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Lipstick Lesbian

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She dresses and acts in a manner that is considered conventionally feminine, likes "feminine" things such as wearing lipstick— and likes women. Fictional lesbians tend to fall into this category if they're "good" characters as it's often seen as "safer" to depict them, while masculine lesbians tend to be relegated to "edgy" portrayals. Lipstick lesbians often have long fingernails which are impractical for sexual activity.

A related term is "femme"; a contrasting term is "butch". In LGBTQ communities, lipstick lesbians are described as only attracted to other lipstick lesbians, "more feminine" than average straight women, or having an "over-the-top" expression of femininity. Ellen DeGeneres jokingly coined the term "chapstick lesbian" to describe those who fall somewhere in between the two extremes of "lipstick" and "butch".

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Fiction does not reflect the low proportion of real-life lesbians who are lipstick lesbians. The reasons for this over-representation can include Fanservice (because Girl-on-Girl Is Hot), wanting to avert the stereotype of Butch Lesbian (and the implication that non-heterosexuals are "gender inverted"), wanting to present a lesbian character that won't "intimidate" viewers, and wanting to depict a woman who "just happens to be attracted to other women" rather than other aspects of LGBTQ cultures and identities.

Related to the opposite of Butch Lesbian, a high femme. Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple is for when this type of woman is paired with a more butch one. See Schoolgirl Lesbians, another form of catering to Yuri Fans via character type. Lipstick lesbians who don't take the "girliness" to extremes can be seen as Distaff Counterpart to the male Straight Gay, while ones who do, depending on your perspective, can either be seen as counterparts to the Manly Gay (in terms of over-emphasizing the "expected" characteristics of their gender) or the Camp Gay (in terms of going whole-hog into "femininity").

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Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Akko and Mari from Girl Friends. Particularly prevalent since much of the plot includes shopping for clothes, getting makeovers, and hairstyling.
  • Hazuki from Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito, who has long billowy black hair, a pretty seifuku, stunning blue eyes, and is just slightly gayer than an entire pride parade reenacting the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The object of her affections is even more feminine, though bi- or pan-sexual.
  • Yamato from Loveless acts as the more "femme" of the female Zeroes, as opposed to her fighter Koya.
  • Nobara Yukinokouji from Inu × Boku SS is an attractive woman who works as a bodyguard, and tells Ririchiyo that she would love to be in a sexual relationship with her. She also demonstrates her more feminine aspects by helping Ririchiyo with her hair in episode 3.
  • Variable Geo: Ayako Yuuki works as a floor dancer at SoTO Techno Rave Club and dresses accordingly, in a haltertop, a mini-skirt with suspenders, and high-heels. Her official character bio, states that she's not only a lesbian, but has entered the VG tournament as an excuse to see as many naked womens' bodies as possiblenote .

    Comic Books 
  • DC Comics's current Batwoman is a Lipstick Lesbian. She was 'outed' in a cunningly-written magazine interview several months before the character premiered, and her first comic appearance was in a stunning party dress that caused jaws to drop both in and out of the comic. Her portrayal changed somewhat between 52 and her stint in Detective Comics, where she becomes significantly more butch. In the latter, she was established as having been in the army and wearing a wig in costume to hide her short hair. And, in contrast to the above, she shows a preference for tuxedoes over dresses.
  • Karolina Dean of Runaways is one of the most feminine members of the group. That doesn't stop her from liking other girls. She and Julie Power of Power Pack once dated (Julie herself is a bisexual). At another point, she tries to kiss her friend Nico, mistaking her as lesbian just because Nico said she's "done with boys forever".
  • In the Bluntman and Chronic comics, based on the Comic Book Within A Show of the same name from The View Askewniverse movies, one of their nemeses is a lesbian called the Lipstick Lesbian.
  • Sarah Rainmaker, from Gen¹³, although it took a while for her to truly come out as one. She is often actually seen attending protests and demonstrations on behalf of the LGBT community and has a tendency to lecture her teammates when they (often) fail to live up to her standards of political correctness. (Usually without much success.)
  • Stormer and Kimber from Jem and the Holograms are both feminine and are a couple. Kimber in particular falls for girls easily but is committed to Stormer. Kimber's bandmates (and sisters) don't care about their relationship but Stormer's hate her dating a Hologram.
  • In Circles, Gus the Butch Lesbian's girlfriend Lucy is this.
  • Blue Is the Warmest Color: Clémentine and Emma, especially in contrast to Sabine, though they're both slightly tomboyish in their looks.

    Comic Strips 
  • Sydney Krukowski from Dykes to Watch Out For refers to herself as femme, although the way she looks and acts isn't that different from her girlfriend Mo (who is sometimes considered butch.)

