Choice Objects: Gay and Lesbian Film and Video

By Chris, Cynthia | Afterimage, May-June 1998 | Go to article overview

Choice Objects: Gay and Lesbian Film and Video


Chris, Cynthia, Afterimage


Is it possible to speak of queer representation, of a gay and lesbian representation? Looking at the traditional format of gay and lesbian film festivals, which nearly always schedule boys' nights and girls' nights, thus encouraging the audience to segregate itself along gender lines, one would infer that the answer is no. While gay men and lesbians do share concern over certain legal and social issues related to sexual orientation many would maintain that our communities each have their own political, social, cultural and aesthetic needs The complex relationship between the two communities, their overlaps and their differences, has hardly been broached as a topic within theories of representation.

One would think that media festivals and the discourse that develops around them would provide an appropriate arena in which to explore the social relations internal to the gay and lesbian community. Yet while festivals showing gay and lesbian media together have proliferated in New York City recently, public forums for discussion of works in these festivals have been minimal. For example, the 1989 New York International Festival of Lesbian and Gay Film ("The New Festival"), June 7-20, 1989 at the Biograph Cinema, presented some 70 films and one lecture (several directors were available for questions after their films); the Third New York Lesbian and Gay Experimental Film Festival, September 18-24, 1989 at Anthology Film Archives, 61 films and one panel discussion; and the Lesbian and Gay Video Festival '89 at Downtown Community Television, October 10 and 13, 1989, 22 tapes and no forums. In each case, works by gay male producers substantially outnumbered those by lesbians.

"How Do I Look? Queer Film and Video Screenings and Conference" featured six lectures on October 21-22, 1989 and screened nearly 60 films and videotapes over a 10-day period. Organized in part as a response to previous festivals, its screening series was characterized by near gender parity; its conference was free and designed to encourage discussion; and audiences for the lectures ranged from at least 150 to more than the 250-person capacity of the Anthology Film Archives auditorium. Additionally, "How Do I Look?" was a response to a general lack of theoretical work on gay and lesbian representation. According to Douglas Crimp, in his opening remarks to the conference, the reading group to which he belongs "decided to read media theory about the representation of gay men and lesbians - and didn't find much. So we decided to make some."(1) The reading group, which calls itself Bad Object Choices, organized the conference with the support of the Collective for Living Cinema, October, and Anthology Film Archives, where most of the events were held.

"How Do I Look?" featured lectures by Boston political and health activist Cindy Patton; Toronto videomaker Richard Fung; British film- and videomaker Stuart Marshall; Judith Mayne, a professor at Ohio State University at Columbus; Kobena Mercer of the British Film Institute; and Teresa de Lauretis, author of Alice Doesn't: Feminism, Semiotics, Cinema (1984), among other works. To ensure that dialogue took place, a number of prominent media scholars and producers were invited as informal discussants, including several whose works were included in the "How Do I Look?" screenings: Marusia Bociurkiw, John Greyson, Isaac Julien, Sheila McLaughlin, Marlon Riggs and others.

This festival provided a unique opportunity to consider the current state of "queer" representation, addressing issues of both practice and theory. Problems were revealed in the theoretical realm that derive from the relationship between gay male and lesbian forms of representation and meaning. As Martha Gever has stated, "an inquiry into the representation of gay men in cinema . . . cannot simply apply or rework feminist film theories. Nor can homophobia be reduced to a form of misogyny. Nor is homophobia directed against gay men identical to homophobia directed against lesbians. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Choice Objects: Gay and Lesbian Film and Video
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.