The problem with female on-screen kisses (2024)

Emma Roberts and Kim Kardashian recently made headlines for sharing a passionate onscreen kiss in a recent episode of American Horror Story.

The moment is meant as a shocking power play between the two stars’ characters. Robert’s character wins an Oscar while going into labour, and Kardashian, who plays her publicist, kisses her before she goes up to accept the award.

It joins a long list of on-screen girl-on-girl kisses that are intended to be anything from surprising and sexy to menacing and edgy – but almost never romantic.

While more and more female kisses and even sex scenes have been featured in movies and TV shows over recent years – a phenomenon that’s been haled as a representational victory for the LGBTQ+ community – it’s time we recognize some glaring problems with the way our culture portrays female physical intimacy.

It’s rare that two women kiss on screen in a moment of genuine connection, and even rarer that there isn’t a sense of male fetishization imbued.When movies or TV is made that center romantic and sexual relationships between women, they’re all about sex, without bothering with much character development, romance, or even plot.

Even worse, on screen female kisses are often between straight women and intended for the enjoyment of men or to signal a sort of rebelliousness.

Using Kardashian and Robert’s kiss as an example, their characters are not portrayed as queer or romantically interested in each other, which would be fine had the kiss served some other purpose in the plot. Instead, it seems to exist purely for a moment of shock and titillation within the world of the show.

The moment closely mirrors other famous real-life female kisses, like when Madonna kissed Britney Spears at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, shocking the world and causing a moral panic, or when Sandra Bullock and Scarlett Johansson kissed in 2010 at the MTV Movie Awards.

Neither of these instances can realistically be read as genuine moments of affection but instead as performative attention grabs between straight women meant to cause a stir and indicate a kind of edginess.

This is true of famous fictional examples as well, like the much-discussed kiss between Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried in Jennifer’s Body.

The scene, in which Fox’s character seduces Seyfrieds, is intended as a threat and a moment of possessiveness more than anything tender or emotionally expressive. While it’s an affective moment in the film, it’s certainly not representational of healthy gay intimacy.

Another famous example is the kiss between Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair in the 1999 teen drama Cruel Intentions. Gellar’s character bullies and belittles Blair’s character throughout the film before unexpectedly kissing her in a twisted moment.

The scene won the Best Kiss gong at the MTV Movie Awards in 2000 and was widely discussed at the time of the movie’s release.

Blair later reflected on the scene, saying: ‘I think the reason the kiss has resonated with people so long is not just for the initial shock value but because it was a catalyst for so many young people to help them realise certain aspects of their sexuality and help make people comfortable to be who they really are.’

While Blair likely isn’t wrong that a lot of young people were inspired by the famous moment, one has to wonder what young gay women learn when the only representation available to them is moments as dark or intentionally shocking as the kiss in Cruel Intentions.

While straight people have a plethora of examples of intimacy that’s shared lovingly between two people in private, examples of kisses between two women are almost always portrayed as sinister, shocking, performative, or for the purpose of gaining male attention.

So before people continue to celebrate Kardashian and Robert’s onscreen kiss as a win for LGBTQ+ representation, it’s worth considering whether women-loving women are being forced to accept the bare minimum.

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The problem with female on-screen kisses (1)

The problem with female on-screen kisses (2024)


Do actors and actresses really kiss on screen? ›

They usually do some form of kissing, but there are ways to get around it, such as with carefully chosen camera angles or smart editing. Whether you wind up locking lips with another actor or not, there's a lot that goes into kissing scenes that you should know about.

Do actors really kiss in Korean dramas? ›

It depends on the drama. It also depends on which broadcast network airs the drama, on the ages of the actors, the ages of the intended viewing audience, and on whether the actors happen to be “idols". Dramas featuring adult actors that are intended for more mature audiences usually include real kisses.

Why more actors are refusing to kiss onscreen? ›

Reasons Actors Refuse Kiss Scenes

The reasons behind this decision can vary greatly, from personal preferences and religious beliefs to health and safety concerns.

Which actress has never kissed on screen? ›

The Bollywood actress who is known for her "no kissing" policy in movies is Sonakshi Sinha. She has been very vocal about her stance on not doing kissing scenes in films and has refused to do them even when required for the script.

Do actors use their tongue when kissing? ›

Some actors may use their tongues while making a kissing scene, while others may not. It really depends on the preference of the actor and what they feel comfortable with.

Do actors find kissing scenes awkward? ›

Many actors feel uncomfortable with these scenes but understand that overcoming that is part of professionalism. They will discuss exactly what they are going to do between themselves beforehand to share and dispel the tension they are feeling.

How do actors fake kiss? ›

For a fake kiss, try resting your hand tenderly on your costar's neck so your fingers are behind their ear. Then, when you lean in for the kiss, gently move your thumb over their lips to serve as a buffer between their mouth and yours. If you want to use a real kiss, focus on the staging to make it easier.

Which Korean actor never kissed someone? ›

Korean actor Kim Soo-hyun surprised his fans in Japan when he revealed that he had never kissed a woman besides his partners in movies and television dramas.

What actor was blacklisted for not kissing? ›

Neal McDonough shares his experience of being FIRED and BLACKLISTED from Hollywood after refusing to do kissing and sexually explicit scenes.

What actor won't kiss anyone but his wife? ›

It was recently reported that actor Neal McDonough was fired from the ABC series “Scoundrels” for refusing to appear in sex scenes with his co-star. Although the actor has no regrets about his choice and his total commitment to his wife, he was a little troubled that he was then labeled a religious zealot.

What actor was fired for not kissing? ›

The actor was even reportedly fired from ABC series Scoundrels over his refusal to perform in intimate scenes. Neal McDonough refuses to do any intimate scenes in his acting, even stopping at kissing.

Which actress has juicy lips? ›

Aishwarya Rai and Jahnvi Kapoor have the most beautiful lips and hottest figure.

Which actress has longest kiss? ›

The kiss - from the 1933 film Karma - featuring real-life couple Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai - has long been written about as the first-ever Bollywood film to have a lip lock and "Bollywood's longest kiss ever".

Which actress is beautiful without makeup? ›

Aishwarya Rai is undoubtedly the most beautiful of the lot. Her eyes are the highlight of her face which makes her stand out from the rest. Aishwarya can carry any outfit without make-up and still get away looking better than most actresses with make-up on.

How do actors kiss in shows? ›

Depending on the stage or camera setup, you may not even be required to make lip contact with the other actor. Instead, you can do a “stage kiss,” where you cover the other actor's lips with your thumb discreetly.

Are romantic scenes in movies real? ›

Usually they would use a body double for the nude parts in movies. But in normal film genres, the scenes are not real. It's just clever camera takes and film direction. It could take a day to film it!

Do actors really drink alcohol on set? ›

Do actors drink real alcohol on set? While some performances make you believe the actor must have been intoxicated while filming, actors do not usually drink actual alcohol on set. Instead, they are given prop drinks, which look like alcoholic beverages but do not contain any level of alcohol.

Which actress has most kisses? ›

The answer to your question is quite simple. There is only one actress in Bollywood who gave more than 15 kiss scenes in her first film. And the name of this actress is Mallika Sherawat. Mallika Sharwat created a sensation in Bollywood with these scenes.


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