“Is it so great for women now? I’m not convinced. We can disregard the media but nonetheless its propaganda surrounds us. … When people talk about my work they talk about whether or not it’s memoir. They talk about genre. They don’t even want to talk about my writing. I have lots of good answers, but they just can’t decide what I’m doing. Like I signed up to listen to them muse. It’s so about being female. They just can’t trust that I know what I’m doing. I mean, to be this far in your life and to be in such an arena of specialty and to be endlessly questioned like you’re the secretary. Of course. How would I know what art is? Some guy interviewed me and he clearly hadn’t read my book, and he asked me why I didn’t think it was memoir. I told him in great detail and very carefully and wisely I thought and then he said “Got it.” Like impatiently, like would I please shut up. I mean he hadn’t read it. But he was impatient with me. I think I’m hardly more than a symptom. It’s not so good. I guess I’m wondering why anyone thinks I’m a woman. I think that’s more interesting. I wonder why I should even be interviewed as a woman. If they can decide what my book is why can’t I decide what I am? I mean I know I can in our queer world—that’s a given—but in the literary world … . Since a woman is one who “doesn’t know,” why shouldn’t we just refuse our gender? What would be the answer? Rape?”—EILEEN MYLES: MY NEED TO SAY
“I think it had everything to do with the way she first appeared on the scene, this brilliant, beautiful, intellectually passionate young woman writing these sharp, confident pieces about art and culture, in a style all her own. She was brainy but also sexy, totally bookish but also a party girl—a rare and pretty irresistible combination. She captured the media’s attention right away, and then, because she was so active and productive and had such a broad range of interests, and also because she was always so vocal and fearless about her opinions—no few of which were controversial—attention kept getting paid. It would have been hard for Susan Sontag not to have a high profile. Whatever she said, people quoted her. And people always wanted to interview her and photograph her. Being a lifelong world traveller was part of it, too. And of course it had everything to do with gender. It was such an unusual life for a woman. I mean, if you think about it, she was pretty much the only woman of her kind.”—Sigrid Nunez on “the cult” of Susan Sontag (The Paris Review)
2010 gave us several lesbian/bisexual characters and themes in film, some better than others. These are six of my favorites.
I Am Love
The Italian indie about a well-to-do family with Tilda Swinton as the matriarch was the definitely the most breathtakingly beautiful film I’ve seen all year. Each of the storylines worked together to build an interesting tapestry of deceit and authenticity - or the paradox they can work together to create. Also, bonus points for the lesbian daughter and her Electrelane joke.
I read Cherie Currie's memoir right before seeing the film, and I think it actually gave me more of an informed look at the band's experience. Paired together, I enjoyed watching Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning kill it as the two rock idols. They disappeared into their roles, and I would have watched it for longer than 90 minutes. Sequel?
Le Tigre: On Tour
I tend to be bored by music documentaries that shuffle back and forth from backstage banter to on-stage performances, but Kerthy Fix's following of Le Tigre during their last ever tour delves into their politics, the sexism and homophobia they fought on a consistent basis and highlighted the band member's smart senses of humor. Plus, their on-stage performances are just impossible to not enjoy, with those matching outfits and choreography.
Julianne Moore was given more to work with in this film than the other one she took part in this year, in my opinion. She was tragic and beautiful, and Amanda Seyfried was an ideal foil as the hooker without a heart a of gold.
The Girl Who Played With Fire
My favorite of the three Millennium Trilogy films, Noomi Rapace is intense and stunning as Lisbeth Salander. She also happens to engage in some relations with her sometimes-girlfriend Miriam Wu.
The documentary about the making of The Owls is better than the film itself. Not only does it give you a look at a film production, but discussions are had about lesbian identities, communities and responsibilities.