Lesbians (On Screen) Were Never Meant to Survive


My paper will focus on the evolution of the image of the lesbian on screen. We all know what can be the role of cinema in the structuring of the personal and collective imaginary and hence the importance of visual communication tools to share and spread lesbian stories "even" with a happy ending. If, in the first filmic productions, lesbians inevitably made a bad end (grave or sanatorium), lately they are also able to live ‘happily ever after’. I do too believe that “cinema (...) doesn't give you what you desire - it tells you how to desire” (Slavoj Žižek), that is to say that the lesbian spectator had for too long to operate a semantic reversal to overcome a performance deficit and to desire only to be someone else, normal and normalized. Clearly my view is situated and it is articulated by the increase of film on / of / with lesbians of (mostly) North American productions: the invert of the first film to the beautiful and desirable woman of the 2000s. A commercial lesbian cinematography, addressed at a wider audience, which well interpret the actual trend, that most pleases the young audience (considering reliable likes and tweets) towards normality. But the question is: what would queer scholars say about this linear path toward a way of life that dares only to return to normality? No more eccentric, not abject, perhaps not even more lesbians, but 'only' women. Is this pseudo-normality (with fewer rights, protections, privileges) the new invisibility?

Author Information
Federica Fabbiani, Freelance, Italy

Paper Information
Conference: EuroMedia2017
Stream: Film Criticism and Theory

This paper is part of the EuroMedia2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon