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Here are three different paintings by 18th century French artist François Boucher. I couldn’t help but notice how downright homoerotic these paintings are, so I did a little research and came across a lovely art history essay by Erica Rand titled ’Lesbian Sightings: Scoping for Dykes in Boucher and Cosmo’. I was surprised and ecstatic to find that while Rand uses 18th century art to illustrate her broader points her argument is completely relevant to modern day queer political concerns. 

In ‘Lesbian Sightings’ Rand interrogates the notion that queer visibility automatically results in queer empowerment. I found this, well, pretty fucking interesting considering the obsession with visibility amongst disadvantaged groups. Rand argues that “lesbians are visible but nobody seems to notice”. As example Rand takes a look at Boucher’s art, several pieces of which figure some very cheerily intimate looking ladies. According to Rand there has been little written about the prevalence of female homoeroticism in Boucher’s work both by his contemporaries as well as in modern art criticism. Rand writes that the “heterosexual presumption that Boucher neither depicts nor engages lesbian sexual desire typifies the past two-and-a-half centuries of Boucher criticism”

That said, while Rand argues that Boucher’s work depicts sexual attraction between women that it does not necessarily subvert compulsory heterosexuality. Boucher’s female homoerotic images function within a “body of work that was predominantly heterosexual and that fired primary in narratives that had as their end a heterosexual coupling”. Because of this, heterosexuality is still articulated as more natural than homosexual, and as the “most significant referent toward which even homoerotic depictions point”

Rand’s argument that “dykes” are highly visible in Boucher’s work is intriguing and convincing. It’s equally convincing that their presence is not necessarily subversive. Their visibility doesn’t offer any revolutionary claims for queer empowerment because they are merely the pretty dressings on a heterosexual narrative. Rand concludes that it’s imperative to question the linkage between queer visibility and queer empowerment, particularly because the fact that visibility does not always make for seeing. As Rand boldly states: “Boucher’s critics could see the erotically enlaced women, but they could not see anything that challenged heterosexuality. In fact, they saw nothing but heterosexuality”.

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Franky & Bridget | One way or another [+3x08] Wentworth

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Thanks to her mom, our friends and some great luck I pulled off a three day surprise weekend for my amazing girlfriends Brittney’s birthday! We started with dinner, a hotel party at a casino and then got to spend the weekend in Portland and on the coast with our dog! She’s incredible and I’m so lucky this weekend went as planned…