Imagining a Lesbian Future

Just as “queer” holds many meanings today, the word “lesbian” encompassed more than just a sexual orientation in the 1970s. According to Professor Rox Samer, who teaches feminist, queer, and trans media studies at Clark University, “lesbian” symbolized the possibility of a substantially different future, encouraging people to think beyond harmful, present-day power structures. Samer coined the term lesbian potentiality to describe this internal sense, born from lesbians’ lived experiences, that someday women could — and would — topple the heteropatriarchy (the dominance of straight, cis men in society), gain control of their own sexual and social lives, and reshape society into…what, exactly?

In their fascinating new book, Lesbian Potentiality and Feminist Media in the 1970s, Samer unpacks various ways that artists grappled with this question of what a lesbian future might look like, studying short films alongside science-fiction writing as windows into the many different futures envisioned by lesbians, feminists, and lesbian feminists during the late 1970s.

Video Interview

Audio-Only Version

The Book

Don't forget to support Rox's research by picking up a copy of their latest book, Lesbian Potentiality and Feminist Media in the 1970s!

Next Week's Reading

Readings for next week's lesson with Jack Lowery are available here.