Across her body of work in film, television, and digital media, Desiree Akhavan has captured the awkward politics of cultural production for female filmmakers and media-makers. Yet she has also refused to straightforwardly align her work with feminist critiques of dominant cultural production practices, however much she is interpellated by them. Akhavan, a queer woman of color in a racist, sexist, and homophobic industry, negotiates both contemporary feminism's potentials for solidarity and its intersectional shortcomings. Akhavan's autobiographical characters wrestle with the need for social justice while questioning the “appropriate behaviors” demanded by serious commitments to the cause. Her work reveals the ambivalence of feminist attachments. This article reads the queer feminist politics of Akhavan's work, with a particular focus on her debut feature Appropriate Behavior (UK/US, 2014), through the lens of citational practice. The author argues that Akhavan employs citational codes that function in Clare Hemmings's words as a “storytelling tactic,” sustaining normative narratives about feminism's recent past. By employing an ambivalent trope that the author calls citation→disavowal, Akhavan troubles both the dominant cultures she is excluded from and the viability and legibility of her place within the movements that resist them.

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