Vote in AfterEllen’s Hot 100 & Increase Gender Diversity in Lesbian Pop Culture

AfterEllen.com has opened up voting for its annual Hot 100 list, which is largely a response to the “top hot list” time of year, and to give “lesbian/bi women a way to express what, or who, we find attractive, since our voice is largely missing from mainstream, heterocentric pop culture.”

A noble goal, to be sure, especially since AfterEllen’s major realm is in fact mainstream pop culture. To add voice to what queer women find sexy is a great place to start.

Last year’s list (has it been a year already?), though, is part of what got my boxers in a twist and why I put together Top Hot Butches, which is a list of 100 genderqueer, androgynous, and butch folks. The AfterEllen list has so far been extremely feminine, white, under 40, and straight. Last year, AfterEllen launched some supplemental lists, which were: women of color, women over 40, and out women.

But still, no gender diversity.

Though there are a few notable folks (Katherine Moenig, Rachel Maddow, Tegan & Sara, arguably), the majority of the list is still completely feminine.

And coming from someone who works in gender diversity, and who interacts with many, many queer women, many of whom, I know for a fact, are specifically oriented toward masculinity in their sexuality and partnering, I think that is missing a huge segment of the queer world.

So head on over and nominate some of your favorite butches for that list, willya? Need some inspiration? Browse through the Top Hot Butches, see who catches your eye. Who knows, they might not make it onto the final cut. But at least it’ll be an increase in votes from last year, and maybe next year they’ll finally do a genderqueer supplemental list, at the very least.

Aaaaaaand insert the nice segue here:

Speaking of encouraging more gender diversity in the mainstream pop culture, especially dyke culture:

I wrote a piece for AfterEllen recently, called Sugarbutch Says: Butches on Television, about the gender representation on television in the recent past. I was aiming for it to be current, but I just had to include some L Word folks in there.

Clipped from: www.afterellen.com by clp.ly


I didn’t include Tasha, played by Rose Rollins, from The L Word, though perhaps I should have. I was focusing on the actors (or TV personalities, in the case of Rachel Maddow & Ellen Degeneres), not necessarily the character, and it’s pretty rare for a butch character to be played by a straight woman, though I suppose it’s been done (Chloe Sevigny in If These Walls Could Talk II, or Hilary Swank as trans man Brandon Teena).

I also didn’t include Sue Sylvester and/or Jane Lynch. She’s out, right? And she’s butch-ish—at least, she’s not feminine. I’m still enjoying Glee, despite it’s occasional insanity and bad writing, and she really makes the show. Sue, her character, is not out, though, and again, I was kind of focused on queer butches who were somewhat explicitly queer and fairly masculine in appearance.

But there is more to explore here—I guess it’s time for a follow-up article already!

If this piece goes over well, I may be writing more for AfterEllen, and I already have some notes about butches in films and butches as characters in novels.

So, do you like the article over there? Comment and let them know, will ya, so I can keep going, trying desperately to inject some gender diversity into lesbian pop culture?

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queers" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and they are the current editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica series. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and they live outside Seattle as an uninvited settler on traditional, ancestral, & unceded Snoqualmie land.

8 thoughts on “Vote in AfterEllen’s Hot 100 & Increase Gender Diversity in Lesbian Pop Culture”

  1. Shar says:

    Ummm….In my opinion Jackie Strano should be number one or at least on your list. I know we were off the radar raising the next generation of freaks but c'mon now. The Hail Marys her old band served up butch hotness for 9 years. Her songs have saved baby queers from suicide not to mention been on excellent soundtracks. She's super hot, super genderfreak walking the streets in her skin, and the best fuck ever. not to mention a gentleman and hilarious.

    1. Sinclair says:

      Totally agree—she should be on that list. It's because we had a fairly strict policy about those on the final list being in the public eye *now*.

      Of course, this year, she's been out & about much more again, especially as COO of GV. If/when I do an update, she's the first one to be added!

  2. Holy balls, you just reminded me of Chloe in If These Walls Could Talk II! YUMSAUCE.

    1. Sinclair says:

      hahahah I so love that you just said 'yumsauce.' and 'holy balls.'

  3. Eli Deep says:

    I don't want to come off as overkill, since I already mentioned Tasha from The L Word, but, upon further reflection, I feel like there were some serious omissions in your original AfterEllen post, including but not limited to:

    Jackie Warner from Work Out on Bravo; Jen, Josie, and Lisa from different seasons of Top Chef on Bravo; Wanda Sykes from The New Adventures of Old Christine, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The Wanda Sykes Show; Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Loser; Ev, Rachel, Coral, Ayanna from the Real World/Road Rules challenges, Ivan from The L Word, Selma from Big Love, Isabel from Weeds, a couple of contestants on America's Next Top Model, etc. I've limited myself to people who have been on television recently, but when opening up to the last 5-10 years, and especially when broadening the frame of butch just slightly, I'm able to think of easily 30 more women on TV who are outside the typical frame of feminine presentation. Obviously I wish there was more representation of butches on TV, but I feel like your list was nowhere near complete. I don't mean to always offer criticism, but I find it really frustrating that your post included only 6 people (some of which you questioned their butchness) when there are so many other out butch women on television. As I stated, I wish there was more representation of butches, but I think we should at least accurately represent the representation that we do have.

  4. Texas girl says:

    TASHA IS BUTCH. In what world is she NOT? She's 100000 times more butch than Shane, and Rose Rollins did a GREAT job with her character.

    Also, your list was basically all white. What about Davonee on Gimme Sugar? Jenny Shimizu on Make Me a Supermodel?

    And if you're looking for a real life hot butch (who also a self-made millionaire), look up Vanessa Selbst.

  5. Benjamin_Beks says:

    I have to admit, when I saw your name on the byline, I kinda got weired out at the meshing of my interests (afterellen + you = a match made in heaven?) but to be honest, I'm really glad you posted that article. Being both a burgeoning genderqueer and possible performer, my main ambition has been to bring alternative gender expressions to the forefront. 90% of the time, if there's a true butch character on television, they're used for comedic purposes. And it's never funny. So yeah, there's some work to be done. I may be under 20, but I do remember life before the L-word or anything like that, and it was just as irritating and everyone remembers…

  6. LC says:

    Favourite TV butch – SD Holman on some canadian TV series called 'Madison'. It was on TV in the UK in 1996-ish, when I was 16 and getting a very shy teenage butch to fingerfuck me in her evangelical youth worker's house. I wish this existed on DVD – it was the first time i'd seen any proper butch represented on TV and it made me feel that being attracted to a butch girl was normal

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