opusculasedfera: stack of books, with a mug of tea on top (Default)
[personal profile] opusculasedfera
I've been reading Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher mysteries, which are nice, fluffy mysteries set in Australia in the 1930s, featuring a heiress with a taste for adventure. They're strong on period detail, but not on period feel, but are slight enough that I'm not especially bothered. The mystery plots are not stellar, but I'm okay with that. I'm rubbish at working out whodunit anyway. I just don't understand why Phryne keeps reminding us that she's not a lesbian. She's a madly femme woman who sleeps with a ton of dudes; it's not as if anyone in her life is confused on this point. (Er, yes, obviously lesbians can be femme, and bisexuality exists. But none of her compatriots seem terribly aware of this (see: Australia in the 1930s), and therefore no one in text has ever, ever challenged her on this point.)

But yet, the narrative keeps reminding us. Paraphrased: "She saw [dude she was banging] and his sister. His sister resembled him a great deal, and was therefore super attractive, but Phryne could never have been attracted to her in the same way because she wasn't interested in sleeping with women." WHAT? "She watched the sexy jazz singer singing a sexy song. All the men in the room were obviously moved, and Phryne was, almost, except that she wasn't a lesbian, so not really." WHY? "Phryne could recognise that the woman was very attractive, though of course, she was not actually sexually attracted to her, because she was not a lesbian." I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS NARRATIVE DECISION.

It's particularly odd because there are several canonical queer minor characters. They are not all rendered with intense devotion to avoiding stereotypes, but they are mostly positive figures. The narrative reminds us a lot that being queer is FINE. And yet, so much concern that Phryne will be thought of as gay. The only possible excuse I can imagine is that she is to be revealed to be massively in denial, though I rather doubt that, particularly as she does seem very genuinely interested in men. Perplexing. One could perhaps turn it into a bingo game, if one so desired. I don't know if I will read all of them, but I'm not discouraged enough yet to stop.


More highly recommended: Attack the Block, a lovely movie about aliens falling to earth inexplicably. The first one is murdered by a gang of teenagers from the projects/London equivalent, and the rest come to take revenge on the teens, who are joined by some pot dealers and a nurse they mugged, and then rescued from aliens. I know I'm rather late on this one, but it's definitely worth it for all your improvised urban monster/alien-fighting needs, and also the amazing scene where the 20-something female lead who has been giving the male lead a wee bit of the eye in an nice, traditional movie way (he mugged her, then saved her life, then she saved his, etc.) finally asks how old he is, and as he says fifteen and all of his decisions thus far suddenly click logically into place, she looks gloriously horrified with herself. BEST.
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opusculasedfera: stack of books, with a mug of tea on top (Default)
Elizabeth/Lidabet

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