Being a woman makes me hyper-aware of being watched. People are constantly looking at me, up and down, observing my outfit, how much of my body is visible, how much make-up I am wearing, etc etc. I know other women will deeply understand this experience. Of pretending you aren’t aware someone is looking at you, especially when that person is a man. This is compounded when you are a young queer femme.
Queer women are judged. We are examined. We are checked out. We are scrutinized. We are searched. We are ogled. We are constantly under surveillance.
Stop Watching Me:
“Lesbian” was the number one most search term on the website pornhub in 2018. People apparently love to fantasize about queer women (particularly queer femme women). And this prevalent fantasy often comes in a certain package. Thin, white, feminine, cis, and conventually beautiful women are often depicted in both pornagraphic and other representations of queer women. But it goes deeper than this. The way desire is depicted is broken. It is hard to explain for myself, but when I study “lesbian” porn, I don’t see myself reflected. I see what, I assume, heterosexual men want my sexuality to look like.
As someone who struggled for many years with internalized biphobia, my imagining of my very own sexuality was very much shaped by the predominant hetero male fantasy of queer women. It took me years to break from this limiting image of my own sexuality.
Image-making vs Image-consumping:
My film Watching Us explores these deep rooted fears and feelings in myself. The fear of being watched by men. The internal pain of attempting to accept myself as a bi/pansexual person. The feeling of losing myself from others’ consumption.
Expanding my exploration into reflexive cinema, Watching Us explores not just how media affects the viewer, but how the viewer affects the media. Society’s consumption of queer women’s sexualities changes us. It changes how we act, how we see ourselves, and it is painful.
Watching Us was a difficult film to make for numerous reasons, but the most challenging aspect was definitely the subject matter.
I am so proud of what I achieved with this film, and I am so happy more people will be able to watch it. Watching Us is currently being distributed by VIVO Media Arts Centre and is having it’s first screening at the Victoria Short Film Festival.
Get a sneak peak at the film from this new trailer: