Every Lesbian On TV Has A Side Part

I can imagine pretty vividly how big network meetings go down. Not because I’ve ever been in one, but because I was required to take a critical thinking class in college. Fun sidebar: my college required a class in CRITICAL THINKING. Anyway, I can see it all happening in my head…

Writer: Our show needs more diversity.
Network: But we just had a black guy last season.
Writer: -_______-
Network: Fine, what are you thinking?
Writer: We should include the gay community, we need to make room for different life experiences on our show, showing just one kind of person just isn’t realistic.
Network: Ok, we can have ONE LESBIAN.
Writer: Ugh, fine, I’ll write her in, but she’s going to be a lead role.
Network: WAIT.
Writer: yes?
Network: How will you know the difference between a PERSON and a GAY PERSON…

And thus the side part was born.

Which was lucky for all of us, because when Pretty Little Liars started we were all like “everyone on this show has a middle part… but wait…  what about Emily?”


Emily Fields!!! *whisper* y’all her hair is parted slightly to the side, I think WE ALL KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS #lesbianprobably Sidebar: special thanks for bringing back the PEACE SIGN NECKLACE, EMILY.

Shout out to the only girl Emily has dated for longer than three weeks, Paige McCullers! You go girl!Rock that side part AND that boy scout shirt #gaygaygaygaygay


It took a few seasons but Grey’s Anatomy finally came around. They were basically like “Well, Meredith and Christina both have well-established middle parts, and Izzie is dealing with bangs right now, so we can’t… oooh what about CALLIE!?”


And she was all “wait guys, I’m with George” and they were all “nah, you get cheated on by everyone, that’s YOUR THING,” which explains her (now wife) Arizona “Miss B. Haven” Robbins, who is pictured here, crying/sweating in her side part, either because she lost a leg, she lost her wife, or she lost her dignity, IDK.


It was cool that Glee kicked off with gay people, I mean, they kicked off with the one gay boy who made jokes about shoes and Madonna (isn’t that what THEY DO?!?!) and then later they were like “We really need a gay GAL. What’s SANTANA up to?? Put her with the funny one.”

Side part

Then… well, I don’t really know what happened but I know for a fact that Demi Lovato somehow ended up on the show. This HAD to have happened because a psychic was like “Dear Mr. Glee, Demi Lovato is going to marry Dannielle Owens-Reid, can you help her practice being gay??” So, they parted her hair to the side and gave her a guitar.


American Horror Story also started with gay boys and in season two they were like ‘eff this, we’re going to center the ENTIRE SHOW AROUND A LESBIAN… Who looks good with a side part?’



Ugh, remember when you/me/everyonewithabrain got sucked into Orange is the New Black? I realize there are multiple smaller lead roles in that show, but the lead — the lady-lover that the show centers around? Piper?



She seems real bummed out about it, too. She must have caught on.

Now for the shows I know nothing about and had to research.

Mistresses FIRST OF ALL, I remember the previews from this show because they came on during Dancing With The Stars and included my all time favorite slow-jam “Come N Get It” via Selena Gomez. What I DO NOT RECALL is Shannan Sauce-a-man (honestly how do you spell her name, I can’t right now) (Ed note: Shannyn Sossamon) making out with a blonde girl. I should have paid attention though, because as pictured here:


Blondie is rockin’ a side part, that could have given it away.



Yall, that is a Shay Sauce collarbone… and side part.

Another show I don’t watch, but probably should because of the ridiculously attractive side part lesbo; THE GOOD WIFE. What’s this show even about? I refused to watch it because they used to film in my neighborhood and their stupid trailers would take up all the parking spots.


Also, check out the flustered girl with the zig-zag part. They just slept together, right?

Hailing from my favorite city in the world, Chicago Fire plops a tiny blonde in front of us and says “something here isn’t right, oh I know” and then parts her hair to the side, so that we ALL UNDERSTAND.


Sometimes, I am grateful to network execs for knowing what I need in order to “get it.”

