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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Desire and deviate nymphos: performing inversion(s) as a lesbian consumer.

Author: Matrix, S.
Author Background:
Date 1996
Type Journal
Journal Title: Journal of Homosexuality
Volume/Pages 31(1/2): 71-81
Subject Matter Queer, Lesbians; Consumers
Abstract This paper uses a personalist methodology to discuss the author's experience of being a lesbian consumer of pop-culture representations of lesbianism. It details, through cultural and feminist/lesbian theory, film theory, and performance criticism, her confusing and contradictory postmodern-feminist-lesbian-theorist response to and desire for what she read as lesbophobia inscribed all over a postcard photo of the cover of a lesbian 1950s pulp novel. She discusses her position as a lesbian looking at a lesbian looking and notes the obvious elements of lesbo/homophobia present in this cultural artefact; the trivalization of lesbian desire; the stereotyping of lesbian women; the censorship or erasure of the possibilities of health same-sex desire; the prefiguration of the male voyeuristic gaze turning lesbian sex into a spectacle for male pleasure. The paper aims to underline the critical strategies of lesbian experience, the required negotiations in a hostile culture, and the ways that cultural criticism in the academy shaped and prefigured her responses to lesbophobic performances in mass media. Matrix questions the nature of her pleasure in lesbophobic fictions and details the process of reversing discourse in the Foucauldian sense. As she identifies with the representations, however inaccurate, however fictional, she must invert or queer the lesbophobic message, finding pleasure in the very discourses that oppress, stereotype, tolerate, and target her. (Journal abstract, edited.)