    Fan Works 
  • Gianna of Luminosity is this to the extent that no one notices until a female vampire mate-bonds to her. This was intentional on her part, though she doesn't change at all when she gets in an open relationship.
  • In The Unexpected Love Life of Dusk Shine, it's Celestia.
  • When she really makes an effort, Miss Alice Band of the Guild of Assassins comes over as this, although on a scale of one to ten (where one is the Butch stereotype) her usual placement would be around six or seven. On one Guild assignment, she had to pose as a circus high-wire artiste - which involved seriously glamming up. Alice Band, a very minor and largely unseen character in canon, is fleshed out in the Discworld works of A.A. Pessimal.
  • Erika and her Gym staff are portrayed this way in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines.
  • Alice Cullen, as portrayed in As Dreams Are Made On, is squarely in the lipstick lesbian category, taking a great deal of joy and pride in her fashion sense and skill with makeup. The protagonist, Cass or Bella, isn't much of a lipstick lesbian in her own right, but her tastes do run to the femme side and she cleans up nicely.
  • In Wicked Wiles, Grumpy falls for another "female" dwarf, a feminine dwarf names Gabby that uses she/her pronouns, wears earrings, and keeps her beard short.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Judy Squires in Better Than Chocolate, who is also a trans woman. Frances, the woman she's in love with, is more of a "chapstick lesbian". Maggie, the main character, is pretty femme-y as well.
  • Lucille from Sin City.
    Marv: Lucille's my parole officer. She's a dyke, but God knows why. With that body of hers she could have any man she wants.
  • Megan and Hilary in But I'm a Cheerleader. Megan is the titular cheerleader, and Hilary, as the product of an all-girl boarding school, is prone to clothing reminiscent of school girl uniforms.
  • V for Vendetta: Valerie, as shown in flashbacks, was portrayed as being classically effeminate. This doesn't stop her from being persecuted by the Norsefire regime.
  • Goth couple Medea Yarn and Hellabent from Otto; or Up with Dead People they wear long frilly dresses, make up and act very feminine all the time.
  • Jeanie in Out at the Wedding is one of these however she had been in the closet and repressed to the point where the movie begins with her marrying her boyfriend. Her Closet Key is a Butch Lesbian named Risa who Jeanie's straight sister originally paid to pretend to be her girlfriend, because she was afraid her family wouldn't approve of her black boyfriend.
  • Magalie in Intouchables, much to Driss' disappointment.
  • Miss New York in Miss Congeniality, given that she's a beauty queen. Her girlfriend too, evident in the brief glimpse we get of her.
  • DEBS. Both Amy Bradshaw and Lucy Diamond pretend to be tough but are, deep down, nice, feminine girls who are very much in love with each other.
  • In Life Blood, Brooke and Rhea are models who are also lesbians, and later they're lesbian vampires.
  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post: According to the counselors at God's Promise, one of the girl's is lesbian because she's too feminine. More specifically, Jessica's into pageants and her beauty led to her feeling inadequate in her femininity, which in turn led to her same-sex attraction. Cameron, Coley, and a number of other lesbian girls all also have traditionally feminine looks.
  • I Can't Think Straight: Tala and Leyla both qualify, as they present themselves in traditionally feminine ways. Of course, it's expected since they begin as not "out" even to themselves and come from traditional cultures.
  • All Cheerleaders Die: Maddy and Leena, who both largely look and dress like the straight girls (the former more so).
  • Life Partners: Most of the lesbian characters in the film are fairly effeminate.
  • When Night Is Falling: Both Camille and Petra qualify given their effeminate looks, though the former appears to be bisexual.
  • First Girl I Loved: Anne, and possible Sasha, who both have feminine looks/attire.
  • Lost and Delirious: Tori, who acts and dresses effeminately while being in a relationship with another girl.
  • Princess Cyd: Two female friends of Miranda are married, and have classically effeminate looks. Cyd is a lipstick bisexual for the same reasons.
  • 3 Generations: Dolly and her partner Frances are both middle-aged, effeminate women.
  • Gia: Gia's lover Linda, who is a makeup artist and much more feminine in comparison with Gia.
  • The Roommate: Irene is a lesbian with very feminine clothing and mannerisms.

