"Viz" as written by and Kathleen M Hanna Johanna Fateman....
Walk in,
give him my name,
looks up and down,
takes a good look at my pecs.
Puts down the clipboard,
opens the rope for my
fast-walkin' with my duffel hangin'
Hat is tilted on the side,
my eyes dream of bedroom suprise.

They call it climbing and I call it visibility,
They call it coolness and I call it visibility,
They call it way too rowdy I call it finally free.

There's a girl, her lips have never seen
She comes up, dances on me
I look into her eyes,
I say "Hey, you're not a dyke."

She says I call it climbing and you call it visibility,
I call it coolness and you call it visibility,
I call it way too rowdy you call it finally free.

There's a slap, on my back,
I find another butch, hat cocked,
and we --
We put our hands, in the crowd
and over and over we jump up and down.

They call it climbing and we call it visibility,
They call it coolness and we call it visibility,
They call it way too rowdy we call it finally free.
Two. three. four.

They call it climbing and we call it visibility,
They call it coolness and we call it visibility,
They call it way too rowdy we call it finally free.

Free. (x4)

Lyrics submitted by pronoun

"Viz" as written by Johanna Fateman Jocelyn Samson


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Viz song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI don't think this song is discrediting "lipstick" lesbians at all. I always thought it was about the complexities of butch and femme visibility and invisibility. In the first verse, it seems like the speaker is mistaken for a man. That renders her identity invisible because our culture doesn't value or recognize female masculinity; however, it does seem like male privilege might have contributed to her getting into the club. In the second verse, the speaker assumes the girl dancing on her is straight because she's femme. However, the girl responding with the chorus suggests that she is gay. I think this song is about how femme lesbians are often assumed to be straight even among other lesbians or somehow not "really" gay because they don't look dykey enough, whatever that means. That rarely happens to butch lesbians, and butches receive a certain amount of male privilege if they are mistaken for men; however, the straight world doesn't really understand butch identity or value it ("Do you want to be a man?" "If you want to date someone masculine, why don't you just date a man?"), and thus butches often feel invisible as well.
    kinkedmooseon April 23, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI thought that it was about how women and lesbians are becoming visible in our world and we're getting noticed and respected in a sense. We're not something that has to be invisible anymore "You call it Climbing..." like we're climbing the ladder and having better positions and such. We're not being called scum and lesbians are not being dissed as much "You call it coolness" cause so many assholes out there love girl-on-girl action and there's dumb bitches who would do that kind of shit for guys for the sheer purpose of attention. "Way too rowdy.." it's because it's controversial, like for the elections and how you can still fire someone cause of their sexuality... but I don't know, that's how I see the song.
    TaLeNa824on December 29, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti really agree with maddsurgeon.

    amberbreath: that's what i thought kinda too. i heard the song and initially really just liked it (plus i lovelovelove jd) but then when i heard that i got really p.o-ed. i don't think anyone should discredit someone for being a "lipstick" lesbian, their sexual preference is still valid, even if they're femme. and as for chicks "pretending" to be lesbians well.. a)in a backwards way it's kinda nice that it's trendy, better than us getting killed (altho it makes it harder to date :P) and b)who is ANYONE to say that they're NOT lesbians? no body knows except them. i had to deal with bs like that when i came out and it feels like crap. i love jd too much to believe that this is what the song is about.
    riotboi.on December 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about how fucked up it is how even the girls on the right side are harming the community, ie; "I call it coolness, and you call it visibility", or just to rebel against something, and have their own struggle, even if really, it's more of a walk than a climb, ie "i call it climbing and you call it visibility".
    bryceon December 07, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song!! All I've heard is that it's named Viz instead of visibilty to have some connection with the term Lez for lesbian, of course.
    TaLeNa824on December 29, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song was written by JD and I read an article about this album with a chunk on this song. I think they said that it was about JD's struggle with being a butch. I can't quite remember. citypages.com
    It's in the music archives.
    LittleHondaon January 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMost of the song refers to people mistaking her for a man. JD probably gets the least press of anyone in the band and she barely said anything onstage. It's tough to say.
    halmookyon January 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti have to go with pitchfork on this one- this song has great intentions. but it doesnt get very deep-- all it says is they call it climbing i call it visability. i really like the song tho- its pretty awesome
    redcedarfeveron January 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah I recon it's about lesbians being accepted and noticed. It's my fave Le Tigre song at the mo. I MET THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    fairyriotgrrrlon April 01, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTaken directly from JD before she sings Viz at the Avalon on 7.20.05:

    'This song is about Butch, Lesbian, Dyke visibility.'
    Fragmentedsobriqueton July 26, 2005   Link

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