Pre-Woke Watching

The First Time I Saw Lesbian Sex Was in Black Swan. Now I’m Out, and a Little Horrified by It.

When you watch old favorites years later, sometimes you realize how much you used to overlook. In Pre-Woke Watching, based on the recurring segment from Slate’s Represent podcast, viewers revisit their personal classics and evaluate how they look now.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I went to see Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan with my best friend. It was the first time I ever saw a lesbian sex scene, and it’s fair to say it had a profound effect on me. I came out as gay a year later.


Black Swan was one of the first films I’d ever seen where female pleasure was depicted whatsoever—and the first movie I saw that took lesbianism seriously. At least I thought it did. Eight years later, I’ve realized that the romance that helped me understand my own lesbianism is not just deeply unromantic, it’s also founded on homophobic tropes. Watch more in the video.

Watch more episodes of Pre-Woke Watching:

I Grew Up Watching Friends in India. I Worry About the Damage It Still Does There.

I Wanted to Be Rory Gilmore Growing Up. Watching Gilmore Girls Now, I Cringe.

Soul Food Inspired Black Girls Like Me, but It Taught Disturbing Lessons