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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:44 am 
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xita. wrote:
This FAQ was written by Willowlicious and Kyraroc with the help of many members of the Kitten Board.
In summary this FAQ states:
1) That Joss Whedon and the writers of Mutant Enemy are NOT homophobic, but have perpetuated a hurtful lesbian cliché with the death of Tara and the resulting Vengeance Willow storyline that ended Season Six of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
2) That, in public statements made both before and after Tara's death was planned, Joss Whedon and other Mutant Enemy writers indicated that Tara would not be killed off.
3) That creative freedom, ignorance and/or absence of malice on the part of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy do not excuse the social harm this storyline has caused.


This may not be the place to ask this but... The little number that appears under my name at the left hand side of my posts has changed from "1. Blessed WannaBe" to "2. Floating Rose". What do these numbers mean? Is there a legand that lists these numbers and their meanings? Thanx.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 8:59 am 
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Yep, it's in the board FAQs - the levels are here.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 9:47 am 
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maudmac wrote:
Yep, it's in the board FAQs - the levels are here.


A-Ha! And Cool! And Thanks!

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Last edited by GoodWitch on Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 10:44 am 
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The lesbian cliché lives! I went to a movie today. It was a French production, and I'm in Germany, but in English I think it would be called The Chinese Botanist's Daughters. In any case, this movie was possibly the ultimate example of the lesbian cliché.

Here's the story, and yes this is a spoiler in case you are ever willing to pay money to see this tripe:
A girl around 18-20 leaves an orphanage to go to intern with a botany professor who is an expert in Chinese medicine and lives out in a forest somewhere. The professor's lonely daughter becomes friends with her immediately. Friendship turns to love, a couple of borderline soft-porn love scenes follow, repressive patriarchal society, yadda yadda, and intern-girl decides to marry her girlfriend's brother so they can be 'together forever.' The father and the brother are of course evil and not to mention gross and abusive. The affair between the women continues while the brother is off being a soldier. The father discovers them, later busts in on them making love and goes wacko and attacks intern-girl, and his daughter whacks him with a hoe handle to keep him from hurting her love. He has a bad heart and dies, the girls are arrested, and we find out that the father had already reported them for the crime of homosexuality (a crime in China at the time, I don't know about now). The long and the short of it is the girls are exocuted for being lesbians. OMG!

Let's recap here:
- lesbian love beautiful and sexy, yet pure and innocent, yet possibly merely a product of bad treatment by men and society at large
- men are gross and abusive
- yet the girl-girl couple can't end up together and happy, because...
- one is evil (though in this case due to causing an accidental death) and she is also depicted as the neurotic, jealous lover at points
- not one but both are killed, in the most senseless fashion possible, namely capital punishment merely for being lovers

Sound familiar? A key feature here, like the W/T situation, is that the 'downfall' (in this case, the accidental death of the father) happens right after a fairly erotic massage scene in which the camera carresses the women's mostly naked bodies as they touch each other sensually. He busts in on them, and that's when he gets killed. It's not revenge as such but could be seen that way. Bottom line: violent downfall follows tender lesbian love scene.

Also note that the 'downfall' is the result of unjust, senseless outside forces... but the lesbians still pay for it.

Sure, we might argue, the fact that they get the death penalty is supposed to show us how totally senseless and extreme the persecution of homosexuality is in some countries even today. However, the movie could have shown us that, more convincingly even, without freaking killing the two main characters.

This is such a formula, and as pointed out earlier in this thread, it happens over and over and over and over. And the W/T arc at the end of Season 6 perfectly fits this formula.

I had read a lot of the posts on this thread before, and even before, I was fully convinced that the W/T arc 100% plays into The Cliché, but seeing this movie, it really brought home to me exactly how insidious this cliché really is. OMG!!

I'm so glad this board is here. Sure it doesn't reach as many people as film and TV do, unfortunately, but at least it is a refuge for us to imagine a different world in which these stupid clichés are not perpetuated, where relationships between women are happy and healthy and don't end tragically.

Willow and Tara forever!


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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:07 pm 
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"2) What specifically is the "Dead/Evil Lesbian Cliché"?

