Real L World Succeeds in Showing Nuances of Lesbian Life

Written by NY Press on . Posted in Sex & Relationships.


By Magdalena Burnham

Before I watched the season premiere of The Real L Word, a reality show following a group of Los Angeles-based lesbians, I was lucky enough to meet two of the stars, the unbelievably gorgeous Lauren and Amanda. They were enthusiastic as they discussed the new season. “Both coasts colliding is really the best part,” Lauren said. “There’s definitely an interaction between every different person in the cast and there’s a way that each of our stories actually naturally ties to each other,” added Amanda.

It was interesting to hear how magnanimous their reasons for auditioning for the show were. They both talked about wanting to help normalize the lesbian community in the eyes of viewers. “The show was something that I wanted to do to get involved with the community and show a very femme/not femme point of view. I see myself as femme but not exactly your typical femme,” Lauren explained. “For me, it was trying to show my story, get involved in the community and do something fun.”

Lauren and Amanda both emphasized how much fun doing the show was, but acknowledged that there are challenges. “When you have somebody waking you up every morning and putting you to bed every night for months, there’s no way to hide anything,” Amanda explained. “If it can go back and normalize [the community] and create equality, then I don’t give a f—k.”

With the promise of a fun show about a group of friends who really care about each other that also represents the lesbian community in an interesting and diverse way, I was sold and ready to dive into the season premiere.

The show didn’t disappoint. All the bubbliness and affection and charisma of the cast translates well to the screen. And there really is a nice variety of relationships on display. We see single girls, a couple in an open relationship, newlyweds, a couple that is soon-to-be-engaged, friends with benefits and a married couple expecting their first child.

The character I’m most interested in is Romi, who is now in a relationship with a man. She explains that being gay has never been a big deal to her, but now that she’s involved with her boyfriend Jay when all of her friends are lesbians, everyone she works with is a lesbian and she’s on The Real L Word, she understands what coming out is like. What’s nice about this portrayal is that it’s so different from the cliché way scripted shows always portray lesbians who decide to be with men. While the nauseating, insulting TV trope is to show lesbians helplessly overcome with some primal desire to be with a man, here Romi is very much an in control adult making a decision about who she wants to be with. I’ve seen many TV shows where a lesbian decides to be with a man and this is the first time this story has been told in a way I found relatable. This is just one example of how The Real L Word feels more genuine and complex than your average reality TV show.

Overall, the show is seriously sexy, relatable, entertaining and funny. While the girls in the cast are, of course, more beautiful and glamorous than your average girl off the street, there’s still a nice variety of types and lifestyles that reflects a fair amount of diversity within the community.

The Real L Word airs Thursdays at 10 on Showtime.

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