26 to be included in this fantasy of panhumanity

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26 To be included in this fantasy of panhumanity, Vincent has first to be exposed, for “imposture is not imposture until its duplicity is laid bare, and when impostors persist, treading in their own footsteps, they are not deranged but faithful to a lifelong project that oscillates towards the spir- itual” (Schwartz 1996, 71). If masculinity is sheer imposture, and Vincent realizes his ambition in the very moment his duplicity is laid bare, then the void left behind by such a disrobing might be filled by the promise of the power of the human spirit. Cinematic fantasies of the new genetics push feminist film theory to- ward queer reflections on the limits of its own means of reproducing itself. If femininity as masquerade opened up the possibility of showing the contradictions of the place of woman as image in a patriarchal sign system, revealing in the end that there was,
in fact, nothing behind the mask but another mask, masculinity as impersonation points to the dangerous il- lusory aspirations of singularity and perfection that govern the drive for agency, self-grounding, and authorship on the other side of the axis. But the display of the labor of artifice in the name of the genetic impersonation of masculine perfection troubles any easy attribution of gender, producing instead an ambiguity that plays across the binary of sexual difference, queering the previous categories of feminist film theory. For the hetero/ homo distinction takes on a new significance in the culture of the copy, complicating the question of how we know “whose desire is being figured” (Sedgwick 1994, 157). The reproduction of sameness through sexual difference is no longer so straightforward when the means for assuring its continuity are new technologies of replication that trouble the authority of paternity, inheritance, and heterosexuality in the cultural imagination. Vicarious sexual substitutions proliferate in the new cultures designed to 26 For an analysis of the concept of “panhumanity” in global culture, see Franklin, Lury, and Stacey 2000, 37–42. 1874 Jackie Stacey imitate nature. It seems we should trust neither the cinematic nor the scientific evidence before us that promises perfection or predictability. If the artifice of the image (femininity as the presentation of the desire of the other) moves into the territory of the new genetic imaginary, in which technologies of cell replication provide the basis for fantasies for copying the self, then the battle over representation becomes, inevitably, a battle over reproduction in both its biological and cultural sense. Department of Sociology Lancaster University References Ahmed, Sara. 1999. “‘She’ll wake up one of these days and find she’s turned into a nigger’: Passing through Hybridity.” Theory, Culture, and Society 16(2): 87–106.

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