading” would it have hit a better note for you? Is she still able to joke about the “gay agenda”?

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