Main Psycho Lesbian Discussion

Collapse/Expand Topics

09:26:47 PM Sep 12th 2017
Is there a reason so many entries on this trope have years attached to them? Is that information really relevant?
05:22:15 PM Jan 12th 2014
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica already had what could be considered a Cast Full Of Lesbians, some of them going psycho in various moments during the story, but avoided this trope. The sequel, however, basically tells us the story of how Homura becomes a Yandere for Madoka and is willing to, eventually, become the Devil and rewrite the universe just to have Madoka for herself. Against Madoka's will.

This edit has been removed with a note 'but that's incorrect.' I'd love to hear, what's incorrect.

04:13:33 AM Nov 9th 2012
I was linked to Psycho Lesbian from Depraved Homosexual as though the terms were the same barring different genders, but 'psycho' and 'depraved' are not synonymous - where do I put examples of Depraved Lesbians? All we have is Depraved Bisexual, but it wouldn't fit. Any ideas?
11:43:06 AM Jun 2nd 2014
This topic is two years old but it deserves more attention. First off, there is no reason to have two pages for the same trope and man or woman, this is the same exact trope-likes the same sex and does bad things in their pursuit of it.

Secondly, are depraved and psycho worthy of their own separation? They aren't the same thing. For instance. Allison Danger had a Lesbian angle in Ring of Honor and Mickie James had one in WWE. The difference is that Allison was completely aware of what she was doing, she kissed a woman, decided she liked it, and didn't care that that woman didn't like it. Mickie James by contrast actually loved the woman she kissed but was obsessive compulsive to an unhealthy degree and was deeply hurt when that woman didn't like it. The two angles covered the same subject (baby face doesn't like how the heel is touching them) the two characters were very different. Mickie spent time trying to win Trish's approval, got jealous anytime else Trish gave someone else attention, cried over the whole thing before descending into maniacal laughter. Allison ran scared Alexi's wrath, attacked her from behind, recruited her posse to subject her to group beat downs...

You know, it is like the difference between Lust and Love Makes You Crazy. They can overlap but often don't. I propose merging the pages into Depraved Homosexual and moving the actual psychotic cases to love makes you crazy, maybe giving a sub trope to homosexual characters.
10:38:45 AM Sep 1st 2012
Is simply being a villainous lesbian enough to qualify for this trope? Or should she be portrayed like a Depraved Homosexual?
03:06:57 PM May 24th 2012
Correction, in NCIS Un SEAL ed the Killer was nt the Lesbian lover but her Husband.
12:21:55 AM May 25th 2012
It's a wiki — you're allowed to repair it if you think it's broken.
11:06:57 AM May 13th 2012
Think Real Life Examples on this page is a really bad idea.
11:13:19 AM May 13th 2012
Go here and add this page to the crowner, making a brief post about why you're doing so.
12:44:52 PM Jul 24th 2011
What happened to the picture of Tsukuyomi from Negima? That was like the perfect example.
05:10:06 PM Aug 26th 2010
edited by Vasha
The following items, which I removed as not fitting the trope description, were restored wholesale by some IP address. Please, whoever you are, register so that I can discuss this with you! I don't think they should *all* be restored. I'm putting them on this discussion page, and I hope that people will chime in with *individual* justifications as to how they fit the trope description (NOT everyone who's both psycho and lesbian does).

