It’s 2021 and while we have come so far in our representation on TV, some shows have done much better than others in achieving this goal. And while I cannot speak for my entire community, I did want to shine a particular light on two of my favorite Lesbian TV couples.
The first couple I want to look at is Shelby and Toni from the show The Wilds. There is so much complexity to this relationship from the fact that they are literally from two different worlds to the fact that they were only able to meet through a near-death experience. We get to see both characters as how they are seen on the outside before anything else, and the outside is completely different from who they are. Toni is sweet and fiercely protective, while also being completely unafraid to be herself even though she sometimes has a problem controlling her anger. Shelby, on the other hand, is scared and trying so hard to be perfect that she isn’t giving herself time to be who she is. She’s also dealing with her sexuality and how it affects her relationship with her parents due to her religious upbringing. These two characters that are almost designed to be each other’s foil need each other to open up to who they are and it isn’t an easy, cute relationship like we want to see the entire time. We see characters in a horrible situation being pushed together by their feelings because for once they feel like they do not have to hide. The worst has already happened.
Next are Brittany and Sanatana from Glee. These two walked so most of these other couples could RUN and although I disagree with Ryan Murphy and his backhanded work for the Queer community, this couple helped so many young queer women come to terms with their identities. First, however, I want to talk about how this is the show that gave us one of our strongest lesbian archetypes that are still in full effect today and that its the troupe of the sunshine blonde girlfriend, and her tough on the outside but secretly a big teddy bear brunette girlfriend. Not only did it strengthen this Hollywood troupe, which despite its sometimes problematic portrayal showed people everywhere that there is more than one type of lesbian and queer couple. Brittany is bisexual and that isn’t erased at all just because she loves Santana because we see her love men and have relationships with them. Meanwhile, Santana is a lesbian despite having had relationships with men because we learn that they do not matter to her, the only relationships that she cares about are the ones she has with other women. The fact that these are also highly feminine portraying women adds to the representation that is given. One last thing I would like to say about this relationship is how beautiful it is when Brittany sticks up for Santana against her Abuela since for once Santana is so hurt she has no reply. It shows that love can make you strong and is supposed to stick up for and help you.
These two couples show how far we’ve come in terms of representation, but they still hold value by showing women loving women on the screen and not in a fetishized light. There are so many other couples I could talk about that either do or do not do this, so we still have a long way to go, but we’re on our way and that’s what we have to focus on for now.