Created By: SuperTroperJuly 27, 2012
Nuked

The Marvelli

A lesbian sleeps with a man...but she's not bi, we swear.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Definitely Needs A Better Title

A character will all but categorically state that she is a lesbian, only for her to go on to sleep with a man. Outcomes may vary. She may feel that she doesn't have any interest in men. Or she may appear to have been "turned" straight by this man. However, she never stops to think that it might mean that she's bisexual - this would constitute an aversion since this trope ultimately misrepresents what it means to be a lesbian: that despite professing to only be interested in women, you will still be available to men under the "right" circumstances.

Related to No Bisexuals and But Not Too Bi but distinct from them in that it brings with it a particular set of Unfortunate Implications, namely that all a lesbian needs is a man to "fix" her.

Please note that this trope is only meant to be representative of a particular brand of ham-fisted writing and not as a means to condemn to gay women who have/had sex and/or a relationship with a guy.

Examples:
  • Skins: The temporary Trope Namer Tea Marvelli from the MTV series.
  • The Kids Are All Right has since suffered a lot of Hype Backlash from queer women as a result of this.
  • Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia provides an example of this with Adler that doesn't involve actual sex. Given that none of the other leads appear to be getting any, it fits with the tone of the rest of the series.
Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • July 27, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Why only lesbians? Why not a male homosexual who has sex with a woman?
  • July 27, 2012
    CrimsonZephyr
    First things first, we need a better trope name. "Homosexual in name only"?
  • July 27, 2012
    surgoshan
    • Monette from Something Positive insists that she's a lesbian. She keeps on trying to be a lesbian, but keeps accidentally sleeping with guys. Then one day she calls Davan from prison...
      Davan: Tell me this, Monette. Was it at least a female koala bear?
  • July 27, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    One Exception Homosexuality?

    This may be related to that trope for a homosexual character's last heterosexual lover. It's recent, but I don't remember the name.
  • July 27, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    Pussy Galore was openly lesbian and insisted that she was "immune" to seduction by a man. But this was James Bond after all.

  • July 27, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    This seems like it is If Its You Its Okay But More Specific.
  • July 27, 2012
    Rognik
    Some clarifying questions: 1) Does the character in question ever show homosexual tendencies, or it is just an Informed trait? 2) Is it seen as just a one-time exception, or could it be a repeated (ie. either sleeping with him over and over again, or sleeping with many people)? 3) Would this ever be seen as a means to "convert" the lesbian back to being straight?
  • July 27, 2012
    surgoshan
  • July 27, 2012
    Rognik
  • July 28, 2012
    SuperTroper
    OP Here. I believe this could be a sub-trope of If Its You Its Okay. As for the clarifying questions:
    1. It could be both of these. In The Kids Are All Right Jules is married to another woman, whereas, if I remember correctly, it was an informed trait for the abovementioned Pussy Galore.
    2. I imagine it could be repeated and still fit the trope. The Something Positive example is a way that this could be Played For Laughs
    3. This is where the Unfortunate Implications come in. In Real Life, there's "corrective" rape, where the intent to "cure" by force is deliberate. While the examples I've listed at the start are all consensual, by neglecting the possibility of bi/pansexuality, the writers end up making it look as if they been "turned" straight by accident rather than by design. Another Real Life example that teeters on the edge of this would be Eddie Griffin harassing a lesbian couple at a comedy club.

    Also, I found something that might make a good page quote. I also think it explains why this is probably an almost Always Female trope, because it often pops up in media targeted to (straight) men.

    Lesbian is a word with a meaning that is widely understood. I loathe that movies like Kids (and...say..Chasing Amy, another "mainstream" pic with a self-identified lesbian who isn't) are re-writing the term in the minds of some people (men) that lesbian means - Might have sex with a man if you whine, manipulate, coerce (however subtle that coercion is), beg, plead or are just so gosh darned desirable that we cannot possibly help ourselves.
    -- Valsky, AfterEllen
  • July 28, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Well, i mean...
    • Soap: Jodie Dallas, one of the first regularly appearing gay characters in a major US TV series, has sex one time with Carol, making a baby which affects the rest of his story arcs. He is willing to "do the right thing" and marry her, but she runs off on the wedding day. Later he almost hooks up with Alice (a lesbian who lives with him), and falls in love with Hardboiled Detective Maggie Chandler, who he had hired to find his kidnapped baby daughter. During the entire time he self-identifies as gay.
  • January 8, 2013
    SuperTroper
    I suppose that could count as a rare gender-inverted example, since I'm assuming Soap would have had a primarily female demographic.
  • January 9, 2013
    randomsurfer
    I have no idea what Soap's demographics were, but I don't know why you'd think that; because it's called Soap?? It's a Primetime Sit Com with many of the standard Soap Opera tropes.
  • January 10, 2013
    peccantis
    This really needs to be not named after a character.
  • January 10, 2013
    elwoz
    ^ Concur.

    If broadened to male examples (which I think should happen) then this is extensively discussed in Leftover Soup. Wallace, Simon, and Maxine are having sex in all permutations on a regular basis; Wallace and Simon are male, Maxine is female. Wallace and Simon insist that they are gay; when pressed, they explain that gay is a lifestyle, it's not just about the sex.
  • January 10, 2013
    Thecommander236
    If this gets through then we may have to consider this as a sub-trope of Hide Your Gays. Why can't the woman or man just be using the partner or that they just don't want people to know they are gay? Or is that another trope? There are "seminar" programs out there that try to "reform" homo-sexuals. Whether or not these people are actually Bi or just ashamed of themselves is not always clear. Alternatively what if a homo-sexual has sex with someone they think is of their same sex, but is actually transsexual (something they don't agree with or are angry that they weren't at least told.). That would be an interesting case of a homo-sexual having to get over the fact that their partner used to be of the opposite gender. I think this needs to have a better description.

    A Bi-Sexual Homo-Sexual sounds like a good name. Or A Not Bi-Sexual Homo-sexual.
  • January 10, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    • Inverted in Anatomy Of Hell, where the gay male character "The Man" is mainly seen as having sex with "The Woman", and doesn't seem to have any problem with it.
  • January 11, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Between No Bisexuals and If Its You Its Okay this is pretty much completely covered. This is pretty unnecessary.
  • January 11, 2013
    rodneyAnonymous
    Same sentiment but without the meaning-numbing modifiers: This is completely covered. It is unnecessary.
  • January 18, 2013
    elwoz
    I agree this is unnecessary.
  • January 28, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    I also agree and scrap this.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable