LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
The University of Texas at El Paso
2. The History of Queer
• Emergence of gay/queer as an identity
• Differences between gay/queer
• Aims of the two factions…
– Represented in theory by feminism
– Represented in theory by queer theory
• “Queer marks both a continuity and a break with
previous gay liberation and lesbian feminist
models” (Jagose 75).
3. Queer as Community
• Emergence of identity leads to ostracism (you
move from becoming a person that does bad
things to a bad person) behavior vs. identity…
people are more willing to accept/forgive
behavior vs. identity
• Rejection by natural family leads to formation
of a gay sense of community/”adopted” family
4. LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
• Instances of Condemnation
• Forming Community
• Upsetting and Disturbing Roles
6. • Condemnation from the father (absurd)
• Self esteem plummets
• Acceptance from the rest of the family
8. • Condemnation and intervention/community
work in tandem
• The father, an earlier source of condemnation,
joins the community
• The absurd pageant world clashes with what is
essentially a kid acting like a kid.
• Normality is seen as queer and vice versa.
9. DISTURBING THE ROLES
10. • Seemingly normal meltdown for a teenager
• Yet, the children act like adults.
• The parents, supposedly adults, are lost.
• The two kids solve the situation
• Dwayne even apologizes without prompting
11. • Teenagers and gay individuals – usually the
least trustworthy characters
• These characters are the source of wisdom in
12. Why Does This Matter?
• The visual is often dismissed as non-academic, trivial, or
• Yet , images and visuals in popular culture represent an
important tool for imparting ideology as Bourdieu’s concept
of habitus indicates.
• Movies are an important area of study due to their ready
acceptance by the public often without resistance or critical
• It is the rhetorical scholar’s duty and responsibility to not
only subject these concepts to further scrutiny, but also to
prevent them from operating on the unconscious level
where they currently reside and in whatever medium they