Will Santana’s Lesbian Future Somehow Include Dating Men? (and Other Teevee-Related News)


From E! Spoiler Chat:

YELYAHbosco: There is lots of speculation about Glee‘s Santana and her sexuality, any scoop on her upcoming storyline?

“She’s definitely a lesbian,” Brad Falchuk tells us, forever putting to rest the question of her sexuality. Now that we cleared that up,

Jesus f*cking Christ Almighty. I hope they don’t riot on AfterEllen today.

I think I’m supposed to freak out about this, it’s like our obligation to flip our shit whenever a lesbian does it with a dude, but I can’t. Yes — we hate this trope. Our people, long oppressed by the thwarted lesbians of teevee shows past, hate this trope even more than I hate “dining with people who are eating buffalo wings.”

But this isn’t like that.

Honestly, I don’t personally think that the lesbian-hooks-up-with-dude storyline inherently problematic (as long as the girl goes back to her stated preference at the story’s end!). Stories need conflict, after all!

What’s problematic about any suggestion of this trope, and what riles up some Skins USesque hostility, is how historically this trope has been used to undermine and trivialize our sexuality, pander to a straight male audience, reinforce patriarchal ideas of men being downright irresistible and ideal romantic partners and to placate networks or advertisers by quickly shuffling the lesbian storyline out of sight. Also, it’s been done and with so few gay storylines out there, we expect a lot from each one.

Because the thing is — and I might get axed for saying this — it’s a rich trope, from a writer’s perspective. It’s hard to beat in terms of inherent complexity, although employing it haphazardly is often exactly as lazy as it seems. It was executed well in The Kids Are All Right, where a gender-swap would’ve told a different story altogether — if Jules had cheated on Nic with another woman, the ‘other woman’ would’ve been a formidable threat to Jules and Nic’s relationship. Paul’s gender made Jules’ reasons-for-cheating abundantly clear: she wanted to be wanted by someone — no strings or potential love attached — and men are pretty adept at ravenously wanting sex. She was looking for sex, not love, and a standard Affair would’ve complicated that intent.

So how will this go? We’re cautiously optimistic. In our favor:

1) Glee drops storylines like they’re hot, cannot maintain continuity, it’s unlikely that they’d break tradition here and actually pursue a Santana-runs-to-a-dude storyline past one episode.

2) Everyone flipped about Blaine possibly going bisexual and our fears were unfounded.

3) Santana is definitely a lesbian and acording to the most recent definition of “lesbian,” a lesbian is a person sexually attracted to persons of the same sex. So this means, logically, that were Santana to run into the arms of a dude, it’d probs last about as long as it did for Paige on Pretty Little Liars.

4) Glee‘s done (relatively) well by us so far when it comes to homosexual representation.

5) There’s so much opportunity for humor in Santana getting with a boy after deciding she doesn’t like boys and that humor hinges on a rejection of the heterosexual paradigm.

6) Finn is a lesbian

Other  homosexual Glee info from the E! post:

Q: Anything new on Blaine/Kurt on Glee? Can’t get enough of those two!

A: Neither can we. That’s why we were so psyched when Darren Criss told us that Blaine and Kurt (Chris Colfer) have real staying power. “They’re in the honeymoon stage, and they’ve just recently gotten together, so that’s really new and exciting like any new relationship is,” he says to us. “I think [Blaine] has something really special with Kurt. It’s not just a flash in the pan kind of crush.”


South of Nowhere:

The cast of South of Nowhere has put together a promo to inspire somebody to make a South of Nowhere movie. However someone invited Glen to this reunion, probably because he was on the show, but I don’t see why we have to keep looking at his stupid face. There’s still time to fix the mistake of inventing his character!


Exes & Ohs:

The second season of Michelle Paradise’s “Exes & Ohs” was signed, sealed and delivered to Logo quite some time ago, but Logo never gave it an air date. Now it has one — June 29 at 7:30 pm. We somehow suspect this is an effort to use up their lesbian content so they can safely move forward as if there is no “L” in LGBTQ.


The Today Show:

Jessie J appeared on The Today Show today and it was awesome.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3178 articles for us.


  1. Having just stated that she likes everything from girls and boys to mannequins and shrubs, I think it would be more profoundly out of character and less realistic if Santana didn’t spend days/months/a lifetime working herself out.

    I really don’t get all these hardcore shippers and the people that shout irately when blokes/tragedy/any blips at all adulterate their pristine fantasies of TV lesbian storylines. Do they even understand drama? Character progression? Payoffs?

    If fuss-free, perfect love was compelling TV then the Nikki+Jill Plan Their Wedding Show would be the most-watched thing ever. I seriously believe some people don’t want to be entertained.

    Glad that Exes & Ohs is fiiiinally coming back though – I think I would nominate it as the least-sucky lesbian TV programme ever.

  2. About Santana: Put all worries to rest, (SPOILER ALERT) it’s been revealed the dude is Karofsky. Who is also very much a gay. (END SPOILER)

    • Has it been revealed? I thought it was just rumour. Many shits were flipped on Tumblr concerning them but I thought it was because some people seem to think that Santana and Karofsky are extremely similar and would work well in a friendship storyline.

    • ive heard the same thing – which makes complete sense. santana and karofsky promming it up is nothing to worry about – it might even be a good thing for them to hang out a little, especially now that San’s finally opened up about what she wants. maybe she’ll teach K a lesson, and maybe – just maybe – karofsky will distract artie enough at prom for another telling b/s moment.

