A Day in the Life of Maxine... (11): What's our image?

My in-box at London Lesbian Singles is starting to make my blood boil. I'm getting requests from various 'sex party groups' who want to advertise on the site and mixed sex couples looking to join a singles group. I know this isn't a unique issue and most of you have experienced the same problem on dating websites.

Please don't get me wrong. If people want to practise polyamory, that's their business. My blood boils because they are not respecting my boundaries. I choose to run a group for LBT singles, and people in same sex relationships should respect that.

I have no idea what's behind the sudden influx. The porn industry has a lot to answer for in shaping heterosexual men's views on lesbians, but what could be shaping women's views? I suppose TV doesn't help when we are only visible when wearing an orange jumpsuit. I'm addicted to Orange is the New Black as much as the next lesbian but I did sigh and think 'oh no, not another prison drama'. I think it adds to the perception that women are only gay when they can't get a man.

Personally I think our visibility is a good thing but we need much more of it to prevent stereotyping. I'm always thrilled when I watch a mainstream movie or TV show and later it turns out that a central female character has a girlfriend. I suppose Orange is the New Black did just that, but yet again they were criminals which fans the whole 'lesbians are deviants' idea.

Script writers have got a tough job. A movie about our real lives just wouldn't sell. Who would want to watch a movie of us wandering around in our PJs drinking cups of tea and watching Masterchef? And, hey....let's face it, Lesbian sex is more versatile and hotter than a couple of people humping away. I can see why scriptwriters are tempted to always sexualise lesbian characters to get some steamy scenes. When I think about it, female to female dialogue is perfect
scripting mega dramas.

So I'm left forgiving the TV, press and movie industry who are just doing their jobs by chasing a story. I guess individuals need to take responsibility for their own ignorance and understand that they can't shape their perceptions of people by what they read in the paper or see on TV.

I do want to see more lesbian writers on mainstream shows though. I particularly think it's healthy to see non sexualised lesbian characters to help redress the balance. I can't imagine how hard it must be to sell that balanced script to TV networks though, and perhaps that's the central issue.

Maxine xx

Ps. Sorry I've been away. I've been very ill, exhausted and was told to slow down.

NEXT: A Lesbian Manifesto