Oh, and there’s someone named “Gail Peck” on some show… I forgot, sorry, but I googled her and found what can only be defined as an ad in SHORT HAIR MAGAZINE for “the modern day side part”


I literally can see NOTHING ELSE IN THIS PHOTO BESIDES THE SIDE PART. Well, that AND the fact that she looks exactly like my ex-gf which is making everyone uncomfortable, so let’s move on!

You fools have heard of Orphan Black? I’ve heard the name, but I always assume it’s some sort of mix between Orphan Annie and Orange is the New Black, which seems like a weird show, but from what I hear it’s really good and there are lady gays, like this one:



So, there you have it folks. EVERY LESBIAN ON TV HAS A SIDE PART. I’m sure a good 97% of you are mad at me because I wrote an essay about lesbians on TV and didn’t include Alex Vause. Since she doesn’t have a side part and isn’t exactly a full-on lead, I’ll give you her worst mistake:


That is Donald Trump’s hair style.

IN CONCLUSION, television is afraid of lesbians. I realize I didn’t get there within the rest of the essay, but it’s pretty clear that lesbians are only allowed to be in prime time if they have long hair with a side part. If they are rocking a middle part they must wear one of the following hats:

Side part1

Don’t worry, these three are on their way to a Bruno Mars concert.

Side part2

Also, Honorable Mention:


I look forward to the day when I can watch any television show on any network and say “hey, that person looks like me.” I don’t feel like I’m asking for much. Just a lady lovin’ lady who has short hair, doesn’t wear dresses, and maybe likes shopping in the boy’s section. Hell, I’ll let you keep the side part.


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Dannielle holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Performance, and spent three years in Chicago studying improv and sketch comedy (that’s where the funny comes from). During that time she was also teaching drama to kids ages 8 – 18. Dannielle is the creator of Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber, was the runner-up to be the first ever MTVTJ (twitter jockey), ran social media for Virgin Mobile on the Lady Gaga Monster Ball Tour, and starred as Justin Bieber in Not Another Celebrity Movie. She believes herself to be a “stellar problem solver,” has the ability to see both sides of the situation #libra, and gets her dance moves from her dad.

Dannielle has written 12 articles for us.


  1. This is hysterical.

    Also, for those of us lady-lovin’ ladies who have long hair and wear dresses, don’t shop in the boys’ section and, yes, often have side parts? I echo your interest in seeing the polar opposite portrayed on screen like EVER because shouldn’t I get to look at ladies I find hot, too, dammit? This is an equal rights issue, obviously.

    Can we crowd-fund something?

    • What really needs to happen is Ellen Page needs to get a tv show (I know she has long hair, but she doesn’t wear a lot of dresses and she def shops in the boys sections) so she can be on my tv screen weekly.

    • Yes, please! I feel like all the baby queermos out there who don’t yet know they’re attracted to MOC women are missing out because there are virtually NONE (or none at all?) on TV. I want to see this happen.

      Fuck it, I’m gonna do it.

      • Exactly, Erin! I seriously attribute a massive chunk of the insane amount of time it took me to figure it out for myself to the lack of MOC visibility in pop culture. I could concentrate really hard and I still didn’t tingle for Angelina Jolie (for instance), so I thought I couldn’t really be gay. But Rachel Maddow? Oh, I’m gay all right.

        It’s very frustrating that almost all lesbians on TV or in film are generally uber-femmes (and paired with other femmes).

        (Obviously not just for the selfish reasons of me gettin’ some eye candy, but also so the MOC young’uns can see themselves represented.)

      • !!!!!!!!

        Honestly, this is half the reason I loved Blue Is The Warmest Color so much. I’m pretty sure that on at least one occasion throughout the week that followed I spent half an hour in tears drunkenly wailing about how “IF ONLY LEA SEYDOUX’S CHARACTER IN THIS MOVIE HAD EXISTED WHEN I WAS FOURTEEN MY ADOLESCENCE WOULD HAVE GONE SO DIFFERENTLY”

  2. On orphan black the gay one has dreds ( Cosima) The one with a side part is Sarah Manning and she is straight. That we know of.

    • I think that the point wasn’t to worry too much about their individual sexualities as mush as to point out that queer female characters are a token and somewhat interchangable thing to Hollywood suits. lol

      • Then why use the term “lesbian” in the title and such? (Actually, I know the answer to that. SEO. Stupid, stupid SEO.)

