Girl Reel

A memoir by Bonnie J. Morris

June 1, 2000 • 5.5 x 8.5 • 192 pages • 978-1-56689-094-6

Two thumbs up for this smart and funny personal history of a lesbian coming of age and coming out at the movies.

A lively mix of film criticism and personal history, Girl Reel is a raucous, rollicking, sometimes acerbic look at the powerful influence the entertainment industry has on our lives. Morris’s individual search for positive media images of strong women is our culture’s search as well. In chapters devoted to such films as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Julia, The Rose, Yentl, Contact, and more, Morris invites readers to indulge our “general exuberance as a group audience exploring our celluloid anthropology together.”

A must-have for all film buffs, Girl Reel is a book about our relationship to popular culture—how media images both preview and rerun our own lives. By surveying images of women and lesbians in television and film over the seventies, eighties, and nineties, and chronicling the move of lesbian and gay issues from the margins to the mainstream, Morris offers her own images of strong women, for a new generation of readers / viewers. You have to know who we are by now, us queer girls. We grew up in front of you, our lives a private girl reel. Some of us spent that girl reel at the movies.

About the Author

Bonnie J. Morris is a professor of women’s studies at George Washington University and Georgetown University. Born to Hollywood parents—her father was an extra in The Day the Earth Stood Still, her mother was an assistant to the movie star Greer Garson—Morris is the author of Eden Built by Eves (Alyson 1999) and two books on Jewish women’s history, and she is a contributor to more than fifty books and journals.


Girl Reel is the witty and compelling story of a real grrrl and her hip family. Celebrating our self-discovery via film, Morris’s delicious narrative couples the silver screen and the lavender life.” —Karla Jay

“What is most glorious about Morris’s book is her obvious delight (and skill) in blending recollection with critical insight, and the best sequences . . . remind us, as Woolf had, that our knowledge of ourselves rarely comes through a clear path but instead rears up in complicated interstices.” —The Lesbian Review of Books