  • Chloe from Noir. However the Unfortunate Implications are offset by the fact she is presented in a sympathetic light and the series has a far more positive example of a Yuri relationship in the form of Mirielle and Kirika.
  • Kaname and Momomi from Strawberry Panic!, essentially fanservicey villains as per the skewed demographic of the show. They get redeemed later on, though,Despite their belief that Rape Is Ok When Its Female On Female.
  • Quite a few of the One-Gender Race Arume from Blue Drop.
  • Kaguya Hime: Although a bondage-wearer perv, Maggey is nice enough to be mostly harmless (beyond groping of strangers), and Chun-Lan is funny more than anything... but Mayu can get seriously scary in regards to Akira.
  • Darcy Parker in Strangers in Paradise operates a prostitution/spy ring and is the former lover of the protagonist, Katchoo. Darcy is prone to violent rages and is responsible for multiple murders and kidnappings.
  • Diane Di Massa's Hothead Paisan: Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist. The name says it all.
    • Somewhat subverted in that the character is the Anti-Hero.
  • Diana Lethaby of Tipping the Velvet. A cruel, predatory dominatrix, physically abusive to her 'tart' Nan.
  • Jenny on The L Word — although given that nearly all the major characters on this show are lesbians, this is possibly coincidental and certainly has fewer homophobic implications than a Psycho Lesbian on a show full of sane heterosexuals.
  • Willow in season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Willow's insanity is temporary, and the character is ultimately redeemed rather than slaughtered, making for a more benign than usual use of the trope. Willow's descent into gothy, ranting villainy is motivated by one of the Psycho Lesbian classics, her girlfriend Tara's death.
    • Except for the fact that it's been stated that the storyline would have been the same even if it was Oz - it was always Joss's plan for Willow to have a power arc. Her descent had nothing to do with the fact that her lover was a woman.
  • In Babylon 5, after Ivanova spends the night with Talia, Talia turns out to be The Mole, and begins screaming evilly before being hauled off, her original, non-evil personality completely destroyed.
    • It is worth noticing that this was going to be reversed if the actress playing Talia didn't quit. There's even an unused Chekhov's Gun in an earlier episode.
    • It's also worth nothing that Talia's eruption of crazy is completely unrelated to anything that happened between she and Ivanova—though this is a legitimate Was It All a Lie? moment for the latter.
  • Possible example: Admiral Cain from the new Battlestar Galactica. Cain is very much psychotic, and also lesbian; however, the two have very little to do with one another. The one exception being that Cain's harsh treatment of Gina (ordering/allowing some crew to gang rape her) may be linked to Gina's betrayal of their relationship. Another less glaring example, since their relationship, amazingly, is only about averagely dysfunctional by Galactica standards, especially given that Gina's a Number Six Cylon. The least dysfunctional Cylon-human couple on the show are Helo and Athena - and he's shot her in the chest. On two occasions.
  • Mary, Toshiko Sato's girlfriend on Torchwood. Granted, she was psycho before she met Tosh.
    • Like the Admiral Cain example above, this seems to be a case of a character being evil and a lesbian but the two not really having anything to do with one another. Given that the show runner is gay and has gleefully stated (and shown) many times that pretty much ALL the main characters are bi, this is unlikely to have been a deliberate example of the trope.
  • Both averted and played straight in Knights of the Old Republic. Only a female character can romance Juhani, but only if she plays through the light side storyline and solves her sub quest with the light-side method. If a character (likely dark-side) kills Juhani, Belaya, a female Jedi wit whom she has had a relationship some months ago, goes to the dark-side to take revenge for Juhani.
  • In Princess Maker 2, if your daughter loses her duels with any of the three bandits, they'll try raping her when she's unconscious and defeated, only to be driven away by your demon butler Cube. Yes, this also includes the female bandit, Bloodrose Vanesta.
  • Zimmy from Gunnerkrigg Court has powerful Reality Warper capabilities, but no capacity to control them. Other people, presumably those who possess a different, passive psionic ability, can act as grounding wires for Zimmy's powers; Antimony is one of them, but Gamma is the most efficient at it. This drains off enough energy that Zimmy can hold out until the next rainstorm (which relieves all the pent-up energy in one go). Since Zimmy literally needs Gamma to stay in this reality, and to keep what Gamma can't drain from driving her mad, she's grown very attached; this is the "lesbian" part. The "psycho" part is a combination of Zimmy's own crazy-ass personality, and the stress exacerbating her crazy-ass-osity.
  • Played for laughs in a couple of episodes of the Web series 3Way. Leslie is a former lover of Geri (one of the main characters); when Geri leaves her and moves in with a (straight) female roommate and a few (gay) friends, Leslie just can't let it go. So relentless is Leslie in her romantic/sadistic pursuit that Geri is finally driven to have her fingerprints sanded off in an attempt to change her identity - and it doesn't work. (This is actually something of a variation, since Leslie, while undeniably mean, is more annoying and ridiculous than truly malicious. The worst thing she does in this series, in fact, is steal Geri's prosthetic finger while she's taking a shower and place it in a pot of boiling water.)