        • Technically the article says all lesbians on tv have side parts. It did not say all of its examples are lesbians.

        • Yeah, I’ve seen the SEO excuse a few times and find it unsatisfying. I get that the site has to make money and totally respect that – keep the title the same if you must. But then at least note at the top of the article that some of the women featured identify as bi/pan/queer/etc. It would take the author about 10 seconds to add and would help non-monosexual readers feel respected and recognized.

        • I am also non-monosexual and I agree with Chandra below about interpreting that headline as in line with the post tone overall. The article is presenting a theory that isn’t actually true, so why would the components of said theory be true? This article is inaccurate lots, like having the wrong clone from Orphan Black. I just read it as a humor piece, maybe part h might be relevant though.

  3. I know this was supposed to be tongue & cheek, but it hurts my heart to see lesbian used interchangeably with bisexual or queer in spaces like Autostraddle, which I want to be better than that.

    Can you imagine the FUROR that would descend if this article, or any other, used bisexual as the catch-all identity to refer to lesbian-identified folks? Yes? Are you picturing it? There would be furor. Then why is the reverse of this OK?

    • I (as a person who doesn’t identify as monosexual) took it as part of the joke, since the whole post is about making fun of inaccurate generalizations. But I can see how others might have a different interpretation.

    • Exactly. It’s like when straight friends refer to me as a lesbian and when I remind them I’m actually bisexual, they say “oh same thing, you know what I mean!”
      Autostraddle should know better – regardless of whether the article is supposed to be humourous – than to contribute to bisexual erasure like this.
      Bisexuals are not lesbians. Lesbians are not bisexuals. The terms are not interchangeable. Don’t mis-label us.

    • Oh my gosh I know that you posted this four years ago but it sums up all of my feelings about this! How hard is it to use the term queer women instead of lesbians, Autostraddle? Stop erasing my bisexual faves and start acknologing our existence.

  4. Since we all know that asymmetry is an important clue to lesbianism, the side-part is clearly mainstream media’s watered-down version of it.

    Side-part sidenote: I was thoroughly confused for the first half of this post until I realized you were talking about hair, and not making a heavily-researched and annotated argument for the hypothesis that all lesbian characters on TV play non-central roles even if they appear to be main characters (and I was super curious to know how that worked in the L Word).

  5. This IS hilarious, and generous of you to crack the code and then break the silence here. We’re in the know, now.

  6. Quite honestly everyone throwing a fit about bisexuals being posted is grossing me out right now. Do you know how ostracized many of us already feel from the lesbian community? Thank you. I’m acutely aware that I’m not a REAL lesbian because I’ve been reminded several times by women who sleep exclusively with other women. I know you’re so much more legitimate than me. I’m sorry some nasty, dirty bisexual TV characters have infiltrated this cute and trivial thread about gay hair that most of us can relate to.

    PS: I know we are speaking about TV characters, but it’s highly applicable to real life: you are NOT invited to stick labels on anyone. On that note, gee, I wonder why so many of us avoid the b word like the plague.

    • They’re not pointing it out to say that the bisexuals shouldn’t be included, they are saying that including them as “lesbians on tv” is bi-erasure and that we should respect their queerness by labeling them as they identify.

    • I don’t think people are upset that Bisexual women are included. They are upset that the author didn’t label them bisexual. I think they feel it erases bi identity when you don’t say a bisexual woman is bi or something like that.

      • You guys are right. The weather is giving me migraines, which is putting me in a really crazy, angry mood. In my defense, I wrote this in the throes of one. Sorry for the unrelated tangent

        I guess more generally I’m just bothered by divisiveness. It’s really unfortunate that our society needs to put everyone in strict categories (ie male and female, as we all know). This is why I routinely use the word “queer” to describe myself

    • I don’t think anyone complaining had a problem with bisexual characters being featured, but about the erasure of bisexual identity in posts like this. I am bi and I find it really frustrating when gay or lesbian is used as an umbrella term.

