Hollywood specializes in the humiliation of its female stars. But this “exposure” is paradoxically at the heart of the feminist aims of the #MeToo movement, too––women must confess moments of painful abuse in order to counter an oppressive patriarchal order. Systems of oppression are “conspiracies,” of sorts (which doesn't discount their validity: as the 1960s adage goes, “Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you”), and the Trump era is rife with conspiracy theories. But this “paranoid” view is not limited to either end of the political spectrum. Using the video work of former A-list Hollywood star, Sean Young (most famous as Rachael in the original Blade Runner [Dir. Ridley Scott, 1982]), which re-stages the moments of Young's greatest career humiliations, and Eve Sedgwick's ideas about “paranoid” and “reparative” reading strategies, this article considers the “reparative” potential of Young's work, and of humiliation in general.
Conspiracy, Paranoia, #MeToo, and the Reparative Work of Sean Young's Catwoman
Dolores McElroy is a lecturer in the Film & Media Department at the University of California, Berkeley. Her chapter, “Arias for an Untold Want: The Queer Desire of the Diva Film,” appears in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Queer Cinema, edited by Ronald E. Gregg and Amy Villarejo. She holds a PhD in Film & Media from the University of California, Berkeley, and a MA in Film Studies from Columbia University.
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Dolores McElroy; Conspiracy, Paranoia, #MeToo, and the Reparative Work of Sean Young's Catwoman. Film Quarterly 1 September 2020; 74 (1): 52–56. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2020.74.1.52
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