In the era of social distancing, when significant face-to-face and physical spaces—from film festivals to shelters—are not accessible, alternative viewing can act as community building for marginalized communities. Sex Education (Laurie Nunn, 2019–) and Trigonometry (Duncan Macmillan and Effie Woods, 2020–), both primarily queer positive and sex positive and featuring fully realized black, Asian, and mixed-race characters, indicate a new way of telling intimate stories in British television. Suggesting that these shows offer an exuberant poetics of sexual frankness that is as verbal and affective as it is visual and spectacular, So Mayer delineates their conscious invocation of queer and feminist cultural histories. And, at a time of heightened awareness about touch putting people at risk that could not have been a consideration at the time the shows were produced, Sex Education and Trigonometry use an educationally expansive narrative of sexualities in which an aesthetics of tactility is underpinned by new narrative forms shaped by consent and respect, to encourage viewers to welcome an equally expansive commonality.
Pan(dem)ic! At the Disco: Sex (and) Education in COVID-19-Era Television
So Mayer is the author of Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema (IB Tauris, 2015) and The Cinema of Sally Potter: The Politics of Love (Wallflower, 2009). Their forthcoming titles include A Nazi Word for A Nazi Thing (Peninsula, 2020) and Orlando (BFI Film Classics, 2022). Mayer is a member of queer feminist film curation collective Club des Femmes, and a co-founder of the campaign/community organization Raising Films.
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So Mayer; Pan(dem)ic! At the Disco: Sex (and) Education in COVID-19-Era Television. Film Quarterly 1 September 2020; 74 (1): 30–39. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2020.74.1.30
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