    • I don’t think people are saying “they’re not allowed in the lesbian club” but rather “those characters don’t all identify as lesbians.”

  7. I think the rarer thing is actually being able to pull off a middle part. The only person I can think of is Millie from Freaks&Geeks.

  8. I’m getting feelings about the side part because while my part is in the middle now I WENT THROUGH A PHASE WITH THE SIDE PART. And my wife does it ALL THE TIME *whispers* she used to date guys when we were in college!! That should’ve been a sign. WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG.

    And here’s Tara Chambler on Walking Dead =)


  9. SIDE PARTING OF THE RED SEA (could be applicable to long-haired redheads)

    Also Gail Peck *longing sigh* is amazing on Rookie Blue. Love that show.

  10. My girlfriend (who is bi) and I (who am gay) both have our hair parted to the side, BUT SHE CHANGES HER PART PERIODICALLY. I THINK THIS THEORY MIGHT BE ONTO SOMETHING.

  11. Probably the funniest article… Thank you for my weekly laugh!

    I am officially starting to side-eye side parts!

  12. I feel like my life has changed…for the better. I had never realized this side part business. Now I see it in all of the hot ladies that love ladies and sometimes men if they are bi. Now I have to go watch General Hospital and hope that the lesbian goddesses have Dr. Britt Westbourne have a side part.

    Is this an American thing? If I watch Coronation Street will Sophie, Maddie and Jenna have side parts? I really gotta check this out now.

    • Sophie and Maddie do, even Sian had a side part. Sophie’s always rocking that sexy “The wind parted my hair” look.

  13. Definitely agree with the points that have been made about bi erasure and the title of the article. I also originally thought the article was going to talk about the fact that a lot of queer women characters on tv have side parts, as in secondary roles on tv shows.

  14. Ok, either you just ruined my life forever or this has now become a fun game of “Spot the Side Part”. They don’t even need to be lead roles for it to apply, it’s like any queer chick character has a side part. I made a list of characters that are now off air (I didn’t have anything to do tonight).

    Tea Marvelli – Skins.ca
    Jules and Valerie – Betrayal(When they first meet they both have, them it’s like a mating ritual or something)
    Gia Mannetti – 90210 (Looking through pictures so many of the lead girls had them, don’t confuse me)
    Spencer and Ashley – South of Nowhere
    Alex Kelly and even Marissa – The OC
    Katie Singer – Once and Again
    Emily and Naomi – Skins
    Degrassi – (Who the hell knows because my eyes started to hurt)

    It seems to be more common after 2006, before that it’s very sporadic.

  15. Emily Fields’ been living dangerously and rocking a middle part again lately.
    Also Officer Gail Peck / Charlotte Sullivan from Rookie Blue (The Canadian Cop Show) is apparently going to be rocking a shorter, choppier alternative lifestyle haircut next season.

  16. I started wearing a side part right around the first time I ever said I was gay out loud (well actually I said I was bi but obvs no), so maybe 12. Before that I had a straight middle part like the Native American with conservative parents I am (I legit looked like Thomas from Smoke Signals birth-12). Never turned back and I think I look stupid in a middle part, just like I think it’s stupid that I ever though I liked the male race even a little bit.
    Coincidence? I THINK NOT.

  17. Then again I’m always surprised when I meet someone who DOESN’T have a side part, just like I’m surprised when I meet someone who isn’t at least a little bit gaymo.

  18. I have a side part, so does my lesbro with her mohawk…and her girlfriend, and the girl who I thought was straight (but is bi and into me I later found out)…has a side part. It’s like lesbianception.

  19. The older I get, the gayer I get, and the deeper my part has gotten. I don’t know how I didn’t notice the connection before!

  20. this is genius!
    Also I snort-laughed at the Bruno Marsness and cried a tear of joy about the honourable mention of Spencer’s tweedy rasta hat <3

  21. I need to make that pic of Spencer from PLL my new background bc I laugh out loud every time I see it.

  22. EPIPHANY: holy sh!tballs y’all!! We have to make this a thing IRL so we can tell who all the bi/lez femmes are!!

    I’ve side parting for eons and this whole article just validated me lmao!

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