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Girlfriends with Benefits

This has been the summer of girl-on-girl action, and I'm scratching my sunburned scalp over whether this is a good thing.

I don't mind my 8-year-old daughter skipping around the house singing "I Kissed a Girl," this summer's hit song by pop tart Katy Perry. My daughters and I have already talked about the fact that some boys like boys and some girls like girls. No big deal. I support my gay and lesbian friends, and I'm glad our culture is finally, slowly acknowledging their existence. But I'm a little nervous that this lesbian chic thing is a sexploitation stunt, not a sign of evolutionary acceptance.

A quick timeline of the Girls Gone Wild summer: In May, paparazzi caught Lindsay Lohan and professional partier Samantha Ronson in Cannes "Living La Vida Lesbo" (as the NY Post tactfully put it). Since then, the BFF have spent the summer holding hands and canoodling without comment through Miami, New York and Los Angeles.

In June, Perry's catchy girl-kissing tune topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart. For all its liberating playfulness, the song lost any hint of sincerity with the release of the music video, in which a burlesque-like Perry returns to "normal" and wakes up next to a dude at the end.

On Aug. 10, the journalist character Brenda on the Lifetime hit TV show Army Wives planted a wet one on fiery redhead Pamela, telling her "there's a really great alternative" to the Home Alone life of a military wife. Giving new meaning to an afternoon Play Date, Brenda advocated chick-on-chick exploits because husbands "don't consider it cheating" and "it's safe, fun and you can't get pregnant."

Uh, not cheating? What a face slap. As if being with a woman isn't as real as being with a man?

On Friday, Woody Allen's new movie "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" opened in theaters. One of its major marketing moments: A steamy sex scene showing Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz going at it in a red-tinted photo dark room. Both women plays characters in love/lust with the same man.

I'm sorry, but none of this is forging new ground for lesbians. Women have been locking lips (and more) on Showtime's The L Word for five seasons. It's been 11 years since Ellen DeGeneres appeared on the cover of Time to say, "Yep, I'm gay." The difference in this summer's girlie games is that most of these women are straight and pretending they're not. And, whether it's on a South Beach dance floor or on a movie screen, it appears to be largely for the pleasure of a male audience.

There's nothing wrong with being bi-curious. Some form of sexual exploration is part of growing up. Everybody deserves to find themselves. But sexuality isn't something you can mold or change on a whim – and when it's done purely for the sake of grabbing attention, don't be surprised if someone gets burned. As we all know, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.



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