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The queer performance of Tilda Swinton in Derek Jarman's 'Edward II': gay male misogyny reconsidered
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 19:36 authored by Niall RichardsonNiall Richardson
Gay male misogyny has become a cliché. From the novels of Alan Hollinghurst and David Leavitt to recent gay themed films such as Trick and Broadway Damage, woman¿s abject presence is used as a defining other for the gay male bodies. Myopic critics have cited Jarman¿s films in the same league. This article will argue that Jarman does not represent his favourite actor - Tilda Swinton - as an abject sponge. Instead, Swinton¿s performance evokes an interrogation of the assumed stable continuum of the sexed body and gender. Through a camp performance, Queen Isabella (Swinton) offers the Butlerian potential of exposing the performativity of gender. The film continually stresses a Brechtian distanciation between Swinton¿s gender performance and her famously androgynous body.
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