That all lesbians and, specifically lesbian couples, can never find happiness and always meet tragic ends."

Keep in mind...with like 20 pages to read I dont know if anyone said anything along this but...

I agree, you know...with like all that was written up in the first post...and I am mad a Joss (bad Joss). I mean that was very hurtful of them to lie. W/T meant so much to me because well they were the only people on basic cable that weren't striaght or flambouyant gay men telling people how to dress.

But the way I like to look at it (it makes me not so upset) is I just think back to (I think) Season 1, when Xander, Willow, and Buffy are sitting at that fountain and talking about how all three of them must be doomed to have bad relationships...

I never watched The-Season-I-Normally-Pretend-Doesn't-Exsist but I will say that I know who dies and all that. [And sorry for mentioning it I just wanted to say what I think about it all...] And if you think about it, at the end, they are all back where they were...in a doomed/evil relationship (hope you get the ref.), someone is dead, or they just arent in one 'cause well, they happen to be the Slayer...I dunno...
I dont have that much faith that ME noticed it...but I thought it was quaint.

But in the end I am still a W/T gal forever <3 :wtkiss

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 9:22 pm 
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I don't know about here, but yeah, other people have mentioned that scene. The answer tends to be that straights have lots and lots of good relationships to watch on TV; lesbians don't, and that scene doesn't change that.

Also, every show, movie, or whatever always has reasons why they're not an example of "the cliche," but in fact were just following the specific needs of their storyline.

I'm sure most of them think they are, and I'm even sure in most cases that's true. But there comes a point where you just feel, couldn't somebody's storyline somewhere end up with a belivable lesbian couple happy and together?

I know I'm probably not telling you anything you don't already know here, but that's what I came up up with.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 9:47 pm 
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Well that is okay, there is nothing wrong with input....I would have only run away crying if you were like yelling at me and telling me I'm wrong. haha

No, I totally get it. Like, I totally wish there were positive views of lesbian couples on TV...the best one ever, they were like "Oops sorry we have to kill you [Tara] so Willow will go nuts. You know we couldnt just make it look like you are dead and then be like Oh hey she was in shock from being shot, not dead.' That just would not work. We want to make sure we alienate as many W/T lovers as possible."

Bad cliche...I should make a movie with nothing but straight cliches and make the gay the role models of it.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:39 am 
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That's exactly how the cliché can continue - as Ben mentioned, everyone says they're not making story decisions based on any clichés, they're just telling their stories. However true that may be (and probably is) for each of them, we still end up with very, very few decent, stable lesbian couples.

I honestly do not believe that there is some cabal of people who control TV and film sitting around in a room somewhere plotting to make certain that lesbian characters die, go crazy, are evil, or at least lead horrible, lonely, unfulfilled lives. It's not deliberate intent, but that's just how it shakes out.

This Dead/Evil Lesbian Cliché FAQ (which was written before Season 7 aired and so doesn't comment on any of the events of that season) is about the preponderance of these shitty outcomes for lesbian characters and uses a lot of examples to illustrate how prevalent it was for decades of film and television. Many of the later posts in this thread point out more recent examples, like ellbogen's post (just above yours) about The Chinese Botanist's Daughters which was released only a year ago and which is, according to her and everything I've read about it, about the best example of the cliché there has ever been. This movie is from 2006! I have little doubt, though, that the writers and director would characterize it as a tragic love story. (And there are certainly plenty of straight tragic love stories - Romeo and Juliet keeps getting told over and over again in various ways. But straight people have a whole lot of other representations of themselves to balance it out, representations that don't involve doomed lovers dying so senselessly, or dying at all.)

A few "tragic love stories" is no big deal. In fact, they'd probably be enjoyable if they were truly few. The problem is that they aren't. This is the larger issue and I think it's far more important than, um, yellow crayons or whatever.

