Dyke Imagery and Lesbian Culture from Pop to High Art

Welcome to Herstory—the Instagram account celebrating all the shades of gay culture, whether it's through dykons and celesbians, soft butch or stone butch fashion, lipstick or chapstick style. It's not an archive, but a transient ode to lesbian stories, past and present, in film, fashion, art, activism and photography.


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Weekend RomancePhoto by Mariette Pathy Allen (@mariettepathyallenofficial thx @estee_pierce) #lesbianculture #femme4femme

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Who is @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y?

Herstory was founded and is maintained by Kelly Rakowski, who’s been working on it for four and a half years. “It’s a personal project—sharing my research and favourite imagery of herstoric lesbians, from pop culture to high art,” Rakowski explains. “It all started around the time I ‘came out’ and was teaching myself about lesbian culture and lesbian herstory. I was reading books and essays written by lesbians, watching lesbian movies, tv shows and inhaling all the lesbian culture I missed over the course of my life. It was fun and I wanted to share my learnings and findings with people, so I started @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y Instagram. Herstory is for everyone, and most importantly it is trans inclusive—zero tolerance for transphobia.”



Why Should You Follow?

Rakowski’s eye for a good visual story comes from her background in graphic design, and her current job as a photo editor at Metropolis Magazine. She documents some lost and forgotten design and ephemera, from vintage books and magazines to pins, badges and posters; anyone who’s interested in photography, typography or the evolution of visual culture will find something to love here. There’s also plenty of photographs, both of unknown women and celebrity portraits. “Sharing the images brings lesbians and lesbian adjacent people together, where they can have a laugh or bond over an experience with the subject. I’m obsessed about digging through online archives, libraries. It makes me happy I’m able to share my findings with people who seem to enjoy them.”



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It is black herstory month ”Our Right To Love: A Lesbian Resource Book”. 1978. #lesbianculture #lesbianidentity #blacklesbian #blackherstory

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What Instagram Doesn’t Tell You

Herstory is not an actual archive, Rakowski explains, but is intended as “a digital arrangement of random lesbian content”. Herstory has its own narrative, one that is coherent, uplifting and powerful, but that doesn’t purport any legacy of its own. “Herstory will someday turn into Internet dust and I’m okay with that.”