Lesbian Stereotypes

As I said a few weeks ago, I will be doing a series addressing stereotypes for LGBTQ+ people—talking about people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, as well as people who are intersex and asexual. I look forward to continuing through this series.

As the “l” (for “lesbian) is the first word in the LGBTQ acronym (or LGBTQIA), I think that it would be good for me to start this post (and LGBT Pride Month) by talking about what it means to be lesbian and stereotypes associated with friends, fellow writers, celebrities and others who are lesbian.

A lesbian is a woman who is only sexually attracted to other women. If a woman is attracted to men and to women, she is bisexual, not lesbian.

Now that we’ve defined what it means to be lesbian, we can start to understand what sort of stereotypes are associated with being lesbian. Well, in addition to the general stereotypes that are associated with people with same-sex attraction and relationships (link to previous post), here are some additional stereotypes often associated specifically with lesbians:

  1. Lesbians hate men. No, lesbians do not necessarily hate men. They’re just not sexually attracted to men. And just because one is not sexually attracted to someone else doesn’t mean that they hate the person.
  2. Lesbians have just never found the “right man.” In terms of finding a man for marriage, this is true—lesbians haven’t found the right man. The caveat I would add, however, is that since lesbians are attracted to other women and not to men, people who are lesbian will never find the “right man”; however, maybe people who identify as lesbian will be able to find the “right woman” (if they haven’t already found her).
  3. Lesbians aren’t feminine. There is this idea that lesbians like sports, are butches (which would basically be women dressed in a more masculine way), and like other things that men do. While there are some lesbians who are into those sorts of things, doing a Google search for “lesbians” will help you discover that there are also many lesbians into feminine things too, and that does not make “feminine” lesbians any less valid or lesbian than anyone who is a “masculine” lesbian.
  4. In a household with two lesbian parents, one person has to be the “dad.” Please, let’s not apply heterosexual standards to a homosexual relationship. A mom is a female parent, so both parents in a household led by two lesbians are both moms. If a lesbian couple decides that one of them should take more of the dad-like roles while the other one should take more of the mom-like roles, that’s the couple’s decision. However, once again, we should not force heterosexual ideas onto a homosexual relationship of any kind.
  5. Lesbians like all women. No. Just as heterosexual people have standards and aren’t attracted to everyone of the opposite sex, lesbians have standards and aren’t attracted to everyone of the same sex.

These, of course, are just a few of the harmful stereotypes associated with lesbians. If anyone feels that there were other lesbian stereotypes I neglected to mention, or if anyone wants to expand upon the lesbian stereotypes I discussed in this post, feel free to talk about that in the comments section below!

This is the main Lesbian Pride Flag I see, though I do see other flags labeled as “Lesbian Pride Flags.”

29 Replies to “Lesbian Stereotypes”

  1. There’s also the U-Haul lesbian stereotype which is also quite untrue, but I had it hurled at me a few times. And the assumption that there always has to be a butch and a femme in a couple, but that’s not always true either.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes! That’s definitely another lesbian stereotype that’s quite untrue (I don’t think I know a lesbian who moved in with the person she’s dating after a couple dates). And yes, the the assumption that there has to be a butch and a femme is not always true.

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  2. OK Brendan. Bear with me. A lesbian joke? Or is it a cowboy joke? Or just a joke?

    A cowboy is sitting at a bar and a young woman sits next to him They start talking and she asks if he is a cowboy.
    “Well,” he says, ” I have a cowboy hat. I ride a horse. I drive cattle. So, I guess I’m a cowboy. What about you?”
    “Well”, she says, “I ‘m a lesbian. In the morning I think about women In the afternoon I think about women. And at night I think about women”. They go on talking for awhile and finally she leaves.
    After a few minutes a young couple comes over to the cowboy and the wife says, “You know, you look like a cowboy. Are you a cowboy?”
    “Well”, he answers, ” I used to think I was a cowboy, but I just found out I’m a lesbian!”

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Brendan. The punchline is this. (It is from a book of humor and philosophy). The cowboy likes the same things lesbians like (women), so now he thinks he must be a lesbian. It is based on faulty logic.” Lesbians like women. I like women therefore I must be a lesbian.”

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    1. Haha…nope!

      And I didn’t know before either. But I am challenging myself to learn more about the flags of various identities, so that way I can learn about the lesbian flag, among others.

      (Apologies for not responding before; this landed in spam.)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this important work and, in anticipation, for including aseuxal in this list. I have three friends in this category who often express their fear that everyone else in all of the other sexual minorities (the ones they most hope to be accepted by rather than the general population) think that they are mentally ill.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re welcome! And also, thank you for informing me of this fear that your asexual friends experience. Upon further research, there seems to be a misunderstanding that asexuality is a sexual dysfunction or mental disorder. But that is not the case. I will need to talk about this when addressing asexual stereotypes.

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  4. I used to find the almost contradictory nature of some lesbian stereotypes incredibly stupid. For instance, as you say with the notion of lesbians liking sports and being ‘butch’, but then ‘girl on girl’ would be a big thing for sexing up and making pornographic where the women are the opposite of that entirely, being very sexual and feminine. Totally agree too about not trying to apply heterosexual standards and ideals on lesbian couples. You’ve raised some really good points in this post! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yes, I agree that some of these stereotypes are rather contradictory, as you have the “butch” stereotype as well as the stereotype that there has to be a “woman” and a “man” in a lesbian relationship. We must not apply heterosexual standards to same-sex relationships. Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

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