I Love Dick: A Pop-Cultural Investigation of Desire and the Female Gaze

Ana Fazekaš


This paper intends to outline an analysis of the Amazon series I Love Dick, based on the pseudo-autobiographical theoretical fiction by experimental (self-described ‘failed’) filmmaker Chris Kraus. The series completed its first season in 2017, and it appears it will not be coming back for a second, as its non-cushioned feminist agenda and sophisticated intertextual elements seem to have not resonated with the mass audience. However, the series brings into popular/mass culture not only an erratic contemplation (mind the oxymoron) on intersectional feminism, but a provocative uncensored performance of female desire. Jill Soloway, creator of the series, insists on its being a celebration of the female gaze, which begs the question what is the aesthetic and political significance of what we could call the female gaze. The series is not solely an adaptation, it is an artistic reaction to the text, adding characters and changing some of the premises of the text, while remaining true to the general project. This article aims to map out some of the intertextual elements in the series and provide an interpretation based mostly on revisiting Laura Mulvey’s critique of narrative cinema in the framework of psychoanalytic theory, as the fictional Chris passes through the fantasy, slides through the chain of signifiers, challenging Dick/the phallic element, and finds her creative power in the very subversive act of – accepting failure.


Article received: March 31, 2018; Article accepted: May 10, 2018; Published online: October 15, 2018; Original scholarly paper

How to cite this article: Fazekaš, Ana. "I Love Dick: A Pop-Cultural Investigation of Desire and the Female Gaze." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 17 (2018): 89−102. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i17.273


feminism; popular culture; psychoanalysis; abjection; love

Full Text:



Berlant, Lauren. Love/Desire. New York: Punctum Books, 2012.

Judith Butler. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”. New York, London: Routledge, 1993.

Cixous, Helene. Coming to Writing and Other Essays. London, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991.

Felski, Rita. Literature After Feminism. Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Hess, Amanda. “Chris Kraus and Jill Soloway Talk About the Show I Love Dick.” New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/05/arts/television/i-love-dick-amazon-chris-kraus-and-jill-soloway.html. Accessed April 1, 2018.

Holmes, Helen. “You Should Really Read ‘I Love Dick’ Before Watching It.” Vice. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/gyxnb4/you-should-really-read-i-love-dick-before-watching-it. Accessed April 1, 2018.

Kosofsky Sedgwick, Eve. Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.

Kraus, Chris. I Love Dick. London: Serpent's Tail, 2016.

Levy, Ariel. “Dolls and Feelings: Jill Soloway’s Post-Patriarchal Television.” New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/12/14/dolls-and-feelings. Accessed April 1, 2018.

Mulvey, Laura. Visual and Other Pleasures. New York: Palgrave, 1989.

Paiella, Gabriella. “Jill Soloway Ended Her Emmys Speech With a Call to Topple the Patriarchy.” The Cut. https://www.thecut.com/2016/09/jill-soloway-wants-to-topple-the-patriarchy.html. Accessed June 30, 2018.

Read, Bridget. “What I Love Dick Gets Wrong.” Vogue. https://www.vogue.com/article/i-love-dick-amazon-jill-soloway-chris-kraus. Accessed April 1, 2018.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25038/am.v0i17.273


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 AM Journal of Art and Media Studies

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

AM Journal of Art and Media Studies ISSN 2217-9666 - printed, ISSN 2406-1654 - online, UDK 7.01:316.774

Contact: amjournal@outlook.com

Publisher: Faculty of Media and Communications, Singidunum University, Belgrade, Serbia

Indexed in: ERIH PLUSEBSCODOAJ, and in The List of Scientific Journals Categorization of Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of Republic of Serbia (M51-2019). Beginning with No. 12 2017, AM is indexed, abstracted and covered in Clarivate Analytics service ESCI.