I Attempt to Make 10 of the Most Sapphic Looking Women Possible Through Absolutely Awful Dress Up Games While My Roommates Rank Them By Lesbianism

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THE PURPOSE: I would be lying if I said that the original idea for this article did not have its origins in me attempting to create the worst possible word-salad of a Her Campus article title that I possibly could. But think about it: For LGBTQ+ persons, the counteracting social pressures of not appearing too “gay” (whatever that means) for fear of safety while still wanting to be loud and proud about one’s identity have resulted in a long history’s worth of distinguishable fashion. Flannel, jean jackets, combat boots...all of those can act as signals to others as being a member of our community. Why not have an article giving serious attention to why/how certain fashions and styles are held as “indicators” in the LGBTQ+ community, as explained by actual members of the LGBTQ+ community?

 

But in all honesty? I just needed to spend a few hours playing flash dress up doll games instead of doing work.

 

THE RULES: I have made eleven “contestants” using Flash dress up games. Two queer judges, AKA my roommates, will explain what type of “vibe” they receive from each girl, and explain why. At the end, the contestants will assign them a “sapphic* ranking” number between one and ten— ten being the least sapphic**, and one being the most. No number can be repeated twice, so one girl will receive the honor of being our token “straight”.

* Literally defined as “relating to lesbians or lesbianism”, but for our purposes, a more general term to describe women who love women. In using this term instead of, say, lesbianism, we don’t exclude queer women who are not necessarily lesbians (though that’s how it’s defined in the article title for the sake of snappiness). Inclusion matters!

** Being “sapphic” in real life should never be a competition as we all express our sexuality and identities in unique ways, but this is just for fun. Somehow, I don’t think that our contestants will take offense.

 

THE PRELIMINARY: My first trial at grappling with this ridiculous article idea is “Barbie Meets Equestria Girls”, where the game immediately tells me that Stacie would like to party with me. Barbie will later inform me that Stacie is her younger sister, making it questionable as to why she needed an email reminder from her five year old sister. Five years alive and Stacie already knows her place in her billionaire blonde sister’s Hollywood world.  And as we all know, there’s nothing gayer than being isolated from your family—making this the perfect test run before getting into the big leagues.

 

 

The following prototype is created and submitted to my friends for approval:

 

Our two judges are not impressed. Madeline, my roommate, just stares at me blankly and corrects a spelling error in the previous paragraph. Hannah, who also lives in our suite, reminds me that she loves me and continues playing League of Legends. Their dispassion tells me that I’m going to have to bring out the big guns to catch their attention.

 

THE GAMES BEGIN: I get Hannah and Madeline right where I want them. After an extensive Wal-Mart trip that results in me bringing home fifty dollars worth of mug cakes and dinosaur chicken nuggets*, they settle happily on our common room couch with our spoils—vulnerable to my wills. Before they can object, my laptop is already plugged into the TV, and my folder full of static women pops up on the screen. They concede, and after pulling out a tray of dinosaur chicken nuggets that are so fragrant that even Hannah, our resident vegetarian, wants one, we start. The following is a transcript of their live reactions** to each doll and a hyperlink to the game used.

*If my parents are reading this, I swear I’m only exaggerating for the joke. I bought, like, Tide Pods, and pads, and things that I actually needed to survive. Please don’t cut me off. I’ll call you this weekend. Love you. Bye.

** Edited for clarity, but not for hilarity!

 

GIRL ONE:

A nice, simple start for a nice, simple girl.

H: Wait, is this Steven Universe?

M: No, but she’s definitely a cartoon character. She’s gay, but it’s never on screen. The writers will later confirm it on Twitter.

H: I like her bangs.

M: Gay culture is not having a nose.

H: But I don’t like the tie. It isn’t even connected to anything. It’s just hanging there.

M: It’s a look.

H: She’s only got four fingers. That’s gay culture.

M: She lost the fifth to homophobia. Why does she have the coconut head haircut?

H: Because she’s a lesbian!

M: You know she’s gay because she’s standing on a hill. It represents the rates of homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth.

M: I like how she’s waving to us. Gay culture is being friendly.

H: Her name is Laurel.

M: Perfect.

 

GIRL(s) TWO:

A two-for-one deal that can’t be separated.

M: *yelling* OOOHHHHHHH! (Pause for effect)

M: FIRST OF ALL, THE JEAN JACKET, THE FLANNEL, THE CHOICES. These women are clearly in love.

