Lesbians and Popular Culture; or, The Most Fun I Had While Reading an Academic Article in ages, maybe ever… because: unashemd breasts

[K] Excerpts from Elisabeth Ladenson’s 2001 article in GLQ 7:3, “Lovely Lesbians; or, Pussy Galore”, in which she discusses the representation of lesbians texts by male authors (most importanly James Bond-creator Ian Fleming), and in pop culture more generally.

I found myself giggling throughout the whole read (which, trust me, is much too rare in researching for one’s thesis, hence the excitement). Why? To quote the wisdom of a much younger woman (childhood Liz Lemon): It’s funny, cause it’s true!

The preponderance of lesbian themes may well he the fruit of a discovery on the part of entertainment executives that lesbian plotlines represent the only erotic configuration more or less guaranteed to appeal to all sexual demographics.

Lesbians themselves, no matter how indignant over exploitation and inauthenticity, wiIl never be able to resist taking a look at exactly how they are misrepresented; straight women are notoriously curious about such matters; straight men will line up in any weather; and, finally, gay men can generally be counted on for at least a token modicum of solidarity and identification.

That part in bold? Half of my online-life!

Other truths:

In any case, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a heterosexual man in search of entertainment will want to watch women have sex.

Yes, all bold - not even Jane Austen would argue with that.

And finally, a little help with your literature gaydar:

The description further informs us that Tilly [from Goldfinger] displays self-reliance and independence, in addition to holding her body proudly, her fine breasts outthrown and unashamed under the taut silk.

You can always, I have learned from reading such literature, tell a lesbian by her unashamed breasts.

Excuse me, while I re-read some of my books in search of unashamed breasts so I can complain about the exploitative misrepresentations of lesbians. Fun! (No, seriously, that is my idea of fun ;-))

“Oh, goodie, I always wanted to get into Marlene’s pants.”

[K] That Tallulah Bankhead is an almost endless source of awesome, has been prove here before - Lilian Faderman’s anecdote in In Gay L.A: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick is thus just icing on the cake… but delicious icing nonetheless:

Bankhead and Dietrich even felt safe enough with their Hollywood crowd to conceive a bawdy jest as a comment on local gossip that the two of them were having an affair: They smeared gold dust between them in telling places and appeared thus at a Hollywood gathering […] In 1932, when Paramount briefly considered replacing Dietrich with Bankhead in the tuxedo role in Blonde Venus, Bankhead is reported to have quipped loudly at the offer, “Oh, good, I always wanted to get into Marlene’s pants.”

Even more delicious: the banter (though scripted) between those two supposed former lovers in all their sultry glory is preserved in this radio interview, in which they tease each other about their age and … sexual appetite. Enjoy!

Image source

“Oh, goodie, I always wanted to get into Marlene’s pants.”
[K] That Tallulah Bankhead is an almost endless source of awesome, has been prove here before - Lilian Faderman’s anecdote in In Gay L.A: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick is thus just icing on the cake… but delicious icing nonetheless:

Bankhead and Dietrich even felt safe enough with their Hollywood crowd to conceive a bawdy jest as a comment on local gossip that the two of them were having an affair: They smeared gold dust between them in telling places and appeared thus at a Hollywood gathering […] In 1932, when Paramount briefly considered replacing Dietrich with Bankhead in the tuxedo role in Blonde Venus, Bankhead is reported to have quipped loudly at the offer, “Oh, good, I always wanted to get into Marlene’s pants.”

Even more delicious: the banter (though scripted) between those two supposed former lovers in all their sultry glory is preserved in this radio interview, in which they tease each other about their age and … sexual appetite. Enjoy!
Image source
"I’ve been thinking of a way to explain to straight white men how life works for them, without invoking the dreaded word “privilege,” to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon. […] Imagine life here in the US — or indeed, pretty much anywhere in the Western world — is a massive role playing game […]
Okay: In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is.
This means that the default behaviors for almost all the non-player characters in the game are easier on you than they would be otherwise. The default barriers for completions of quests are lower. Your leveling-up thresholds come more quickly. You automatically gain entry to some parts of the map that others have to work for. The game is easier to play, automatically, and when you need help, by default it’s easier to get. […]
it’s certainly possible someone playing at a higher difficulty setting is progressing more quickly than you are, […] You can lose playing on the lowest difficulty setting. The lowest difficulty setting is still the easiest setting to win on.
The player who plays on the “Gay Minority Female” setting? Hardcore."

