Lesbian Rule: Cultural Criticism and the Value of Desire

Lesbian Rule: Cultural Criticism and the Value of Desire

by Amy Villarejo
     
 

ISBN-10: 0822331926

ISBN-13: 9780822331926

Pub. Date: 11/05/2003

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

With hair slicked back and shirt collar framing her young patrician face, Katherine Hepburn's image in the 1935 film Sylvia Scarlett was seen by many as a lesbian representation. Yet, Amy Villarejo argues, there is no final ground upon which to explain why that image of Hepburn signifies lesbian or why such a cross-dressing Hollywood fantasy edges into

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Overview

With hair slicked back and shirt collar framing her young patrician face, Katherine Hepburn's image in the 1935 film Sylvia Scarlett was seen by many as a lesbian representation. Yet, Amy Villarejo argues, there is no final ground upon which to explain why that image of Hepburn signifies lesbian or why such a cross-dressing Hollywood fantasy edges into collective consciousness as a lesbian narrative. Investigating what allows viewers to perceive an image or narrative as "lesbian," Villarejo presents a theoretical exploration of lesbian visibility. Focusing on images of lesbians in film, she analyzes what these representations contain and their limits. She combines Marxist theories of value with poststructuralist insights to argue that lesbian visibility operates simultaneously as an achievement and a ruse, a possibility for building a new visual politics and away of rendering static and contained what lesbian might mean.
Integrating cinema studies, queer and feminist theory, and cultural studies, Villarejo illuminates the contexts within which the lesbian is rendered visible. Toward that end, she analyzes key portrayals of lesbians in public culture, particularly in documentary film. She considers a range of films—from documentaries about Cuba and lesbian pulp fiction to Exile Shanghai and The Brandon Teena Story—and, in doing so, brings to light a nuanced economy of value and desire.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822331926
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
11/05/2003
Series:
Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction1
1Lesbian Rule27
2Droits de Regards/Right of Inspection: For Agnes and Inez Albright55
3Archiving the Diaspora: A Lesbian Impression83
4Absolut Queer: Cuba and its Spectators123
5Forbidden Love: Pulp as Lesbian History159
Conclusion: Straight to Video191
Notes209
Index231

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