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Bound

Just as Kessler writes in the article Bound Together, I did find the sex scene between Violet and Corky in the film Bound to be one that was decidedly feminist. Kessler writes that “Bound portrays the intimacies and technicalities of lesbian sex without the fuzzy romanticism of other lesbian love scenes or the hyper-feminine trashiness of heterosexual pornography� (16), straying away from the image of the lesbian as heterosexual male fantasy. Instead of the women being portrayed as underwear models playing the role of queerness, the scene is extremely sexually charged and passionate. Additionally, in breaking with another norm often seen in lesbian fantasies or narratives, it is not Corky, who is placed squarely in the role of butch, who initiates their first sexual contact. Violet, who oozes a stylized retro sex appeal, is the first to express her desire by coercing and seducing Corky under the guise of needing a sink unclogged.

Stereotypical visual signifiers factor in to this discussion heavily, with Corky’s masculinized dress, short hair and tattoos – particularly that of the labrys on her arm, a lesbian symbol which Violet comments on, stating that she didn’t need to advertise her identity as Corky does – to Violet’s curled hair, perfect makeup and manicured hands, and her beautiful, tight-fitting dresses. Despite the fact that these are common stereotypes, the personalities and actions of the two characters keep the film from falling too deep into the trap of fictionalized stereotyping.

By the time the second sex scene occurs, Violet is positioned on top of Corky’s body while the camera “continues in one uninterrupted shot that starts as a long shot from the head of the mattress, closing in on one side of their bodies which are just shielding Violet’s hands between Corky’s legs� (Kessler 16), and so on and so forth. The power dynamic between the two is troubled here, for the stereotypical notion of the lesbian sex act seems to generally involve the butch on top. There is a distinct feeling of equity between the two in their lovemaking. While the viewer is invited into the scene by the way in which it was filmed, it does not exploit the act of sex as many other films so commonly do. The viewer is drawn in a way that does not make it seem like a peepshow, but far more intimate.