Gender Roles In The L Word

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As a self-identifying lesbian, I can affirm that The L Word is the holy grail of lesbianism. Completing the entire series is considered a rite of passage into full lesbianism. With new endowed wisdom of the upper class lifestyles of LA lesbians, a baby dyke can grow into a full dyke. She is either femme or butch, because clearly there is nothing in between or else that skews from the gender binary mirrored within lesbian culture. “The show centers on the lives of a handful of (mostly) feminine, (almost entirely) white, and (unrealistically) economically flush lesbians living in Los Angeles.” (Kessler) Although this show aired before my queer emergence, I felt obligated to watch the entirety of all 6 seasons, so I know my L Word tidbits. This…show more content…
While still around today, and continuously perpetrated in media, such as The L Word, they aren’t a key to survival and safety. Before Stonewall dives into this presence of gender roles within same-gender relationships, particularly for lesbians in terms of safety. In order to stay out of harm's way, or at least try to, a lesbian coupled required a butch and a femme, aka a ‘man’ and a ‘woman’. This allowed for public appearances within the extremely heteronormative culture. While this seems more like a dress up game of ‘who gets to be the butch tonight?’ it’s much more than that. It was a survival technique; a form of camouflage.
Similarly, as discussed in Before Stonewall, gay men had to conform to heteronormative values and norms as well. Masculinity had to be proven. George Buse, one of the men interviewed in the film, stated that the manliest display 9of masculinity was to join the Marine Corps because “The Marine Corps builds men.” (Before Stonewall) Doing so sought to disprove the popular stereotype that “all homosexuals are effeminate” by “[proving their] manhood.” (Before Stonewall) Once again, a form of camouflage was used to protect those within the LGBT+
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