09:57:53 AM Aug 29th 2010
Also added:
12:51:25 PM Aug 30th 2010
Please explain how the above characters do not fit in with the definition of psycho lesbian. Everybody mentioned is a crazy predatory female that is in love with another female, while I have not seen all the above shows the descriptions seem to fit the character type and several of the ones I have seen like the duo from Strawberry Panic which try and trap and rape a girl she is interested in and has not interest in her, and the ones in Blue Drop which do the same thing to earth women definitely count.

Sorry I usually edit anonymously now because the last time I tried to argue something while using my handle it degraded into just calling me name and not explaining why something that was popular with the majority of fans and financially successful was So Bad, It's Horrible

12:55:10 PM Aug 30th 2010
Essentially, it's not enough for a Psycho Lesbian to be both psychotic and a lesbian. The two have to be directly linked. Note the Justifying Edit for the Torchwood example.
05:13:34 PM Aug 30th 2010
edited by Vasha
Hello Heartbreak, thanks for answering! I do promise I won't call you names, no matter how often I disagree with you.

To amplify on what Iaculus said, this trope could have been called "Lesbians Are Mentally Unstable". It's a longstanding perception, with roots at least as far back as the early nineteenth century, that a woman who's so unnatural as to betray her gender by lusting after another woman must be morally monstrous and/or insane, which will show up in a number of stereotyped ways, such as violent possessiveness, jealousy, or responding to the loss of their lover with florid (often violent) insanity, or suicide.

An early example, from 1895, is Mary Wilkins Freeman's story "The Long Arm" (probably inspired by the sensationalistic media coverage of the Mitchell/Ward murder case in 1892). Here, Phoebe Dole, a terrifying, powerful, manipulative woman, has been maintaining another woman in subjection for years, and when this woman finally takes steps to leave her for a man, Phoebe bloodily murders the hypotenuse, pinning the crime with diabolical cleverness on another woman. She attempts to justify her crime (in a Villainous Breakdown) by saying that she's defending her domestic happiness, but this "happiness" is presented as perverted. She's described as physically monstrous as well as morally — she's the one with the abnormally "long arm" of the title — as one critic put it, "a desperate figure of lesbian evil, a hypocritical, sick, self-absorbed carnivorous flower."

Here's another example: in Daemon in Lithuania, some characters put on a play that contains half of all the old-fashioned clichés ever invented. Kinga is found to be pregnant, and: "Enter the Lady-in-Black. She nourished a tragic passion for Kinga, and heaped the most terrible reproaches on her head, striding up and down the stage and drawing on her long cigarette holder. Finally, she tossed it on to the ground, stamped on it, and flung herself on to her frivolous friend's couch, intending to strangle her..."

So, can you have a character who is a lesbian, and also insane, murderous, or jealous, without it being this trope? I think you can. Luckily, the range of visible lesbian characters in media and real life has expanded greatly. Especially in works that are a little outside the mainstream, you'll find lesbians who are homemakers or badasses, cheerful or depressive, who either live long happy lives with their lovers or lose them — the latter is very frequent because, let's face it, how many relationships are allowed to continue undisrupted in the eternally drama-seeking world of entertainment media? Straight characters may be insane, murderous, or jealous, and so may lesbians. This makes it hard to know what is an example of the old, bad cliché and what isn't, sometimes. Different people may even perceive the same work differently — younger viewers may not notice this trope at all while it'll jump to the mind of older ones. Really, you need to consider each work individually, in terms of its tone. Does anything clearly imply a connection between the character's sexuality and her psychopathology? Are there many characters of diverse sexuality? Is melodrama par for the course? Does the outburst of Psycho Lesbianism come off as character derailment?

