Inconsequence: Lesbian Representation and the Logic of Sexual Sequence

By Annamarie Jagose | Go to book overview

SIX

Wild Life Photography Pulp Sexology and the Camera

Throughout this book I have taken late-nineteenth-/early-twentieth- century sexology as a crucial grounding discourse for female ho- mosexuality, contending that the persistent association of lesbianism with invisibility, no less the etiological description of lesbianism via figures of derivation and belatedness, take on a definitional force in the sexological production of specific sexual taxonomies. In this last chapter, I turn to the more recent genre of what might be called pulp sexology— the 1950s and 1960s post-Kinsey proliferation of sexological paperbacks. I do so less to suggest historical continuity than to trace the transformed yet perseverant logics of sequence that frame lesbian invisibility as a problem to be solved, even while producing it as their naturalized effect. My argument turns on a close reading of Frank Caprio's Female Homosexuality: A Psychodynamic Study of Lesbianism, both because it is a representative and influential example of its genre and because its belatedly 1970s Australian edition, the edition I first encountered, contains a photographic essay of a sexual encounter between two women—the sixteen consecutive images of which literalize the cultural reliance on sequence in rendering visible lesbian subjects. 1 Moreover, because the photographs demonstrate that in the end this confidence in the visibilizing capacities of sequence is misplaced, testifying more explicitly to the failure of sequence to distinguish between homosexuality and heterosexuality, I recuperate the photographic essay here as a better, more apt illustration for my book than for Caprio's.

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