A resident of the Greek island of Hasbos, known in antiquity as an important source of asbestos (orig. "hasbestos"). Pseudo-Pausanias records that the Hasbian poetesses were said to conduct rituals in which they danced in the flames with one another in fireproof garments and mimicked the rites of Sappho's followers, only to emerge unscathed, much to the chagrin of the poetesses of neighboring Lesbos.
Well, as a "breeder" with a lesbian sister and friends, I guess I don't find it all that funny. If someone has to explain the context of a word so that listeners don't get offended, then it's not the context that's offensive—it's the word. I also don't think of someone's being offended as a "P.C. wagon." Someone's feelings that this word is funny are just as valid as someone else's that it isn't.
Again, I can see how in certain circles it's used and understood jokingly. *shrugs* Eh. Enjoyed the conversation.
When I was in college in the late 80s and early 90s the term was LUG--Lesbian Until Graduation. I heard it from lesbian friends, talking about fears that they'd fall for someone who was only experimenting. I think it did say a lot about the people using it--it said they were scared of having their hearts broken. Like a lot of bitter words it was used to dispel or mask feelings of fear and vulnerability.
The norms in play, in my experience, were those of lesbians pissed off at breeders--a far nastier term in my book, though kind of funny in a perverse way.
It doesn't seem inherently insulting, if used in a reasonable context. Obviously any word can take on insulting overtones. I find it hard to get past the sheer ugliness of this word to the actual meaning. There do exist women who once considered themselves lesbians and no longer do. There also exist women who were (self-identified or not) lesbians in college, and afterward were not. When used accurately, it is a valid term. Now, when used in the sense of "She's going through a phase", it is indeed quite insulting, as if any life choice made other than societal norms is just a passing fancy than one will grow out of.
I can`t get on the PC wagon about this one. First, it`s funny, and that trumps all. Second, a sentiment (e.g. lesbian bitterness) isn`t necessarily invalid because it`s offensive. Certain judgmental, offensive words are valuable in their expression of the discourse of a particular marginalized community. In the same vein, I would never take umbrage at someone calling people cracker.
I agree with both rolig and chained--which partly explains my curt "No such thing" comment below. That is, it's a dismissive term and definitely laced with bitterness--though I do understand that it was coined as a joke.
Well, I understand everything that's been said here, and I don't mean to sound argumentative. But I'd like to just explain why I think it's an insulting term. There are many reasons, none of which I can articulate very well... First, I can't think of an equivalent for gay men who come out as hetero (which would also sound insulting for just the reason rolig says: it makes it sound as if being gay/lesbian is something changeable at will). Second, it does have bitterness in it, that's palpable (whether the person using the term is male, female, hetero, gay, bi, whatever). And third... it's just judgmental as hell.
I feel the same way about the term (which I heard exactly once in my life) "college lesbian." It's insulting and degrading on many levels—it's insulting to lesbians, insulting to women in general, insulting to young women, insulting to people in college... And I think it means much the same thing as this word.
Rolig puts it best: it says more about the person who uses it than it does about the person purportedly described by it.
That said, I can see how in some circles it could be used, and taken, jokingly.
Anyway... I'll refrain from further comment, but I did want to register that this term is offensive. Thanks for listening. :)
If I remember correctly (from my experience as the editor of a gay and lesbian newspaper), this word first emerged among lesbians in the early or mid-1990s as a way to describe women who at one time identified themselves as lesbians, perhaps for political reasons, or because it was the thing to do at whatever college they went to, but then eventually "came out" as heterosexual, often leaving their lesbian friends feeling betrayed and hurt (and maybe broken-hearted). The word is not meant to imply that lesbians can be "converted", or even that the "hasbian" was ever really a lesbian. The word carries a large dose of bitterness, I think. It may also reflect the unwillingness of many in the gay and lesbian community to truly accept the idea of bisexuality, particularly before the mid-1990s, which was when bisexual groups began to get organized and demand recognition from lesbian and gay organizations.
The word started as a kind of joke, and I think it is OK to use on that level, but as with many such words, it says as much about the one who uses it as it does about the person who is described by it.
I don't mean to insult anyone, but in my life the phenomenon of women who declared themselves gay as the day is long walking into the sunset with a long-term boyfriend common indeed. Maybe it's Vancouver.
Why, because there's no such thing as an ex-lesbian? What's wrong with making up words to describe things that don't exist? I can't imagine anyone actually using this word, unless perhaps to describe a lesbian who was formerly very scene but now lives the quiet life.