I haven’t seen Notes On A Scandal, but the trailers suggest the older woman as a thoroughly ‘evil predatory lesbian’ stereotype. However, this is not really the problem. There are evil predatory lesbians in the world, just as there is an evil and predatory version of everybody. The real problem is the almost total lack of more positive and human images of lesbians in the media, and indeed, the effective absence of any other lesbian images at all. The position is much worse than for gay men, which is bad enough. Our focus should be less on the demonised images per se and more on demanding more positive and three-dimensional ones. Steve Hope, Oxford
THIS WOULD BE FINE MAM, IF THEY WOULD SHOW POSITIVE LESBIAN SHOWS BUT THEY DO NOT!!!!! FOR YOU TO SAY WE AS LESBIANS SHOULD TAKE IT EASY, SHOWS HOW FAR OFF YOU ARE ,AND HOW IGNORANT YOU ARE ON LESBIAN ISSUES!!!! MAYBE MAM YOU SHOULD WRITE ON ISSUES YOU YOUR SELF ARE NOT BIASED ON!!!! YOUR AUDACITY IS DISGUSTING,AND CHEAP. A DIME A DOZEN…. WHEN IT COMES TO BIGOTS WHO WANT TO SHOW LESBIANS AS THE EVIL ONES.,OR THE DISGUSTING GET MEN EXCITED SHOWS. HOW PERVERTED IS THAT, YOU STRAIGHT PEOPLE ARE UNREAL!!!!! YOU CALL US THE NASTY ONES!!! BUT YOU PUT,STRAIGHT WOMAN ON TV,KISSING, TO GET MEN EXCITED HOW PERVERTED ARE YOU…. WHOS THE NASTY PEOPLE HERE!!!! SHOWS WITH LESBIANS ARE SHOWN FOR MEN ONLY!!! SO WE CAN LET YOUR LITTLE BOYS KNOW, THATS ITS ALL RIGHT TO BE PERVERTED….THAT THERE, IS THE BOTTOM LINE!!!!!!! LOL LOL LOL UNREAL!!!! NO WONDER STRAIGHT MEN END UP LIKE THEY ARE ……THEY THINK EVERY WOMAN IS THERES …..BUT REALLY THEY ARE WEINERS WHO CAN NOT STAND THE THOUGHT OF A GUY HITTING ON THEM, WHILE THEY OFFEND WOMAN….HITTING ON THEM EVERY DAY!!!! GROW UP, WE ARE NOT THE PERVERTS YOU ARE, AND MAYBE WE SHOULD START TELLING THAT TRUTH ON TV. INSTEAD OF TRYING TO TURN MEN ON OR OFF WITH YOU OBSURD BIGGOTED FILMS!!!!!
Thank you Steve for a reasoned and literate response. You are right, we cannot rely on one film to give us a holistic representation of lesbians! I agree that positive representations of lesbians in the media are few and far between but they are there. You just have to look hard enough. Having said that, I for one do not wish to see an endless and unrealistic portrayal of sensitive, positive and morally sound lesbians. There has been an explosion of positive lesbian images recently (mainly thanks to Sarah Waters) but let’s not pretend that we are all wonderful, flawless human beings. Lesbians are just as wonderful and just as horrible as every other person. We do have the capability to be predatory and we are sometimes a bit unhinged. The question is, when this happens is it because we are essentially flawed by our ‘perverse’ sexuality or because we are people and people are like that? I am in favour of lesbian characters in our films and tv but I don’t expect them all to look like me or to represent what I consider the acceptable face of lesbianism. Give me unrealistically beautiful women in the L word, give me Dickensian sapphist fingersmiths, heavens above- give me mini-skirt wearing long taloned mob whores falling for semi-butch ex cons (showing my age now) and psychologically unhinged predatory school mistresses with a penchant for younger women. I want ‘em all! Oh and lisa… Rachel Charman is most definatly not a straight man. As for perverted…well, I am sure she has her moments.
It appears that Pie has experienced all types of lesbians. Perhaps she should lead the way in producing a array of fictional sapphic representations. Perhaps she could play a role in one of her on-screen creations – the predatory older school mistress perhaps?
It’s funny you should say that actually Ray. I have someone working on a book at the moment. It seems to be quite a mixed bag of emotional and physical encounters between lesbians who metamorphorsise according to circumstance. It’s a fine piece but the ending is as yet unclear.
This piece says “it is more likely that Barbara’s repressed nature is eing represented as the product…of a homophobic society.” Well the film either shows that or it doesn’t. And it doesn’t. Her family is fine. (As many 60-ish provincial English familes are likely to be, to be sure.) The school is fine. No one has to assume that filmmakers form a single collective entity– that’s silly and not how film criticism works. The point is that the film itself offers no internal illustration or critique of homophobia. It may be presumed but not shown. It sets up a comparison between a delusional desire of an isolated lesbian and transgressive heterosexual sex, which is either hot or leads to a warm, if flawed, family.