Documentaries of interest

Thanks to Holly R. for suggesting the following documentaries that might be of interest to the Roles network:

‘Too Fast To Be A Woman’ 22nd February on BBC2 (and on iPlayer for a week thereafter)

The Story of Caster Semenya an athlete who was made to undergo sex-testing, the results of which were never disclosed.

Q. Does the public or media ever have a ‘right’ to know these things? Why aren’t there mixed sex athletic competitions?

‘Eye To Eye’  (1989), directed by Isabel Hegner

A documentary about Robert Mapplethorpe through interviews with his lover Jack Walls just before Mapplethorpe succumbed to his AIDS-related illnesses.

Q. There are postcolonialist themes in the imagery used, but is there more to be said about representations of gay men by a gay man (was this what was shocking to the 1970s/80s public?)?

Q. Amongst other things in the documentary, Walls says that whatever people think about the photos on first viewing them, after a while the photos take on a life of their own and stop being photos of Mr X or Mr Y and simply become images. What do you think about this statement?



  1. Interesting point of information: Jenny Meadows, a girl from the year above me at my secondary school, came third in the 800m race which sparked the Semenya controversy!

  2. I just watched the programme on Caster Semeya on iPlayer last night and was struck by how deeply the controversy surrounding Caster’s ‘gender’ affected her emotionally. I felt that the documentary managed to capture the way in which for many people gender can be such an integral part of one’s social identity that the unsettling of a person’s understanding of their own gender can have a profound effect on their concept of self.

    Though there was no great detail or explaination provided, I thought it promising also that the documentary felt able to include speakers to argue for the socially constructed nature of gender as this is part of the debate that is not often voiced in the media and stands out amongst the frequent reporting of ‘scientific’ claims for sex (or ‘gender’) differences.

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