H: YOU WEAR SPACE BUNS EITHER BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING TO A SPACE THEMED PARTY OR BECAUSE YOU’RE A LESBIAN. THERE IS NO INBETWEEN.

M: I just…I’m in awe.

H: I feel like they dated but it just didn’t work out. Like that SNL skit.

M: I mean…ah…I don’t know.

H: No, don’t worry. They’ll eventually end up together. Just not right now. Look, they’re even thinking about other women.

M: Okay, okay.

H: But they definitely share lipstick. Just saying.

M: The layers…sis.

H: They’re playing butch and femme at the same time. I love it.

M: Is the woman in the corner god?

H: They are daring you to label them.

M: I’ve decided that their names are Quail and Sasha, but I have no idea which one is which. I always confuse them.

H: Spacebuns is Quail. People think that a Quail should look girlier, which is why it works. It reverses expectations.

M: Can I be honest?

H: Yeah?

M: I don’t trust them.

H: Wait, what?

M: I feel like they do nothing for the community. Like, they don’t go to Pride, and they’re not helpful towards the community.  

H: Um, alright.

M: “Oh, it doesn’t really concern me. I’m too busy.” They just don’t have that passion.

H: I’m sorry to hear that.

M: I’m sorry for them.

 

GIRL THREE (the one on the left):

Is her Pride skin-deep too?

M: I kinda like her.

H: She’s bisexual.

M: She’s got a subtle personality. Understanding, you know?

H: Yeah.

M: She’s expressing herself with her personality. Let’s make some soap bubbles…yes! Yes!

H: Yes? M: She’s so much fun! Soap bubbles…that’s all it takes sometimes, you know? You don’t need big parties, or drugs.

H: Okay.

M: I trust her. I feel like she would listen to you and care about what you’re saying.

H: But she’ll also try to convince you to do everything organic. Like, “oh, were those bubbles made with animal fat?”

M: Nooo…

H: She wears cruelty free makeup and is an avid vegan.

M: I have to disagree with you on this one. She’s chill.

H: You’re in love with her.

M: HEY.

H: Defensive.

M: The girl on the right wants to be her, but she’ll never be her.

H: God, yeah. She’ll experiment in college, but it’ll never go anywhere.

 M: And left girl definitely plays lacrosse.

H: Field hockey too. But she’s not very serious about it. It’s all for fun.

M: Her name is Jenna.

H: And the right girl is definitely a Brianna.

M: Jenna is a name that is confident. And she exudes confidence. Effortless confidence. She’s unafraid to be gay.

H: Yes.

M: She’s my role model. She’s making great strides for our community. She’s the kind of person that shows up. She goes to every Pride event, every meeting...we need more of that in this world.

H: She’s definitely the president of her campus Pride group.

M: We could never date. I would put her on too much of a pedestal.

H: I’ll blow soap bubbles with her any day.

M: But you know what? She’s reluctant to talk about her problems.

H: She always wants to discuss yours, but never her own. It’s sad.

M: Oh, Jenna. What’s going on in your head?

H: She’s just come back from a one-night stand with Rebecca. And she’s not snotty about it. Just kind of a “yeah, so what?”

M: (whispering) Who’s Rebecca?

H: Wouldn’t you like to know?

 

GIRL FOUR:

She really did that.

H: OH.

M: Oh, gee.

H: She’s a lot. A Sharron.

M: She’s not a Sharron.

H: But her mom is definitely named Sharron. This woman is a Jessica.

M: I’m still taking it in. (Awkward pause)

H: She has a name like Jennifer, Karen, or Mary…but goes by Rainbow now, or Sunfire. Maybe Sunflower. (Awkward laughter)

H: Madeline can’t even comprehend this one.

M: She needs you to “know”, you know what I’m saying? She’s one of those people that NEEDS YOU TO KNOW. She has no limits.

H: Of course she needs you to know. Why else would anyone wear jean on jean?

M: Who does she think she is, Kate McKinnon?

H: She’s, like, one of those people that supposedly doesn’t follow the trends, but she totally does.  Look at those glasses. She probably thinks that she’s so original. But guess what? Everyone else is wearing them.

M: Those glasses are NOT prescription. She has 30/30 vision.

H: She can see right through your bullshit.

M: She can see cells. (Pause)

M: She definitely voted for Jill Stein.

H: (whiney voice) “I don’t believe in the two-party system”. She knows nothing about that!

M: Right? She’s pseudo-woke. She likes to think that she knows what she’s talking about, but she doesn’t. And if you really get her going, she starts saying TERF-y things.

H: Yeah.

