Balasko is an expression used in France to refer to a masculine or butch lesbian. Its origin can be found in the surname of the French actress Josiane Balasko who, despite not being a lesbian, played Marie-Jo, a male lesbian with a job as a truck driver, in the film Gazon maudit in 1995 (in English speaking countries, French Twist). The film, directed by Balasko herself, won the César for “best original screenplay or adaptation” in 1996. The screenplay was written by the actress, Patrick Aubrée, and Telsche Boorman. The film was quite successful in France, so it is not surprising that the slang came up.
The title of the film also left no room for doubt, since gazon, meaning grass, is related to women’s pubic hair and cunnilingus itself as we can find in other expressions such as broutteuse de gazon. This expression animalizes/ridicules lesbian sex itself, since the English translation of the French verb brouter is to graze, which is what, for example, cows do when they eat grass in the meadow. We find these to be derogatory expressions, although we assume that it depends on the context and the degree of re-appropriation by the LGBT+ community.
Read: Tomboy and gender expression (Article from our blog)
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