Following on from my last post about seeing platonic female friendships in television shows, I’ve decided to talk a little bit about NON-platonic female relationships in television. That’s right, I mean LESBIONICS! (That’s just slang, I don’t mean lesbian robots. Although that sounds pretty great and let’s be honest, Rosie from The Jetsons was a single, butch, 45 year old STRAIGHT robot? I have my doubts).
Rosie was built with the only lesbian chip in the factory. She is destined to be alone.
Just a note, pretty much all of the things I mention can be applied to the GBTQI part of the acronym also (and it’s much worse for some of those letters), but I’ll be specifically talking about the L as that’s my letter. THIS IS MY ALPHABET SOUP GET YOUR OWN FAMILY RECIPE.
Anyway, this might be news to my LITERALLY THOUSANDS of male admirers, but I am in fact one of these lesbian people. (If you just passed out from shock or sadness and are reading this again ten minutes later, please make sure you see a doctor if you got a head knock). Also, don’t be too upset that you didn’t realise, because unless having a long-term girlfriend and tweeting about cats constantly is a signifier, even Jessica Fletcher herself couldn’t have figured it out. And Fletch can sniff out a lesbian like nobodies business. I’m unsure why that last sentence was so upsetting, but I can’t delete it because I’m lazy so you’ll just have to deal. That reminds me, how good was Jennifer Love Hewitt’s ‘How do I deal?’ Okay, before I left just then to watch the film clip for ‘How do I deal?’ I WAS going to say I had gotten off topic, but I really hadn’t because ‘Love’ Hewitt (that’s what her friends call her) was very prevalent in my early lesbian development. By that I mean I was watching her on Party of Five when I was 13, pretending to fancy Scott Wolf and his dimples, but actually ‘Loving’ Love instead (see what I did there, who said lesbians don’t have a sense of humour?)
The thing about being a lesbian lady of my age (very young and beautiful) or older, is that it was very rare that you got to see any kind of representation of yourself on the screen. Gay kids these days have it a little bit easier what with their Glee programme where estranged brothers sing a Goyte love song to each other and teen sexting and such. I had to walk ten miles in the snow with no shoes on to see a lesbian on television! As a straight person you don’t really have to think about what it is like to never see some kind of reflection of yourself epitomised on screen. You are constantly surrounded with vision and stories of heterosexual people meeting, dating, falling in love, having sex, having complicated relationships, and having lives together. You have the opportunity to seek out a character or a movie that you identify with, because there are so many examples for you to choose from. You never have to worry that you probably aren’t normal because nobody acts like you on your favourite television shows. You get to recognise yourself in Dylan because you too have a scar in your eyebrow and you also like pashing crazy brunettes named Brenda.
Can you identify with wearing this much denim?
For me, the first major development in finally seeing something along these lines makes me sound VERY VERY COOL. As a teenage lesbian in a small town, I was taping (yes taping on VHS I’m old lol) the show Buffy each week in the desperate hope that Tara would be in the episode, and perhaps I would see her and Willow hold hands or KISS!!!! or even look at each lovingly. This probably explains why I am now only attracted to witches. Those few moments each week filled up my tank with enough lesbian juice to keep me going. I don’t think you can understand what it feels like to finally see two girls love each in a romantic way when you are a teenager unless you are deprived of those images whilst simultaneously ONLY EVER THINKING ABOUT THAT because of hormones. It’s something that heterosexual people will never experience, because it’s impossible to get away from seeing it. Trust me, I spend most of my time yelling ‘YUCK STRAIGHTIES KISSING’ at the television.
How did EVERYONE not become gay after this?
These days it is slightly better (at least on American television), with LGBT characters accounting for about 3% of series regulars in 2011. That still isn’t high, and if you split that percentage between gay men and lesbian characters, and then split THAT percentage into characters you actually identify with on any other level other than sexual identity, it’s still very rare to have a fulfilling experience. I think proof of the problem is that most lesbians have happily watched a pretty terrible show like The L Word.
The problem also extends to movies, where not only are gay characters rare, but were historically evil/gross/suicidal/murdered. And in the case of lesbian characters, you also have the incredibly well-worn category of going back to men/getting pregnant to a man/ending up with a man. There are very few movies about lesbians that are good, well-made movies where the lesbians survive and are happy and are still lesbians at the end. Instead you have to go on YouTube and watch videos where (lonely heroes of society) people have cut together scenes of a show or movie so it looks like they are gay, usually set to a Shania Twain song. I mean, if you want to do that, you weirdo. Of course I never would.
Rizzoli and Isles will never leave us for men..if we edit the show to reflect our desires and put it on youtube
Anyway, I think it is getting better, and I hope it continues to improve for all the gay kids out there. But MOSTLY I hope that someone invents a time machine and goes back and stops the movie Gigli from being made. That’s basically what this whole blog post was leading up to. Please someone go back in time and incapacitate Ben Affleck or J-Lo in some way. I suggest the hobbling scene from Misery. Just stop that atrocity. Lesbians deserve better. As does general society.