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The Lack of Lesbian Imagery In the Media

Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate women of all different backgrounds, cultures, and ethnicities. It is a time to give attention to women who haven’t been given enough love or support. It seems then, to me, to be the perfect opportunity to celebrate one particular category of women who have been neglected in the media. Lesbians.

What’s the point of having a month that is dedicated to celebrating women if all women are not celebrated in that month? Somehow, lesbians have been left out. They’ve been neglected, ostracized and made to look like they don’t exist— the victims of an attempt at purposeful extinction. They’ve been shoved under the rug in the hopes that they’ll disappear, yet the truth is that just like the dust under that rug, they won’t go away.

In the ever more accepting society that America is starting to become, it is getting harder and harder to deny the fact that lesbians exist. Even still, the media is continuing to refuse lesbians their existence, their recognition, by hiding their images— as if not letting ourselves see them somehow makes them less real.

In the instances that lesbians are portrayed in the media, they are often objectified and overly sexualized, made into objects whose sole purpose is to please the male gaze. They are degraded and victimized—treated like less than human. They are showcased for shock value, put into minor roles on TV shows that want to be more “edgy.”

But why are lesbians portrayed to be so risqué? Part of the reason why lesbian imagery is so taboo might simply be because the world hasn’t seen enough of it. Anything that someone comes into contact with that they haven’t seen before is going to seem strange, no matter what it is.

Women have come so far; they’ve gained the right to vote, the right to be more than housewives, the right to make their own decisions—yet, they haven’t been given the right to celebrate loving another woman. And that, to me, seems wrong. Exposing society to more lesbian imagery might just be the next step to widespread acceptance. It may not be able to stop the discrimination, but it certainly can help.

Deanna is a junior majoring in English with a minor in Psychology at Cabrini College. She is an active member of Cabrini’s Dance Team, a lover of dessert, and a huge fan of the TV show, Survivor.
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