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Lesbian Clichés to Avoid:

 1 Mr AHR, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 1:12:14 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
So, I consider myself a not bad writer, especially when it comes to writing orientation. I usually write characters first, assign orientation second.

However, I still do keep an eye out for clichés to avoid, or at least not play out in a pathetically straight manner. Unfortunately, I don't really know any lesbian clichés. I remember some page on tv tropes saying to not make your lesbian 'play with trucks while all the other girls played with dolls' or to be molested by their uncle, and I was just amazed those were the clichés.

So, for someone who has oddly read almost nothing with lesbian characters in it, what clichés should I avoid or at least be cautious when approaching?

Not a regular reader of stories of lesbians, but I would be greatly annoyed if I were to read something where the lesbian Does Not Like Men because they're big oafs or sexual abusers. Goes into Jerk Sue/Sympathy Sue if not done well.

edited 3rd Feb '11 1:17:16 PM by melloncollie

 3 Mr AHR, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 1:21:49 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Yay. That's one avoided and an indeterminate amount to go.
 4 Durazno, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 1:35:13 PM from Academia Relationship Status: Robosexual
All business!
There's also the stereotype that every lesbian relationship has a firmly-defined and immutable "butch" and "femme", because every single romantic relationship absolutely needs a "man" and a "woman", donchaknow.

 5 Mr AHR, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 1:49:35 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Yeah, I knew THAT one as a drift over from my vast knowledge of gay male clichés.
Away on the wind~
There's not actually all that many.

Try and keep away from making one partner 'masculine'. I so rarely see two women in dresses dating :/

It's always a woman in a dress and a women in pants-t-shirt...
There are too many toasters in my chimney!
 7 Mr AHR, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 1:54:05 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Oh yeah, I did do that once, with one of my earlier stories. Of course, the skirt was there to contribute to the 'shy school girl' look, but yeah, considering how tokeny they were, I think I did a pretty good job.

Course, that's an older story.

Hm...I actually don't know if I break it in my current attempt. Mostly because I can't design outfits very well and it's still up in the air. Although...

Hrm. I'll need to do that next.

edited 3rd Feb '11 1:59:03 PM by MrAHR

 8 Sand Josieph, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 2:04:15 PM from Grand Galloping Galaday
Bigonkers! is Magic
Try making out with some girls and see how that plays out. **is shot**
♥♥II'GSJQGDvhhMKOmXunSrogZliLHGKVMhGVmNhBzGUPiXLYki'GRQhBITqQrrOIJKNWiXKO♥♥
 9 Mr AHR, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 2:12:18 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
OK. So, here is my character that is a lesbian. I figure this way is easier. Keep in mind, I decided she was a lesbian because I felt like she didn't gel with a male character well, and it sorta went from there. That means all the personality traits were created in a default mode, which means that I didn't intend any clichés, doubly so.

  • Very perky, very dark sense of humor
  • Effectively the mom of the group
  • Is the optimist, the hugger
  • Was a former prostitute in order to pay for a former drug addiction

Yeah, guess which trait is the one that made me worrid.
 10 Sand Josieph, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 2:14:28 PM from Grand Galloping Galaday
Bigonkers! is Magic
Well, as long as you don't use that as every excuse a female character turns into a lesbian. My own lesbians in my stories got together because of SCIENCE! They were lab partners.
♥♥II'GSJQGDvhhMKOmXunSrogZliLHGKVMhGVmNhBzGUPiXLYki'GRQhBITqQrrOIJKNWiXKO♥♥
 11 Mr AHR, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 2:19:43 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Erhm...if she's technically the only open lesbian in the story (due to straightness, youngness or biness of the other females) does that make it implicating with the unfortunateness?
 12 Morven, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 2:32:11 PM from Seattle, WA, USA
Nemesis
Now, it's not impossible that a lesbian character will have had bad experiences with men — just like a lot of gay men have had with women, and for the same reason — because they were still sorting out their sexuality, hadn't accepted that they didn't desire the opposite sex, but went through the motions in the hope things would work out and that they weren't really "wrong". That's the route to bad choices and unhappy experiences.

However, those experiences didn't make them lesbian. They maybe should have confirmed it.

Other lesbian cliches:

"What do lesbians bring on the second date? A U-Haul truck!" Now, like a lot of stereotypes, there's a grain of truth in there — because they're both women, and they both have whatever combination of nature and nurture that makes women keener on emotional commitment than men in our society. However, don't play to it; make whatever happens in any relationships flow organically from the characters' natures.

