We live together, love each other and sleep together, but we definitely aren’t lesbians
The GOLDEN GIRLS (1985-1992). because the golden girls are women who live together, love each other and sleep together (well just that one time) in S7E15 they are featured on a talkshow about lesbians by mistake. oops! because unfortunately, “golden girls” was as much about men and PIV-centric sex as it was about anything else (and it pains me to say it, as i love them so!)
blanche was supposed to be the “slut” but the gruesome serial dating of all the “girls” and constant onslaught of PIV-references throughout the show made it brutally clear that this wasnt a show about spinsters or lesbians, it was a show about
sexually PIV-active straight women who live together, love each other, and sleep together (but only when the heater goes out).
the series ended when dorothy got married and went to live with her new husband, leaving the girls and her mother behind. (they spun-off into the awful and short-lived “the golden palace”.) and this never seemed strange to me before, but damn does that seem strange to me now, and i frankly dont buy it: why the HELL would any woman who was getting on in years, who
had so many failed relationships was so educated in the subject of men and their universally dastardly ways, who had agreed to be an insurance policy for the others including her 2 best friends and her own mother if any of them ever got sick or needed help…choose to be with another fucking man, in the end? i wouldnt. no fucking way. the entire thing is bizarre and wrong, and i dont buy it.
of course, the “sexuality” of the women on the golden girls was completely PIV-centric, and the discussions of “sex” (as a euphemism for PIV) are endless, including one episode where rose reveals that she had been having “sex” with her husband for several years before she “knew what made your eyes roll back in your head.” and who could forget the episode where the girls are going on a cruise with their gentleman friends and they decide to pack condoms just in case?
goal is to “land a man”. yes. male-pleasing behavior, including grooming and dress; competing and vying for male attention, including the girls repeatedly trying to date the same man; sophia and dorothy both marry men, although sophia (dorothys mother) decides that she would rather just be “friends with benefits” and he moves back to new york and she stays in miami the the girls. in the series finale we see dorothy leaving the girls behind to go with her new husband. upon landing her man, dorothy apparently doesnt want to take care of sophia anymore (or doesnt insist on it) and sophia stays behind and goes with blanche and rose to start a hotel in “the golden palace.” even though they had all made a pact years before to always take care of each other, no matter what, this promise apparently cannot be relied on, no matter how sincerely it was meant at the time (ie. its not a “commitment.”)
normalizing reproductive stress and pain. yes. dorothy had an unwanted pregnancy as a teenager and was forced to marry stan; blanche’s daughter has in vitro fertility treatments; one of the girls neices has an unwanted pregnancy and her father kicks her out of the house. the girls buy condoms for a weekend cruise and are humiliated by the clerk.
pathologizing menstruation. [none that i can recall?]
pathologizing older women and menopause/fetishizing female youth. yes. the show is called the golden GIRLS, and they constantly refer to each other as girls, and are referred to by others as girls. dorothy says she feels old, and that “50 seems young to me now.” sophia says “you’re only as old as you feel” which isnt exactly true is it? as if theres a way to stave off aging? sheesh.
normalizing simulated/exaggerated female pleasure from PIV and PIV-centric sex. yes. blanche is crazy for PIV and reports having “urges” that could only be satisfied through PIV from a very young age. there is never any discussion of vaginal atrophy, loss of vaginal lubrication, or any of the vaginal changes associated with aging that can affect womens ability to have PIV; this is assumed not to have occurred, even for sophia who is well into her 80s.
rape and rape culture. yes. restrictive female clothing including high heels (and high-heeled mules with stockings–hello! broken ankle alert) sophia reports that her late husband used to “have sex” with her when she was asleep. blanche frames “rape” in terms of consent only when she refers to her own sexual escapades as being “consensual” and contrasts this with rose’s experience of being assaulted while under anesthesia at the dentist. rose is unsure what happened to her was wrong, and wonders if she imagined the whole thing. one of blanches boyfriends is verbally abusive to her and she has to placate him; the same man grabs and hurts dorothy when she confronts him.
heres the “condom skit,” as well as the final scene of the series finale, and then the first part of the pilot for “the golden palace”: