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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Andyzero: I'm pretty sure some lesbians find lipstick and dresses attractive. In fact, this term is usually used by lesbians to describe more feminine ones, as opposed to so-called "butch" lesbians.

Ununnilium: Yeah, I've seen an about-equal amount of both types in reality. Rewritten to reflect that.

Jerry Kindall: I wrote the original entry and I've always understood the term as a pejorative used by lesbians specifically for women who look like they're trying to attract men. Usually the speaker's objecting to the "lesbians" portrayed in male-oriented pr0n. But looking at Wikipedia it seems as though it's not as pejorative as I thought, so carry on. The major implication seems to be instead that a LL is attracted to another LL, whereas a femme would be attracted to a butch.

Ununnilium: Yeah. Gonna clarify that a bit. (Think I use enough "quotation marks"? `-`)

Later: Taking this out, because I've never seen a single example of it: "in yet more wish-fulfillment there is sometimes an unspoken implication that she is actually bisexual, and just hasn't figured it out yet."

Twin Bird: Taking out Maya Ibuki, because...come on. Her demeanor is feminine ("steel-coated velvet," as they say), but her look is decidedly masculine; I doubt I'm the only one who thought she was male at first.

Also, I'm taking out the El Goonish Shive example, since I don't think bisexuals, except maybe strongly lesbian-leaning ones, should be counted in this trope, since it's basically ubiquitous among fictional female bisexuals insofar as they appear at all - it's either this or Goth. Also, for the record, that gets the rules of the 'verse wrong - sexual preference only changes if you switch gender, and then you just become bi if you're straight (or straight if you're gay, but that's just semantics). The one character who actually is a lesbian might qualify, especially in her mother's clothes, but her Action Girl persona works against it, and her ensembles when she's not trying to please her mother (pants and skimpy tops) aren't all that feminine.

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Roland: This trope is tricky. On the one hand, if you portray lesbian characters (or for that matter homosexual characters) as their stereotypical "butch" or "fem" sorts, you risk falling prey to prejudice or being accused of painting them as unappealing stereotypes- i.e. "all lesbians are just ugly women" or "all gays are really effeminate men." On the other hand, if you make them conventionally attractive, you risk being accused of catering to fanservice. I don't honestly see a solution to this dilemma other than not to include gays at all, and even (especially) that is rife with prejudice!

Cassy: This queer female troper agrees. Some of the language on this page (and some tropes on gay men such as Straight Gay) sounds like "If you're feminine, then it's OK if you're a lesbian" (meaning it's not OK if you look different from narrow-minded gender stereotypes from the contemporary Western world) and "If you're masculine, then it's OK if you're gay" (same comment about narrow-minded and culturally biased gender stereotypes, not to mention that "masculine" often refers to a Macho ideal that makes many men (and women...) suffer). On the other hand, this kind of prejudice also exists in queer communities (I'll always remember a campy gay friend who told me "It's OK, you don't look like a truck driver woman, in fact you're very feminine!". Very baffling). Plus, the definition on the page is inaccurate. I've just fixed it, at least sort of.

Don't even get me started on how discriminatory against trans people the language of tropes such as Bifauxnen and WholesomeCrossdresser is. I assume that everybody means well here, and I agree that it's very difficult to phrase the tropes and examples in question in a way that's not going to hurt any feelings or unwittingly discriminate against a particular group.

Trouser Wearing Barbarian: It's nice to know that someone else on this wiki is bothered by this.

fleb: It's a tricky one. Both tropes can be excluding. Only solution I can think of is to include more than one gay character, and have some be "mainstream" and some fit the stereotype.

Trouser Wearing Barbarian: Yeah, although that might come off as forced if that's the only reason that there's more than one gay character, not to mention the potential complaints it'll get if the characters in question are a couple.

The "use a wide variety of gay characters to avoid stereotyping" thing tends to work best when most of the characters are gay, as I noted on the Cast Full of Gay page. Of course, even then some people will still complain if anyone in the cast is the least bit "stereotypical" - or at least, stereotypical in way that they don't like. Hell, I've seen Milk criticized for this, despite being a fairly accurate portrayal of the, y'know, real people that the actors were playing. (Although this doesn't compete with the sheer stupid of "the film Capote promotes the stereotype that gay men are effeminate." And no, I Am Not Mak-*BANG*)

Also, I find it interesting that this wiki is quick to say that most lesbians being feminine is just a heterosexual male fantasy, but is happy to affirm the (equally false) homosexual male fantasy that most gay men are macho and "straight-acting." I mean, I know the reasons for this, but that doesn't make it any less annoying.

Cassy is dead-on about the "you don't look/act gay" stuff being a huge backhanded insult. The sad thing is a lot of gay people consider it a compliment and brag constantly about how "straight" they are. What The Hell, Homo?
  • Well, when the key goal of the Gay Rights Movement is integration (i.e., gay marriage rights and adoption rights), should being "straight" be considered such a big issue? I mean, unless they're faking it. Consider the fact that the Christianists get most of their concepts on gay people from the flaunters in Castro or Fire Island, which only represents a minority of gays in America. Most people are more subtle than that, you know?


Rinny: This trope and Butch Lesbian are tricky because there are plenty of us, myself included, who fall somewhere in the middle. I would add to the entry on The L Word that my friends, my girlfriend and I, for the most part, don't really identify as either extreme but, you know, doing my part to keep out conversation. Anyway, I think the same could be said for plenty of lesbian characters, as well.

Count Choculitis: Definitely. That goes for me too, and for most women I know, both gay and straight. Too bad "falls somewhere in between" just isn't very Trope-able.
  • Hazuki: So...why don't we just make a "Chapstick Lesbian" trope page...? I would appreciate this, being basically one of these in real life...
Also, I cut the bitching on the main page about Teh Ebul Poltical Correctness being responsible for Karolina Dean and Kate Kane's lesbianism.

brokenwit: Is it too obvious to add 95-98% of lesbian porn is performed by such actresses?


"They also often have long fingernails, exactly unlike most lesbians..."

Um, what?

G - Speaking as a lesbian, the fingernail thing is more ...a matter of immediate practicality. If you plan on doing certain things with your fingers, a good clipping and edge smoothing is a very wise idea. It by no means that all lesbians everywhere have short fingernails all the time.