[sidenote] For a parallel here, consider the way albinos are portrayed. You'll be hard-pressed to find many albino characters out there who are just regular people. (See Albinism in popular culture at wikipedia or Hollywood's unwritten rules for characters with albinism at skinema.com for more.) Is there a deliberate concerted effort to vilify people with albinism? No, of course not. But that's how it shakes out. And to the person with hypopigmentation issues, I doubt it matters much that storytellers are "just trying to tell their stories." :rolleyes You really could run with this and talk about how lots of other groups are portrayed, but I think it all boils down to who the storytellers are and who funds them. It's not lesbians, it's not albinos, it's not blacks, it's not Latinos, it's not Asians, it's not Native Americans, it's not working class people, it's not poor people, it's not many women... [/sidenote]

Bleh. It's time to watch Imagine Me & You and Saving Face again. Yay!

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 11:01 am 
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maudmac wrote:
I honestly do not believe that there is some cabal of people who control TV and film sitting around in a room somewhere plotting to make certain that lesbian characters die, go crazy, are evil, or at least lead horrible, lonely, unfulfilled lives. It's not deliberate intent, but that's just how it shakes out.

Bleh. It's time to watch Imagine Me & You and Saving Face again. Yay!


Dont get me wrong I dont actually belive that either haha i was just saying originally that i noticed what ME did where they could have just played it off as plot line which to me is stupid but hey what can you do.

and man i still need to see Imagine Me & You

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:01 pm 
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Noted for the record, about the new Knight Rider (yes, I watched it-hey, I was a 12-year-old boy when the original was running, I've got nostalgia)...

Sydney Tamiia Poitier's character, an FBI agent, is a lesbian--and apparently a bit of a "playa." In the pilot, we first see her waking up in bed with a woman who, dialogue reveals, is an overnight pickup.

Nothing else is made of this facet of her character--but by the end of the pilot, she'd neither gone crazy nor died.

If this Knight Rider goes to series, it's not worth watching just for that, IMO--and the show as a whole hasn't aged well--but it seemed worth mentioning.

Hurray for small victories. :pride

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:11 pm 
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I'm sure this has probably already been mentioned as NCIS is an American show but episode 2.4 Lt. Jane Doe has just been shown in the UK. It's the one where the (secret because she's in the Navy) lesbian murders her girlfriend and plants evidence taken from a 10 year old rape/murder case to make it seem that killer has struck again.

Unfortunately for her, he died five weeks before she killed the girl.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:57 pm 
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Cool picture of Donna, Feena.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:36 pm 
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Thanks Ben, it's lovely isn't it. It's from the cover of one of the novels.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 12:07 am 
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AfterEllen has uncovered a pricelessly BAD :stink example of the Cliche (in the form of an Israeli music video), here: [url=http://www.afterellen.com/blwe/07-11-08?page=0%2C2] TRUCKS: NOT REALLY THE BEST WAY TO HANDLE REJECTION
[/url]

GG The site includes the video, so you can see it for yourself. Warning: the commentary includes a minor S6 reference, also. Out

"Hey, at least this time the two chicks are totally hot. That's progress, right?" :stink


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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:33 pm 
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Oy.

Gee, this doesn't look too stupid...

There's a movie coming out in the UK called (wait for it):

"Lesbian Vampire Killers."

And no, it's not about lesbians who kill vampires. It's about a few likely lads who kill vampires who are also lesbians.

It's allegedly funny, but from the looks of things it's not up to much.

More info and a trailer here:

http://tinyurl.com/9uvfxb

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:11 pm 
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Gatito Grande wrote:
AfterEllen has uncovered a pricelessly BAD example of the Cliche (in the form of an Israeli music video), here: TRUCKS: NOT REALLY THE BEST WAY TO HANDLE REJECTION

GG The site includes the video, so you can see it for yourself. Warning: the commentary includes a minor S6 reference, also. Out



I laughed my lungs out with the minor S6 reference, btw...




I hate this... you know, this damn cliche makes my head blow in anger... I just watched my S4 dvd box other day and seeing Joss and Amber talking about W/T made me think a lot... He said a lot about their Flaming O scene, like a 'shut up, you lunatics, they had sex that time!'

But how I can believe at him about this info if he lied? Why create such amazing character (Tara is my favorite) and treat her like trash? She didn´t deserve that... Amber didn´t deserve either... She is one of the most talent actress that I ever seen and I´m a great fan of her work.

