Reading the L Word: Outing Contemporary Television


Kim Akass and Janet McCabe


Book, Hard Copy




Ib Tauris




"The L Word" captured international attention when it first appeared on American screens in January 2004. The groundbreaking primetime drama from Showtime is about a group of lesbian and bisexual friends living and loving in Los Angeles, and challenges traditional notions of relationships, queer life styles, gender identities, race and ethnicity and sex and sexuality. "Reading the L Word" is the first book about this television phenomenon. With an introduction by Sarah Warn, the founder of premier lesbian entertainment website,, and a foreword by Eve Kosofsky

Important Notes

Contents: Sex and the clittie / Diane Anderson-Minshall --
The L word under-whelms the UK? / Paula Graham --
Interview with Guinevere Turner (November 2004) / Sarah Warn --
New queer cable? The L word, the small screen and the bigger picture / Michele Aaron --
The (in)visible lesbian: anxieties of representation in The L word / Susan J. Wolfe and Lee Ann Roripaugh --
How does a lesbian look? Stendhal's syndrome and The L word / Dana Heller --
Lipstick leviathans: demonologies of the lesbian body in The L word / Mark W. Bundy --
Heteronormativity and The L word: from a politics of representation to a politics of norms / Samuel A. Chambers --
Straight-up sex in The L word / Lorna Wheeler and Lara Raven Wheeler --
The chart / Kim Ficera --
"L" is for "long term": compulsory monogamy on The L word / Merri Lisa Johnson --
Why is The L word sexy? / Kathy Belge --
What is a straight girl to do? Ivan's serenade, Kit's dilemma / Janet McCabe and Kim Akass --
Is she man enough? female masculinities on The L word / Candace Moore and Kristen Schilt --
Interview with Katherine Moennig (March 2003) / Sarah Warn --
The other "L" word: representing a Latina identity / Shauna Swartz --
The glamour factor and the Fiji effect / Jennifer Vanasco --
Radical acts: biracial visibility and The L word / Sarah Warn --
Hot stuff: music as a language of lesbian culture / Zoë Gemelli --
Interview with Erin Daniels (January 2004) / Sarah Warn.


The L Word, Television Criticism, Television studies, lesbian studies