    • Fiona definitely dated Riley on Degrassi before either of them came out and now both of them are 100% gay so.

  3. Right now it’s pretty passive-aggressive over at AfterEllen, but with bit of subtle trolling and a lot of heart, I do believe that we could ignite a full-blown Brittana riot. Anyone with me?

    • I don’t think they need the help, really. It’ll get there eventually, since the word “bisexual” can hardly ever be mentioned there without people blowing to bits TYPING LOUDLY that bisexuals don’t exist etc.

      • oh so true there is a lot of biphobia on that site, made things really difficult for me when i was realising i’m not straight!

      • Are you kidding? AE is the home of ~sexual fluidity~, I’m pretty sure there are only five lesbians posting there. Since MTV bought out AE, all the articles have been pandering to the bicurious/bisexual crowd.

        • Well, maybe things have changed since I was last there, but the rampant biphobia there was one of the major reasons I stopped reading. I’m curious to know though, what do you mean by “pandering to the bisexual crowd”?

        • The articles weren’t the problem, it was the posts in the forum which often made pretty upsetting and confusing reading for someone whos sexuality was on shaky ground. The biphobia and general disbelief of bisexuality displayed there had large part to play in mhy I didn’t accept my bisexuality for about a year after realising I was attracted to women as well. It was just incredibly disheartening.

          • i think reading AE became exhausting to a lot of us. not only is it written by a slightly older crowd, but it felt like ppl in the comments were just getting way too snarky – whether it be about non-gay content or even just grammar (there isnt a day that goes by without someone cranky complaining about a post / picture of a hot – but straight – actress, regardless of how many baby dykes might fantasize about her).

            but then again, that’s nothing exclusive to lesbians or bisexuals or even AE – anyone remember how inconsiderate / cruel some comments were on the calendar girl posts? or some of the backlash when Sebastian first posted here? I get that the world is heteronormative, and a lot of us crave a place that is exclusively ours. but we dont get to make the rules – if you want a whole site that’s black and white and no gray, go make one yourself.

            A/S is great bc it’s so inclusive. i dont always agree with some of the posts, but i appreciate that the team is writing from their perspectives – just like the way i dont always agree with my friends and their opinions. moreover, i cant tell you how happy it makes me to see straight girls and guys commenting on the site – if visibility in tv / movies / music is so important, it’s even more so on the internet.

            i think ive lost my train of thought here, but i really just wanted to say that while AE is a great site (heck, i met my gf through it), A/S has emerged as a much stronger and more relevant site. I dont think either site panders to more to bisexuals than lesbians, but i do think that the content and writing of A/S is much more gen Y friendly, and tends to foster more positive commentary.

            that being said, there really wasnt much backlash this morning on AE about Santana and her mystery man. in fact, it was nice to see the few ppl who did comment express their interest in seeing where the story was going and acknowledge that S dating a guy wouldnt be that crazy in terms of the whole coming out experience. but anyway – at the end of the day, we know it’s karofsky – so really we’ll most likely just get some fantastically snarky in-the-closet puns about bearded twins. =)

          • apologies – i really wasnt trying to AE-bash. it’s the first site i read every day, and i love the morning brew / afternoon delight posts and they cover some great stuff. i was just commenting that for me, personally, a lot of the commentary has become frustrating to read. it’s not the posts themselves but the negative tone of many reader’s comments (and yes, i see the irony here). and i dont think it’s negative of me to say that it is written for a larger demographic – i just think most A/S writers happen to be around my age, and i like that it comes through in their writing. that’s all. now off to check out the morning brew!

  4. You’re in too much of a huff and a puff over this one Riese. She apparently hooks up with Karofsky as either a means to blackmail him or beard with him at prom.

    Based on other spoilers connected with this, the consensus is that it’s blackmail….

    • nah, not in a “huff and a puff”! just trying to start an interesting conversation, which seems to have worked.

  5. This whole lesbian sleeping with dudes is nothing new and really shouldn’t bother us at all. Who the hell cares? When you are trying to figure out your sexuality in high school (AND BEYOND FOR ME!!) and looking for sexual attention and can’t seem to satisfy that part of you, it happens. Especially if you don’t necessary read gay to the women around you. I believe in Santana and her stereotypical -for- a-reason story of sluttiness. I think they are doing it perfectly.

    • I agree. I married guys….twice..two different ones before I realized I was gay. I think this plays well into a teenager trying to find themselves and figure out who they are! I like it and will be hoping it is played out as well as it could be!!

    • Agreed. Santana’s storyline makes sense. If people are upset by it then they need to get over it. More women in the queer world have gone through Santana’s journey than many would like to recognize. And plus Santana is bearding with K. And K is GAY. And another plus, Santana dating guys has always and will be always be hilarious. She manages to sex them and emasculate them in a fell swoop. It’s entertaining. People should lighten up.

      • I agree I think it’s gonna be really funny, like when Tea laughed after having sex with Tony but better this time. I hope the date involves sining and dancing.

  6. First of all, I NEED BRITANNA!!!!!!! Now that i’ve calmed down, I LOVED SOUTH OF NOWHERE (I still miss that show). That cleared a few things up for me when I was younger (granted that it was like 4-5 years ago, but I like late middle-early high school age. Did I mention that I still read South of Nowhere fanfiction (though my gf teases me severely for my devotion). Also, cant wait for Exes & Ohs to come back. That show was hilarious.