And this issue makes me angry.. makes me sad... makes me stop believing in a fair society... I´m came from a family where my mom is a lesbian and I´m bisexual, and things like this makes people like me think: 'this is SO wrong!!I´m sick! I can´t be happy by loving a girl!'

Ow, great, I´m crying now ¬¬
damn you Joss

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:08 pm 
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If I ever meet him I'll tell him what a good writer he is, thank him for wonderfull Willow and teriffic Tara, make him feel all good about himself and W/T and then kick him in the nuts with all my strength and call him asshole.

Will make him feel a little bit of our pain.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:38 pm 
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Dorothy wrote:
If I ever meet him I'll tell him what a good writer he is, thank him for wonderfull Willow and teriffic Tara, make him feel all good about himself and W/T and then kick him in the nuts with all my strength and call him asshole.

Will make him feel a little bit of our pain.



can you give me a call before? I would like to kick his ass too

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:15 pm 
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yeah I will let you in on the fun, but we need to thank him for giving us Tara at first, then make him feel good and then kick his manhood to pieces.
Cause that's part of the deal, first giving a beautifull thing, making him happy and feeling good, and then taking it away and replacing it with big pain.

He's a hero for giving us Willow and Tara and the rest of buffy for that matter) but he turned evil and then murdered... yet unlike, for example, Angel, he shows no remorse and doesn't do a thing to make it ok again.

That's why he deserves mayor kicking.

Tara... Tara is kinda were I came from and where I want to go... well except for the my (future) girlfriend going all evil because some jerk shot me offcourse!

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:30 pm 
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hey, thanks!

I agree with you... he deserves Lex Talionis...

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:49 pm 
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I figured I'd put this here instead of in the "L Word" thread, because it is potentially a major spoiler for that series final season, but it also applies here.

To be very clear, this is not just a spoiler about the murder mystery plot, which is being promoted by Showtime, but about how talk of the spinoff may have just revealed who the killer is.

So if you follow the series, and don't want to be spoiled, follow this link at your own risk...

http://tinyurl.com/9s4wwv

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:07 am 
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Gracias a Espan~a, it's a whole new chapter for the Cliche'! :stink

Silvia dies on her wedding day on "Los Hombres de Paco"

Quote:
On yesterday's season finale, the Spanish TV show Los Hombres de Paco (Paco's Men) killed off one-half of its very popular lesbian couple Silvia, played by Marián Aguilera, only a few hours after she was married to Pepa (Laura Sanchez).


GG Warning: the article includes a graphic post-shooting pic. It's like "Your shirt!" on steroids. :paranoid Out

The whole world 'round, united by one thing: dead lesbians. :happy


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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:45 pm 
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Another example: Hollyoaks Later-UK programme-late night special of Hollyoaks the soap.

Love triangle between Sarah, Zoe & Lydia. Ends with crazy/dead lesbian, dead lesbian/bisexual and arrested bisexual. Cliche-a-rama.

Zoe & Sarah got drunk & slept together a while back, but Zoe was going out with Sarahs dad?!? so nothing more came of it. They remain best friends. Sarah then meets Lydia over the summer, (a seemingly sorted lesbian, cool, into music, drums in a band with other charaters in the show.) Sarah still thinks she's straight, but then makes a pass at Lydia, eventually they become girlfriends. All is accepted by Sarah's friends.

Lydias ex girlfriend Charlotte turns up and Lydia freaks. we don't know why. eventually Charlotte gets written into the show, working at the bar, living with other main characters.Its wonderful 4 lesbian-ish characters in a prime time soap!!!!!

Lydia & Sarah get full on, so Sarah dumps Lydia over the summer cause she's going too fast. nothing more is said.

Sarah comes back in Autumn as does Lydia. We see Lydia fight with Charlotte and find out that Lydia tried to kill herself when Charlotte dumped her.

