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Negative stereotypes are often associated with [[homophobia]], [[lesbophobia]], [[biphobia]], or [[transphobia]].<ref name=carlton>{{cite web|url=http://www.carleton.ca/equity/sexual_orientation/face.htm |title=The Face of Homophobia/Heterosexism |accessdate=2007-04-07 |work=[[Carlton University]] Equity Services |archiveurl = http://web.archive.org/web/20070927191039/http://www.carleton.ca/equity/sexual_orientation/face.htm <!-- Bot retrieved archive --> |archivedate = 2007-09-27}}</ref> Positive stereotypes, or [[counterstereotype]]s, also exist, but may still be hurtful or harmful.<ref name=nachbar>{{Cite book|title=Popular Culture: An Introductory Text |last=Nachbar |first=Jack |coauthors=Kevin Lause |url=http://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=BEkB2J-Wb4sC&oi=fnd&pg=PA238&dq=countertype&ots=kPeHivNHZJ&sig=cHGC_rJ6MEELo4nlWYntYeKcVnc#v=snippet&q=countertype&f=false |page=238 |year=1992 |publisher=Bowling Green University Popular Press |isbn=0-87972-572-9}}</ref><ref>{{cite news|title= Gay Images: TV's Mixed Signals|work= The New York Times|date=1991-05-19|url= http://www.nytimes.com/1991/05/19/arts/gay-images-tv-s-mixed-signals.html?pagewanted=3|accessdate=2010-10-25}}</ref>
 
Negative stereotypes are often associated with [[homophobia]], [[lesbophobia]], [[biphobia]], or [[transphobia]].<ref name=carlton>{{cite web|url=http://www.carleton.ca/equity/sexual_orientation/face.htm |title=The Face of Homophobia/Heterosexism |accessdate=2007-04-07 |work=[[Carlton University]] Equity Services |archiveurl = http://web.archive.org/web/20070927191039/http://www.carleton.ca/equity/sexual_orientation/face.htm <!-- Bot retrieved archive --> |archivedate = 2007-09-27}}</ref> Positive stereotypes, or [[counterstereotype]]s, also exist, but may still be hurtful or harmful.<ref name=nachbar>{{Cite book|title=Popular Culture: An Introductory Text |last=Nachbar |first=Jack |coauthors=Kevin Lause |url=http://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=BEkB2J-Wb4sC&oi=fnd&pg=PA238&dq=countertype&ots=kPeHivNHZJ&sig=cHGC_rJ6MEELo4nlWYntYeKcVnc#v=snippet&q=countertype&f=false |page=238 |year=1992 |publisher=Bowling Green University Popular Press |isbn=0-87972-572-9}}</ref><ref>{{cite news|title= Gay Images: TV's Mixed Signals|work= The New York Times|date=1991-05-19|url= http://www.nytimes.com/1991/05/19/arts/gay-images-tv-s-mixed-signals.html?pagewanted=3|accessdate=2010-10-25}}</ref>
   
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==Lesbians==Relationships Among Contemporary Lesbians'', [[University of Massachusetts Press]]. ISBN 0-87023-875-2, p. 4–7.</ref> In 1989, an [[Cohort (educational group)|academic cohort]] called the Lesbian History Group wrote:
==Lesbians==
 
 
''[[Lesbian]]'' is a term widely used in the English language to describe a female with sexual and/or romantic attraction toward other females.<ref name="oed">"Lesbian", [http://dictionary.oed.com/ Oxford English Dictionary], Second Edition, 1989. Retrieved on January 7, 2009.</ref> The word may be used as a [[noun]], to refer to a woman who identifies herself, or is characterized by others, as having the primary [[Variable and attribute (research)|attribute]] of female [[homosexuality]]; or as an [[adjective]], to characterize an object or activity related to or associated with lesbianism.<ref>Zimmerman, Bonnie, ed (2003). ''Lesbian Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia'', Garland Publishers. ISBN 0-203-48788-5, p. 453.</ref>
 
 
Typically, lesbians are thought to be "[[butch and femme|butch]]", dressing in a more [[Masculinity|masculine]] manner than other women. "[[dyke (slang)|Dykes]]" (a [[pejorative]] term that the LGBT community has [[reappropriation|reclaimed]], to an extent) are considered members of a community that is perceived as being composed of strong and outspoken [[advocacy|advocates]] in wider society.<ref>{{Cite doi | 10.2307/455819 }}</ref> Actress [[Portia de Rossi]] has been credited for significantly countering the general societal misconception of how lesbians look and function when, in 2005, she divulged her sexual orientation in intimate interviews with ''[[Details (magazine)|Details]]'' and ''[[The Advocate]]'' which generated further discussion on the concept of the "[[lipstick lesbian]]" ("[[butch and femme|femme]]" women who tend to be "hyper-[[feminine]]").
 
 
Many stereotypes of female homosexuality are seen through filters that [[androcentrism|men generally control]], including the content of any [[history of lesbianism|lesbian history]] that has been relayed over time, the writers often being male.<ref>{{cite book |last=Norton |first=Rictor |year=1997 |title=The Myth of the Modern Homosexual: Queer History and the Search for Cultural Unity |publisher=Cassell |ISBN=0-304-33892-3}}</ref> Consequently, the varied meanings of the term ''lesbian'', some of which have been introduced by male sources since the early 20th century, have prompted some historians to revisit historic same-sex relationships between women - that is, relationships that were formed prior to the popular usage of the term, whereby ''lesbian'' is defined primarily by erotic [[disposition|proclivities]].
 
 
[[lesbian feminism|Lesbian feminists]] assert that a sexual component is unnecessary for a woman to declare herself a lesbian if her primary and closest relationships are with women, on the basis that, when considering past relationships within an appropriate historic context, there were times when love and sex were separate and unrelated notions.<ref>Rothblum, Esther, Brehoney, Kathleen, eds. (1993). ''Boston Marriages: Romantic But Asexual Relationships Among Contemporary Lesbians'', [[University of Massachusetts Press]]. ISBN 0-87023-875-2, p. 4–7.</ref> In 1989, an [[Cohort (educational group)|academic cohort]] called the Lesbian History Group wrote:
 
 
{{quote|"Because of society's reluctance to admit that lesbians exist, a high degree of certainty is expected before historians or biographers are allowed to use the label. Evidence that would suffice in any other situation is inadequate here... A woman who never married, who lived with another woman, whose friends were mostly women, or who moved in known lesbian or mixed gay circles, may well have been a lesbian. ... But this sort of evidence is not 'proof'. What our critics want is incontrovertible evidence of sexual activity between women. This is almost impossible to find."<ref>Norton, Rictor (1997). ''The Myth of the Modern Homosexual: Queer History and the Search for Cultural Unity'', Cassell. ISBN 0-304-33892-3, p. 184.</ref>}}
 
{{quote|"Because of society's reluctance to admit that lesbians exist, a high degree of certainty is expected before historians or biographers are allowed to use the label. Evidence that would suffice in any other situation is inadequate here... A woman who never married, who lived with another woman, whose friends were mostly women, or who moved in known lesbian or mixed gay circles, may well have been a lesbian. ... But this sort of evidence is not 'proof'. What our critics want is incontrovertible evidence of sexual activity between women. This is almost impossible to find."<ref>Norton, Rictor (1997). ''The Myth of the Modern Homosexual: Queer History and the Search for Cultural Unity'', Cassell. ISBN 0-304-33892-3, p. 184.</ref>}}
   

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