Getting The Girl: Wittig and Zeig’s Trojan Horse

Julie Scanlon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Following Monique Wittig's sudden death in 2003 there has been a flurry of criticism paying homage to the importance of her work, rightly situating it as a crucial contribution to gender and sexuality studies. In 2007 GLQ produced a special issue entitled "Monique Wittig: At the Crossroads of Criticism," following on from Namascar Shaktini's edited collection, On Monique Wittig: Theoretical, Political and Literary Essays published in 2005. These collections help to safeguard and shape Wittig's legacy as the radical French theorist who, it can be argued, paved the way for queer theory, who bequeathed theorists and activists the contentious statement "lesbians are not women" at New York's MLA conference in 1978, and the novelist who, throughout her fiction spanning the mid 1960s to mid 1980s, challenged literary form through experiments with language, point of view and structure. Whilst there is much critical work on Wittig's theories and fiction, academic consideration of the film The Girl (2000) has been largely absent, aside from a recent article by Annabelle Dolidon in Feminist Review. The Girl is a collaboration between director Sande Zeig and Wittig and is based on an unpublished short story by the latter who also worked on the screenplay and was an advisor on the film. In this article I seek to situate the film in relation to the discourses of Wittig's own theories as well as its contribution to theories of gender and sexuality more widely. Analysing The Girl offers an opportunity to re-vision Wittig's earlier theories in the light of a post lesbian chic cultural climate of the 1990s and a concomitant theoretical climate of queer.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGenders
Volume52
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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