Queer Analysis Flashcards Preview

Intro to Media Studies > Queer Analysis > Flashcards

Flashcards in Queer Analysis Deck (23):

• Interdisciplinary perspective
• Seeks to disrupt socially constructed systems over meaning regarding human sexuality
• Explores seemingly “natural” binary: heterosexuality/homosexuality
• Theorists work to expose shortcoming of these labels and show how they work to support systems of social power and privilege
o Heterosexuals as the dominant, hegemonic idea
• Political – the implications (*think about politics when taking on these cultural theories)

Queer Theory


emotional, romantic or sexual attraction toward others



same-sex environment, such as in prison, the military, and schools (can be anti-homosexual as a form of homosocial bonding)

- affects how we talk about sexuality



same-sex feelings not acted upon in a sexual manner (“bromance”)



same-sex erotic activity



triangular desire by Eve Sedgwick

• Desire is always mediated
• The woman is the mediator, seemingly the object of desire, the one receiving attention but it is toward the men
• Action is b/t the two men, intense relationship is b/t the two men

Example of a homoerotic situation – where the real action is going on between the men

Model of Desire


whatever is at odds with the normal, legitimate, dominant; nothing in particular to which it necessarily refers

• Articulates radical questioning of social and cultural norms, notions of gender, reproductive sexuality and the family

• To queer something is to make it seem odd, to counteract, delegitimize, to make strange to frustrate



Coined in 1991 by queer theorist Michael Warner to describe any of a set of lifestyle norms that hold that people “natuarally” fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with designated ”natural” roles in life.

Holds that heterosexuality is the “normal” sexual orientation, and states that sexual and marital relations are most (or only) fitting between a man and a woman.



one that aligns biological sex, sexuality, gender identity, and gender roles. Anything outside this system is seen as “perverse”

“heteronormative” view


a. normal/natural
b. loving/monogamous
c. purity/gender clarity



Any concept of sexuality is culturally constructed and distorting. The fact that heterosexual stereotypes don’t appear to be constructions speaks to the power of heteronormative systems.

Sexual Stereotypes in Media


a. abnormal/deviant
b. hyper-sexual/promiscuous
c. perversion/gender blurring



Commercials that assume heteronormativity:

Gay Pepsi Commercial – commercial wouldn’t work without acceptance of heteronormativity; assumption of heteronormativity
• Different emotional responses
• Curious, intrigued, or repulsed

McDonalds Commercial – “Come as you are”
• Emphasize heteronormativity
• The father is the main agent of heteronormativity; reinforces the structure of heterosexuality
• Expectation of heteronormativity
Why make a commercial like this?
• Everyone is welcome despite how far you may have deviated from the norm
• Come on in and spend your money


Homophobes might be hidden homosexuals

Reaction formation – Freud, angry battle against the outward symbol


No absolute association b/t a person’s gender and sexuality, media texts often portray heterosexuals as having definite gender roles and homosexuals as having unclear ones (they don’t follow the rules)

i.e. Modern Family
• queer theorists celebrate this sort of gender fluidity as a way to eradicate sexual classification
• ambiguity often results in certain level of discomfort in mass audiences toward gay and lesbian people


tends to result in a threatening, unsettling sense that “things are not quite right” with queer characters and personalities

Gender androgyny


What is the relationship between Queer and heteronormativity?

Like images of gender, the various heteronormative sexual stereotypes we see in media contribute to a social system defined by restricted sexual expectations.

for Women AND Men


What’s at Stake?

Bystander effect


Bystander effect

situations in which individuals do not offer any help to a victim of violence when other people are present

"the reason none of the bystanders intervened was because they did not want to be considered ‘wusses’ or ‘be made fun of"


Queerness and Visibility: The Problems with “Positive” Representation

Queer visibility a paradox:
- Increased visibility not always diverse visibility
- “Types” presented in the media; aspects are always obscured; any representation is incomplete and therefore misleading
- Homosexuality often constructed as a “problem” to solve – e.g. being in “The Closet”


The Deployment of Sexuality

Michel Foucalt (1926 – 1984)
Judith Butler (b. 1956)


Before the late 19th century, one could not “be” a homosexual. A man could have sex with another man, but this was merely an act, an individual instance, and not a quality of identity.

With the rise of religious, medical and political discourses surrounding sexuality, the notion of homosexuality (and heterosexuality) came to be a coherent classification of people. (late 18th/early 19th century)

o Being a homosexual was merely an act not a quality of identity
• Homosexuality came to be a coherent classification of people (late 18th/early 19th century)
• Scientific revolution – categorizing things; DSM of Mental Disorders
o Saying you are homosexual, you are interpellating yourself into the medical discourse

• Discursive Construction (constructed thru language)


• Gender only exists b/c people act (perform) as gendered beings
o i.e. Wearing a frilly pink dress = feminine; we are trained to accept that
• Gender is not an objective natural thing
• Is solely and completely a social construction, a fiction
• “We’re born naked and the rest is drag”
• Not necessarily intrinsic to who we are

Judith Butler (b. 1956)

i.e. Paris is Burning
Performing ideology and discourse