A History of WLW Movies and The Ones We Love

Even as we prep the popcorn and enjoy the WLW movies listed today, it’s important to remember how it took us a while to get here — and why.

Queer women (and queer people in general) have been present in films since the medium was invented over 100 years ago.

A Brief History of WLW Movies

But between then and the 1980s, prejudice and censorship meant that many early WLW movies no longer exist today, and those that did survive had to hide WLW characters and themes in subtext.

By 1934, Hollywood imposed a set of industry guidelines known as the Hays Code, which stayed in effect until 1968.

By the 1960s, support for the Hays Code waned with the rise of the sexual revolution, and the Code was officially lifted in 1968.

It was replaced by the new Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) film rating system. This has received some well-deserved criticism, but it is, not as explicitly homophobic as its predecessor.

Despite the change in self-regulation systems, however, Hollywood still needed a couple of decades to come up with its first film featuring a lesbian happy ending.

Fortunately, much has changed in the years since. Today, we can create a pretty long and ever-growing list of great WLW movies to watch on your next cozy night in.

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