2019 as the year of lesbian culture
Jill Gutowitz, a queer culture writer, has proclaimed in Wired that 2019 was when lesbian culture finally went viral.
Gutowitz cited the spread of “gay rights” memes and when sports star Megan Rapinoe conquered the internet as a couple of the many reasons for this declaration.
Is lesbian culture here to stay?
Gutowitz, who identifies herself as ” Overlord of Lesbian Twitter,” admitted that her declaration is a result of a “skewed vantage point.”
“It’s difficult for me to distinguish if lesbian culture is mainstream, and that’s why sapphic memes go viral these days, or if there are just a rising number of queer-identifying people who are in on the joke, being loudly lesbian,” she said.
However, she pointed out that “gay male culture has historically been given a louder and prouder platform than any other letter in the LGBTQ+ acronym. But this year felt different. This year… felt lesbian.”
“In 2019, there was a paradigm shift in how social media, and pop culture broadly, perceived gay women. It was as if lesbian culture– its memes, language, and stories– was suddenly mainstream,” she explained.
“Over the past decade, queer girl culture has been seeping through the cracks of Tumblr, Reddit, and Twitter. But it wasn’t until 2019 that it seemed lesbian culture was lionized and adopted by the masses,” she added.
The spread of lesbian culture this year
Gutowitz cited the following events in the past year for her reasoning, the first being the compilation video of Twitter user @chastaen of Rachel Weisz’s “giving gays their rights” in early January.
When Weisz and Olivia Colman declared “gay rights” on-camera on the red carpet in February, a slew of celebrities followed.
Gutowitz said this was a inaugural moment: “it was a joke for queer women that became a part of the internet’s vernacular. The floodgates were open.”
There were also the queer love stories, like Rapinoe and her girlfriend Sue Bird appearing on ESPN’s body issue, and Bird’s essay on President Donald Trump hating on her girlfriend.
There was also defender Kelley O’Hara’s kiss with her girlfriend at the sidelines of the soccer matches.
Of course, she pointed out that 2019 was Rapinoe’s year as the American hero, from leading the US Women’s National Soccer Team to the FIFA Women’s World Cup, her online fights with Trump, and being SI’s sportsperson of the year.
There are a lot more items that Gutowitz pointed out in 2019 and it’s a fun read (go read it here). But the even more funny thing is how Internet seems to support her argument.
Lesbian culture leading up to this
Iin January 2019, Daisy Jones wrote in Vice how “lesbian culture wasn’t exactly mainstream” in the previous years but had seriously expanded in 2018.
Jones wrote: “Lesbian culture today, though, is something else entirely. Or, more specifically, lesbian culture in the past year or so has updated and expanded into something tangible, rather than only existing in niche factions.”
Jones cited Weisz exchanging spit with Rachel McAdams’ in the film Disobedience, Sandra Oh playing Eve being stalked by Jodie Comer’s Villanelle on the series Killing Eve, and Janelle Monae’s videos.
Jones said about these examples: “What all these things have in common is that they centre queer experiences for the female gaze specifically.”
She added that “the sheer amount of high-tier lesbian action and storylines that have graced our screens, timelines and headphones over the past year has watered the gardens of a culture that needed it– just like all cultures do.”
(What makes this even more serendipitous is that Jones cited Gutowitz’s tweet on reimagining Coachella with “an invisible lesbian thread tying the whole thing together.”)
So what do you guys think? Was 2019 our year?