The Watermelon Woman and Q.U.E.E.N.: my thoughts

Hi all,

I really liked the plot of “The Watermelon Woman”. The first 20 minutes were confusing for me because there is a lot of place- switching in this movie and I did not know what to expect. Cheryl makes a movie about Faye Richards because she thinks that something in the way she looks and moves is interesting. I liked how dedicated Cheryl was to finding information about the watermelon woman and how she started her research by asking different people on the street who the watermelon woman is. I think that the style in which “The Watermelon Woman” was made, makes it very authentic and it is easy for the audience to get emotionally involved with Cheryl’s but also Faye’s story.

Cheryl’s and Diana’s story reflects the lesbian relationship between Faye and Martha and I think this made Cheryl even more dedicated to find more information about Faye Richards. My favorite scene was in the video store: the boss is trying to flirt with Diana but Tamara calls him and says that there is a woman on the phone who claims to be his girlfriend. This gives Cheryl the chance to talk to Diana which leads to the sex scene in Diana’s apartment. Diana seems very confident, while Cheryl is a little intimidated because she has never kissed a woman before. I found that the film-within-a-film relationship between Diana and Cheryl and Faye and Martha is a smart concept.

When I watched “Q.U.E.E.N.” for the first time, I was so distracted by the costumes the dancers were wearing, that I did not pay attention to the lyrics. I found the woman in the gold/ white costume disturbing and also the red stripe on the woman’s face gave the video a special touch. I did not really know what to make out of it until I listened to the lyrics once more that ask “Am I a freak for dancing around? Am I a freak for getting down? Say will your God accept me in my black and white? Will he approve the way I’m made? Or should I reprogram, deprogram and get down?”. It turns out that the singer is self-confident and comfortable with being herself although it could “make others uncomfortable”. She also points out that she does not only like the way she is, but that she “will love who [she is]”. Another important fact is that she says that if others categorize her, she defies every label. While watching the video, the singers gave me the feeling that we as the audience should also accept ourselves for what we are and stop caring too much about things that other people think of us.

I am looking forward to our discussion on Tuesday!

Best,

Melanie

The Role of Sexuality and Death in Narratives

Hi all,

I found the Judith Roof reading challenging and interesting at the same time. I had a class in which we also considered a lot of Freud’s literature in order to interpret our texts. I liked it that the author challenges Freud’s view and contrasts it with Brooks. In the Roof reading we find out that death and sexuality play an important role in narratives. I must admit that I thought about the role of death in narratives, but not that much about sexuality. Maybe it is also something that I just noticed sub-consciously. Brooks mentions that a narrative is the combination of repetition and mastery. Also how he portrays the beginnings and ends of stories, is interesting. I found the term “metaphor” a little confusing and did not really know what to make out of it while reading the text. Furthermore, I got the impression that narratives which are aligned with sexuality as a concept of reproduction are the “good narratives”, which fit into the conventions. In earlier literature, narratives aligned with sexuality without reproduction and which do not fit into this concept, are seen as worse. Also, I liked how Roof compared Freud’s assumptions about Aristophane with Plato’s version. I never thought about Freud as someone who is omitting sameness because I did never consider this part of his essays. Roof describes that in his opinion primitive sexuality follows a pleasure principle and stops the narrative. In contrast to that, conservative sexuality, which is about heterosexual reproduction, is an extension of the narrative. According to Focault, sexuality fulfills the principle of transfer and helps the logic of a plot of history and power. Here I can refer to the impression, I got while reading: in these times the healthy heterosexuality makes a good story, but perversions make a wrong story and are the cause of a bad narrative. It is to say that this is not my opinion but what I noticed while reading. Moreover, I tried to connect the videos with the reading and had my issues. I can see a connection between death and the end of a narrative in “Be Prepared” from the lion king. The protagonist in the video tries to convince the hyenas from killing the Lion King and Simba. Death can be seen as something that drives the story because it is their goal to kill the Lion King. In “Poor Unfortunate Souls”, the narrative is also driven by the fact that Ariel will belong to Ursula if she does not find real love, which means her social death.

Melanie