We’re all familiar with one of the ways in which straight men casually express their homophobia. It’s the thing where they distance themselves from any action or activity that might be interpreted as gay. They won’t hold hands with their male friends because that’s “gay.” They won’t wear certain articles of clothing because somehow that’s “gay” as well, and getting them to admit that they think a male celebrity is good-looking is like pulling teeth. I know this because I’ve tried.

Straight women generally do the opposite. Most of them are very affectionate with their female friends. They express their love for them freely and they don’t feel the need to say “no homo” in the process. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but what happens when they take it a few steps too far?

What happens when straight women “marry” their equally straight female friends on Facebook? What happens when a straight woman jokes about how she and her friend are “such lesbians” simply because they are close? What happens when they publish articles with titles like “19 Slightly Lesbo Stuff That You Can Only Do with Your BFF” ?

They are treating lesbian relationships as if they aren’t quite as valid as heterosexual ones. They are making jokes at our expense.

Straight women are able to joke about being married to their female friends because at the end of the day, it’s just that–a joke. Everyone knows that the only real attraction they feel is directed towards men. They have real life boyfriends or husbands. The legitimacy of their sexual orientation is never up for question. They don’t have to think for one second about what it must be like to say that you’re in love with a woman and actually mean it in a heterosexist society.

It’s all fun and games until they find out that you actually do have feelings for women and then all of a sudden you’re the lesbo freak who can no longer be invited to pool parties (“there are gonna be girls there in their bathing suits.”)

The lesbophobia that straight women display can no longer be overlooked. It might not be as blatant as that of straight men, but it is still very important to take them to task for it.