Female filmmakers in focus: Georgia Oakley on Blue Jean

One aspect of the film that I found really interesting was the contrast between Jean being at home watching “Blind Date” on TV, which really normalizes straight dating and behavior, and her finding a copy of “The Well of Loneliness.” by Radclyffe Hall in her friend's apartment. Blind Date is new, everyone can see it, but with this book she practically has to stumble into representation.

That was one of my main reasons for telling the story: to reflect on the barrage of heteronormative messages that everyone is exposed to. Not just Jean, but also Sammy, the little boy. The basic idea is that we all grow up in the same vacuum in which a certain type of experience is presented to us over and over again, to the point where it doesn't matter whether you experience it or not. Being different from your immediate family still seems wrong because of all this other news.

I talk about it all the time with queer friends. I have a stepdaughter, and she often makes comments that you wouldn't expect from someone who basically grew up with two moms. They'll be like, “Why did you just say that?” and she'll be like, “Oh, I was watching something on Netflix,” and you'll be like, “Okay, yeah.” So I've thought about it a lot and thought about that I grew up in a household where we watched Blind Date every Saturday night and no one thought anything of it.

Looking back through the Blind Date archives, I didn't expect to find anything like this…it almost feels like a comedy due to the pronounced misogyny. It appears in every single episode. It just makes your back tingle. I wanted to express that the most important takeaway from my experience during Section 28 is that if you remove all role models and discussions about homosexuality, homosexuality simply no longer exists in our world.

But then all these messages come to you without your permission. You just get hit in the head every day and don't even notice the billboards you drive past. Or article in the newspaper. Back then it was also a time when there was only one newspaper. If you worked in a school, there was a newspaper that the school subscribed to and everyone read the headline that day. It helped shape public opinion. So when something was written – and there were so many headlines that said, “Crazy lesbians… blah blah blah.” If that's what everyone reads at lunchtime, you know, and you're there, how different is it from the way we experience news and the like today?