    Literature 
  • Improbably, as is pointed out by some of the characters - including herself, Jacyl from Black Dogs. As an elven scout she's often weeks or months on end in the wilderness with no hot baths and limited pack space, yet she needs to carry several different outfits and makeup along with her. Her former guardian remarked that he first came across her while her house was burning down and that despite this, she was attempting to save her dresses. Her partner is the Butch Lesbian Sinai.
  • Felicity Worthington, from the Gemma Doyle Trilogy, behaves like an proper Victorian girl. There are very few hints about her true sexual orientation (subtext only). However, it is revealed in The Sweet Far Thing that she is in fact a lesbian and was in love with Pippa Cross. Probably due to the attitude of the time, she views this part of her with contempt and is in the closet about it; she seems to think that this means there is something wrong with her. Pippa is another example, although she also expresses interest in boys, so she's either Bi the Way or If It's You, It's Okay.
  • In Odd Girl Out, published in 1957, the feminine Laura initially doesn't believe she can be a lesbian because she knows about homosexuals—"the men were great sissies, and the women wore pants."
  • Several in Mary Renault's work: Valentine in Purposes of Love, Helen in The Friendly Young Ladies, Lasthenia in The Mask of Apollo. Valentine, though, is bisexual, or basically straight but going through a phase. Helen, on the other hand, is more certain of her lesbianism than is her butch lover, Leo.
  • Simona Ahrnstedt has a 17th century example of this in her novel "De skandalösa", when the beautiful and docile Venus Dag och Natt turns out to be gay. She is way more traditionally feminine than Butch Lesbian Nora Gripklo.
  • The protagonist of April Daniels's Nemesis, to the point that she wears makeup more for the sake of it than to be beautiful.
  • Manifestation: The main protagonist, Gabby Palladino, is a teenage lesbian with a very feminine style in her clothing and personal tastes.
  • S.M. Stirling has a peculiar variant that recurs again and again in his books. His typical "Strong Woman" character will be both improbably athletic and capable in combat and more of a man than the men — yet, at the same time, conventionally beautiful and gorgeous so every guy wants her and every girl wants to be her (if they don't want her, too). Usually, she will be paired with another lesbian of the same type, though slightly less over the top, or else a more submissive and traditionally feminine (and equally gorgeous) one. Examples can be found in the Draka books, the Island in the Sea of Time series, The Shadowspawn trilogy, and even Stirling's Terminator tie-ins... In fact, it's rather few of his original series that do not feature at least one of these in a prominent role.
  • The Hearts We Sold: Gremma is openly gay, and while she's certainly aggressive, she's not masculine. She's described as being positively lovely, and has an appreciation for the finer things in life.
  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer: Poornima "Nim" Chaudhary is openly gay, though she's occasionally taken an intrest in guys and thinks she might be bi with a prefrence for gals, and really likes fashion.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Almost Family: Edie and Amanda qualify, dressing and acting in a traditionally feminine way.
  • Lana Winters from American Horror Story: Asylum is a glamorous woman who is usually seen wearing skirts and dresses along with makeup and possesses long, styled hair. Her girlfriend, Wendy, is less so but still a conventionally feminine woman.
  • Batwoman (2019): Sophie's quite feminine, and eventually admits she's a lesbian, having been in denial of the fact for some time.
  • DC Jo Masters from The Bill has been described like this, although she doesn't really advertise it. Rather large in the chest department, she had Eddie (the male crime scene examiner) ask her on a date. She told him they'd go for a drink and she'd explain.
  • After her coming-out storyline, Beth Jordache from Brookside (played by Anna Friel) was labeled as a "lipstick lesbian" by the British media, receiving equal attention from young women and young men.
  • The Boys (2019): Queen Maeve is shown to be one, along with her ex-girlfriend. She's apparently forced to remain closeted while part of The Seven, with Homelander as her beard.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow (after she comes out in Season 4) and Tara. Willow is prone to lots of "girly" colors in her clothes, and Tara seemed to prefer dresses.
  • Nurse Patsy Mount from Call the Midwife is a ruby-lipped circa-1960 glamour girl like her straight coworker Trixie (if quieter and more serious), with a penchant for patterned silks.
  • Das Boot: Simone always dresses and acts in a traditionally effeminate manner. Her being a lesbian is a big surprise for the audience.
  • Degrassi/Degrassi: Next Class has the feminine and frilly Zoe realizing that she's a lesbian. It becomes a big deal because people (including her own mother) don't believe she's gay because she's so feminine.
