Jackson, the gaze, and queerness


There was only one time during this film when I felt the presence of a male gaze--when Juliet and Pauline were frolicking in the yard around Ilum (Juliet's home) and they stripped off their clothing, eventually sharing a brief kiss. It was at once tender and innocent and excitingly queer, and innocent in that tired school girl way. However, I do not believe this detracted from the film's standing as queer.

Yes, I believe queer directors/actors have an added level of experience to bring to their films and perhaps this makes for a more nuanced portrayal of queerness (or in Waters' case, a more, um, unique and never before seen portrayal of queerness). But this film was based on a true story, with the voiceovers being lifted directly from the diary of a young queer girl (despite what she may have said decades later). I thought it received excellent, non-sensationalist and non-exploitative treatment from Jackson. You do not need to be queer to deftly tell a queer story.


I have not thought about whose perspective was represented by the gaze in that scene. So this is definitely giving me an additional aspect to consider about the representation of Juliet and Pauline in the film.

Initially, my reading of this scene in the film didn't interpret the gaze as being male. For me it came across as gaze that wasn't about consumption or objectification of femininity. It seemed to be more reflective of the playful nature and openness of their relationship and when I was watching the film I felt like I was getting a glimpse into how Juliet and Pauline really interact when they believe no one else is watching.

Perhaps I need to watch it again! =)

I totally agree that you dont necessarily have to be queer to act and portray as queer. I also agree with your idea that queer actors and producers add more because of their experience.

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This page contains a single entry by lundb195 published on March 5, 2012 11:26 AM.

Queer Directors was the previous entry in this blog.

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