Lydia makes a pass at Sarah-wants to get back together. she lies and says that Charlotte sent her dead flowers?!?! L&S get back together, but it is obvious Sarah is uncomfortable. Lydia gets really clingy. and jealous of Sarah & Zoe's friendship. Lydia starts lying to Zpe & Sarah trying to push them apart. Shes frequently described as psycho by other characters in the soap.

Somehow they all end up on a skydiving weekend. Sarah & Zoe are so flirting, Lydia becomes v jealous. One evening S&Z get drunk, Sarah makes a pass at Zoe. Lydia sees this and freaks. She starts to self harm. she then slashs one of the paracutes.

They all go up in the plane and jump. Sarah's paracute fails to open-she dies. Lydia sets Zoe up in the police interviews that follow. she then accidently kills her self by self-harming. Zoe is then arrested for Sarah's murder.

Am so so angry. After Willow & Tara I never got so involved in a gay storyline. I just thought that this show would have more sense than to go down such a cliched route. They had set up the Sarah/Zoe relationship for a couple years now. Lydia was being set up as a feisty gay role model. then suddenly for a late night special they all act completely out of character and its cliche-tastic.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:40 am 
What exactly is the lesbian cliché?
What exactly is evil?

Humanity found out long ago that from the sun comes light and when there is no light, it is dark. It was just accepted as such until Einstein asked: "What is light?"

Agreed, humanity has since eons felt too lazy to dismiss the consistency of stable thoughts that comes from a pre-established pattern of social order. Does it not then automatically lead to a set of schemas that everyone is biased into seeing or creating?

For example, our thoughts are so geared towards seeing homophobic or hurtful acts towards the GLBT community that invariably, we attract to us movies and books that thoroughly satisfy this particular desire. And then it becomes even more satisfying, paradoxically, to point out the 'lesbian cliché' in question because at the source it validates a set of emotions that are unique to people of a gay/lesbian sexual orientation. These emotions have necessarily encountered pain before their integrity was respected. How else could there be validation unless there were the same patterns of pain?

Firstly, the intense feelings we might be having towards these 'clichés' might not necessarily be targeted to the clichéd creative output of a lesbian storyline but rather to a skewed expectation of what life as a lesbian person means to biased people.

Secondly, is evil really evil or is it just a perception of evil as being the shadow part of love that makes it so hard to accept and respect? In other words, it could be 'lack of love' instead of 'vengeance out of love' that leads to strong unexpected feelings.

Thank you for reading,

Vi'


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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 12:42 pm 
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Dear 'Vi,

Word.

Love,
Rachel

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:34 pm 
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The cliche is not dead. Which is too bad.

I am about half way through the book "Fangland" by John Marks. It is a modern re-telling of Dracula.

Spoiler:
The main character Evangeline Harker meets up with this other woman Clementine Spence after Harker had been tortured at "Dracula's" home. Harker and Spence have a relationship while in Romania and Harker describes herself as "changing" which we learn means becoming a killer. One night she rapes and kills Spence and then drinks her blood.
Unlike the book (or movies) Harker does not "get better" but has become a vampire. The book makes it clear that Harker only had sex with Spence in order to close enough to kill her.


So yes Kittens. The cliche is still out there. You would think people should know better by now.

I am not finishing the book.

Tim

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Tara: "My whole life has been 'Tara, don't use your magic.' 'Tara, hide your powers.' 'Tara you will scare someone.' But you tried to hurt and then kill Willow. So maybe it is time I showed everyone just how powerful I am."
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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:20 pm 
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Being better educated about all this, sadly, makes it hurt even more. However the essays were enlightening and I will educate others about the DLC and watch for it myself.

I am grateful to the mods and the KB for providing a home for Willow and Tara, a true home where they live as they deserve to live.

This community is special. Glad to be a part of it.

Ariel


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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:20 am 
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Ariel wrote:
I am grateful to the mods and the KB for providing a home for Willow and Tara, a true home where they live as they deserve to live.
Ariel


I couldn't have said it better myself. In fact, as far as I'm concerned the-incident-which-never-happened and the resulting loss of sanity (which also never happened) never actually happened except in the context of a story where Tara comes back and they live happily ever after. Like in You Do NOT Get To Say Her Name or in Ripples. Those I don't mind so much. I still prefer the AU fic where it REALLY never happened though.

