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Letters and opinions from concerned South African women on current affairs and issues affecting us all

A reader investigates why butch girls are being marginalised on TV

More Butch On TV Please

By Purple Lady

Casting my mind back to a few years ago I find it difficult to recall a prominent lesbian presence on television however now I’m struggling to find any representatives for us butch lesbians.

We are seriously being neglected. Perhaps it’s an attempt to portray lesbians as average looking women that don’t look particularly manly or don’t appear to be rejecting their feminine side.

A feeble attempt by the media to normalise us and make it appear as if we could be found anywhere walking among those unsuspecting straight people. It is, apparently, fashionable to be a feminine lesbian these days.

In our community butches are becoming an invisible minority but why is this happening? Is it a change in attitude or simply the times that are changing?

Two of my favourite lesbians on television at the moment are Arizona and Callie on the much loved medical drama Grey’s Anatomy and as much as I respect and adore these lovely ladies it is a little disheartening that they are too feminine in so many ways. Grey’s Anatomy is a hugely popular programme that has the potential to be a powerful platform for spreading a message and if I had a choice that message would be that butch can be just as beautiful as femme.

Pretty Little Liars, The Fosters and Orange is the New Black are all heavily populated by typically good-looking femmes.

While watching television we expect to see beautiful, confident people whose looks are usually enviably desirable but I think it’s been forgotten that us butches are actually often considered to be “cute” and “sexy” by straight women.

They seem to find the almost boyish look surprisingly appealing. We could easily be a heterosexual ladies guilty secret as well as being eye candy for the lovely lesbians in the audience.

There are obvious advantages to the exposure we are gaining from this new trend.

We are becoming integrated into society as important doctors, friends and neighbours who are no more different than any other woman you may meet. TV and Hollywood are attempting in the best way they know to show the world that we are not actually the different species we were once seen as. It has shown the general population that a certain dress code does not need to be followed in order to qualify as a genuine lesbian.

While I’m trying my best to see it as advantageous rather than destructive I do wish that we will, soon, see a strong butch role model taking the spotlight and being an inspiration to all the other butches out there fighting for their place in normality. The stereotype of the over exaggerated ultra feminine gay man has been embraced so it must be our time to shine any day now, right?

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