In recent work Ahwesh has continued to force serious philosophical questions from unlikely material. The footage that constitutes She Puppet (2001) was recorded directly from Ahwesh’s computer as she played the video game Tomb Raider, famous for its robotically voluptuous animated protagonist Lara Croft. As she seems to push the character to the outer edges of the Tomb Raider world, different female voiceovers read from the work of Sun Ra, Joanna Russ and Fernando Pessoa. As we watch Lara Croft fend off attacking huskies and machine gun wielding commandos, dying again and again, we catch ourselves attributing the content of the voiceover texts to Lara’s subjectivity. She Puppet therefore cunningly demonstrates the improbable persistence of the processes of spectator identification. But more importantly, the film performs this work in the context of posing larger questions about the incredibly abstract, but at the same time all too real and particular, nature of the category of the female in our cultural imaginary. There is nothing real or realistic about the animated image of Lara Croft, and yet, through the repetitive acts of violence and self-destruction, she becomes real and we find ourselves believing in her on the very basis of her being obsessively violated. In many ways She Puppet is the most succinct and powerful essay on the position of women in the field of cinematic vision since Laura Mulvey’s “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”.-
The Female Man is a feminist science fiction novel written by Joanna Russ. It was originally written in 1970 and first published in 1975. The book was re-released in 2000. Russ is an avid feminist and challenged sexist views during the 1970s with her novels, short stories, and nonfiction works. These works include We Who Are About To, “When It Changed”, and What Are We Fighting For?: Sex, Race, Class, and the Future of Feminism.
The novel follows the lives of four women living in parallel worlds that differ in time and place. When they cross over to each others’ worlds, their different views on gender roles startle each others’ preexisting notions of womanhood. In the end, their encounters influence them to evaluate their lives and shape their ideas of what it means to be a woman.