Queer Women as Sexual Beings: ‘The L Word’ and More

A typical 'L Word' promotional image which highlights the sexual aspect of the show, luring viewers by titillation over plot or characters

Today’s media landscape is fuller than ever with queer characters (though most of them are still white and/or male), yet the stories we see are still most commonly either angst-ridden fumbling towards a coming out or pregnancy and adoption dramas. It’s rare to see a fully realized queer character, too old for coming out and too young for children, actually dating and enjoying sexual encounters. It’s rarer still when it’s a woman.

Dear Writers, I Will Not Allow You to Quietly Bury Your Queers


However, for some reason, the siren song of shock value makes writers unable to let sleeping dogs lie. Happiness (or let’s be real, any positivity) just isn’t authentic enough. Queer characters have a bull’s-eye on their backs because their suffering is interpreted as a commentary on the cruelty of the human condition, even if their death has nothing to do with their identity. It’s symbolic! The potential pathos payoff of a queer martyr is too tempting to worry about silly junk like the importance of representation or overcoming adversity. Queer kids, you can totally have a meaningful future, until your death is required for timely social commentary or for the sake of artistic profundity! But you still kind of sort of existed when it was relevant to other people, so isn’t that enough? Ah yes, you can always depend on that token queer waiting in the slaughterhouse when you’ve run out of ideas and/or creative integrity.