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Last edited by HopeHavoc on Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:26 pm 
Understand your enemy and understand the weapons they use for touching you so you may then use those same weapons in reverse. You have the ability to create your own authentic reality through the power of love - the love for yourself as a woman, as a man, as a person with a homosexual/bisexual/asexual orientation. Love is the answer. Always is. Always has been. And always will be. Non compliance to an illusory reality through the emanations of love is stronger than non compliance through the emanations of fear or pain.

Love,

Vi'


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 Post subject: Re: The Lesbian Cliche FAQ
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:04 pm 
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I think I have a sort of weird view on this so bear with me. I didn't really get a chance to check out most of the replies to this thread so I don't know exactly how unique my opinion is. I acknowledge that the lesbian cliche is still around as unfortunate as that may be. I also understand how easily Tara's death could be construed as fitting into this cliche. I think ME made the wrong decision and I'm certainly not in favor of it but I don't think that it should be viewed as falling into the category of the cliche. I will try to make this as comprehensive as I can.
Quote:
What is even more damaging is that BtVS writers chose to kill Tara and change Willow and Tara's sex scenes from metaphorical to literal within the same episode. Up until "Seeing Red," all of Willow and Tara's sexual activity had been shrouded in magical metaphor. A sensual magic spell that ended with Willow writhing in orgasmic ecstasy was used to illustrate their first time making love in Season Four's "Who Are You?" Tara magically floated above the couple's bed as Willow hovered out-of-frame in Season Six's "Once More, With Feeling." They never kissed and barely touched during those "love" scenes. But "Seeing Red" removed all magical metaphors and placed Willow and Tara naked in bed together for the very first time. Viewers finally saw them behave like the straight couples on the show...and immediately one died and one turned evil. This seems to say that Willow and Tara were safe as long as things were metaphorical and hidden, but the moment their sex life was brought out in the open, there was hell to pay.

One thing to bear in mind is that the sex scenes were (mostly) not metaphorical by choice but rather by necessity. The networks on which BtVS was aired (specifically UPN) would not allow the couple to kiss on camera or even to lie on a bed together (through season four whenever they're on a bed together one is always sitting up). Once you get to Season 6, they do start "having sex" on screen. Personally, I wouldn't include the Under Your Spell scene as "metaphorical" as the position is fairly definitive. Whedon called the scene "basically porn." I recognize that this doesn't quite address the point but i just wanted to mention this. To the point. You are upset that Tara was killed in the bedroom, claiming that it was unnecessary. According to the established purpose of Tara's death, it was absolutely necessary. Whedon has a tendency of killing his characters as soon as they complete their story arc
Spoiler:
As he does with Jonathan, Topher or Whiskey on dollhouse, and many others.
By this I mean as soon as they achieve a purpose or understand the meaning of life, friendship etc. or simply when they've been redeemed from something and are at their happiest (Angel is a quintessential example of both). Willow has finally been redeemed from her addiction and is as happy as she could be by sleeping with Tara (an excellent reason for the sex only becoming this "graphic" in Seeing Red). After this point, Willow's character would have become static had Tara not died.
Quote:
While it is believable that this historically gentle, moral character, who also carries deep-seated insecurities and rage, would murder Warren to avenge Tara's death, her utter descent into evil is extreme and over-the-top, to say the least. Warren's murder is not a quick "crime of passion," but a prolonged stomach-turning gore-fest that climaxes in his skinning and immolation. Her thirst for blood unsatisfied, Vengeance Willow (as UPN calls her) then tries to hunt down Warren's accomplices, Andrew and Jonathan, eliminate her friends and then destroy the world.

