By Kelly Hankin
The lesbian bar has lengthy been visible as a mysterious position, steeped in mythologies of clandestine conferences and sexuality that's beautiful since it is wayward and sinful. within the ladies within the again Room, Kelly Hankin makes a speciality of the lesbian bar, taking a look at how it is portrayed in such motion pictures as cunning Brown, The Killing of Sister George, simple intuition, sure, and Chasing Amy; in tv sequence just like the Simpsons, Xena: Warrior Princess, Roseanne, Ellen, and intercourse and the town; and in self sustaining, lesbian-produced documentaries.
Hankin examines the lesbian bar via a attention of the methods its illustration in pop culture either oppresses and nourishes lesbian cultures. In renowned advertisement leisure, she unearths, the view of the lesbian bar as a personal area in case you perform aberrant sexuality implicitly reinforces heterosexual spatial and social privilege. via her in-depth historical past of the creation of 1968's The Killing of Sister George and the deception all in favour of director Robert Aldrich's use of a true lesbian bar and its consumers, for instance, Hankin uncovers the heterosexist preconceptions in facts on each side of the digital camera. She argues that lesbian-produced works successfully problem this paradigm, articulating and confirming confident visions of lesbian public existence and identification. the women within the again Room presents a fascinating historic and theoretical research of the visible lesbian bar as a revelatory intersection of gender, sexuality, and house.
Kelly Hankin is an assistant professor of English at outdated Dominion collage.
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Extra info for Girls In The Back Room: Looking At The Lesbian Bar
Here again, these scenes stress the character’s diﬀerence from lesbian bar patrons. For example, in Henry and June, we watch a pre-lesbian Anaïs Nin (Maria de Medeiros) slowly and furtively enter a Parisian lesbian bar with Henry Miller’s wife, June (Uma Thurman). As the feminine duo moves through the bar’s interior space, androgynouslooking women in men’s attire glance curiously at them. In Foxy Brown, both Claudia (Juanita Brown), a drug-addicted prostitute, and Foxy Brown (Pam Grier), the ﬁlm’s protagonist, cross the length of the lesbian bar.
Although Stearn admits that lesbians are part of a “sprawling grapevine, with a secret code of their own” (), he professes to cracking its code (). As a result, Stearn is able to oﬀer such insider information as an apparent national lesbian color conspiracy: “On Thursdays, for instance, multitudes of lesbians throughout the country [wear] a special color dress to identify themselves to other secret lesbians. In New York, Los Angeles, and San Looking at the Lesbian Bar 13 Francisco, the cognoscenti [wear] green; in Chicago, they [choose] yellow; in Connecticut, it [is] pink” ().
Lesbian bars are also revealed to be perfectly acceptable and open entertainment for the touring heterosexual couple. In Female Homosexuality, Caprio describes lesbian bars as places where “upper social circle” heterosexuals go slumming (, ). Stearn’s account of lesbian bars conﬁrms Caprio’s description. During one of his numerous tours of lesbian bars, Stearn meets up with Virginia, “a lovely young society girl,” and her boyfriend, both taking in the exotic sights and mixing with bar patrons (, –).