Emulate or Date – Queer Girl Conundrums

If you’re attracted to the opposite sex, the matter of style icons is relatively simple – there are celebrities you want to emulate, and you admire them because they have qualities you want. Sexual attraction doesn’t really come into it, apart from your icon’s ability to attract the gender you want to attract.

But if you’re same-sex attracted, sometimes celebrities that you consider style icons also give you funny feelings in your tummy. Which can be, honestly, pretty confusing. I’m not talking about the Cosmo style “girl crush” here, where you admire women in a platonic way. There’s very little that’s platonic about my feelings for say, Monica Belluci. It’s possible for me to both want to emulate a woman, and well…want them in equal measure.

So let’s take a look at my top three Queer Girl Conundrums, and why I both want to be AND date them all. (What can I say, I’m greedy)

Gillian Anderson


Back in the way back times, when I was watching The X-Files as a wee baby teen, the focus of my attention was admittedly David “Delicious” Duchovny. But re-watching it over the years, Mulder began to become less attractive and more annoying. Every time he talked over Scully I got increasingly annoyed, until I realised something totally unexpected as a former Mulder fangirl – I would have preferred the show if it was just about Scully. Gillian Anderson’s razor sharp suits, her delightful eye rolls, and her plush lips had completely turned me against my former favourite.

Style-wise, I’ve been trying to look as confident and competent in a pantsuit as Gillian Anderson does most of my professional life. She wore a crisp white linen shirt in a way I’ve never been able to pull off, and while aspects of Agent Scully’s style are a little dated now, I still aspire to one day look that perfectly put together.


Tilda Swinton


Oh Tilda. How to describe your ethereal and strange yet magnetic allure? Tilda is…well, Tilda. I’m frankly baffled there are movies in which they didn’t get Tilda to play the elf character, because she is honestly the embodiment of elfin to me. There’s something about her long limbs and translucent skin that makes me weak at the knees. Honestly, I watched the appalling movie adaptation of the Hellblazer comic, Constantine, JUST because Tilda Swinton was in it. And it was worth it.


Her style is just as ineffable and strange as her face, but that’s what I love about it. While I’d never wear half the things she wears out in public, I desperately admire the courage it takes to be so completely disinterested in trends or even what’s particularly flattering to her form. She just wears what she feels, and I think that’s fantastic.

Hayley Atwell


There’s something wonderfully accessible about Hayley Atwell, and not just because she’s utterly adorable on Twitter. She looks like the most beautiful girl you’ve ever met in real life, if you know what I mean, and I find that accessibility just CRIPPLING in terms of my blooming crush. Her hourglass figure, stunning grin, and vintage style make her my absolutely ideal girlfriend.

If you’re at all interested in vintage fashion and you’re not watching Atwell’s current show Marvel’s Agent Carter, you NEED to get on that. Practically every scene adds another item to my already exploding imaginary wish wardrobe.

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Do beautiful women give you funny feelings in the tummy? How do you untangle whether you want to emulate them, date them, or both?


Image Credits

First Gillian Anderson image courtesy of Blastr.com

Second Gillian Anderson image courtesy of Fanpop.com

Tilda Swinton collage courtesy of Pinterest.com

Tilda Swinton media image courtesy of NohWay

Hayley Atwell media image of FlicksAndBits.com

_ _ _ _ _

The author of Reluctant Femme, Cassie is a queer thirty-something Australian who thinks too much, reads too much, and has way too many pretty things. Her writing revolves around exploring concepts of femme and femininity, feminism, and just how much glitter you really can fit into a polish before it’s unusable. You can catch up with her in shorter bursts on Twitter , look at pictures of her favourite pretty things on her Tumblr, and browse her handmade accessories at her Etsy store

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17 Responses to “Emulate or Date – Queer Girl Conundrums”

  1. Tara Shaw

    Sally, at the top it lists you as the author (instead of Cassie as noted at the bottom). I thought you were sharing a new side of yourself for a minute! 😉

    • crtfly

      That’s what confused me too. Although I am straight, I have, on occasion, found myself physically attracted to particular women.


  2. Chris Bulin

    Ach, Gillian Anderson! X-Files started when I was a teenager also and Scully was one of the first women I was attracted to on TV. It was very startling for me to realize how attracted I was to her at the time. I still love her and thought she looked amazing in her Netflix show The Fall and more recently in Hannibal. I want her tailor because I have never been able to get a button-down shirt to fit over my bosom the way she manages it /sigh

  3. jan.4987

    This is also a gender nonbinary issue, and I’ve never known quite how to untangle the two desires! I do feel a difference between them sometimes, but often I just shrug my shoulders and think “it’s probably both”. I tend to be attracted to people from my own subculture anyway, so I’ll happily steal style ideas from them (not going so far as to wear exactly the same though; I’d feel that was weird…).

    It’s lovely to see this question being covered.

  4. Flume

    I was very confused by this at first, because the author’s name was listed as Sally, rather than the guest poster as normal! But bravo, lovely.

  5. Shawna McComber

    Not quite the funny feeling and I don’t have any interest in dating women or anything else that dating is a euphemism for, but some women I find so physically appealing I just stare at them like they are fine art and it’s not that I want to emulate them because I don’t look remotely like them. Gemma Arterton is like that for me. I have to admit to myself that I am probably looking at altered images, since even in the movies there is a little adjusting going on but if it were only perfection I were admiring then I would be admiring every Hollywood hottie and I’m not. So yes, there is such a thing as female eye candy for me but I would just want to hang her on my wall.

  6. Nona

    This is infantilizing and offensive. The only conundrum to untangle is the one where you realize you can be attracted to, admire and date stylish people (or not) without being confused about it.

    • Thursday

      Is it just the language used that you object to? Because it seems that you’re dismissing Cassie’s own experience of disentangling sexual attraction vs style appreciation. You’re obviously free to dislike the language, but it seems unfair to dismiss her experiences and opinions because they don’t match your own.

    • Sally McGraw

      Hi Nona. Not sure what here could be offensive since Cassie is just musing on her own ideas and experiences. And my interpretation is a little more complex – it’s not just about deciding whether or not to date stylish people, it’s about feeling attracted to people whose personal styles you’d like to adopt as your own. Even if they are celebrities and you won’t be able to date them. In my experience, relatively few people attracted to opposite sex partners feel both things simultaneously.

  7. KryptoBunny

    Tilda Swinton should be in every movie. She’s hypnotic. And she’s so incredible in Constantine, it makes me wish people gave out awards for “best performance in an ill-advised film”. You have really fantastic taste in ladies.

  8. Rebekah Jaunty

    Fun post! Women generally don’t give me pantsfeelings, but I often have crushes on people I’d like to be and can’t always tell my lust from hero-worshipping. Oh, to be Jemaine Clement or Winona Ryder…

  9. crtfly

    Anyone else notice the resemblance between Swinton and David Bowie when he was younger. I’m curious to see how close they would resemble each other if they were wearing the same clothes, makeup, and hairstyle. I had a crush on Bowie for a long time, in large part due to his androgyny.