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A lipstick lesbian is a slang term used to describe gay (lesbian) and bisexual women who exhibit feminine gender attributes, such as wearing make-up (thus, lipstick), wearing dresses or skirts and perhaps having other characteristics associated with feminine women.
In mainstream American films, lesbians are often portrayed according to the lipstick lesbian stereotype to be both politically safer and more sexually attractive to male viewers. A good example is Showtime's television series The L Word, which presents most of its major lesbian characters in this way. Most lesbians in mainstream pornography are also portrayed in this way.
The term was used in San Francisco at least as far back as the 1980s. In 1982, Priscilla Rhoades, a journalist with the gay newspaper The Sentinel, wrote a feature story on "Lesbians for Lipstick." The term is thought to have emerged in wide usage during the early 1990s. A 1997 episode of the television show Ellen widely publicized the phrase. In the show, Ellen DeGeneres's character, asked by her parents whether a certain woman is a "dipstick lesbian," explains that the term is "lipstick lesbian," and comments that "I would be a chapstick lesbian."
A distinction is sometimes drawn between the phrases "lipstick lesbian" and "chapstick lesbian" and the older phrases butch and femme by suggesting that the former phrases simply refer to appearance, whereas the latter imply mutual attraction of the two types. "Chapstick lesbians" are often considered soft butch.
The term has also been reinterpreted as a derogatory reference to feigned lesbianism — implying that it is as easy as lipstick to add or remove.
The term has also been applied to heterosexual women who act like lesbians to get attention, i.e., sorority girls making out at a party just to attract guys. These women are not actually lesbians.
- ↑ Sarah Warn (January 2004). The L Word Season 1 Review (Page 2). AfterEllen.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-21. Retrieved on 2007-11-19. “...the mostly white, mostly middle-class lipstick-lesbian characters of The L Word still manage to carve out distinctly different niches fairly quickly.”
- ↑ Hash and rehash | Spectator, The | Find Articles at BNET.com
- ↑ Keshia Kola (2007-11-16). The Shesaurus: America's First Women's Dictionary-Thesaurus. Retrieved on 2007-11-18.
- ↑ Issue 71 (PDF) pg 10. G3 Magazine (April 2007). Retrieved on 2007-11-19.
- Butler, Judith [1999-09-01]. Gender Trouble: feminism and the subversion of identity., Paperback, New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-92499-5.
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