M: She’s experimental. In every sense of the word.

H: And she needs you to know that.

M: God! People hear that she’s going somewhere, some event they’re also going to, and they’re like Ooh, she’s going? Jeez.” Not in a way that makes them not want to go, though. It’s not enough.

H: Yeah, no. It’s just that you have to mentally prepare yourself for her, every time.

M: What’s her name?

Me: Didn’t you say Sunflower?

H: No, but that’s not her real name.

M: Hey, let’s respect people’s chosen names.

H: You’re right. (Silence)

M: ….I’m still thinking about Jenna. She has leadership qualities.

 

GIRL FIVE:

Belle of the ball.

M: Oooooh…

H: She had short hair back when it was absolutely unacceptable.

M: The hair dyed to match the dress…oh, that was effort. (Awed silence)

M: *whispers* Oh, man.

H: That rose is how lesbians of her time communicated with one another. “Bring a rose to the dance and we’ll know who you are.”

M: Did she draw on her freckles? Do people do that? I wouldn’t know. I’m not that kind of lesbian. And the sequins? This one is a Mallory.

H: Mallory is totally digging Elizabeth’s new dress right now. Like, “Oh, man, Elizabeth looks good tonight.” But Elizabeth is betrothed to a man. Her father gave her away. It’s a very sad situation.

M: Oh no!

H: She’s daring a guy to ask her to dance just so she can say no.

M: I don’t know. I don’t think she’d do something like that.

H: With that short hair? No way.

M: But look at the way she’s standing. She’s quietly beautiful.

H: But the way she’s looking down isn’t sweet and gentle, it’s darker than that. It’s deeper.

M: Oh Mallory. What’s going on in your mind tonight? Who murdered your father?

 

GIRL SIX:

Literally the first dress-up game to give me the option to make a non-white character. I wonder why.

M and H: (simultaneously) I LOVE HER!  

M: I LOVE HER.

H: SHE’S A JOURNALIST.

H AND M: (simultaneously) SHE HAS A PINTEREST.

M: I love her laugh!

H: She definitely has an “it” girl laugh! And she watched five Youtube videos to get that smokey eye perfect!

M: She improves herself every day.

H: She paints her nails every day. It’s a “me time” activity. She takes time to herself.

M: Her and Jenna are both definitely on their college Pride club’s administration. What position do you think she’d have?

H: She’s definitely the historian of Pride. I know it. She’s into that type of thing.

M: She wants to know how your day was.

H: She’d get a coffee with you, and ask how your day was going.

M: The jeans are designer. She’s not into the thrifting lifestyle, but she doesn’t judge. She buys clothes new. Invest in yourself, you know? That’s what she tells people.

H: A Dominque? No. Too sexy.

M: Danielle?

H: I like it.

M: I like the D.

H: Do you?

M: Shut up. No. (turning to me) Don’t type that.

H: She’s a Pisces.  

M: Autumn is her favorite season.

H: She owns a foot spa. Like one of those mini mani-pedi bath soakers. Because she invests in herself.

M: She’s sparkling.

H: Right?

M: No, I mean she’s literally sparkling. Look.

H: Oh. M: She’s gay, for sure. But she’s one of those cool people who are successful and gay, and it’s like, “you can do that?”. You’ve known her for a few months, nothing unusual, but then meet her long-term girlfriend and you’re like WHAT? Hey, hear me out.

H: I’m hearing.

M: Her and Jenna: dating?

H: No. Jenna is too independent. But they definitely are best friends.

M: Okay. But they work well together in their Pride club.

H: Yes.

M: And they do good work for their campus.

 

GIRL SEVEN:

The only dress-up game our Her Campus campus coordinator, who was fortunate enough to sit next to me when I made the contestants, actively begged me not to click on.

H: IT’S KENDALL!

M: Is it purposeful that she’s not wearing shirts or shoes? Why is the top half business and the bottom…nothing?

H: Work has been hard, okay?

M: But why just the bottom half?

H: Because she’s a no pants type of girl.

M: She wants to get back into dating, but it’s hard with her kid.

H: Wait…is the baby adopted or from a marriage with a man?

M: She could be bisexual.

H: Yeah.

M: And she has the jean jacket to prove it.

H: True.

M: Are we NOT naming her Hilary?

H: She’s definitely a Hilary. And her son’s name is Daniel.

M: Okay.

H: He’s into Thomas the Tank Engine right now. But that could change.

M: And she’s still figuring things out.