  • A Discovery of Witches: Diana's lesbian aunts are indistinguishable from other middle-aged women aside from their sexual orientation.
  • Doctor Who:
    • When not kicking ass, Madame Vastra and her wife Jenny Flint are decked out in lovely Victorian dresses.
    • "Arachnids in the UK": Minor character Frankie, mentioned to be married to Jack Robertson's niece, is wearing a well-tailored pantsuit, as well as having her hair nicely done and wearing makeup.
  • Lucy in Dracula is a lipstick lesbian, while Lady Jayne is a lipstick bisexual. Lucy in particular wears copious amounts of ultra-feminine dresses, mostly in varying shades of pink and purple.
  • ER's Kerry Weaver is more of a chapstick lesbian—attractive, feminine, but short-haired and abrasive—but her companions tend to fit this trope (with the slight exception of Sandy, who despite her decidedly feminine looks, has a unisex name, is a firefighter, and like Kerry, an abrasive personality).
  • The Family: Willa, who is never anything less than properly feminine. She's also completely in the closet and before getting involved with Bridey doesn't seem to have been in touch with her sexuality at all. It later turns out her brother Danny knew all along.
  • The Firefly episode "War Stories" has Inara taking a female client (also of the Lipstick variety). According to Kaylee, this isn't the first time. Both Inara and the client wear fancy, elegant clothing.
  • Thirteen on House - or at least lipstick bisexual. She wears her hair long with stylish clothing.
  • Humans: Niska and Astrid, her girlfriend. They're both feminine and in a relationship.
  • Lip Service: Tess and Cat, though Tess is a bit more "chapstick".
  • The Magicians: Marina 23, at least, who has a girlfriend she intends to marry. It's possible main-timeline Marina is a lesbian as well, though it's never actually confirmed.
  • Manifest: Saanvi and her ex-girlfriend, who are both very feminine. Her ex may be bisexual though, since she's married to a man.
  • NOS4A2: Maggie is revealed to be a lesbian (by abruptly having sex with a woman she's just met) with no hint beforehand since she acts and dresses much like the straight girls.
  • Lizzy on One Big Happy doesn't show any stereotypical traits. Though considering the show is produced by Ellen Degeneres, she's closer to a "chapstick" lesbian.
  • Orange Is the New Black: Franzizka (Poussey's German girlfriend shown in flashbacks) and Shani, an ICE detainee who gets involved with Nicky. Both are very feminine, in contrast to their lovers.
  • Delphine from Orphan Black likes to dress in very expensive-looking and feminine clothing, and winds up in a relationship with Cosima.
  • Out Of Practice, a failed show on CBS, had a central character who screamed this trope to the heavens. She dressed provocatively, threw herself at women, and couldn't open her mouth without bringing up the topic of her sexuality.
  • Party of Five (2020): Teresa is quite feminine, and casually involved with another women. Although slightly tomboyish in her interests Lucia may be another example as her look is otherwise feminine and she's also attracted to Teresa. However, she's struggling with it.
  • Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams: "Real Life" has both Sarah and Katie, her wife, who appear completely indistinguishable from straight women, so the reveal of their relationship is surprising.
  • Pretty Little Liars:
    • Emily (in the book series she was bisexual).
    • Her first girlfriend Maya also qualifies, although at first she seems more Bi the Way.
    • Paige is more of a borderline example; she has various shades of a Butch Lesbian in the first season, but the following seasons give her a complete makeover including long hair, more revealing outfits and toned down her aggressive behavior (well, most of the time anyway), which pretty much makes her qualify too.
    • Shana, Talia, and to lesser extent Samara also fit the trope. Jenna is revealed to be a lipstick bisexual.
    • If one counts the Ambiguously Bi, Allison and Mona also fit here.
  • On the Philippine teleserye The Rich Man's Daughter, three of the four lesbians are feminine, namely the two principal characters Jade and Althea, and the latter's ex Wila.
  • Both Nomi and her girlfriend Amanita in Sense8 are very feminine, though that doesn't stop them from briefly participating in a Dykes on Bikes event in the San Francisco Pride Parade. It's possible Amantia is bisexual though, since her hair is dyed in the colors of the bi pride flag.
  • Switched at Birth: It's revealed in "Human/Need/Desire" that Natalie is either a lesbian or bisexual.
  • Tipping the Velvet had Kitty (when she wasn't dressed as a man for her Music Hall act), Mrs. Lethaby, Florence and Zena. The protagonist Nan starts off as a lipstick lesbian but becomes increasingly butch as the story continues.
  • Vida: Emma and (to a slightly lesser extent) Cruz (or libstick bisexual, in Emma's case). Possibly also Vida, assuming she was a lesbian and not bi.
  • Years and Years: Edith and Fran, who prior to being revealed as lesbians give no sign of it.
  • The second half of the lesbian couple in the Mini SeriesThe Women Of Brewster Place. She is notably the friendlier of the two.

