Scroll To Top
Women

'Real L Word' and Kardashian to Blame for Undermining Marriage: OpEd

'Real L Word' and Kardashian to Blame for Undermining Marriage: OpEd

Following Kim Kardashian’s announcement a few weeks ago that she and her husband of 72 days had filed for divorce, The Real L Word season one cast members Nikki Weiss and Jill Goldstein, who married in a ceremony in Malibu in 2010 that is not recognized under California or federal law, penned an open letter to Kardashian regarding honoring the right to marry. Below is a response to Nikki and Jill from a lesbian couple, Sara and Meg, who take issue with the portrayal of lesbians in the media including on shows like The Real L Word.

Following Kim Kardashian’s announcement a few weeks ago that she and her husband of 72 days had filed for divorce, The Real L Word season one cast members Nikki Weiss and Jill Goldstein, who married in a ceremony in Malibu in 2010 that is not recognized under California or federal law, penned an open letter to Kardashian regarding honoring the right to marry.

Below is a response to Nikki and Jill from a lesbian couple, Sara and Meg, who take issue with the portrayal of lesbians in the media including on shows like The Real L Word.

Dear Nikki and Jill,

Like you, we support marriage equality and have felt the effects of being denied what you, many others and we believe is our basic civil right. While we were able to legally marry in Washington, D.C. and have our marriage recognized in the state of Maryland, as a lesbian couple we are denied the numerous federal protections offered to heterosexual couples.  We appreciate and applaud your letter to Kim Kardashian (maybe you should have sent one to Britney too). Marriage is something that is often taken for granted—what other social institution is pushed on bulletin boards, by the clergy, and espoused as “saving” the family unit? Marriage, and the idea of marriage, is so ingrained in our society that whether or not someone really wants to get married they are somehow forced--maybe persuaded is a better word--into the institution because it’s the “right” (or hip) thing to do. And like it or not, people get married for approval, respect, money -- a wide variety of reasons that have do nothing to do with serving the sanctity of the institution.

Unfortunately, stereotypes of gays and lesbians exist that serve to undermine marriage rights for all people -- namely the portrayal of gay and lesbians on television.  For instance, TheReal L Word, which brings lesbians to mainstream America, serves to reinforce the notion that “gay” people are sexually deviant and unstable. Even though Season 1 and Season 2 had two serious monogamous couples—you and Kacy and Cori—the majority of the show was focused on lesbians who were promiscuous, unstable hipsters, who liked to party or cause drama. While this makes for good television, it does nothing to help further gay rights, promote marriage equality, or provide a more informed view of lesbians and their lives. We understand that the right to marry and the portrayal of “real” lesbians on television are different issues, but social media serves a valuable role in educating the public, rallying support, and influencing the political and social debate.

While you rightfully admonish Kim, you say nothing about how shows like the Real L Word (or other reality television shows for that matter) perpetuate negative stereotypes about gays and lesbians and serve to limit the acceptance of gay marriage nationwide. While some may claim that the Real L Word is “art,” it is nothing more than “a catalyst to further [its] brand recognition” for its executive producers.  Given your position—as businesswomen, celebrities, a “power couple”—and your stance on gay marriage, we would expect for you to formally (verbally, in print, etc) recognize and address this issue, especially since you were showcased on a reality show that claimed to depict “real lesbians.” While the Real L Word allowed you to promote your issues, it has not in the least helped to address and confront those stereotypes that are used to deny marriage equality to gay and lesbian couples. Because you have come out so strongly in opposition to Kim (and rightly so), we believe that you should use the same passion to combat the social media that serves to perpetuate and undermine equality for gays and lesbians. It would speak loudly.

Sincerely,

Sara and Meg

Follow SheWired on Twitter!

Follow SheWired on Facebook!

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Related Stories

author avatar

Shewired Editors