test for footnotes

Despite all the controversy over The Cabbage Fairy, the film’s significance as a document of sexual history has been nearly completely neglected. More specifically, the sexual imagery of The Cabbage Fairy takes part in the lesbian chic of the Belle Époque (1871-1914). While the terms “lesbian” and  “Sapphic,”[1] originate from the ancient poet Sappho of Lesbos (600 BCE), their association with lesbian sexuality as we understand it is, in the words of literary scholar Yopie Prin, “a particularly Victorian phenomenon.”[2] When understood in the context of its historical milieu, the Sapphic visuality of The Cabbage Fairy radically transforms common assumptions about the so-called “birth of cinema.” Close attention to Guy’s early work reveals the centrality of queer sexualities, not only to her trademark disruptions of gender norms, but to the development of motion picture industries more broadly at the turn of the twentieth century.



[1] Throughout this essay, the terms “lesbian” and “Sapphic” are used interchangeably to denote a variety of sexual desires, activities, relationships, identifications, and embodiments, which today might be called lesbian, bisexual, non-binary, pansexual, queer, trans, intersex, or gender nonconforming, among other terms. I use lesbian and Sapphic because they are era-appropriate, predate the dominance of the sexologists, and retain a gendered meaning that insists on feminist analysis within a patriarchal culture, while remaining capacious enough to include people who may have understood themselves in multiple, variable ways. Additionally, I use the contemporary intersectional feminist term “womxn” to denaturalize racialized and gendered language.

[2] Yopie Prin, Victorian Sappho (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), 94.