    Music 
  • Implied in the MOTTS song "I Want Her". It's never mentioned what the sexuality of the object of her affections is, but the woman is noted as particularly feminine and alluring.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • They aren't above invoking Ho Yay for comedy, but The Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew is made up of two Heterosexual Life-Partners who have even helped each other regarding relationships with men(Jimmy Jacobs and "Sick" Nick Mondo). However, Lacey and Rain's SHIMMER merchandise tends to depict them as Girly Girl lesbians and their man hatred is at its strongest on the promotion's shows.

    Theater 

    Video Games 
  • Veronica Santangelo from Fallout: New Vegas. One of her quests involves finding a dress for her to wear, completely inverting Real Women Don't Wear Dresses as a result. Ironically, Veronica is also a Wrench Wench, fond of making off-colour jokes, and her favored weapon is a Power Fist.
  • Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story has Rika Ayano; she loves fashion and makeup, and her magical girl outfit is a super-cute Frills of Justice number, complete with a laser-shooting compact mirror for a weapon. The thing that caused her to become a magical girl was her sadness at the female childhood friend she was in love with getting a boyfriend.
  • Possibly Waitress Aurora in Pokémon Black and White, a character you go onto Ferris Wheel dates with if you play as Hilda. Her Japanese conversation mentions a boy, but the English version excludes that. The Ferris Wheel dates are full of innuendo and Aurora's is no exception.
  • Franke from Psychonauts is best friends with the canonically bisexual Kitty. There's nothing in the games themselves to suggest they're anything but friends, however the "Campster" website (a parody of Friendster) suggests otherwise. Her "interests" list only Kitty, her favorite band is t.A.T.u., and her favorite show is Ellen. Both Franke's and Kitty's profiles list each other in an "open relationship" with the other.

    Visual Novels 
  • Misha from Katawa Shoujo. She's very feminine and even has (explicitly dyed) pink hair and is a lesbian. She has deep issues over the fact.
  • Jaehee from Mystic Messenger is a moderately feminine character who becomes a lot more so in one of her endings, where the female protagonist is her special friend as she works up the courage to confess.

    Webcomics 
  • Amber from Khaos Komix, with her perfect curls.
  • Penny and Aggie:
  • Kanaya from Homestuck, the troll's "bugging and fussing and meddling" Team Mom, with Virgo as her associated sign, is a lesbian and the only troll with an interest in fashion. Literally a Lipstick Lesbian in that her main weapon is a lipstick that sometimes transforms into a chainsaw.
    • There's also Rose, Kanaya's girlfriend, who enjoys skirts, knitting, and trashy romance novels.
  • Girly lesbians are the dominant type in Girls with Slingshots. All of the major lesbian or bisexual characters are prone to curves, makeup, and girly interests. Butch lesbians exist, but they have their own hangouts (one of which Jamie visits during her Coming-Out Story arc).

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe: Bugs (Bunny Cormick) is regarded as one of the hottest girls at a Superhero School, but is strictly lesbian. She's not the only such girl in Poe Cottage.

    Web Videos 
  • Aster from Anyone But Me. Vivian is either this or a chapstick lesbian, depending on your perspective

    Western Animation 
  • Discussed on an episode of King of the Hill, where a subplot involved Hank's driver's license now saying he was a woman. Peggy's hairdresser commented that if they were a lesbian couple, Peggy would be a lipstick lesbian, which is "the best kind".
  • There has been much controversy over the possibility of lesbian subtext in Adventure Time, specifically between Princess Bubblegum and Marceline. If this is to be believed, Princess Bubblegum, who wears her hair long, likes to wear long dresses, and, um, is entirely pink would fit this trope.
  • The Legend of Korra: Asami is a lipstick bisexual — even when she's in practical adventuring gear, she's always wearing makeup. In fact, she's probably the most feminine major character in the whole series. Her eventual girlfriend Korra is more of a tomboy, but not quite enough to be considered outright butch.
  • Dofus: The Treasures of Kerubim; Simone and her virtually-confirmed girlfriend Julie are both this trope.
  • Steven Universe: As a side note, in general, Gems are actually genderless despite going with she/her pronouns.
    • Sapphire, the composed, sweet, gentle Gem, who is in a committed relationship with Ruby.
    • Likewise for Pearl, who's also of the discount type. She's graceful, acts motherly to Steven, wears a ballerina-inspired outfit, and she had a complicated one-sided love for Rose Quartz. Her prototypical designs were slightly less feminine (in particular the one used in the pilot) however her personality characterized her as far more of a jerk. As of the season 4 episode "Last One Out of Beach City", she's scored the Mystery Girl's phone number and was obviously attracted to her.

Alternative Title(s): Femme Lesbian

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