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straight white male
Chasing Amy My disclaimer:
This is a controversial film. Anything that plays with categories of gender/sexuality takes that risk. I share with many a sincere concern for the lesbian / feminist reading of Chasing Amy. Controversy and criticism result largely from the film's potential implication that a woman is ultimately dependent upon a man, ultimately needing of one in order to obtain true love. The consequent complications of such a reading are multiplied by the fact that in Chasing Amy that woman is lesbian-identified, and she falls in love with a straight male anyway as if lesbian identity were so precarious that the "right guy" could shatter it, "break her down," and "win" the girl in the end.

Personally, I criticize two unfortunate aspects of the film that in my estimation encourage this sort of reading. First, Alyssa's character (the lesbian) is directed/delivered inappropriately in important scenes: When the script itself is possibly its most progressively feminist and most in need of close attention, her lines are delivered awkwardly, buried within screaming and crying in such a helpless way that the messages of strength and consciousness that the script itself attempts are at points nearly completely obscured. Second (and this is a script criticism), her character involves herself with Holden romantically and sexually unnecessarily abrubtly, seemingly requiring no deliberation, not even over the issue of penetrative heterosexual intercourse (though, granted, the film does reveal later her experience with heterosexual sexuality). Her rationale is addressed thoroughly later, but the audience is somewhat melodramatically subjected to this instant-conversion sequence that weakens (if not ruins) the film's agency with important audiences regarding its feminism and views upon sexual categories.

While these two mistakes are unfortunate, after much thought I personally could not dismiss this film as fundamentally inconsistent with feminist and/or queer politics. The script is at worst solid enough to defend itself against such potential criticism, and at best uniquely valuable and productive to discussions around gender and sexuality.