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Butch and Femme in Bound

Understandably, the sex scene in Bound received a lot of positive feedback. I found the scene particularly well done because of the way it played into the rest of the film. On the surface, the two women are clearly marked with stereotypical butch and femme roles – Violet is a voluptuously feminine woman and Corky wears the Hanes and tattoos that mark her as butch. Just past this skin deep level our knowledge of the characters is challenged by the way the two characters interact sexually. There is no focus on penetration or identification with one character or another indicating that the audience should identify or assign a gender role to either one. We get the impression that there is a balance of power, that this is truly a match – of power and interest. As the camera pans over the two women in Corky’s dingy apartment, we see that Corky is not the dominant figure as we might expect from the stereotypical roles of butch and femme, rather she is the one pleasured by Violet. This scene would work if the roles were reversed, but the significance of Violet’s role wouldn’t tie into the rest of the movie. By seeing Violet take control sexually, we see that she is really the driving force of the plot. She is the instigator of the relationship with Corky and also the initiator of the robbery.