I’ve been contemplating the conundrum of male-gaze issues regarding the depiction of queer sex, specifically two queer women having sex (the traditional ‘hot lesbian’ trope).
This pondering has come about off the back of the DC Comics reboot of Starfire and all the blogosphere hoohah about it, specifically the point made that her posing and whatnot is very much for men; and that her sexuality is not being enacted for herself, or for the gaze of an empowered woman-identifying audience, or the gaze of a queer woman-identifying audience, but really, very much for the titillation of men.
I guess that’s my problem with clips like Rhianna’s ‘Te Amo’. While I think it is super awesome that we’re seeing queer narratives inscribed through pop, and the stories of women identifying-relationships writ large in mainstream contexts, I question whether the imagery used is intended to be ‘for’ queers.
I don’t think it is. I think our sex is hijacked by industry execs a lot. I think the point someone on my livejournal made – when I posted it there – that it seemed like a whole bunch of OOOH LESBIANS LOOK posing is quite valid.
And frankly, it always has and always will make me uncomfy to think that dudes think women-identifying queer sex looks like that. I mean, sure, maybe sometimes we maintain perfect hair and couture but generally women in love and lust spend a little less time dancing around each other and pouting. How we love and fuck is diverse and grounded in a zillion different contexts, from the most domestic to the most kinky.
Maybe this is a case of any publicity is good. I will admit that one of my first gateway tummy flutters was TaTu’s ‘All The Things She Said’ when I had little access to seeing girls love girls in any other medium.
There’s merit in both the argument that even the corniest representations of woman-sex intended largely for men will find itself into the right hands (teenage girls) and in the argument that our sex is our own, and should not be annexed by straight dudes.
There’s hope in the mainstream though – shows like Sugar Rush in the UK break through and are much more realistic representations of young queer sex and love amongst teen girls. Flawed and fractured, they actually provide a unique and useful tool where there have been few.