I'd support including borderline cases as examples of this trope, noting that it's brought to mind in some viewers, even if the author didn't intend it to be so.

I'll be the first to admit that I haven't seen/read almost any of the works that are under dispute here. Let me just discuss two I have, Tipping the Velvet (1998) and Affinity (1999), both novels by Sarah Waters, who's a lesbian herself and fills her books with queer characters of all sorts. In Tipping the Velvet, the main character, Nan, is frankly in love with other women, which does not drive her crazy at all. She goes through a picaresque journey, finally finding true love, political purpose, and a community of kindred spirits with some socialist lesbians. One of her adventures is becoming the lover of a decadent rich woman, Diana Lethaby, who keeps her pampered but dependent and is callous about her personal feelings. When Diana finds Nan in bed with a servant woman, she kicks Nan out in a particularly humiliating manner, and is later seen with a new kept girl. Now, Miss Lethaby is a pretty unpleasant person, but not in any sense "psycho". If anything, her portrayal (and those of her moneyed friends) taps into stereotypes about the heartlessness of the rich, especially in contrast with the virtuous socialists. You can see why I removed this example! Another of Waters's books, Fingersmith, also ends with a female couple living together in good health and sanity.

By contrast, I left Affinity in, although with hesitation, wondering whether Waters intended a deconstruction of the trope, by adding realism to it. The main character is Margaret Prior, heartbroken and suicidal after a close female friend of hers marries. She begins volunteering at a women's prison and becomes fascinated with one of the inmates, a "spirit medium", Selina Dawes. Selina skillfully encourages Margaret's obsession, convincing her that they're soul mates, or "affinities", and eventually manipulates her into helping her escape from prison, only to leave her in the lurch. Margaret, thus cruelly used, kills herself. The last scene is a S/M-tinged one of Selina with her real lover. So, we have two main lesbian characters, one of whom is as perversely wicked as anyone could ask, and the other of whom is unstable, obsessive, and suicidal; in both cases this is (at least somewhat) connected with their sexuality.

More briefly, here are three others that I've read and don’t recognize this trope in. Strangers in Paradise (1996 - 2007) has an open and positive lesbian couple at its center, although they go through lots of drama and will-they-or-won’t-they. One of the many troubles they confront is an organization of violent criminals, who are lesbians, but there doesn't seem to be an implied relation; true, Katchoo’s connection with this organization was big trouble for her, but her lesbian love for the other protagonist is an unambiguously positive thing for her. Hothead Paisan: Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist (1991 - present) is an over-the-top comedic feminist rant, satirizing many things and partly causing readers to say, when Hothead Paisan blows something up, "Whoa, you go way too far, but that stuff bugs me too..." As for Gunnerkrigg Court (2005 - present), I can quote the previous commenter: "Since Zimmy literally needs Gamma to stay in this reality, and to keep what Gamma can't drain from driving her mad, she's grown very attached; this is the "lesbian" part. The "psycho" part is a combination of Zimmy's own crazy-ass personality, and the stress exacerbating her crazy-ass-osity." In other words, there’s no connection between the "psycho" and the "lesbian" aspects, and the gender of the object of Zimmy’s attachment has nothing to do with it.

And I can confirm that Passing (1929) does belong on this page: the threatening sexual attraction and the murder are all there. Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca (1938) also fits perfectly.

