Lesbian domesticity
Relationships and the home
in Tomboys and bachelor girls
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In characterising lesbian relationships as immature and short-lived, Commutator drew on a familiar post-war theme in medical and popular literature. The dominant discourse of feminine domesticity was, however, framed in overwhelmingly heterosexual terms and the experiences of single women and lesbians were conspicuous by their absence. Representations of lesbians in medical literature and fiction overwhelmingly reinforced notions of lesbians as single, marginal figures, existing on the peripheries of society. Freudian medico-scientific attempts to explain the aetiology of lesbianism in terms of a breakdown in the parent-child relationship were replicated in other literary portrayals of the lesbian as the product of a broken home. In the post-war decades, media representations of lesbianism characterised lesbians as a threat to marital and family life, focusing on divorce cases and murder trials.

Tomboys and bachelor girls

A lesbian history of post-war Britain 1945–71


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