Why Do All Queer Women Look The Same On TV?!


This article I have come across is something that I have found very interesting in my project, as it opposes one of main main arguments that lesbian women are presented as butch. Here, the argument that lesbian women are being portrayed as girly girls, resembling barbie dolls. The word butch implies that women are heavily influenced by masculine attributes and behaviours, however many modern day theorist such as Judith Butler believe that recently the term Butch has reformed the traditional perception as she states ‘within lesbian context , the ‘identification’ with masculinity that appears with butch identity is not a simple assimilation of lesbianism back into the terms of heterosexuality… As Butch-femme explained, she likes her boys to be girls, meaning that being a girl contextualises and resignifies ‘masculinity’ in butch identity’ (Butler 1990, 123). This theory redefines the meaning of butch of a women striving to be a man, but instead a women who admires masculine either characteristics or appearance and isn’t affraid to embrace it, therefore creating her own identity. However the traditional connotation of the word still plays a large role in shaping how people view lesbian women linking with butchness.

Since conducting the project, I have realised that there is a lack of lesbian characters on TV in comparrison to gay men. Orange is the new black and Glee both include lesbian character (who’s representations vary between both programmes) however they are not american sitcoms so cannot be used in my project. The amount written on lesbian representations as well is also significantly lower that writings regarding the representation of gay men. Recently GLAAD surveyed the amount of lesbian characters in film and television and found there was a serious lack:


It was definitley more difficult finding Butch representations in American Sitcoms than gay, however I found a few:

  • A lesbian couple shown in Modern Family who absolutely hated the male gay couple, following the stereotype of lesbians as men hating women
  • In friends the lesbian character who attends the lesbian women who chats up phoebe
  • Rules Of Engagement

Although there aren’t many example of lesbian butch women, butch is constructed through appearance and behaviour, which women characters do deploy. This construction framed by television is definitely a stereotype they want to portray of indicating that the character could be lesbian, therefore reinforcing the audiences view of what a lesbian should look like. My project gather opinions for 3 people with 3 different sexual orientations as to they interpret a word to describe LGB characters and how they feel about it in general, therefore provided a view with does not conform to the mainstream stereotype like lesbians and gays hating each other.


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