    Nonetheless, GAY TV!!!!!!!!!!! I’m excited ^_^

  7. I’m wondering if it’s just a matter of semantics… I mean, like someone already mentioned, there was a huge backlash to Blaine kissing Rachel and considering bisexuality (that makes it sound like a sexuality menu). So…maybe they’re calling her a lesbian to appease the gay-crowd but not cutting off her options of both sexes.

    Plus, it’s already been demonstrated that Santana will have sex with pretty much anyone, so why should that change because she’s in love with a girl? If she didn’t have emotional attachment with sex before, why start now…? I dunno, I fully expect Santana to continue mackin’ on everyone as part of her process of figuring out what the hell her sexuality means to her.

    p.s. Riese, Santana’s already deflowered that lesbian [re: Finn]

  8. Does anyone else hate the term “bisexual”? It sounds like a science project. Plus it’s not the sex someone finds attractive. That’s what the magic bullet is for. It’s the connection.

    I’m to the point where I’d rather identify as me, myself, and I, but if you had to classify me “queer” or “not straight” sits better for me than “bisexual”. Eh.

    • Oh, I so hate the term. I’d prefer lesbian or Sapphic for myself , but that excludes liking boys. Although my boyfriend calls me a lesbian… It’s just a word, which is what I meant with Glee’s semantic choice not necessarily being reflected of “reality”.

    • I COMPLETELY agree. I think the term also has some connotations (which is sad) that I like to stay clear of, like promiscuity or an inability to control your attractions.

      I’m in a long-term relationship with a woman right now but I don’t identify myself as a lesbian because I’m still attracted to men and I don’t want to invalidate the feelings I’ve had for men in the past. BUT I don’t really identify myself as “bisexual” either because I think sometimes it just gives off the wrong vibes. So I usually just go with “gay” or “in a relationship with a woman”.

      Also, I think someone can consider herself a lesbian and still have flings with guys. Isn’t that what Alice did on The L Word? It’s not really semantically correct but if that’s how a person identifies, I’d say let them.

      • Alice used bisexual to identify herself in the beginning, then once Lisa disappeared, she pretty much was only a bisexual to “stand out” from the rest of the girls. But yeah, the whole basketball episode kind of drives the whole “Lesbian: inclusive or exclusive identity?” argument with Tina and Jenny. (I choose Tina’s side)

  9. Why has no one mentioned the Jessie J video yet?! I saw her on saturday night and basically haven’t shut up about it since

    PS She was AMAZING

    • Agreed! She seems so awesome and a really fun performer. Whenever she tours in the US, I will definitely be there in a heartbeat.

      • I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone have so much fun on stage. It is rather infectious.

        Also, I’ve had this song in my head for months, nice to know who sings it :)

        • Agreed. She’s like Brittany Spears’ opposite: She WANTS to be up there singing and dancing. Love, love, love her to bits.

  10. umm why do u hate the term bisexual.. its not just about the “person” for bisexual people, it means what it says which is “i like both sexes”.. if u wana be asexual or pan go ahead but i like guys and girls, the “person” could entail trans people and im not attracted to that. im sorry u make zero sense. if ur not bi dont call urself bi, and dont knck the people that do..

    btw SON was my fave

    • You’re mad… I stand by what I said. I like chicks. I like dudes. I think bisexual/heterosexual/homosexual all sound like science projects. I wasn’t attacking anyone and if a label gets you that worked up that’s just telling of other issues you harbor.

      Go on with your bi self! …meanie.gosh.

      • And for the record I’m not trans or pan or gender neutral and there’s nothing wrong if you are. …I’m your average urban chica obsessed with clothes and boots and heels who thinks Rihanna and Adam Brody are equally hott. and wait 3 minutes have passed and bisexual still sounds sciencey. :P

      • I just don’t like the fact that it inherently implies equal attraction which is noooooooot the case.

  11. Riese, I can think a lot of words for the most despised and beaten to death trope involving lesbians in television and movies but I must say “exquisite” is not one that comes to mind. At this point it is pretty much expected, unless one’s name is Emily Fields, that any major lesbian character will be riding a man. What is missed in protestations by some, as they argue that it happens in real life, is that it is not a matter of it being something that does happen. It is a matter that on television and film that it is the overwhelming norm that lesbians must want a dick in them. At this point, the trope needs to be given a break for quite awhile. Even in The Kids Are All Right, it comes across as tired and a sign of both pandering to straight audiences and a lack of creativity in the writing.

    We are also coming off the recent debacle of Skins US which showed the profound ignorance of a writer of this tired trope in the US and that people don’t appreciate being lied to in the selling of a show. Of course Skins was tempting fate as it’s English version had already embraced the trope with Emily and JJ. That Skins US was the nadir of just how worn down and frankly exploitative the trope was means that certain viewers will be on pins and needles and that should be respected.

    That said, there is a difference here other than we have not seen the Glee storyline play out. Santana is not an out lesbian. She is currently someone coming to terms with her sexuality. She is not a married to a woman Mom of two kids nor the latest out Skins lesbian who has sex with men because the very lazy writers seem to think all lesbians want to try out sex with men. She is a person who is afraid of what people think. She is scared of her feelings and emotions. Even more so, this spoiler’s wording may not capture the full flavor of what happens. Santana is already in a relationship with Sam, a guy. So her entering a relationship with another guy, based on other spoilers out there, may have a lot more to do with typical Santana machinations. We really should wait to see.

