Queer theory

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Queer Theory Another way to see representations

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Presentation for A2 Media Studies class on queer theory

Transcript of Queer theory

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Queer TheoryAnother way to see representations

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Are you queer?• Queer is by definition

whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant. There is nothing in particular to which it necessarily refers. It is an identity without an essence.

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Dominant ideology and hegemony

• “Normalising” gender roles• White, male, heterosexual as the

norm• Institutionalised – politics, church,

education, the traditional family etc.

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However, if you’re different then…

• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOmS3sb9oxE

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Queer Theory• Queer Theory rejects conventional

or mainstream behaviour, including sexual identity, but also a range of identities including race, disability and gender.

• It rejects the essentialist nature of theories of identity based on binary oppositions like male/female, gay/straight and argues there is another space outside which is ‘queer’.

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It explores and challenges the way in which heterosexuality is constructed as normal...

And the way in which the media has limited the representations of gay men and women.

Suggests sexual identity is more fluid

What media celebrity examples can you think of?

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Judith Butler

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Judith Butler• Suggests gender is not the result of

nature, but is socially constructed.• Male and female behaviour roles are not

the result of biology but are constructed and reinforced by society through media and culture.

• Sees gender as a PERFORMANCE.• She argues that there are a number of

exaggerated representations of masculinity and femininity which cause “gender trouble.”

• (Any behaviour or representation that disrupts culturally accepted notions of gender.)

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Who is?

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Gregg Araki – a gay movie?

• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=by_4IDH5h1U

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A heterosexual movie?

• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agRzpnS_FGw

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Gender TroubleIn her most influential book, Gender Trouble (1990), Butler argued that feminism had made a mistake by trying to assert that 'women' were a group with common characteristics and interests

That approach, Butler said, performed 'an unwitting regulation and reification of gender relations' - reinforcing a binary view of gender relations (men and women)

She argued that, rather than opening up possibilities for a person to form and choose their own individual identity, feminism had closed the options down

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• “There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender; ... identity is performatively constituted by the very "expressions" that are said to be its results.” (Butler)

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Queer Readings: This..

• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAfbp3YX9F0

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Or this?

• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfbjUmG8zGk

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• “Of course Top Gun isn’t a ‘gay movie’ — but it’s clearly, flag rantly not a straight one either.” (Mark Simpson)

• How does this work?

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• Queer theory suggests there are different ways of interpreting contemporary media texts

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Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick• Sedgwick describes Queer Theory as:

“the open mesh of possibilities, gaps, overlaps, dissonance, and resources, lapses and excesses of meaning when the constituent elements of anyone's gender, of anyone's sexuality aren't made (or can't be made) to signify monolithically” (1993)

• What does that mean?

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FluidityThis implication of ‘fluidity’ allows us to consider concepts such as transgenderism (moving between genders), transsexualism (physically changing gender), intersex (both sexes present, affects 1 in 2000 babies), pansexual (sexual attraction not based on gender) and trigender (a gender outside of male or female) amongst others

At it’s most radical, it implies all currently accepted definitions of sex, gender and sexuality are questionable, if not redundant

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Its influence

• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1l7JZA5LQc

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• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WYIOnm_HFc

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And how it challenges• From this

• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KElUaDumoOY

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Is this progress?

• http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/25661228

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Finally• Where does all of this leave

representation and collective identity?