From Dead to Femme: A Qualitative Analysis of Lesbian Representation on Television
Johnson, Michaela Caia
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This study analyzed the ways in which lesbian characters are portrayed on television between 2010 and 2019. These series’ intended audiences were teen to young adult. The questions for this study focused on the quality of representation, which included narrative inclusion, messaging surrounding romance, and reoccurring or emerging themes. Tropes such as the evil/dead lesbian identified by Millward et.al (2017) or the feminine lesbian, found on shows like The L Word, were also analyzed to highlight the reoccurrence of named themes already defined in media analysis. Using a qualitative content analysis, the three series utilized for this study were examined under cultivation and framing theory to identify what messages were being shared with audiences about lesbian identity and relationships. The results of this research indicated that lesbian characters more often than not were being sidelined from the main narratives of the show and that these representations can fall under old and new patterns.