    So I don’t think Santana’s storyline, at this point, is part of the trope – that out lesbians will always want to have sex with men. I think Santana’s storyline will be about a great deal more. I think we should wait to see. Now if Santana and Brittany end up together, Santana comes out to all, and then Santana hooks up with a guy – yes I can totally understand a reaction similar to that of the Skins US debacle. Even then I hope no one insults a certain writer at AfterEllen.com. Such crassness is unbecoming even if, as with me, there were criticisms of the soft hitting interviews.

    • THIS!
      We know that Santana is a lesbian but at this point Santana hasn’t figured that out yet, so I don’t really think her storyline qualifies as just another trope where the lesbians date men. If and when she comes out, declares herself a lesbian, and then dates a man then I can see people, including myself being outraged by it.

      That being said, SPOILER ALERT!
      By putting together various spoilers, the “dude” Santana goes running to is Karofsky who is also capital G gay. I doubt they will be sexing it up together.

    • Santana IS NOT Emily. Emily is a lesbian. Santana is in LOVE with Brittany. That’s actually all we know about her to this point. She’s a girl with a sexually virile history with boys who’s in love with and does sex with her best friend. Lol. I feel like if we take Santana for exactly what she’s shown us we won’t have to worry about her betraying who people think she should be. Plus I defend her because she’s so much like me. And for some reason everything she does makes sense to me. I don’t think every ‘not straight chick’ is a full out lesbian for life and will only ever like girls. Or I don’t think every ‘lesbian’ realized what she preferred so plainly as Emily from PLL. Maybe Santana isn’t the voice of that particular lesbian. Maybe she’s the voice and TV representation for all girls with experiences like hers. I feel like if people give this storyline time, they’ll be surprised (pleasantly) with the outcome.

      • James, no one compared Emily on Pretty Little Liars to Santana on Glee. I discussed both but it was in relation to the trope and not to each other. I stated Emily was an exception to the trope that the out lesbian decides to have sex with a guy. As for Santana, I argued that she does not fit the trope because she is not an out lesbian but someone still coming to terms with her sexuality.

        That said, it does look like Santana is a lesbian according to Brad. This means one bisexual woman, Brittany, and one lesbian, Santana, on Glee. Not bad.

  12. A little off topic but I was in high school the first time I saw Chasing Amy and I loved it. I was crazy about a straight girl. Holden McNeil was crazy about a gay girl. I think I sort of identified with him.

    • Ooo earlier I was going to ask if I was the only one who liked it. :) I’ve heard/seen several people knock it lately and was wondering if I was missing something.

      • i liked it at the time but i think the story it told was ultimately more damaging then beneficial. it really annoys me, it gives guys the idea that they can seduce lesbians and it’s not true.

  13. I just had a realisation! I AM SANTANA! like seriously did they base her on me or something?

    And in my/Santanas amazingly confusing brain it makes perfect sense to do stuff you hate with with guys after being rejected by your same sex best friend who you’re in love with. I’m not worried about this. I’m pretty sure whatever happens everyone will still know that she’s a lesbian including Santana herself.

  14. AfterEllen already reported that same guy said she was definitely a lesbian like weeks ago. Honestly, I love this website, but I don’t understand the random shitting on AfterEllen. Seems kind of unnecessary and unprofessional. I think a lot of people read both websites, even if they prefer one to the other. (I prefer AS.) Maybe one day we can have the reason for this rivalry explained (even though I’ve never seen AE say anything bad about AS).

    • magiclovemuffin — there is no AE bashing in this article, it’s playful and funny! I feel like you’re projecting something onto the joke that’s not there.

  15. For me what’s more annoying and frustrating than the generic “lesbian has sex with guy” storylines themselves is the fact that OPENLY GAY writers/directors/producers have been behind some of these recent storylines, first Lisa Cholodenko and now Glee’s Ryan Murphy et al., and less recently Ilene Chaiken. I mean what kind of message does this send out to people when even those in our community are using TV shows and films as platforms to perpetuate negative stereotypes about us? I just think it’s unfortunate that they feel the need to exploit lesbian sexuality for ratings, I’d expect this kind of thing from straight people but not LGBT individuals who should be more sensitive when dealing with LGBT issues.

    I guess I shouldn’t have been so naive to think that gay people would be exempt from having misogynistic attitudes and exploiting the community who have been instrumental in getting them where they are today by supporting their projects.

    Oh and lastly, Riese, with all due respect, I wouldn’t expect you to “flip out” every time one of these storylines happens because it isn’t anywhere near as offensive to you, a bisexual woman, as it is to me, a lesbian, perhaps that’s why you can’t understand why it’s so offensive to us as you can only see it from your perspective and not a lesbian’s perspective?

    I mean it’s the same thing when negative stereotypes about bisexuals are perpetuated in the media e.g. bisexuals are confused and can’t make up their mind about what they want, bisexuals are promiscuous etc. You would be more frustrated about these than me because although most of us have the power of empathy it of course feels more personal when a minority you are part of is being attacked.

    • if various conceptions about my sexuality have tarnished my ability to truly empathize with “lesbians” or really understand lesbian misrepresentation in the media then i should just shut down this entire website.

