May 26, 2012
The top 5 women who rock the French lesbian world
France is somewhat behind in terms of lesbian representations. The French lesbians are still waiting for their Ellen DeGeneres to gain more visibility in the mainstream society.
The recent political events are leaning towards the good direction, – marriage for all was promised for 2013 by new President François Hollande, enabling LGBT topics to get a lot of coverage in the media at the moment, but a lot of it concerns gay males.
Despite a general reluctance to stand out as a lesbian on the social scene, some intrepid ladies are doing a fantastic job in the fields of the arts, the media or the academic research. Here is a subjective top 5 of the cheekiest and most talented women working around the lesbian realities in Frog Land.
Or, how to knock down clichés with frank humour and intelligence. Sick and tired of remarks such as “You can’t be a lesbian, you wear skirts!”, Océane Rose Marie, originally a singer, decided to write and stage ‘The Invisible Lesbian’, which is the show that she desperately wanted to see about feminine lesbians being mistaken for straight girls.
Smart and positive, Océane’s one-woman-show started confidentially in a small Parisian theatre in 2009. Her success has kept growing since then, and she is now touring the show in smaller cities, far from the relative acceptance of the capital, where she feels a huge crave for positive representations. Close to become a lesbian idol, Océane also has a surprising impact in the mainstream society, making her the new “token lesbian” of the media.
The 41 year-old academic published in 2010 an in-depth study entitled ‘Se dire lesbienne’ – ‘Calling oneself a Lesbian’ – about the self-nomination as a lesbian. For this unprecedented work, she meticulously interviewed 20 lesbians aged between 30 and 50 on a regular basis, over a period of 5 years. She compared their self representation with heterosexual women.
This work states really fascinating points, such as the fear of women to be excluded from the male normativity when being categorized as lesbians, and the 3 different routes followed by lesbians on their coming out process.
Natacha distinguished the “exclusive” route – women who have never had sexual relationships with men, the “simultaneous” route – women experimenting bisexuality before coming out as lesbians, and the “progressive” route – women who have had long or committed relationships with men. The progressive process is obviously the most common, even in the younger generation, and this is a big difference with our male gay mates whose exclusive route is much more frequent. . If you wonder why, get the full explanation here, for lucky French-speakers only!
Emilie, 35, who graduated from Les Beaux-Arts in Aix-en-Provence, defines herself as queer, feminist and sex-positive. She directed the first French female queer movie, called One Night Stand, in 2005.
Following this ground breaking opus, her queer road-movie Too Much Pussy! was released last year. This is a documentary capturing a small group of queer performers travelling Europe on a mini-bus on their ‘Queer X Show’ tour.
Initially released in specialized film festivals – including the 2011 edition of the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, the film was later screened in mainstream cinemas. A pioneer worth knowing.
See the trailer of Too Much Pussy! below :
Marie-Hélène, born in 1947, is THE reference in Queer Studies in France, where she literally introduced the discipline by translating the iconic Monique Wittig and Teresa de Lauretis.
She is the author of Queer Zones and Sexpolitiques. Marie-Hélène is fairly famous abroad for those familiar with the discipline. Her work tackles many sub-categories of the Cultural Studies such as Gender Studies or Feminism as well as more subversive fields such as Trans and Porn Studies. She is a notorious queer activist, involved with several organizations and sometimes using performance as a political tool to express her views.
Believe it or not, Marie is the only journalist on French television who is out of the closet. In a very instructive interview published a few months ago in Têtu – France number 1 gay and supposedly lesbian magazine (but systematically displaying Mr Muscles on its cover), she revealed that many of her colleagues are hiding their orientation by fear of losing interest from the mainstream audience.
Marie gained fame when working on Pink TV, the French gay and lesbian channel, between 2005 and 2008. Since then, Marie moved to the super intellectual channel Arte where she is in charge of a cultural program. But she paved the way for more journalists of the new generation to come out and shake the still conservative world of the media.
The Sanctity of Marriage – 5 second film
Brilliant 5 second masterpiece by 5 Second Films: “They want to take our rights away? Well we want to ‘splode their heads!” Went one of the less-successful pro-gay rights protest chants.
September 21, 2012