Since the Sapphic days of Ancient Greece, lesbian culture has moved beyond poetics and into politics: from the Stonewall uprising of the late 1960s and the Lesbian Avenger movement of the 1990s, to a present day revolution via the continual development of queer spaces where women who love women are free to nurture their identities, and one another. Despite this progression, lesbians are frequently underrepresented in the mainstream media, and while gay men now receive a lot of deservedly positive coverage, it can seem as though queer women are oft nudged to one side. As a small gesture towards a remedy for this predicament, we hail three Instagram accounts celebrating lesbianism that are an unequivocal must-follow.
“There’s gay camp and straight camp… Then there’s butchcamp!” proclaims the tagline of namesake Instagram account @butchcamp, an incredible subversion of the plethora of blogs chronicling camp as a solely male phenomenon. The androgynous references are ingenius: there’s drag king Kristen Scott Thomas, 1990s images of K.D. Lang and the work of pioneering artist – one of the first to undermine prescribed gender roles – Claude Cahun. There are also subtle allusions to the notion of butchness; Katharine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine and Glenda Jackson as King Lear, are favourite instances. Expect to discover some artfully written hashtags, too: for example, #hautebutch, #herherness and #xenaandqueertheory (referring to Xena: Warrior Princess).
A ground-breaking moment for the mainstream representation of lesbian culture on an international scale, The L Word recounted the lives of a group of queer women – albeit mostly white and middle class – inhabiting West Hollywood. @artofthelword makes a broader critique on the art world itself, examining how it makes its way onto television and into queer spaces, all in the most tongue-in-cheek way imaginable. Screenshots captioned with dialogue ranging from “he went to Florence and saw the Caravaggio” and “large screen video installations” to more conceptual musings such as “trying to impose their ignorance on the sheeplike masses” will seriously make you laugh.
The term dike – or dyke – was once used as a solely derogatory expression for a butch woman; but has since been reclaimed as a term that implies assertiveness and strength (this makes a lot more sense considering the word possibly originated from Boudicca, the Celtic queen who organised a revolt against the power structure of the Roman Empire). The Instagram account @babydikes juxtaposes the cuteness of childhood photos with the resilience of lesbian women; emphasising the relationship between gender identity and performativity, and also playfully using the notion of a family photograph to remark upon the closeness of the lesbian and queer community.