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?Who?s a lesbian?? In the opening scene of Go Fish, directed by Rose Troche, a group of young girls discuss lesbianism within pop culture, as they joke and laugh about the possibilities of some famous personalities becoming homosexual. Filmed with an artistic eye, Go Fish is a film that invites audiences to view the lives of a handful of lesbians living together, and their quests to find happiness through love. Issues on dress, hair, and the occasional heterosexual fling are also dealt with. This movie is intended for a lesbian audience, but even those who are not gay can appreciate the strength and pride that these women withhold.
Max, who is narrating the story, is a lesbian in search of a lover to call her own. She?s a younger girl, who is living with Kia, who is in a relationship with a Spanish girl named Evy. Evy is new to lesbianism, but she admits to Kia that, ?I fell in love at first sight.? Eli and Daria are also part of the circle of friends, but they live in a different apartment.
Theoretically, all lesbians fall into two categories: butch, and femme. The butch is a woman who looks, dresses and desires like a man. A femme, on the other hand, is a woman who can be viewed as either gay or heterosexual by her appearance. Max is more likely to fall into the first category, with her tee shirts, big jeans, and baseball caps that she tucks her hair into. ?I just want to fall in love with a beautiful girl,? Max says, indicating her preference for the femme girl. Eli is almost like Max. She wears drab, loose clothing, and her long, gray hair is braided. She seems to have a fashion sense of her own, which kind of sets her between the two categories because with her long hair, she looks like a pretty woman dressed down.
Lesbians are sometimes easy to spot due to appearances. Through the film, we see clips of the women trying their clothing on, tossing shirts on the floor, fixing their hair. These actions indicate that even though gay women have their own style, which seems pretty butch and sometimes ?out there,? they are quite aware of how they look, and fashion is an important part to their lifestyle. In her article, Commodity Lesbianism, Danae Clark addresses the fashion trends of gay women. She notes, ?The beginning of the Second Wave of feminist politics and scholarship was marked by a hostility toward fashion, perceiving it as a patriarchal codification and commodification of femininity that enslaved women and placed their bodies on display.? So, by in a sense cross-dressing in men?s clothing, gay women are using fashion to voice their opposition to the fashion restrictions that women have put on themselves over the ages, like hairstyles, makeup and high heels.
Hair is also an issue for the girls within the film. Apart from Max and Evy, all of the women have very short haircuts in the film. Eli even trades her long locks for a short gender-bender. Her decision to go short followed with her decision to start dating again. The camera work while she is getting her hair cut is interesting. The camera replays the image of her head that is half shaved and half long, which gave me the impression that her haircut would not change Eli into a different type of lesbian, she is still the same, just with a short haircut. When Max sees it, she complements Eli, and then asks her if she should cut her own hair. ?What if I cut it and people think I did it just to be more dyke?? Eli replies, ?But if you don?t cut it because people will think that, aren?t you in the same dilema??I thought Eli was wise to say this to Max, because she tries to teach her that she should be true to herself, and she shouldn?t just dress herself up to be what others want to her to be. Max should use her appearance to celebrate her sexuality.
Sex is an important theme within Go Fish. But, unlike some of the movies we have seen, this film doesn?t use sex to titillate the audience. Instead, sex is viewed as a beautiful way of expressing love between two girls. The camera doesn?t focus in on the feminine body parts, but it follows fingers as the hug and touch bodies, mouths as they gently kiss, and even feet sticking out of the covers. Sex is not blown out of porportion, but it is celebrated. That is, as long as it is with other women. Daria has a one night stand with a man, and as she stands before other lesbians in question, she is told that she?s not truly gay if she sleeps with men.
This brings into question, how do you define a lesbian? Is she someone who sleeps with women only? The panel of women that taunt and scold Daria hold opposing positions, therefore, the film sends the message that a lesbian doesn?t have to be someone who limits herself to women. Since Daria tries to explain to them that a fling with a man doesn?t change her sexual preference and it was just for sex. She knows what she is. Therefore we get the idea that anyone who thinks she is a lesbian is a lesbian, which I agree with.
In conclusion, I think that Go Fish was an excellent movie that portrays real life scenarios between gay women. The camera?s approach to the story adds artistic element, like the shot of the talking heads that discuss the characters throughout the movie. The film answers to stereotypes of lesbians, showing that even though gay women dress differently, they do so for particular reasons. Butch and femme roles are somewhat displayed through the cutting of hair, dress, and attitude of the women. In all, I thought it was a wonderful love story for two couples: Eli and Max, and also Kay and Evy. A lesbian film that celebrates the evolving woman, and her quest to find love.
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