Sappho Speaks: Has The Term Lipstick Lesbian Lost Its Lusture?
By Sappho on December 31, 2009
Lectori Salutem! or L.S. (Greetings to the Reader!)
Has the lipstick lesbian turned into a tall tale? That moniker once meant something specific and it seems even the girl with the Carmex is calling herself a lipstick lesbian. It seems to me that this word has outlived it’s usefulness and I’ll tell you why. Words are only as good as their definitions. When I was first introduced to the term lipstick lesbian it meant more than just a “lesbian who wears lipstick”. There was a culture that went behind that term. Wikipedia defines it as a feminine woman exhibiting feminine gender attributes (lipstick, nails, skirts, etc.) who is attracted to other feminine women. I was introduced to this termed by my first girlfriend, Leslie in the mid 80’s. She was 30 and I was 18. She was extremely feminine and worked in high end designer women’s wear,wouldn’t be caught dead in a pair of slacks, withoutstilettos and certainly would not leave the house withoutmake-up on. No one ever believed she was gay and between the two of us we were often harassed at women’s bars as being there for the wrong reason. We ended up going to a lot of gay men’s bars to dance the night away among the gay boys who loved and adoredthe look of two feminine women together.
Not only did our own community abuse us (ever been asked“do you know this is a gay bar?” or beenchallenged to prove your gay?), the straight world of men was constantly harassing us with offers ofthreesomes, money to kiss in front of them, and otherannoyances.
And that’s where it just started. There was a lot of confusion back then and may still be today on thedifference between the term femme and the termlipstick lesbian. A femme is a feminine woman who loves masculine women, hence the relationship know as‘Butch – Femme'. That has absolutely nothing to do with the lipstick lesbian. She, on the other hand is afeminine woman who loves other feminine women.
In this day and age the clear line of the lipstick lesbianof old has been trampled on a bit by the evolution of the work environment, society as a whole moving to a more casual atmosphere, and a blending of thetraditional roles that were once harshly defined as'Butch – Femme'. I am by no means arguing that aLeslie no longer exists or that pure 'Butch – Femme'relationships are a thing of the past, merely observing that the accoutrements that come with either choice such as every day stilettos, never leaving the house without makeup, and never wearing slacks may haverelaxed over the years (I know my rules for myself have and I definitely considered myself a lipstick lesbian and there are days I forget the lipstick!!!!!)
So, let’s go back to the original thesis. Do the words have any validity anymore? When I go round a group a lesbians anymore I don’t see the lipstick lesbianreflected back at me the way it used to be. Hardly anyone is wearing a dress, I am one of the small percentage with a manicure. This doesn’t mean they are not beautiful, stylish, hip, fresh, and feminine women in there own right, by their features andextraordinary amount of money a lesbian will spent on ahaircut and color. And most do wear some sort of lip balm, gloss, color, or maybe even the rare dinosaur like me still uses actual lipstick.
So, the word is not so useful in it’s first definition of women exhibiting gender attributes. I think that’s a bit passé. Women are doing things based on fashionand their tastes, some of which has been directly marketed to them, not on some archaic idea of what woman should be unless that is what turns her on.
The second part implied by the name lipstick lesbianis that you are not only a feminine woman but you are seeking the same. I have to turn to the evidence I have seen out there in the world to say that this also is changing and that this class of feminine womanseeking only her mate in kind is dwindling off with the advent of Carmex. As the herd of face painting, high-heeled, finger painted, perfumed, long haired beauties stopped seeing their reflection they eased out of the shallow end and found it wasn’t that bad. There are a few of us hard cases afraid to “sink or swim” waiting to find the glass stiletto that fits the perfect lip-sticked Cinderella. We’ll never know till the last race ends if it was all just a fool’s errand.
So, those are just a few of my thoughts on how the term has evolved and actually has no real context anymore to its Webster or Wikipedia definition. Maybe the new term should be lip balm lesbian!
Inspired by Sappho’s Muse
QUOTE OF THE DAY
As a standup, I try to change the world. As anentertainer, I try to entertain. And as a lesbian, I try topick up the prettiest girl in the room.
What do you mean you don't believe in homosexuality? It's not like the Easter Bunny, your belief isn't necessary.
Sappho Eurygyus www.sapphospeaks.com