Drawing the Line: Lesbian Sexual Politics on the Wall


86 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 0-88974-030-5
DDC 779'.28'086643




Johanne M. Pelletier is an archivist and Ph.D. candidate in the
Department of History and Philosophy at the Ontario Institute for
Studies in Education.


Drawing the Line is a collection of pull-out postcard photographic
reproductions selected from the Kiss & Tell Collective’s touring
photographic exhibition, and later video of the same name. The images
and the formats in which they have been presented offer uniquely
challenging views of lesbian sexual imagery by inviting viewer or reader
participation. The original photo exhibition invited women visitors to
write their reactions to the images on the walls; men were invited to
write in a book in the middle of the exhibition room. Samples of the
comments taken from the walls in various cities where the show was
exhibited were added to the postcards, each reflecting responses of
anger, pain, appreciation, and humor to representation of a variety of
lesbian sexual practices. The postcard format further encourages
interaction with the photograph as “art”: the cards can be removed,
exhibited, exchanged with friends, or destroyed. To complete the
interactive package, the last postcard is addressed to the Kiss & Tell
Collective and can be sent in with the reader’s comments.

The images in this collection cover a range of sexual experiences and
expressions. To focus audience reactions on the representation of
lesbian sex and not personal preferences in size, shape, or color of the
women involved, the Collective used only two models (Persimmon
Blackbridge and Lizard Jones) and one photographer (Susan Stewart). The
creators point out that the use of only two models eased the
difficulties in exploring the dynamics of explicit lesbian sexual
photography. Many of the images, particularly those involving explicit
displays of power or pain in butch/femme sex, show the intimacy and
trust of this close collaboration. Drawing the Line is an exciting
photographic collection and a challenging and occasionally disturbing
exploration of lesbian sexuality.


Stewart, Susan., “Drawing the Line: Lesbian Sexual Politics on the Wall,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/11724.