As a generation X-er I grew up in a world that was challenging sexuality but only encountered the instability of gender as an adult in radical new academic texts which were not then yet part of our everyday narratives. My daughter born between Gen Z and Gen Alpha is growing up in a world of gender fluidity and multiple pronouns.
Nathicharami takes sexuality and sexual desire away from upper-class, Gucci-clad women and makes its viewers acknowledge its existence in the lives of women (middle-class wives and widows, in the case of this film) who are invisibilised, both in the society they live in and as subjects of popular content.
Practicing polyamory comes with the struggle of breaking down value systems and non-acceptance that may lead to ostracism not only from the heterosexual world but also from the queer and trans community. Claiming oneself as queer depends not only on how one identifies, but also, in society’s eyes, on who one’s partner is; being single does not qualify and neither does being polyamorous as the latter is considered ‘non-serious’.
Contemporary and predominant imaginations of intimacy focus primarily on a sex-centric (romance-centric?) model which assumes that sexual desire exists and holds the same value for every person and every relationship regardless of their subjective positions. Sexual intent and desire are often the cruces of how relational aspects such as intimacy are socially constructed.
I was not simply stuck within the binaries of “same-sex” or “opposite sex,” assuming that any reference to “same-sex” is in itself already revolutionary. But the call to recognise friendship, is a call to recognise so many forms of community that are made invisible by the emphasis within a liberal or conservative framework on “marriage” as the only path to family making.