  16. Also, as someone who thought it was fucking bullshit when Tea slept with Tony on Skins, why on earth would it bother anyone if Santana slept with a dude? Who thinks it’s a big deal?

    Santana has been extremely ambivalent about her little realization. And her behavior towards it has been defiant, in that she thinks she can control the situation and push the whole issue away. Santana is very clearly presented to us as someone struggling with accepting a new sexuality identity after having slept with a ton of dudes. It’s unreasonable to think she magically is going to turn off her Niagara Falls flow of sexual aggression and stop fucking dudes. This Santana situation is so different than US Skins Tea, or Skins UK Emily or that lesbian on Nip/Tuck or all the other examples that angered lesbians that I can’t even see how a comparison can be made. I think assuming lesbians automatically riot when lesbian characters go near a dude is missing the point entirely. (Plus, it’s GLEE. Is anything realistic on that show? Do characters even have the same personality from week to week? The show is a big gimmick.) I don’t understand the point of this piece, to be honest.

    • I agree. Tea was presented and even advertised early as a confident out lesbian but pretty much a whole season was devoted to her being hung up on a guy…and a dullard at that. Skins US was obvious in that the character was designed for massive exploitation – get lesbian viewers watching by promising an out lesbian character while simultaneously aiming for preteen girls who want the girl to crush on the cutest boy. Skins US revelled in the out lesbian really wants to have sex with a man trope and the softserve interview at AE with the head writer was nauseating in it’s flattery and refusal to call the writer on his nauseating plotline and comments. The AE interviewer even agreed with the writer that a lesbian sleeping with a man trope was revolutionary and then acted as if it was not important to see that plotline in the context of lesbian representation. It was a betrayal of the smart, hard hitting explorations of lesbian representation that Sarah Warn did.

      I don’t see a correlation with Santana’s character because Santana comes across as a very different person, one we rarely see on television – the low self esteem closeted lesbian high schooler who treats men as possessions to demonstrate how desired she is but has no real interest in them beyond that. Santana is very much struggling and anything but a confident out lesbian.

    • the point of this article was to talk about the issue and WHY it’s different. to say the things you said. to have a conversation. but honestly at this point with the direction many of these comments have taken, i wish i’d never written it at all.

  17. OK I didn’t even see this line: “Because the thing is — and I might get axed for saying this — it’s a truly exquisite trope.” Well, that’s just retarded. I think you are poignant and insightful a lot, but not here Riese. If the most interesting thing a writer can do with a lesbian character is have her sleep with a man, maybe said writer needs to find a new job.

    • I have to admit I am seriously hoping Riese just used the wrong word. I mean really, really hoping she did because the usage of “exquisite” for the ultimate LGBT cliche of the out lesbian getting banged by a man is as odd as it gets. If it is not a case of the wrong word being used to describe what one feels, I guess I missed the delicate beauty of Paul screwing Jules in The Kids Are All Right. Next time I watch that movie with friends, I will have to wait until Jules and Paul are having sex and state “This is so exquisite.”

    • As a writer who spent a whole fuckton of time in fiction workshops in college, I think I know what Riese was trying to get at here.

      Writing fiction requires tension. If you don’t have tension, followed by some kind of resolution (even implied), stories stall and readers put down the book/stop watching the movie/stop reading the website/whatever.

      Looking at the trope solely from the perspective of a writer – in an imaginary world where issues like sexuality and gender aren’t fraught as they are In The Real World – it has a hell of a lot of potential for tension/resolution. Internal conflict! External conflict! Longing! Not to mention potential for hot sexytimes. Lots of stuff to hook in a theoretical audience (again, assuming that we’re in this magical imaginary world that doesn’t sound like a terrible place to live).

      Now, does that excuse the fact that it shows up everyfuckingwhere in popular culture? Um, shit no. I completely agree with you all there. But again, to a writer living in Magical Fantasy Land (where I suspect some of these people actually think they live), there is some compelling stuff in there.

      (Disclaimer: I am also a dirrrrty bisexual and probably stepped in some doo doo up there, so apologies in advance.)

      • Actually… “exquisite” was the word thesaurus.com suggested as a synonym for “rich,” which seemed like it might not read like the kind of “rich” I meant. Then I thought “exquisite” sounds like such a fancy word! I first tried synonyms for “juicy” because that just sounded crass, but no dice.

        Anyhow as Dina says:
        Looking at the trope solely from the perspective of a writer – in an imaginary world where issues like sexuality and gender aren’t fraught as they are In The Real World – it has a hell of a lot of potential for tension/resolution. Internal conflict! External conflict! Longing! Not to mention potential for hot sexytimes. Lots of stuff to hook in a theoretical audience (again, assuming that we’re in this magical imaginary world that doesn’t sound like a terrible place to live).

        Now, does that excuse the fact that it shows up everyfuckingwhere in popular culture? Um, shit no.

        YUP! That’s exactly what I meant, and I think that’s what I said, too.

        What I meant was what Dina said — the trope has a lot of tension and drama in it because you have so much at stake — not just emotions and love and sex but also IDENTITY! it’s also lazy, too, because it’s almost TOO easy, which is how we end up with these cardboard characters like Henry (as in “henry and tina”), because writers think ‘that’s enough drama, character development would REALLY be just working too hard.’

        Anyhoo, G-ddamn you guys! You get a little viscous sometimes.

