‘I’m feeling some sapphic vibes comin’ off of you.’ | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 19, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1388-3186
  • E-ISSN: 2352-2437



Female roles and sexuality on television have come a long way since the traditional representation of women as homogeneously soft, passive and (sexually) submissive. However, these representations are often still trapped in a rigid, binary framework on gender and sexuality. Representations of LGBTQ1 subjects have also become far more common, although they are still often stereotypical, while transgender people continue to be marginalised on mainstream television. The Netflix series seems to challenge this view by presenting characters who present different ways of being a woman and by showing women in different sexual roles. This paper presents a qualitative content analysis of this drama, exploring in-depth how femininity and female sexuality are represented. Four main characters were selected as the focal point of the analysis. Our analysis indicates that combines more progressive with more conservative elements: on the one hand, femininity is represented as an arbitrary construction and sexuality as fluid, while common stereotypes such as the butch lesbian are used in a self-conscious and humorous way. On the other hand, does have a tendency to employ problematic tropes, as the show’s portrayal of African-American and Hispanic women as more tough and streetwise shows us. On the whole, we argue that does partly depart from mainstream conventions of female representation and therefore has some subversive potential.


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