So, I'm putting out an appeal to people who are familiar with any and all examples, either the ones I removed or the ones I left. Analyze them and say, is there an implication (intentional or unintentional) that lesbianism is a source or symptom of mental pathology for the character? In particular, does this portrayal resemble the cliché (which you'll quickly recognize once you've seen it a number of times) of the violently possessive lesbian?
06:36:53 PM Aug 30th 2010
Heartbreak, with reference to Strawberry Panic and Blue Drop, since both shows seem (from what I've heard, I don't know myself) to be quite full of female relationships, do you think that the fact that some of the characters involved are villainous taps into this trope? Is there anything about the way they're portrayed that overcomes the context of other, positive characters (are there any?) to suggest that their lesbianism is the source or symptom of their villainy?
01:58:00 PM Sep 9th 2010
edited by Heartbreak
But this trope is not called all lesbians are psycho and while it might have that Unfortunate Implication at times that is not what this trope is about. It is about lesbians who are psychotically obsessed with and or violently jealous of and attack either other women they have feelings for or the person that there crush is interested in. However it is possible for someone to be both psychotic and a lesbian without falling into this trope like Admiral Cain. Even if there are other positive lesbians in the story there can still be psycho ones that attack them and are used as a contrast to them.

As for Vasha question about Strawberry Panic and Blue Drop. While panic has several good girl-girl relationships the two characters mentioned Kaname and Momomi are scheming and violent and bitches that attempt to rape an innocent girl because they think she looks cute, definitely psycho lesbians. Drope is a bit more complicated because it uses a lot of Hide Your Lesbians really the only confirmed one that was good is Hagino (and possibly Mari but that more of a case of If It's You, It's Okay) and even she douse not seem to have both ours in the water when it comes to her crush.
02:05:49 PM Oct 2nd 2010
Zimmy from Gunnerkrigg court deserves to go back in, for a couple reasons not mentioned in the earlier example. Screaming "I'd kill everyone in the world and then myself if she wanted it!" is certainly not a healthy way of thinking of anyone. Gamma doesn't speak any English, although she and Zimmy can communicate telepathically. When another girl compliments Gamma's hair, Zimmy mistranslates and says the girl thinks she is stupid and ugly. The author clarifies that "Zimmy is straight up lying. She knows the best way to keep a friend is to make them think everyone else hates them."

So while Gamma does psychically help keep Zimmy from going insane, Zimmy has a very unhealthy attitude about the relationship, and is trying so hard to preserve their relationship at all costs that she's more likely to destroy it, ironically. Because of her attraction to another girl, she's acting like a psycho.

It's not absolutely implied that she's psychotic because her attraction is "unnatural," the moral of the story could just as easily be that jealousy is destructive without necessarily having negative implications about lesbianism itself. However, if you're going to be that strict about this trope, it's falling out of "Tropes are not bad" territory.
04:11:49 AM Nov 9th 2012
I haven't seen many of the examples cited above, so I can only comment on Willow of Buffy fame. Now, as an aside, I'd say she's bisexual as she never pretended to be attracted to men in the beginning, she wasn't hiding or kidding herself; she's just had more relationship success with women now. Apart from that, I was surprised to see she'd been suggested as her descent in (brief) crazy was caused by her girlfriend's accidental murder, which as someone pointed out would've happened whoever it had been. It is not due to her lesbianism, so it should not be here.
05:27:04 AM Jun 29th 2014
While you're at repairing, in "Barbarella" of course not Barbarella is the lesbian (she even refuses her avances) but the Black Queen of Sogo.
09:04:11 PM Aug 18th 2010
Does Roxy Richter from Scott Pilgrim count in this category?
04:12:06 AM Nov 9th 2012
I would say yes.
09:25:39 PM Sep 12th 2017
It depends on which version of her you're talking about. In the original comic, she is fairly rational and is one of the few exes with whom Ramona is still on good terms; her antagonism towards Scott Pilgrim is due mainly to the fact that 1) she's convinced that he's cheating on Ramona, and 2) Gideon has hired her to kill Scott. The movie version, on the other hand, would probably qualify for this trope.
Collapse/Expand Topics