        • Also I said this: “It’s hard to beat in terms of inherent complexity, although employing it haphazardly is often exactly as lazy as it seems.”

          You have to read all the sentences in the paragraph because taken out of context i must seem so strange

          • I’d watch out on stuff like thesaurus.com. It has gotten me before. I read the rest and that is part of what threw me off. The word “exquisite”, which refers to beauty and delicacy in detail, is just the wrong word imo with what you appear to be aiming for.

            Anyways I saw where you added to that line “it’s a truly exquisite trope, from a writer’s perspective.” I do think if the writer is extremely lazy, lacks in creativity, wants to pander to straight audiences, etc. it is an easier trope for them. Take The Kids Are All Right. Everything in there about Jules feeling unappreciated could have been shown without having any Paul involvement but Cholodenko was either too lazy creatively or just wanted to pander to what she saw as a mainstream audience by centering a lot of the action around the lesbian wanting a man inside her. Meanwhile we got the almost sexless lesbian couple. Yes we are supposed to see that they are having problems but there seriously could not be a sex scene after the two women have reconciled? Oh that is right. Mainstream audiences enjoying the graphic straight sex scenes would have been annoyed.

            Luckily Santana is not an out lesbian so we are not seeing that trope again.


        • ” Then I thought “exquisite” sounds like such a fancy word! I first tried synonyms for “juicy” because that just sounded crass, but no dice.”


          I feel like we think the same.

      • I don’t think something being dramatic is the bar for whether something is an exquisite, entertaining or good storyline. A lot of things can generate conflict. A twin you thought died at birth showing up creates a lot of drama and a cacophony of emotions too. Does that mean it’s a good storyline? No. It’s still a stupid gimmick. And that’s how I feel about lesbian-identified characters suddenly deciding they want to fuck men after a long bout of penisphobia. If tension and conflict is the only goal, lets have someone accidentally give birth to an alien baby and that person’s loved ones disown them. Better yet, lets have that person be a man.

        Also I said this: “It’s hard to beat in terms of inherent complexity, although employing it haphazardly is often exactly as lazy as it seems.” Yes I saw that. I disagree with that also. There’s not much “inherent complexity” when the storyline is used to often that the American public starts to really believe lesbians and turn straight whenever. I’m waiting for a straight man to want a dude suddenly and then still be “straight.” Methinks I’ll be waiting quite a while. But man, that storyline would shock everyone.

        Just saying.

        • “I’’m waiting for a straight man to want a dude suddenly and then still be “straight.”

          wouldn’t that be the equivalent of a straight woman wanting a woman suddenly and then still be straight? because that happens constantly and drives me crazy, like almost every bisexual sweeps article.

          if you’re talking about having a gay man suddenly want a girl and then still be gay, that does happen sometimes in movies/tv, like in Six Feet Under (Keith/David) and The Object of My Affection and also has happened in my actual life.

          look — i’m not saying i want to see this trope employed, i don’t! i’m sick of it, it’s stupid, i roll my eyes, i hate it as much as i hate the girl who goes bi for one episode and then returns to men 4ever. i was similarly outraged to hear about ‘the kids are all right’ but i also understand why that choice was made and unless somebody here is lisa chodenko, although even then we probs wouldn’t get a straight answer, there is no black/white to this issue and there’s no 100% “right” answer here. Just conversation, which honestly could be a little less heated! It’s teevee!

  18. Riese, Riese! I thought you were a Degrassi fan! In other lesbian tv news, Fiona came out as a lesbian during Friday’s episode! I’m surprised that there’s been no chatter about her here. She’s by far one of the most interesting, well-developed characters the Degrassi franchise has ever seen.

    • nina, nina! i don’t have a teevee or cable or friends! so i have no idea what’s happening with Degrassi though randomly yesterday decided to start backtracking to watch the Adam storyline.

  19. Okay, so I agree with the dislike of the lesbian-hooks-up-with-a-dude trope, BUT. In this case, I feel like that’s what makes sense. Santana has yet to reconcile with her own sexuality. Yes, the producers have called her a lesbian, but all Santana has said is, “Don’t label me.”

    Santana has a flippant attitude toward sex, and has been hooking up with guys since the beginning of the series. It would not be at all surprising, or out of character, for her to do that again.

    Idk I have a lot of feeling w/r/t Santana and Glee in general. It’s a thing.

    • Yes! It does make a lot of sense for Santana to be confused about herself, and besides, isn’t this what she’s been doing all along? Running away from her queer identity? This isn’t exactly news guys, she already sleeps with dudes. She slept with Puck. She slept with Finn. She’s probably sleeping with Sam. I would actually find it a bit strange if she DIDN’T go sleep with more dudes to make the gayness go away, but then again, I may have just been so desensitized to the whole “lesbians sleep with dudes” trope that I actually expect it now.

      My main problem with the whole “Santana is a lesbian” thing is not that she sleeps with dudes, it’s that she enjoys sleeping with dudes and is apparently attracted to them. I feel like Glee has treated bisexuality poorly in the past with Blaine’s “bisexuality scare”. Kurt goes off on a tirade about how bisexuals essentially don’t exist and that Blaine’s just kidding himself, and while Blaine does rebuke him for it, he seems to validate Kurt’s argument by the end of the episode with his “realization” that he is 100% into dudes after all.

