Tiana Reid is a writer, editor, and PhD candidate in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her writing has been published in Art in America, Bookforum, The Paris Review, T Magazine, Vice, Vulture, and elsewhere. She is also an editor at The New Inquiry and Pinko. (December 2019)
Gender is a global concern, touching every shore, at every moment. At the start of the Atlantics, Ada is not exactly recalcitrant, though she’s on her way to mouthing off to her religious parents after they insist, at her fiancé’s family’s request, that she take a “virginity test.” From the start, she’s tainted by the sluts. She’s with the sluts. And because the film encourages us to sympathize with her rebellion against the strictures of this society, the film’s perspective, too, is with the sluts. Ada is coming into a radical understanding that her desires differ from those of her family and friends. She leans into the insults, the warnings, the precarity. Maybe she wants to be an uncooperative woman, maybe she wants to run away from her family, maybe she wants to disappear into Souleiman, maybe she wants to vanish entirely.