It is clear what an ideal woman’s body is supposed to look like in America. From television to movies to music to commercials and beyond, women and girls are usually only depicted as thin, white, passive, and traditionally feminine.
For queer women attracted to other women there is a duality between how and in what ways this body is supposed to be desired, and a confusion in how to map this desire onto one’s own body. Do you want to be the idealized body? Do you want to be with that body? Is there a difference? Are you simply desiring the same ideal for yourself and your partner?
Add in the fact that there are also stereotypes about how queer women are supposed to look. Studies have shown that American media usually only portrays queer women as a stereotype of white, upper-class, and feminine-but-not-too-feminine. The stereotypical queer female character is shown wearing a flannel or blazer to mark her as queer, but otherwise presents normative femininity. These media depictions (like all media depictions) have clear impacts on the ways queer women view themselves and their bodies. Do you present queer enough? Too queer? Should you change the way you dress? Are you attracted to other women who look stereotypically queer?
To begin to answer these questions I conducted private audio interviews with eight queer identifying women and non-binary students at Tufts University. My exploration into these questions aims to be an abstract, artistic rendering of the ways these constructions of women’s bodies and queer women’s bodies is navigated by people at Tufts.
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Music by Corbin Foster