December 4, 2009

Why is Liz Lemon so Sex-negative?

I love Liz Lemon. Well, I love to laugh at her, and yet, I am disturbed by her. No, not just because she's clearly out of touch with reality and has more irrational and ignorant prejudices than educated, self-identified liberals typically like to think they have. This, in many ways, is what makes her such a brave character. Fey isn't afraid to admit that lots of white liberals still feel self-righteous about giving charity, as we saw in last year's Christmas episode, when Liz Lemon felt she deserved a hero's thank you for helping out a black family that was likely made poor by the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy that privileges Liz Lemon herself and makes her rich enough that she CAN give charity. As much as Liz does a lot of subtly racist and sexist things, what I don't get about her and what I just can't find anything enlightening in is her sex-negativity.

You see, when Liz is being racist, it's illustrated as her ignorance. Liz, while claiming to be an educated liberal who is aware of the world around her, has a lot of ignorant prejudices she just can't shake. That's a powerful social commentary, but why, oh why, does she HAVE to hate sex so much? Because Liz really, really does. She longs for a relationship where you just watch tv with your partner and no one tries any "funny business," she tells comedic condfidante Jack. When handsome men hit on her she often rejects them or doesn't fucking care and ignores their interest. So, the only thing I can come up with that MIGHT be insightful about this character quirk (I don't want to think Fey is writing a character who buys into and reifies stereotypes about women hating sex) is that we're supposed to read Liz Lemon as a repressed lesbian. Think about it, Liz is too ignorant to realize she's racist and classist. She's clearly not too self-reflexive, is she? Perhaps Liz just hates sex with men!

There is some evidence to suggest Liz has lesbian tendencies on the show. For example, when Selma Hayak asks Liz if she wants to see her naked, she replies, "Kind of." She even accidentally goes on a date with a woman one episode and seems to have some romantic chemistry with her. Liz Lemon, closet lesbian? I would LOOOVE that, because then the moral of her sex life wouldn't be buying into myths about women hating sex, but would suggest that women who hate sex are just perhaps too close-minded about what kind of sex they'd like to have and with whom...


Anonymous said...


Remember when Jack set her up with a lesbian reporter or something. Liz clearly enjoyed her time there, but had to admit, that she would never be able to have a "real" relationship with, or, a physical and social/intellectual etc. relationship.

Liz is definitely not gay.

Anonymous said...

I always thought she was supposed to satire the societal stereotype that women hate sex lol

Mike Justice said...

In the end she settled down with James Marsden and stopped complaining about sex. So I think she just didn't like doing it with someone she didn't really, REALLY care about. Liz was probably a Virgo with a Cancer moon or something.