Central to both Yvette Christiansë’s Unconfessed (2006) and Futhi Ntshingila’s Shameless (2008) is an intimate female friendship. The depth of these intimacies is signaled by the fact that these relationships take precedence in the women’s lives over their relationships with men, which are often less than fulfilling. There is physical contact and appreciation of beauty between female friends; the relationships are frequently equated to romantic or sexual partnerships, but the language of kinship is also used to express the depth of the bond. These friendships have an erotic quality that blurs their distinction from same-sex romantic relationships. Critics such as Lillian Faderman and Adrienne Rich have argued for an expansion of the definition of “lesbian” to include female friendships for anti-patriarchal reasons. Christiansë and Ntshingila’s representation of highly intimate connections between women thus speaks to a resistance to both masculine domination and a phallocentric approach to human relationships.


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pp. 66-83
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