Revolting doubles: radical Narcissism and the trope of lesbian Doppelgangers

Olu Jenzen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article is concerned with a repositioning of popular cultural images and narratives that are, and have been, highly unpopular among queer audiences. This involves a re-engagement with the visual representation of lesbian lovers as doubles, ubiquitous in popular culture. It argues that by positioning the trope of the lesbian doppelgangers as it appears in popular culture on a continuum of visual representations of sameness and likeness that also includes feminist and queer art its qualities of radical or ‘absolute’ narcissism are brought to the fore to be enjoyed as a subversive statement of highly self-referencing, auto-erotic and self-sufficient economy of desire. In a reading of Black Swan (2010), a film that has attracted notable negative responses from feminist critics, it discusses how radical narcissism disturbs the heteronormative matrix through a refusal of its underpinning organisation of desire and identification as exclusionary. It closes by engaging with contemporary artworks drawing on the doppelganger motif.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-364
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Lesbian Studies
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Journal of Lesbian Studies on 15/07/2013, available online at:


  • sexualities studies
  • the queer uncanny
  • doppelganger
  • popular culture
  • visual culture
  • sameness
  • narcissism
  • psychoanalysis
  • contemporary art
  • cinema


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