[K] “Privilege” explained in computer game/role-playing terms by John Scalzi. Brilliant!

I feel the need to print this whole thing out and randomly hand it out to dudes in my life.

Lily Tomlin's (hilarious) fake interview about a "frank film about heterosexuality"

From The album "Modern Scream"
Interview: Did it seem strange to you, seeing yourself make love to a man on the big screen?
Lily: Well, I did a lot of research. And by the time we began shooting I was used to it. I've seen these women all my life, so I know how they walk, I know how they talk. Course, I did interview some psychiatrists, but they don't have the answers.
Interviewer: No, I don't suppose anyone does, really.
Lily: Course, I got a lot of flak from straight liberation groups. Some thought I went too far, some not far enough.
Interviewer: Well, you have your radical element in every group.
Lily: And my family said, 'How could you do such a thing?' PEOPLE JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND; YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE ON TO PLAY ONE.

Barbara Stanwyck

[B] Axel Madsen about Barbara Stanwyck in his 1994 published book “Stanwyck

Barbara Stanwyck
[B] Axel Madsen about Barbara Stanwyck in his 1994 published book “Stanwyck”

"Heterosexuality is not normal, it’s just common." - Dorothy Parker

(Picture taken from John Keats’ biography of Dorothy Parker)

[K] Yep, definitely one of the most quotable writers ever.

"Heterosexuality is not normal, it’s just common." - Dorothy Parker
(Picture taken from John Keats’ biography of Dorothy Parker)
[K] Yep, definitely one of the most quotable writers ever.

I was the Marlon Brando of my Generation - Bette Davis

(Image Source: Old Acquaintance @ Dr. Macro’s)

I was the Marlon Brando of my Generation - Bette Davis
(Image Source: Old Acquaintance @ Dr. Macro’s)

Kay Francis

[B+K] Kay Francis - as we learned today … a known lesbian - wrote in her diary:

Kay Francis
[B+K] Kay Francis - as we learned today … a known lesbian - wrote in her diary:

Tallulah Bankhead to Joan Crawford

“Dahling, you’re divine. I’ve had an affair with your husband. You’ll be next.”

[K] Tallulah Bankhead ostensibly said this to fellow Hollywood beauty Joan Crawford, while sitting next to the latter’s husband, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

Badassness, thou have a name… and a very pretty face.

(Photo credit: silenthollywood)

Tallulah Bankhead to Joan Crawford
“Dahling,  you’re divine. I’ve had an affair with your husband. You’ll  be next.”
[K] Tallulah Bankhead ostensibly said this to fellow Hollywood beauty Joan Crawford, while sitting next to the latter’s  husband, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Badassness, thou have a name… and a very pretty face.
(Photo credit: silenthollywood)

Lady Troubridge on Radclyffe Hall

"I could not, having come to know her, imagine life without her." Lady Troubridge (1887-1963) on her partner Radclyffe Hall.

[K] Lady Troubridge was not only the long-time partner (almost three decades) of famous novelist, and (probably even more in-famous) butch Radclyffe Hall, but also well-known in her own right as the translator of the books of - wait for it - Colette. The lesbian world has always been a small one indeed.

Image source.

 Lady Troubridge on Radclyffe Hall
"I could not, having come to know her, imagine life without her." Lady Troubridge (1887-1963) on her partner Radclyffe Hall.
[K] Lady Troubridge was not only the long-time partner (almost three decades) of famous novelist, and (probably even more in-famous) butch Radclyffe Hall, but also well-known in her own right as the translator of the books of - wait for it - Colette. The lesbian world has always been a small one indeed.
Image source.