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Un-Bound and out of the closet

Besides being a highly entertaining film in its own right, Bound addresses the issue of femme invisibility and the limitations of gender 'roles' in making them visible. Violet is portrayed as highly feminine yet equally aggressive and initiatory, while Corky, with the typical butch appearance, is the receiver of Violet's affections. This flipping and mixing of perceived gender 'roles' confuses the heterosexual viewer and helps give queer women a more realistic portrayal than is usually rendered in film. I don't know if it is necessarily feminist, though I can't see why not, but it is definitely female-queer-friendly. In the sex scenes between the two women, there is no man waiting for his turn, and there is no phallic object used. This takes lesbian desire out of male fantasy and into reality, showing how women can love each other as women, not as pseudo-men. The film does overlook, however, female bodies that do not fit into mainstream ideas of beauty: neither woman is hairy, plump, disfigured, plain..but, alas, one cannot expect everything to be addressed in one film. Femininity and masculinity, as social constructs, are challenged here because of Violet and Corky's refusals to conform to it, and because of the ease with which they vacilate between 'masculine' and 'feminine' traits and behaviors.

Hetero-normative codes are rendered obsolete. (As well they should be!) If Corky had been the initiator of sexual liasons and had been on top, giving Violet stimulation in the sex scenes, this would not have been accomplished. It would have simply upheld categorized ideas of 'proper' gendered behavior.


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