Girl on Girl is a film in the LGBTQ and documentary film genres that highlights the emotional consequences of feminine lesbian invisibility– the phenomenon that, due to their feminine or “passing” appearance, countless LGBTQ women are rendered invisible and assumed to be straight by the outside world and to each other.
GIRL ON GIRL AVAILABLE NOW ON VIMEO ON DEMAND
Lauren, an ex-reality star (The Real L Word, Season 3)
Karen, an aspiring designer and formerly homeless LGBTQ teen
Kris, the feminist activist turned spiritual leader
Ashleigh & Destini. & toddler, Saibra. a family hoping to get pregnant again
Lyndi, an Air Force veteran
Plagued by interrogation, their day-to-day is colored by society’s insistence that feminine lesbians are ‘not real lesbians.’ Even in LGBTQ spaces, the phrases, “Are you sure?” “You haven’t met the right man,” “What a waste!” & “You’re too pretty to be gay,” are typical.
Over three years, we follow these women through interviews and home movie footage. From family tension and feminist politics, to homelessness, motherhood, racism and aging, Girl on Girl is a dynamic patchwork of stories that unifies the plight of all women to be taken seriously in their sexuality and femininity.
“Girl on Girl evolved out of my lived experiences and those of the women around me.” Says producer and director, Jodi Savitz.
“Ever since I came out, my identity has been challenged. I am not “what a lesbian looks like,” and fulfill few ‘typical’ lesbian stereotypes. I never understood the true scope of society’s skepticism toward my orientation until college. Not only did frat boys discount me, but also my own gender studies peers belittled me for being ‘too heteronormative looking’ to be a real lesbian. The irony was enormous.”
“I am a South Florida native, and grew up going to public schools where owning your identity and appearing ‘strong’ kept me safe. I came out to my peers in 2003. I was 14, and nobody was talking about Rainbow Alliances in school. Gay marriage was a mythical idea I wrote about in a research paper”
Can you describe what you mean by, “feminine lesbian invisibility?”
“Feminine lesbians face systemic ‘invisibility’ — the feeling of not being seen, recognized, or taken seriously for who we are. We are accused both within and outside of our community for not being gay enough because it is socially acceptable to believe that feminine women are “too pretty to be gay,” or that feminine women are wasted if we do not marry men.”
“In short, society is uniquely skeptical of us and our credibility- feminine lesbian sexuality is discredited, internalized sexism is the norm and masculine privilege (regardless of anatomical sex) is reinforced both within and outside of the gay community.”
Why now? What makes 2017 a perfect time to release your film?
“Audiences are discontent with the status quo, so no longer will LGBTQ, people of color, and women’s stories be relegated to the sidelines (so says the Academy)! Despite conservative backlash, it’s more apparent than ever that by embracing the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality, films and their filmmakers, & television shows and their creators are being celebrated as social ambassadors, in and of themselves, who use media as a platform for social change. So it seems, this is the perfect time to release Girl on Girl.”
Do you think the devaluation of ‘the feminine’ is related to the specific
discrimination feminine lesbians face?
“This is a complex question that truly gets to the heart of what Girl on Girl is about, and so I’ve actually considered it many times — whether and to what extent femininity, in and of itself, and as part of one’s gender presentation, is ultimately what strips people of their
agency, rather than their sexual minority status (i.e. gay/lesbian), anatomical sex
“When we consider the connotations of femininity and feminine versus masculinity and masculine, it is undeniably problematic that within the scope of the ‘feminine,’ there are little if any formal associations of femininity with strength, independence, power, and/or willpower. This is the opposite when one begins to associate concepts with the ‘masculine.’
“I believe that it is going to come down to semantic invention and re-imagination — can we re-imagine words to singularly mean positive and powerful feminine derivatives of the masculine counterpart – for instance, can there be a word to mean, “strong, nurturing, and one embodying a traditionally feminine appearance” (like the powerful business woman, wearing a skirt suit, who is also a mom, who is also a badass, etc…) — for now, at least in English, the strong, powerful business woman is most commonly degraded, and called a “bitch,” rather than lauded for her leadership. When we develop words to signify
feminine leadership and power, without demeaning the figure in question for their apparent weakness (i.e. femininity), we will begin to overcome some of the inherent stigmatization that comes with presenting as feminine.”
ABOUT THE CAST
Lauren Bedford Russell, best known for her
appearance on Season 3 of “The Real L Word,”
and her jewelry line, Lyon Fine Jewelry, is back to
talk about the challenges of not being taken
seriously as a lesbian, even after achieving
Ashleigh, Destini, Saibra (3) and new baby,
Blythe (born 11/3/14), follow this modern family
through their encounters with both racism and
homophobia, as they navigate raising a toddler and
planning a second pregnancy in a not-quite-soliberal
Lyndi, a former member of the United States Air
Force, came out before the appeal of “Don’t Ask,
Don’t Tell,” and faced the possibility of being
dishonorably discharged- until her femininity left
others believing that she couldn’t possibly be gay.
After Karen accidentally came out over a phone
call with her mother, she faced isolation from her
family, homelessness, and was forced to drop out
of school. With a renewed sense of self, we meet
Karen as she proves her resilience in the face of
skepticism and negativity.
Kris is an activist and social worker. In the 1980s,
she lived in an exclusively lesbian-feminist
community, practicing the woman-identifiedwoman
lifestyle which excluded men from all
aspects of her life. She opens up a spiritual center
with her partner in hopes of finding peace after
years of discontentment.