Chapstick lesbian

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A chapstick lesbian is a sub-group within lesbianism that Ellen DeGeneres popularised in 1997 in her show Ellen.[1] It was originally constructed as response to the phrase "lipstick lesbian" that emerged in 1990, which refers to a femme lesbian who emphasises their female identity through their self-presentation.[2] The slang term "chapstick lesbian" identifies a category on the femme-butch lesbian continuum, where the female homosexual has a gender identity bias towards femme lesbianism, although does not identify or fit the criteria of being a lipstick lesbian. The word is frequently used as an alternative to the term "soft-butch" lesbian or androgynous.[3] The key attributes recognisable of a chapstick lesbian is that they have a casual dress-code and lack of desire to wear make-up.[3] Next to this, they are also viewed as being athletic in nature and have a notable interest in sport.[4]

Moreover, the term has been adopted by scholars in academic papers and books as it identifies a sub-group of lesbianism which further aids in the exploration of sexual fluidity.[5] For instance, academics have written about "chapstick lesbian" as a form of secondary identity within Queer culture.[6]


  1. ^ Altman, Dennis (2013-08-01). The End of the Homosexual? (in Arabic). Univ. of Queensland Press. ISBN 9780702251665. 
  2. ^ Nair, Roshan das; Butler, Catherine (2012-03-14). Intersectionality, Sexuality and Psychological Therapies: Working with Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Diversity. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781119967439. 
  3. ^ a b Sex and Society. Marshall Cavendish. 2010-01-01. ISBN 9780761479079. 
  4. ^ Dalzell, Tom; Victor, Terry (2014-11-27). The Concise New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. Routledge. ISBN 9781317625117. 
  5. ^ Smorag, Pascale (2008-07-28). "From Closet Talk to PC Terminology : Gay Speech and the Politics of Visibility". Transatlantica. Revue d'études américaines. American Studies Journal (in French) (1). ISSN 1765-2766. 
  6. ^ Galupo, M. Paz; Mitchell, Renae C.; Davis, Kyle S. (2015-12-01). "Sexual minority self-identification: Multiple identities and complexity". Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. 2 (4): 355–364. doi:10.1037/sgd0000131. ISSN 2329-0390.