I might have just overindulged on the Too Hot to Handle mobile game this afternoon, my queer little heart thoroughly enjoying the lesbian smut it served up as my character refused to play by the rules and seduced the hottest woman. I am not normally one for steamy romances or bodice rippers, but gosh it did set the pulse racing. Yes, it is trashy, and yes it was definitely a frivolous waste of time, yet for the first time in a while I felt the queer part of me thoroughly enjoying trashy romances. Of course I stan all things Bioware, and yes Liara is always going to be Blue in my eyes. I just cannot help queering all the things.
As a 40 something adult I love the fact that reality shows simply let the queerness happen without going full overboard with telegraphing their pride credentials. Obliterated, a downright atrocious series on Netflix, has an unrepentant queer female sniper who seduces the Hen from a hen night, all because she could. NCIS: Hawaii’s central romance is two women doing the par-de-deux for in season 1, then having the cutest relationship ever in season 2. You could say some of this is queer baiting straight men, but as a woman who really does enjoy sapphic and queer romances I am just going along for the ride.
One of the crazy things for me is how normalised this has become very quickly. Euphoria fans will happily dissect the messiness, while Dr Who fans clearly wanted Yaz and the Doctor to be more than pining in the corner. It is easy to dismiss the titillation for exploitation, but unlike earlier lesbian sexploitation the recent crop have tended to make characters and contestants rounded individuals rather than just eye candy. Carry Anne Moss may as well take a trademark out on complicated lesbian portrayals at this point.
I understand fully that much of the recent sapphic and bi content is due to the male gaze not seeing women-on-women relationships as threatening compared to two men. There are plenty of sapphic portrayals where all the lesbian characters do is service the sexual proclivities of the audience, and are then killed stone dead. Willow and Tara being exhibit A even after all these years. Yet, when Disney feels comfortable with a complex lesbian couple in Andor you know that things have shifted in the zeitgeist. As Audre Lorde points out you cannot use the Master’s tools to bring the…