"Lesbian couples lose interest in sex with each other" AKA "Lesbian Bed Death". Happens in long-term couples of any orientation to some degree. Don't treat it as necessary.

And as people said above, don't treat the Butch/Femme dynamic as essential. It sometimes happens; less so than it used to.
A brighter future for a darker age.
 13 Mr AHR, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 2:34:31 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
This lesbian bed death greatly confuses me. Could you elaborate?

Also, I am now realizing I do have subtle feminine/masculine pairings, but I don't know if that's just because everyone everywhere ever is never going to have the same amount of femininity or masculinity, or if I'm subconciously channeling gender roles.

edited 3rd Feb '11 2:36:02 PM by MrAHR

Subtle dynamics aren't a problem, not at all. It's exaggerated ones that are the cliches.
 
 15 joeyjojo, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 3:01:23 PM from The Magic Land Of Oz Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
America! Hell Yeah!
[up] Yeah that's a good rule of thumb with any Unfortunate Implication trope. For example take All Lesbians Want Kids. A story about woman who loves both children and another women is fine and kind of sweet. A story about a Psycho Lesbian who attacks men for their sperm for no reason other than she is gay. Not so much.

edited 3rd Feb '11 3:02:24 PM by joeyjojo

Touch the eagle. Taste the eagle.
 16 Mr AHR, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 3:02:23 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
I keep thinking your a necro'd Falconfly, joey, with that avatar. X_x.

 17 joeyjojo, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 3:03:16 PM from The Magic Land Of Oz Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
America! Hell Yeah!
who? another troper used this avatar did they?
Touch the eagle. Taste the eagle.
 18 Mr AHR, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 3:03:53 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
No. It was a snake avatar that was the color of sand and was at a similar angle.
 19 Morven, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 3:04:52 PM from Seattle, WA, USA
Nemesis
I think the logic behind the idea of "Lesbian Bed Death" is that "women tend to lose interest in sex, so if two women are in a relationship, the sex will die a quick death." I'm sure the logic errors in there are obvious. Of course, sex dying off is a problem in long-term relationships of any gender pairing; living together can make spending time together less 'special', and lets small annoyances fester and kill the mood.

And yes, definitely OK to have subtler dynamics (butcher/femmer or any other) — it's the exaggerated version that's a problem, and the painting of all such relationships as having the stereotypical ones (and no others).

A brighter future for a darker age.
 20 Mr AHR, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 3:06:12 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Oh. OK. I remember reading something on wikipedia (so take with grain of salt yadda yadda yadda) that apparently lesbians engaged in more sexual activity, but they did a lot more sensual stuff that other couples wouldn't actually consider sexual activity...or something. So I thought you were talking about that.
 21 Vorpy, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 3:10:44 PM from from from from from from
Unstoppable Sex Goddess
The cliche that most lesbians are borderline misandrists. Not all of them hate men, but all of them like women.
If the amount of rape that is acceptable to you is not zero, and you are not Pyramid Head, you need to seriously rethink your life.
 22 TParadox, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 3:16:16 PM Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Don't be the penis.
These days most lesbians are homosexual because they like women, but during the revolutions of the 60s and 70s, it was fashionable for feminists misandrists to lez out just to spite manhood. Thus unfortunate stereotype.
 23 Mr AHR, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 3:18:34 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Question! Is it having a female misandrist who is VERY straight a stereotype?
 24 Morven, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 3:56:25 PM from Seattle, WA, USA
Nemesis
It's kind of an anti-stereotype, an inversion. Which is still stereotypical in its own way.

@T Paradox: you're talking about the "political lesbian", a creature that does exist but is much, much rarer than its reputation. Some radical feminists have the opinion that a feminist should not have relationships with men, because it reinforces patriarchal values and because societal conditioning is so strong that those values will inevitably end up distorting such a relationship no matter how hard both partners try. Thus, the only acceptable options are relationships and sex with women, or to forego them entirely.
A brighter future for a darker age.
 25 Morven, Thu, 3rd Feb '11 5:35:45 PM from Seattle, WA, USA
Nemesis
This makes me realize, too, how few (out & known, anyway) lesbians we have here to ask questions of directly. There are a fair few bisexual women, but the only two lesbian women I can think of who were old enough to have had significant experience living as an adult lesbian are no longer here.
A brighter future for a darker age.
Total posts: 56
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