Willow's drive to do these things is not madness as a result of Tara's death. Rather, Tara's death is the catalyst that unleashes the dark magics inside Willow, which are ultimately what destroy her. She is distraught by Tara's death, not destroyed. As Anya points out, after she kills Warren she has "moved way beyond vengeance." Tara's death drives her to unleash the magics in order to kill Warren. The magics (a very obvious metaphor for drug and other substance abuse) then cause her to utterly lose her sense of self. In fact, when speaking to Dawn, Dark Willow refers to Willow as a separate entity from herself. The only point at which she returns to the first person is when she speaks about Tara.
Quote:
magic, once the show's primary metaphor for lesbian sex and love, was instead in Season Six portrayed as dark, addictive, and leading to insanity. The message--unintended as it may have been--of this storyline: Lesbian love is an intense, dangerous thing.

The thing is, this is done for a reason. The dual nature of the magic very apparently represents a dichotomy that exists in love and in all human beings. Love is an intense, even potentially dangerous thing under some circumstances. Love can become self-destructive, just as the magic became for Willow.
Quote:
A man saves the world from the crazy lesbian.

I suppose that is one way to look at the scene. But it seems overly cynical to me. To me, the scene was "love saves the world from a totally out of control and very powerful woman who feels that she has lost hope." The thing is, hope is restored to her by Xander's love. I think this is an important point in understanding why the situation doesn't fall into the cliche. Because Willow is not hopeless by the end. Her descent into madness is caused by a perceived lack of hope, not an actual one. If, as you state, the lesbian cliche perpetuates an erroneous and extremely harmful stereotype by establishing instances in which lesbian relationships end badly leaving the women involved hopeless or otherwise insane, then I firmly believe that W/T does not fall into this category. You clearly wrote this before Season 7 aired so there are some new factors that need to be taken into account.
Quote:
Joss Whedon (Bronze Beta 5/24/00): "...one post from a gay or questioning teen saying the show helped them is worth six hundred hate letters...Here's the word: Tara's not gonna disappear. She's part of the show, part of Willow's life."

Tara's death does not make her disappear from the show. She is constantly in Willow's heart, informing her actions for the rest of her life.
Quote:
It created the impression in a lot of people's mind that the event of her death was linked to them having sex.

This, to me, is the most unfortunate thing. Not that ME linked the two events, but that so many others did it for them. It seems that when people speculate that this was intention or even the result of the decision it actually strengthens the theory unnecessarily and causes more harm than good.
Quote:
No. First of all, how can Tara be both a mere "plot device" - a tool to get at Willow - and also be a "real person"? That is a contradiction. They can't have it both ways. Is Anya only a "plot device" to get to Xander? No. She has her own storyline and Emma Caulfield is a full regular in the credits. Is Spike a mere "plot device" to get at Buffy? No. Storyline. Credits. Amber Benson was the only Scooby significant other kept out of the credits. Tara was sent away most of S6 and not given an individual storyline, only to be brought back as a "plot device" to make Willow go crazy. From this, one can only conclude that ME didn't view Tara as a "real person" at all. She was a disposable object and she was treated as such.

I don't agree with this. Tara is absolutely considered a real person. Even when she and Willow are separated she grows as a person, she becomes Buffy's confidant, and is clearly an individual. She remains, however a secondary character. The main important aspect of the show is to maintain the momentum of the story which cannot be done if any of the core four have a static storyline. You question the utilitarian accuracy of this tradeoff so allow me to briefly address your answer.
Quote:
Writing is about making choices. Mutant Enemy had plenty of opportunities to send Willow down her dark magic path before "Seeing Red," and they chose not to use them. They could have, for example, had Willow pulled into darkness by her own pride and/or her own insecurity. Willow was clearly headed down this path early in Season Six when she raised Buffy from the dead, threatened Giles, and fought with Tara. But the writers chose to change directions and occupy her with a physical magical "addiction" until May sweeps when they could kill Tara and send her on a quest for vengeance. Mutant Enemy deliberately chose the cliché when plenty of other possibilities were available to them. Not to mention that Willow's Season Six vengeance storyline is merely an extreme retread of Willow's actions in Season Five's "Tough Love," in which she attacked Glory for brain-sucking Tara. Necessary forward progression? That's very arguable.

Whedon's style of writing dictates that it actually did have to be this way. Willow's descent into addiction had to be followed by a redemption (including reuniting with Tara) which then had to be followed by seemingly insurmountable tragedy, only to conclude with a revelation that all is not lost.
Quote:
Well, anyone could have been killed but they weren't. There are five straight major characters and two gay ones on BtVS. Only the gay ones are dead and evil.

