I am a sucker for sad movies. I like to pretend that I don’t sit around watching tear-jerking movies and eating popcorn, but… Well, that pretty much sums up my weekend.
Make the main characters gay and it’s even worse. I mean, sad stories are sad stories, and all, but it’s always a little harder when you can see a piece of yourself in the cast. (Which of course means that, if they’re just a bit snarky – like Graham in But I’m a Cheerleader! – I cry like a baby.)
But for some reason, it seems like queer movies are just inherently sad. Even in the super campy ones, someone gets their heart smashed to pieces, and my poor little sarcastic heart gets squished a little, too. Half the time I stick with straight romances because, well, they’re a little easier on my makeup. What is it that makes them so sad?
It’s not just the movies, either. Remember how much pain you felt watching The L Word? No spoilers for those who have yet to experience the rite of passage that is binge-watching all six seasons, but trust me… I think each of us felt emotionally connected to at least one of those characters, even if we didn’t have anything actually in common with them.
I think some of the pain has to do with how infrequently we actually see realistic lesbian pairings in the media. When we find a show that makes us seem real, we start to feel more real ourselves.
As someone whose sexuality is questioned by others on a regular basis, it’s comforting for me to see a picture of myself on the screen, so to speak.
Good lesbian movies don’t rely on the stereotypes that we often see played out in straight romance movies. Even though there are some similarities, we have our own dynamic, and we don’t always do things the same way. There’s nothing wrong with that – that’s just how we are.
Men and women are understandably different, so the approaches necessary when dealing with women are (understandably) different than when dealing with men.
Even though I’m sure of my sexuality now, there are a great deal of lesbian movies that deal with at least one of the main character being completely unsure about who she is. I’m not sure how it stands for people who knew they were gay at an early age, but that’s not who I am.
Seeing a woman start to question things even though she’s with a guy who should be perfect for her reminds me of the days of my own uncertainty – and I can relate.
Aside from relatability, though, what is it that makes lesbian movies so damn sad?! It pains me to think it’s just us living into the heteronormative stereotype that women are emotional creatures… And besides, I’ve met some women who definitely didn’t show much emotion ‘till the end of something sappy.
What do you think – are lesbian movies sadder, or do we just connect more deeply with the characters? Let us know in the comments!