Skin Her

On ScarJo Sci-Fi

Spike Jonze (director). Her. 2013.
Jonathan Glazer (director). Under the Skin. 2013.

I do not identify with the prosthetic perfection of Esquire’s twice-crowned Sexiest Woman Alive, but with the alien — sharp boned, nearly breastless — inside of her. I feel my breath catch with Samantha’s only when I’m staring at a black screen vibrating with voices. Is this because I myself am “black” and “alien”? Is it because more than one lover has told me that I have inside me a darkness, a black intensity that I’ve come, with fondness, to call my tarball? Am I simply cursed with the ineluctable self-loathing of a woman in the West? Because I do find myself in these films. Not in the whiteness, but in the blackness. I find myself under the skin.

More from Issue 21

Issue 21 Throwback

One’s leisure time feels like work that one doesn’t have time for.

Issue 21 Throwback

Unionization had been rare in the industry because it cultivated “an aura of gentility which leads to self-deception.”

Issue 21 Throwback

Some of the most educated and skilled people in our society are among the most exploited workers.

Issue 21 Throwback

“The New Yorker is strong, but at the same time it is fragile. For everybody’s sake, I hope we will do nothing to hurt it.”

Issue 21 Throwback

It was a climate of fear for a bunch of delicate orchids.

Issue 21 Throwback

The work seemed to slide into Friday, while the money stopped on Thursday.

Issue 21 Throwback

Was the magazine exploiting everyone? It sure felt like it.

Issue 21 Throwback
The Look
Issue 21 Throwback
Destiny, USA
Issue 21 Throwback
The Raw and the Rawer
Issue 21 Throwback
The Next Next Level
Issue 21 Throwback

Let’s face it: there’s nothing cool about someone else’s sentimentality.

Issue 21 Throwback

“There are also men in the world,” Lydia Davis reminds us. As if we could forget.

Issue 21 Throwback

I frequently say “Check your privilege” as a polite proxy for “Shut your fucking racist mouth.”

More by this Author

July 25, 2014
The Book of Faces