Again this no longer applies
Spoiler:
due to Anya's death in Season 7 and Giles's in Season 8
but of course I understand your point. I think the issue is viewing Tara as "the gay character" rather than "one of the most beloved characters on the show who is dating the other most beloved character on the show." Whedon himself said that, in order to keep the audience interested, one of the best plot devices to use was putting Willow in danger. This was before Willow acknowledged that she was gay. As Petrie said, had Willow been seeing a man instead of Tara, they most certainly would have broken up. Potentially, he would have been the one on the receiving end of the bullet. We cannot think that Tara was killed by virtue of being gay, rather by virtue of being the love interest of the most beloved of the core four.
Quote:
Appearances. Are. Everything.

I have a problem with this assertion. Intentions should also be considered. Especially in the case where intentions are not so clear and enforcing the idea that appearances are relevant could actually increase how harmful the appearance becomes.
Quote:
Compare that to Buffy/Riley and Buffy/Spike where there were numerous graphic sex scenes in and out of bed that included full pelvic thrusts, groans, etc. And sadly, as mentioned earlier, Willow and Tara's intimacy led directly into Tara's murder, which is an unfortunate component of the "Dead/Evil Lesbian Cliché." It would have been much preferable to completely separate Tara's death from any sexual acts.

I don't think this is a bad thing. I believe that it was actually a calculated choice by the writers. Sex in television tends to represent an intimate expression of love or a carnal expression of hedonistic pleasure. The extremely graphic sex that takes place between Buffy and Spike expresses how carnal their lovemaking is and how it is love of body rather than soul. In fact, in Season 7, Buffy and Spike's relationship becomes more about an emotional connection than a physical one, and hence they do not sleep together at all during the season. Similarly, Willow and Tara's relationship is extremely spiritual and not about pure, carnal desire. Therefore, even the most graphic of Willow and Tara's sex scenes is not so graphic. This contrasts directly with Willow's Season 7 relationship which featured the first [graphic] lesbian sex scene on television. That relationship was very apparently not based on a spiritual connection. The sex scene between Angel and Buffy was not so graphic and, as with Spike, they never again consummated their relationship, relying exclusively on an emotional connection.
Quote:
Equality? Ummmm. No.

14) Doesn't the attitude that lesbians shouldn't die make them unfairly sacrosanct and not subject to the problems that other characters face?

There are actually a fair number of reasons that this is a specious argument. For one thing, what's wrong with keeping them sacrosanct, anyway?

I find this inherently contradictory. If what you want is equality then, again, you shouldn't think of them as the "gay characters." Granted there have been as you say "enough dead lesbians," but in the interest of equality W/T can't simply be considered another lesbian relationship that ended badly, but as a beautiful relationship between two people who loved each other but, unfortunately, life happened. As we know, life was the "Big Bad" of Season 6.
Quote:
Furthermore, seeing how fans were already going to be shocked and hurt by the ending of "Seeing Red," ME did not need to heighten the pain by "mischievously" adding Amber to the credits, building false hope to make their plan of devastation more complete. It was a mean and crass move.

Whedon actually stated once that he always wanted to introduce a character into the opening credits and immediately kill them off. It's not a sadistic or a mischievous move, it is to add another layer of shock and reality to the situation. The point of the entire season was to strip away metaphors and directly address certain issues in real life, like Tara's sudden, tragic death.
I don't want to seem like I don't believe in the existence in the dead/evil lesbian cliche or the harm that it represents. I just firmly believe that Willow and Tara's relationship doesn't fall into the cliche. In fact, I think that claiming it does may only be enforcing the idea that it is for people who haven't considered it and is doing more harm than good. I am confident that some people would never have thought of connecting the end of the relationship with the cliche, and placing the thought in their minds may destroy their view of the relationship, which really is a wonderful inspiration for not only LGBT individuals but for anyone who feels insecure about themselves or relationships in general. And I believe that is inspiration is something that needs to be preserved.


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