Desire - Getting Wet, Moore.docx

2 Pages
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Department
Women's Studies
Course Code
Women's Studies 2283F/G
Professor
Andrea Allen

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GETTING WET: HETEROFLEXIBILITY IN THE LWORD – CANDANCE MOORE  In January 2003, Showtime, a pay cable network launched the first ever lesbian-themed serial drama, the L word with a large scale marketing campaign aimed at an urban demographic  The L Word has become a breakout hit for show time earning the fastest show renewal in the Network’s history  Show time encourages visual consumption of the L Word via the tourist’s gaze and the show’s creators have capitalized on this gaze as an ambivalent lure for straight and queer viewers alike  The voyeur getting off on two women getting way down is a standard trope of heterosexual male porn, and is thus easily dismissed by the lesbian or lesbian-positive spectator as soft porn hardly registering as progress on the trajectory of lesbian visibility  Spigel argues that television – at its most ideal – promised to bring to audiences not merely an illusion of reality as in the cinema but a sense of being there, a kind of hyper realism  The L Word cultivates the tourist gaze in politically positive ways, as the show explains references, for instance, that most queer audience members would not need to have explained, to encourage heteroflexability in its straight viewers  In each scene, getting wet signifies being (or, in season two becoming) a local  The political thrill of crossover appeal is revealed in that going gay might well mean reconsidering one’s sexual orientation apart from heteronormative pressures and assumptions  While Tim’s excitement might be considered traditional, Jenny’s pleasure in lesbian sex stretches boundaries, her role in the exchange is the truly queer one, for it is not Tim who chooses the dominant role, but Jenny who requisitions him to it based on her fantasy  While common stereotypes suggest men’s strongest erotic sense is visual, whereas women are more aroused by narrative  The pool scene outwardly invites new potential heterosexual fans to take touristic pleasure in lesbian sex visually from the straight perspective to which they are accustomed  At the same time, these two scenes subtly introduce straight viewers to an experience with which queer viewers are intimately familiar  Within this revisionist scenario, however, a hetero couple not only enjoys playing out a lesbian sex scene but for a woman’s pleasure and under her direction  Jenny is the main vehicle for straight viewers to develop an insider’s understanding of the L Words lesbian world  Jenny does not use any particular signifier of sexual identity to mark the nature of her desires until midway into the show’s second season  The concern – Jenny’s and the series’ – about straight translation has changed. If the first pool scene and its re-enactment acted as tutor texts, gently pointing the way for straight tourists, the second season’s pool scene and accompanying poolside discussion seem more combative, all gloves are off  The lesbian couple is transformed into a lesbian community  The show utilizes Mark to address some viewers’ criticisms of the show. Many queer viewers felt
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