      If you are attracted to guys, girls, and person-shaped shrubs (am I the only one who found this line silly and not really all that funny?) then you are probably bisexual. I understand that a lesbian can identify as lesbian and still be attracted to guys and maybe even want to date them, and that “lesbian” is a self-imposed label and all that, but it’s just that. It’s self-imposed. Santana has clearly expressed that she isn’t into labels, so the label of “lesbian” is not something she picked herself. So, pretending that she’s an actual person here, if the writers are going to go against the character’s wishes and label her, don’t you think that they should pick something that more accurately describes what she is? Namely, a bisexual? Oh right, I forgot, silly me, in the Glee world bisexuality is not a real thing.

      • Brittany is very clearly a bisexual. She has shown the capacity to be emotionally and sexually attracted to men and women. She currently loves a man and loves a woman. One of the oddest things I’ve seen said (and an argument I find asinine) is somehow Brittany does not count because of her lack of intelligence. What a comical thesis! That somehow if one is not intelligent than their sexuality does not mean anything is ludicrous.

        Now moving on to Santana. I have been watching Glee from the first episode and quite early on, it was noticeable that Santana treats men more as possessions, as objects to prove she is in power, as ways to assert she is a queen bee, etc. One of the interesting reactions, including on Autostraddle, is that after the “Sexy” episode, people went so she is a lesbian. The reason they did not go she is bisexual is because her behavior over the series seems to show little emotional or sexual connection to men (the scene where I went hmmm was the aftermath of her having sex with Finn – a scene that showed sex with men to her as a task and a very unfulfilling one at that). Even more so, the very scenes you use to display that Santana is bisexual don’t actually do that. While they don’t necessarily confirm her as a lesbian, they raise the eyebrows. So let’s take a look at two points you raise.

        A. “My main problem with the whole “Santana is a lesbian” thing is not that she sleeps with dudes, it’s that she enjoys sleeping with dudes and is apparently attracted to them.”

        — It has always been noticeable that Santana treats men more as possessions, as objects to prove she is in power, as ways to assert she is a queen bee, etc. This is one the primary reasons that persons have questioned just how into men Santana really is. She dumped Puck due to a credit rating but then became interested in him again once other women took an interest in him. She slept with Finn as a task. She began going with Sam as a deal. The only time we saw her post-coital with a man was Finn and not only did she look bored, she expressed it’s meaningless to her. The tendency is that Santana expresses interest in men when other women are with the man. She shows territorial behavior but it goes away once the man is not attached. This is behavior that raises red flags of just how into men Santana is or is her behavior guided more by a lack of self-esteem and the need to be seen by others as being wanted. As is found out in “Sexy”, Santana is highly concerned with how she appears to others in terms of sexuality. This raises even more issues. Again in none of this does one get a sense of enjoyment of having sex with men or anything remotely close to love for men. Each relationship is either a task or a public statement. There is only one relationship that is not. That is Santana’s romance with Brittany. That is not done for show. That is not done as a task. It is kept secret and serves no ulterior motives. In other words, Santana, who uses sex and romances, for specific reasons and makes public displays of who she thinks is hot (Ex. Carl and again in a setting where it is known he is with Emma) keeps one quiet and to herself.

        B. “If you are attracted to guys, girls, and person-shaped shrubs (am I the only one who found this line silly and not really all that funny?) then you are probably bisexual.”

        — This is another scene that is actually a red flag that she is a lesbian. Her comment comes as a reaction to being asked if she is a lesbian (it is obvious that Brittany and Santana are either bisexual or lesbian – Holly asks to dig deeper presumably because both young women are in relationships with men – she is setting it up to allow both women to question deeper what they feel and maybe come to terms with who they are). Santana says “Who knows” while looking at Brittany. Then she states she is attracted to men and women, made out with a mannequin, and had a sex dream about a shrub. This is crucial because it sets up Holly’s dead on comment “Anyways it is not about who you are attracted to ultimately but who you fall in love with”. And that is it. That is the lightbulb going off in Santana’s head. She immediately looks at Brittany because she knows that Holly just hit the nerve. Gay men have the ability to find women attractive to look at and lesbians have the ability to find men attractive to look at. Confident straight men can look at Johnny Depp and go he is a handsome guy and plenty of straight women talk about how hot Angelina Jolie is. But it is deeper than that. It is more than about what is aesthetically pleasing (and often gay men and lesbians date the opposite sex in high school because they see finding someone aesthetically pleasing or intriguing personality as indicators they can be satisfied with the person – only to find out later they cannot ultimately be fulfilled). In that moment as Holly makes that comment, Santana is confronted with a reality. Santana realizes what she feels for Brittany is something she does not feel for men. It isn’t just that she finds Brittany attractive. It is that she is in love with Brittany.

        3. “Santana has clearly expressed that she isn’t into labels, so the label of “lesbian” is not something she picked herself. So, pretending that she’s an actual person here, if the writers are going to go against the character’s wishes and label her, don’t you think that they should pick something that more accurately describes what she is?”

        — Again you have a red flag moment that indicates Santana may be a lesbian. What you have to do is look at the state in which Santana says this. It parallels her “I am not in love with you…” denial in Duets. In both cases, she is being confronted by Brittany in terms of feelings and in both cases she is entering denial. She is attempting close off conversation. Why? Because to confront those feelings are too much. She is afraid of them. Brittany knows this and wants them on the table. When they finally do come out – in song – Santana is overtaken. She tears up. She looks emotionally overcome. But she becomes poker face again the moment Rachel makes her comment. Santana closes herself off again and Brittany notices that. Santana’s denial of label is not because she is confident in not applying labels. It is because she is scared of confronting her sexual identity. The scene at the Hurt Locker is when it all comes out. She dismisses boys. She admits she is scared of how she will be seen. She admits she is in love with Brittany.

        Anyways I hope this helped. Again if you are looking for bisexual representation, they have given you Brittany. I really question if the persons who dismiss Brittany being an adequate bisexual for some reason or who want Santana to be bisexual are not just shippers who want Santana to be with certain guys. Otherwise I don’t really understand the dismissal of a real bi character no understand the misreadings on Santana.


    God, my roommate already thinks I’m weird enough and now I’m trying to stifle my laughter over my computer screen and I just don’t think I’m going to redeem any of these cool points.

  21. I don’t have a problem with Glee doing this since, as you should recall, Kurt dated and almost slept with Brittany last season during that episode when he tried to be straight because he was worried he was losing his dad to Finn. I know it’s hard to remember because Kurt went right back to who he was, singing and dancing to “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy, at the end of the episode and that was too awesome to not have it overshadow every other thing that happened. Plus they had Blaine question his sexuality with Rachel earlier this season. So I think Glee has shown that this is a potential storyline for any of their queer characters, male or female. You can’t say the same for Skins.

    There’s also a huge difference between what’s happening with Santana here – dating a guy because she’s in denial about her sexuality – and Tea’s storyline on Skins US. Tea was an out and proud lesbian from the beginning of the show, and we’re expected to believe that an “intellectual chemistry” with one dude causes her suddenly to completely rethink that. Plus, the storyline with her and Tony is given way more build-up and focus than anything she has with Betty or other girls – to the point where it’s no wonder so many straight fans think they’re “really in love.” Santana, however, isn’t out yet and this is clearly a case of her being in denial, and it’s also just one part of her larger coming-out storyline (and SPOILER! apparently Karofsky’s as well). Just as Kurt’s fling with Brittany was for him.

    So I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this is actually one area of Writing For Queer Characters where Bryan Elsley could learn something from Ryan Murphy.

  22. I feel like “exquisite” was maybe a bad choice of words, but I can understand what I think Riese meant…

    As a storytelling trope, I think the lesbian-sleeps-with-a-dude storyline can show a lot about a character and their own internal struggles. I think that 99.999% of the time it’s exploited to make said lesbian sexy to straight guys. But when played straight I think it CAN be used to tell an intricate/complex story that reveals a lot about a character when it’s not being used to prove that dick is the key to the universe and that guys are so sexy that no one can resist, not even the lezzies.

  23. omg finn IS a lesbian. why didn’t I see it before? he clearly plays bottom to rachel berry’s bossy femme top. or are they not together anymore? I can’t keep track, the glee cast was coupling off in different combinations every other week. either way, total lez.

  24. I have a new word I hate thanks to the comments.


    me no likey. It makes sapphic sistas all types of angsty and anxiety ridden and i’m popping a prozac now bitches.

    And I have the capacity to fall all head over heels with both women and men, so perhaps that’s why this trope doesn’t bother me so much. Although it would be nice to explore it. Does a “queer” woman having sex with man mean she has romantic/emotional/intimate/loving feelings for him? Does it mean she just likes sex and sometimes a deep tissue vag massage with a fleshy p**n does the trick? Or is he just a good friend, they got drunk, and haphazardly shared sexytimes together because lezbehonest sex always feels good whether it’s scissoring or being plunged against a wall? Or is she sexing him to prove she’s not really gay and men actually gross her out? The possibilities!

    In Santana’s case it probably means she may like the way it feels, but she’d much rather lay her head on her bff’s bosom. I feel ya S dot Lopez.

    But concerning The Kids Are All Right. Only “lesbians” answer. Are men some type of “other”? I was talking to my gay male friend and he always jokes and gushes “ewww” whenever I even reference heterosexuality or female sexuality. So is that how you view all things related to men? Like “couple wet wipes case a bum try to touch me, EW!”. And I promise I’m not trying to come off as sardonic, these are pressing questions in me head. Because when I watched that movie I thought, okay, they could have gone another route and there would be no need for the Ruffs magic stick, but before I got mad I realized people aren’t that B&W. If you remove the “trope” all she did was have sex with another person (who in this case is a good friend, which is always a gateway to sexy times regardless of gender) because she wanted to be wanted and was vulnerable. If we don’t assume the movie was trying to placate a heteronormative audience (they were) then we can take it for what it was.

    Or is this an argument about “real lesbian” visibility? Because I will tell you Rumor Willis played one in 90210… That’s not much, but it’s something. And there’s Arizona from Grey’s. And Emily from PLL’s. And Willow’s gf from Buffy. And cannabis loving Maya in PLL too. Actually probably the entire cast of PLL.

    • This is a hella basic comparative analysis, but if we equate “straight” to colonial “white” then the 1/8 rule applies.

      If you’re a man and you like men or if you’re a woman and you like women, albeit exclusively or whenever or sometimes or “just for fun”. Then you’re not “straight”. And straight/homo are silly identifiers anyway. That’s just my own view on it. hahaha and I love calling my “bi curious” or “straight” until 7 tequilla shots down friends that. They get so freaked. It’s funny. People will let labels give them aneurysms. People like people and that’s cool.

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