Lesbian Representation and the Limits of “Visibility”
- 163 Downloads
This essay traces movements in thinking about lesbian representation and lesbian embodiment by means of the rhetorical figure of “visibility” and its political possibilities and limitations. Sexuality has a relationship to the visual that is decidedly fraught and in which queer politics tries to interfere in a variety of ways (see Bell, 1999, p. 6). “Knowledge” about being lesbian is based to an astonishing degree on judgments about the stability or instability of the visual. Consequently, the lesbian/gay/bi/transgender movement can be described as an outstanding example of a politics of visuality within which the understanding and imputation of identity is based on a coupled system of knowledge and gaze.
KeywordsBlind Spot Visual Evidence Femme Play Lesbian Identity Drag Queen
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Apter, E. (1998). Reflections on gynophobia. In M. Merck, N. Segal & E. Wright (Eds.), Coining out offeminism? (pp. 102–122 ). Oxford, Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Barthes, R. (1972). Mythologies. New York: Noonday Press.Google Scholar
- Barthes, R. (1983). The fashion system. New York: Hill and Wang.Google Scholar
- Bell, V. (Ed.) (1999). Theory, culture & society. Performativity and Belonging, 16, 2.Google Scholar
- Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Butler, J. (1993). Bodies that matter: On the discursive limits of “sex”. New York: Rout-ledge.Google Scholar
- Butler, J. (1991). Imitation and gender insubordination. In D. Fuss (Ed.), Inside/Out: Lesbian theories, gay theories (pp. 13–31 ). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- De Lauretis, T. (1991). Film and the visible. In Bad Object Choices (Ed.), How do I look? Queer firm and video (pp. 223–264 ). Seattle: Bay Press.Google Scholar
- Martin, B. (1996). Femininity played straight: The significance of being lesbian. London, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Walker, L. M. (1998). Embodying desire: Piercing and the fashioning of ‘neo-butch/femme’ identities. In S. R. Munt (Ed.), Butch/Femme: Inside lesbian gender (pp. 123–132 ). London: Cassell.Google Scholar