H: She is and that’s okay. She doesn’t know exactly what she is. Is she straight? Gay? Bisexual? Who knows? But she can get back out there at her own pace.

M: I’m vaguely uncomfortable around her. Her baby is suspicious.  

H: All babies look suspicious. (Pause)

H: …she has restless leg syndrome.

M: What a confusing presentation. It’s like...you know…I feel like I’m being confused. It’s supposed to sexy, but she’s also holding a baby. What am I supposed to feel?

H: She was getting undressed and needed to attend to her baby, okay? She worries she’s not a good mom but she’s doing her best.

M: There’s no right way to be a good mom. We of all people should know that.

 

GIRL EIGHT:

A well-dressed powerhouse.

H: Ooh, I like her. I’m gay for her.

M: Look at her abode!

H: She is a feminist.

M: I want to learn more about her.

H: She’s gay for Jenna. I know it. Look at her eyes. They’re hiding something. Y’know, she’s mysterious, but also open if you just ask.

M: I don’t know how I feel. Maybe she doesn’t talk a lot, but every time that she does, it’s something very substantial.

H: People think she’s secretive, but she’s not.

M: And she’s funny! Her friends will tell her that. And her style? Impeccable.

H: That’s highkey a Homecoming dress but because of what she’s paired it with, it’s casual for her. And no one questions it. People come to her for fashion advice. M: Her fashion knowledge is absolutely beyond my understanding.

H: Every time that you think that she’s out of different clothes, she has new ones.

M: And she lives off-campus.

H: Her name is definitely Miriam.

M: She goes by Mira.

H: Yeah, her friends started it, not her. But she’s going with it.

M: She’s less involved in Pride than Jenna, but she still cares. And they’ve hooked up before. At an unspecified time and date, but it’s happened. You wouldn’t know. You’re not cool enough for their social group to get the full story.

H: She’s a powerhouse.

M: Yeah. (Pause)

H: There’s only so much you can say about her. She’s a Gemini though. Okay, we’re good.

 

GIRL NINE:

A blonde bombshell with a secret.

H: CINDY.

M: That was immediate.

H: That is definitely a Cindy. Or a Sydney. She’s in business, you know?

M: She’s kind of hard to talk to.

H: She’s read as being cold.

M: She’s got her friends, and she’s not interested in getting new ones.

H: She’s a businesswoman. And it’s a cutthroat world.

M: But she has aspirational qualities. Like time management. She’s really good at that.

H: She never procrastinates.

M: She’s that girl who says she failed that test but she has a 98 when it comes back.

H: Highest grades in the class. You never see her dress down. She’s always ready for a first impression. How does she do it every morning? You wonder where she finds the time for it all. But then you remember: she’s great at time management.

M: She’s not seeing anyone right now only because she doesn’t have the time.

H: She’s a workaholic!

M: You saw her on “Her” but her profile said she was only looking for hookups. And that intimidated you, so you didn’t click “heart”.

H: At least she can schedule hookups.

M: She has no time for men. The patriarchy? Sexism? That’s a hard “no”.

H: She wears Chanel perfume and she has her whole life.

M: I miss Jenna. Can you pull her up again?

H: That is absolutely a Michael Kors bag.

M: What’s in it? H: Makeup, perfume, and the planner she lives by.

M: And mace?

H: Mace too. And a Blackberry.

M: Okay.

H: She gets migraines sometimes. But she doesn’t let it get to her that much.

M: This is making me think of so many random things that could be applied to her. Like, “and she’s addicted to crystal meth.”

H: No! She doesn’t have the time!

M: But she doesn’t sleep, and that’s why.

H: NO. But she doesn’t sleep regardless, and she’s fine.

M: …because she’s on crystal meth.

 

GIRL TEN:

A big city girl with big city dreams.

H: So this is Danielle’s long term girlfriend. She’s currently a Physics major. She likes math puns and jokes…she’s just a punny funny girl.

M: Where is she?

H: Her downtown apartment. She lives in New York City. She’s in a small apartment, but it’s her space, her time. She feels safe there.

M: She’s definitely from old money.

H: But she’s not prissy about it.

M: How much did she pay for those jeans?

H: Probably a lot. She has the money for it. But she still works hard, you know? She didn’t have to go into college, but she did. She cares. She puts in the effort.

M: And she still cares about social issues, even though she’s so rich. She’s pretty woke.

H: I feel like out of anyone on this list, her parents were just alright when she came out. They accepted it. But they were a little disappointed. Her coming out wouldn’t look good for their family. And she knows that deep down, which is why she tries so hard.

M: Is she blushing because she’s on the phone with Danielle right now?

H: Yes. They’re long distance right now. And they’re focusing on their individual careers.

M: But they’re each other end goals. They’re very driven, and passionate.

H: What’s her name? I want to say a “D” name, but I also don’t. She’s not the same as Danielle. She has her own life. She’s different.

M: Elana.

H: Yes.

M: Good.

H: There was an Elana in my school. I had a crush on her. She was goth.

 

GIRL ELEVEN:

Are her feelings as abstract as her room?

M: (Noticing photo document name) This game is called “University Days”? Ha. More like “University Gays”.

H: I’m having a hard time seeing her without my glasses.

M: Can we talk about how her life is a Monet painting? The closer you look at her room the less you can see. It’s...photorealistic. Imagine how stressful it must be to live there.

H: Is she wearing earrings over her hair?

M: You know, as you do. Listen, Hannah, she lives in a Monet painting. Nothing in her life makes sense.

H: She isn’t in a relationship right now, but she was definitely just sending sexy Snapchats.

M: I have so many follow up questions. Why is the North Star at her waist?

H: What about the knee?

M: Oh my God. That’s the Big Dipper.

(Pause)

M: This was from 2008. Where is she now? It’s more like “Career Days” now.

H: She’s feeling confident about those sexy Snaps she just sent. She’s looking for some fun with a girl right now, you know? No strings attached. But she secretly wants a long term relationship.

M: It’s difficult though because every time that she brings a girl home, they launch into a bout of existential dread because of her Monet house. She’s used to it by now because she lives there.

But it can get confusing when her and her partner need to find a bed but the closer they look for it, the less of it they can see. It’s awkward; how do you explain that to someone? At this rate, she just prefers to go to their place.

H: Her name is Natalie.

M: That’s what people in Starbucks write on my cup when they don’t hear my name correctly.

H: She goes by Nat, and she has a different bow for every day.

M: She has seasonal affective disorder. Mostly because her room fills her with dread.

H: Isn’t she used to her room?

M: Well she’s used to seasonal affective disorder too, but it still affects her. She has a lightbox in her room. It’s fine. Question: why didn’t she button her shirt?

H: Because she was just sending dirty Snaps right now. She wanted to be like “Oh man, about to go to sleep” to whoever she was Snapping, but she still put effort into her outfit. Actually, she just bases all of her outfits based on the sexy Snaps she might want to send that day.

M: Why is her shadow so sharp? Everything is in this unfocused light but then her shadow is just, like, FWOAHH.

H: None of it looks sharp to me, but that’s probably because I don’t have my glasses on.

M: It would literally take you ten seconds to put them on.

H: I like to spite you. (puts on glasses)

M: Now that you can see her, what do you think of her?

H: What’s wrong with the room?! Now there’s, like, scratch marks. Woah. What the hell?

M: See? I told you!

H: I thought her shorts were one color. I didn’t see the pattern. I guess I don’t have 30/30 vision.

M: That shirt…the flowiness of it makes it look like she’s in a Febreeze commercial.

H: She was in commercials as a kid. A Furby commercial, to be exact.

M: Is she theatrical?

H: Yes, but she knows it’s not a career. Her college major is “undecided”.

M: What is she interested in?

H: Everything! She doesn’t know what she’s most passionate about, though. And that makes it difficult for her.

M: Why do you even have a photo labeled “Cute Girl 2008” in your house? Do you know her? I’m scared.

 

THE RESULTS: After careful collaboration, tearful admissions, and a lot of conceding, Madeline and Hannah finally arrived at their conclusions. Do you think that they got it right?

 

Token Straight (“Honorable Mention”): Sunflower - For trying too hard.

10) Quail and Sasha - For their lack of care for the LGBTQ+ community despite being in it.

9) Hilary - For still figuring out where she stands, which is respectable.

8) Laurel - For being a baby gay who’s still going to her high school GSA to play Scrabble and make friends.

7) Elana - For still caring, but being rather relaxed about the whole thing.

6) Natalie - I tried to remember why she was ranked number six, but then the harder I thought about it the less I could remember.

5) Cindy - For being more femme than a mall window display.

4) Miriam - For being respectable and commanding.

3) Mallory - For queering our history.

2) Danielle - For her impeccable sweater taste.

1) Jenna - For being all of the best of the above and more.

 

So what did we learn here today? That being gay goes past your clothes. It’s something you emit from your very heart.

...also that my friends didn’t appreciate Sunflower as much as I did, but who’s counting?

 

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