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9 Things That Happen in Every Lesbian Movie

Lesbian movies are full of cliches, and that's why we love them.
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Rainy days are made for lesbian movies.

There’s nothing like a rainy day for curling up with hot chocolate and bingeing queer movies available on Netflix. These days, the problem is that there are too many lesbian movies to choose from.

You can watch a brooding coming-of-age film. You can appreciate one of the classics. You can take it to the bedroom or to another continent. You can cuddle or cry or go, “Huh?” Seriously, the possibilities are endless.

Despite the crazy amount of lesbian movies, however, they all start to feel a little…similar. After a few flicks, you’ll probably realize that Blue Is the Warmest Color isn’t that different from Imagine Me and You isn’t that different from While You Weren’t Looking.

What tropes keep popping up in every lesbian movie?

1. The Innocent, Unsuspecting Baby Gay: A woman who has never, ever, ever contemplated queerness in her life suddenly falls deeply in love with a woman. Which woman, you may ask?

2. The Super Badass Veteran Gay: A seasoned lesbian, who is usually quirky and mysterious and may or may not have blue hair, rolls into Unsuspecting Baby Gay’s life and helps Unsuspecting Baby Gay figure out who she really is.

3. The Generic Male Figure Hovering in the Background: There’s always a man hanging around the plot somewhere. Maybe the Unsuspecting Baby Gay is married to him, like in Imagine Me and You. Maybe the Unsuspecting Baby Gay sleeps with him, like in Blue is the Warmest Color. Maybe the Unsuspecting Baby Gay dates him until she’s kidnapped by a hot lesbian spy, like in D.E.B.S.

4. Carefree Outdoor Swimming for No Reason: Normal people plan trips to the swimming pool or to the beach, but not lesbians. Lesbians are known for spontaneously stripping down to their underwear (or less) and going swimming in a pool that does not belong to them. Trespassing is sexy.

5. Spontaneous First Kiss While Doing Carefree Outdoor Swimming for No Reason: Innocent, playful splashing turns into a passionate kiss. Every time.

6. Tortured Feelings That Must Be Wrestled With: Something will tear the women apart. In heterosexual romantic comedies, this is usually because of outside reasons, like families who hate each other. But in lesbian movies, the reasons tend to be really introspective and emotional and something to do with a tortured soul.

7. A Sex Scene That Will Come Out of Nowhere: Now the protagonist is eating spaghetti with her parents – whoops, now there’s a twenty-two minute sex scene right in the middle of Blue Is the Warmest Color.

8. Overemotional Music By Some Indie Band You’ve Never Heard Before: Even if you hate that awful hipster band at the start of the movie, you’ll be Shazamming every song by the end.

9. The Super Sad Epilogue: For some reason, lesbian movies rarely end happily. More than likely, there will be a super sad epilogue five years later. Sometimes the epilogue takes a happy turn, and the women come back together just in time to have a super gay wedding (if the movie was made post-2015). But sometimes they just sadly spot each other in the rain, nod, and then walk in the opposite direction.

What’s your favorite lesbian movie trope?

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J. Marie graduated from Duke University with a degree in International Relations and dreams of being a creative writer–dreams she’s now realizing as a musical theatre writer in NYC. She’s passionate about global black identities, black representation in media, and leather-bound notebooks. She also loves backpacking through a new country at a moment’s notice, and speaks Spanish, Swahili and Standard Arabic.

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