The problem with the word ‘lesbian’

I feel the word ‘lesbian’ has been taken from queer women and transformed into something that is no longer queer or anything to do with female/female same sex desire. Rather, the word ‘lesbian’ in mainstream culture, particularly pornography, suggests a highly sexualised fetish for a heterosexual audience (predominantly male) with little or no relation to actual female/female desire.
In my eyes, mainstream terms such as ‘lesbian’ ‘lesbianism’ or ‘lesbian pornography’ have little to do with actual real queer female representations of sex or lifestyle. A man watching two lesbians on porn hub is not experiencing queer culture, a man engaging in a threesome with two women is not engaging in a queer act.

 

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History has been written predominantly by men, so of course there is little mention of homosexual activity between women (unless of course it entertains the male sexually). Lesbianism has therefore historically either been considered an illness, non-existent or a sexual act for a male to enjoy (as history would tell us females have no sexual desire, they are purely there to please the male)
The term ‘lesbian’ has been stolen from queer women. It no longer exclusively translates as the desire between two females, rather the term ‘lesbian’ has become a heterosexual fetish. Two women and one man is NOT homosexual… its completely heterosexual. Actual gay women like myself could not think of anything more horrific than engaging in a sexual act with a female lover and a male.
I wish to dissociate myself from the label ‘lesbian’ and rather be referred to only as queer, gay or sapphic. My current projects have only slightly touched on the problem with the term ‘lesbianism’, but I have big plans for the future regarding this concept…

Oceans 8 – A gateway film for the future of women in Hollywood?

Disclaimer: I aim to write a more fluent article/essay on Oceans 8…but right now I’m far too excited and I had to just get my initial thoughts of my chest

Finally! This is exactly what I have been waiting for…

A film with eight, not just one, but EIGHT female protagonists who barely (if at all) cater for a male-gaze.

Revolutionary? I think so!

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No male-lead, barely any heterosexual romance or sex. No fragmented female bodies catered for heterosexual male audiences. No ‘silly’ female roles who do nothing but support the ‘all important white male’. None of the classic Hollywood sexist, racist, homophobic bullshit.

Only eight, powerful, intelligent, charismatic, diverse women.

and…they do none of the following;

Find a man, have a baby, get married, have sex with men, look pretty , look sexy, find a man, do a nude scene.

Oceans 8 is revolutionary because none of the eight women in the film play into the above stereotypes of ‘what female roles in Hollywood typically do’ 

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Hollywood has finally produced a film that is so positive for female leads and female role models. The film is also racially diverse which is brilliant!

Lets hope Oceans 8 is a gateway film for more female positivity, female protagonists and diversity in Hollywood!

Female Protagonists – 1

Male-Gaze – 0

 

Watch the trailer here

BFI FLARE LGBTQ+ Online Digital Viewing Library

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Absolutely over the moon that FOUR of my short films got accepted into the BFI FLARE LGBTQ+ 2018 film festival! They’re on the BFI’s online digital viewing library under the category ‘UK INDUSTRY SELECTION’, which is available for press and industry delegates. Only 15 films got selected to be shown in the UK Industry Selection category so to have not just one but FOUR of my films selected is a huge huge hugeeeee honour!!!

A massive thank you to everyone who worked with me on these projects

Interview with Joyce Franklin Society

 

 “Make friends with your darkness, don’t let it destroy you’. Darkness 100% inspires me, it always has and I think almost everything I do comes from a dark place, but that isn’t always a horrendous experience. It can be uplifting and enlightening. There is an optimism that comes from accepted pessimism. As clichéd as it is, my ‘art’ is a way of medicating and channelling the darkness. It’s a way of taking something awful and making it productive and perhaps ‘beautiful’ or interesting.”

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Read my interview with the Joyce Franklin Society of the University of Cambridge here

 

31

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’31’ is a guerrilla style horror film which I made specifically for Halloween. I was getting ‘creatively restless’ so I decided to set myself a challenge; how quickly can I make a low budget mini horror film – the deadline Halloween.

I filmed all the footage in roughly two – four hours and edited the entire film in around seven hours on the 31st October 2017 – the total budget of the entire project costing £1.60

This film is not for the faint hearted, quite literally.

Filmed/Edited/Directed by Sian Alexandra
Performed by Louise Antonia, Imogen Williams, Sian Alexandra
Music by Xavier Boot & Rugile Daujotaite

Church & Other Dirty Words: The whole Collection

 

Director Sian Wiliams (Fringe Queer Arts Festival, FEST Portugal) has produced film adaptations of Brad Cohen’s first collection of poetry ‘Church & Other Dirty Words’. From ISIS and gay conversion therapy to feminism and the male gaze to toxic masculinity, femme-shaming and blurred gender lines– the collection extensively discusses many issues the LGBTQ+ culture is faced with today.

Cohen uses sex in his collection to deliver important messages. One piece entitled ‘Bedside Surgeon’ portrays that feeling when your hook up rolls over after sex and goes on Grindr, looking for his next fix. Another important discussion takes place in ‘Church’ (first published by Fincham Press in ‘Purple Lights’, 2016) where Cohen uses catholic language to describe a post-sex scene whilst simultaneously highlighting the friction between Catholicism and homosexuality. ‘DJ Pygmalion’ is a dark satirical piece warning of the dangers in watching too much porn.

Girl Under You is a collaborative piece written by both Cohen and Williams, highlighting the problems with mainstream lesbian pornography. The piece aims to portray lesbian sexuality through an empowering ‘lesbian eye’ rather than a cliched, unrealistic, demeaning ‘male gaze’…

Girl Under You

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cropped-screen-shot-2018-05-30-at-17-26-44.pngA collaborative piece, Written by Brad Cohen and Sian Alexandra, Girl Under You explores the assertive sexuality of masculine and feminine women, exploring the concept of ‘top’ and ‘bottoms’ in lesbian sex. Girl Under You aims to portray real lesbian relationships and sexuality as a backlash to the fake lesbian porn that is geared towards the ‘male gaze’, rather than an ‘lesbian eye’. Lesbian porn has been taken and over sexualised by patrichary – thus making ridicule of what it truly means to be a homosexual woman in societies eyes. This piece is about lesbians and women taking back their sexuality – there’s nothing wrong with the voyeuristic act of watching two women have sex, as long as it’s a realistic representation. Directed by two female directors , Girl Under You hopes the viewer will enjoy lesbian sexuality through an empowering ‘lesbian eye’ rather than a cliched, unrealistic, demeaning ‘male gaze’….

Directed by Sian Alexandra & Victoria Matthews
Written by Brad Cohen & Sian Alexandra

Edited by Sian Alexandra
Performed by Sian Alexandra & Victoria Matthews
Cinematography Jayden Robinson
Sound by Guy Farber & Matthew Williams
Assistant Directors Charlotte Dowell & Alya Soliman
Music by Himuro Mansion