10 Movies And Series With Lesbian Representation

10 movies and series with Lesbian Representation

The first human cultural contributions date back to the very origin of our species. Apparently, we have always had the need to share and listen to stories, both our own and those of others. This exposure to external realities makes the rapprochement between people inevitable, generating a bidirectional flow of information that allows us to recognize common points in our identities.

Basically, throughout history, people have sought to identify in some way with those we are most similar to. From minstrels during the Middle Ages to the invention of the telephone or radio in the 19th century; We seek to listen to each other, get to know each other and find sources of social support. Currently, the media is responsible for influencing the majority of people.

This influence is reflected in the content that these media share; advertisements, television programs, series, movies… All this content is full of stories. However, there are many people who raise their voices to recognize that not all stories always receive the same attention or representation. History has tended to leave aside the voices of people far from the norm: women, racialized people, gender dissidents, socially excluded…

Movies and series with lesbian representation that give visibility to lesbians

We are educated in the norm and in the majority, and it is our responsibility to realize the lack of cultural representation of non-normative realities. Therefore, in this article we are going to comment 10 films and series that reflect stories of lesbian women and that have significant value in the search for greater lesbian representation in the mainstream media.

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1. But I’m a Cheerleader (1999) by Jamie Babbit

We start with this romantic comedy that, despite being bombed by critics at the time of its release, has ended up being considered one of the most beloved cult films by queer film lovers. You could say that the main plot of this is contradiction, featuring the “typical” American teenage blonde Catholic cheerleader and good student, who, “much to her regret,” is a lesbian. Thus, she is sent by her family, friends, and boyfriend to a camp to cure her lesbianism, led by none other than Ru Paul in the role of Mike, an “ex-gay.” In a satirical tone, this film is established as a critique of society’s normative standards, Catholicism, and gender roles. Spoiler Alert! Let no one worry; This perfect protagonist leaves the camp without treatment success and with a girlfriend.

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2. Portrait of a Woman on Fire (2019) by Céline Sciamma

In recent years, this film has come to be considered one of the most popular lesbian references. With a historical cut and set in France at the end of the 18th century, this film presents a forbidden romance between an aristocrat and a painter, who is, curiously, the one in charge of painting her wedding portrait. In the coexistence to carry out this assignment, Both will discover and live a love away from the eyes of others and the social punishment of homosexuality at the time.. The lesbian public has actively praised the director’s ability to evoke a sensitivity that, on many occasions, forgets to deal with love stories between women.

Lesbian activism has raised its voice on many occasions to punish the hypersexualized and male-focused representation of many films that follow stories of women who fall in love. For this reason, Portrait of a Woman on Fire is considered by some to be the lesbian love film par excellence.

3. The Watermelon Woman (1996) by Cheryl Dunye

The Watermelon Woman has come to be considered a classic of queer cinema from the 90s, in addition to being the first film directed by an openly lesbian black woman, who is also the protagonist. This film follows Cheryl, who works at a video store and becomes obsessed with the idea of ​​making a documentary about The Watermelon Womana black actress recurring in American films from the 1930s and 1940s. Thus, she begins to interview different people from Philadelphia, the actress’s place of origin, to try to find her.

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For this reason, this film has been considered a reference not only for racialized lesbian women, but also for its focus on the historical erasure of women throughout history and the importance of recovering their stories. and use them as a speaker for the representation.

4. Carmen and Lola (2018) by Arantxa Echevarría

Released in 2018 and bringing enough controversy, the first film this filmmaker portrays a story of forbidden love between two gypsy girls. Starting from a conservative environment, the protagonists must face the complicated decision between their love story or their family and the cultural obligations that this imposes on them. It is important to note that this film brought criticism from various gypsy groups that criticized its stereotypical treatment of gypsy culture. Therefore, it is important to assume that the story presented is just that, a story, but not the reality of all lesbian gypsy women. However, many gypsy women who may experience realities similar to those in this story may see in it a refuge and hope for the experience of their homosexuality.

5. The Open Windows (2015) by Michèle Massé

As a documentary and shot between Madrid and Paris, Michèle Massé sought to portray in Open Windows the stories of four septuagenarian lesbian women. Thus, the protagonists share their fears, desires, differences and the way in which, despite the passage of time, they reaffirm their activism and do not seek in any way to stop talking about how lesbianism is a political act. In the words of the protagonists, the realities of lesbian women do not have as much representation or voice as those of, for example, gay men.and it is for that same reason why we recommend watching it and giving value to the voices of older queer people.

6. Rafiki (2018) by Wanuri Kahiu

This film of Kenyan origin, whose title means “Friend” in Swahili, follows Kena, daughter of one of the candidates for the local elections in Nairobi. Kena falls in love with Ziki, another girl from her city who happens to be the daughter of her father’s rival candidate. Thus, these two girls begin to have romantic dates, afraid of showing their love in public, due to the family implications, but, above all, due to the illegality of homosexuality in Kenya. It is important to know that, due to this illegalization that condemns homosexuality with up to 14 years in prison, The film was banned in Kenya due to its “promotion of lesbianism.”. The director sued the Kenyan government and got it to be shown for 7 days, selling all the tickets in a Nairobi cinema.

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7. Bottoms (2023) by Emma Seligman

Still unreleased, Bottoms is presented as one of the lesbian revelations of the year. This teen sex comedy film follows two lesbian friends who, having never had sexual relations, create a female self-defense club to empower high school girls and, why not, to meet girls they like. With a light tone, this film starts with the intention of representing all lesbians who experience identity problems or difficulties in their relationship with their sexuality and affectivity..

8. Grey’s Anatomy (2005 – …) by Shonda Rhimes

Moving on to comment on three series with lesbian representation, it may be surprising that we start with the well-known Grey’s Anatomy. And, despite focusing its plot on a hospital and the resolution of clinical cases, the 19-season series also leaves room for stories of love and friendship between doctors. Specifically, starting with season 4, it begins the romance between two doctors: Callie and Arizona. In this way, the series has shown since 2007 and in a natural way (and with a feminine and feminist perspective) the evolution of a lesbian relationship, as it does and would do of a relationship between a man and a woman.

9. Sex Education (2021 – 2023) by Laurie Nunn

Released in 2021, this series has become a reference for the LGBTIQ+ community in general, openly showing the reality of a group of teenage students. The series has been highly acclaimed for the appearance of a diverse network of plots that, as a whole, reduce the stigma around sex and sexuality during adolescence. The main characters are Ruthie and Tanya, a lesbian couple who have relationship problems and seek the help of Otis, the son of a sex therapist who “informally” begins a sexual consultation at the institute.

10. The L Word (2004 – 2009) by Ilene Chaiken

The L Word was the first series whose main characters were exclusively lesbian and bisexual women., following the experiences of a group of friends and, in a pioneering way, showing lesbian sex scenes carried out under the female gaze of the creators, who, in addition, are predominantly queer women. Over the years, The L Word has come to be considered a phenomenon for queer and pop culture, generating and strengthening its own vocabulary and a wave of fanaticism.