Queer Theory Presentation (2004)


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2004 presentation by Armando Alfaro & Joanna Robinson, for 4th year Communications class.

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Queer Theory Presentation (2004)

  1. 1. Queer Theory COMM 4P30 Presentation Armando Alfaro & Joanna Robinson Friday, October 29 th 2004
  2. 2. Agenda/Key Issues <ul><li>What or who exactly is queer? (& what is queer theory?) </li></ul><ul><li>Concerns addressed by Queer Theory: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Issues of representation/misrepresentation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ideology & Hegemonic forces regarding gender & sexuality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mainstreaming/commercialization of Queer culture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Subversive modes, audience reception & changes in mass culture representations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Queer readings of popular text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Camp as a subversive mode of opposition </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Queer Theory <ul><li>Revolves around sexual minorities within mass culture/media </li></ul><ul><li>An intellectual extension of the Gay & Lesbian rights movement. </li></ul><ul><li>Recognizes Queers as a disadvantaged class in society whose voices are obscured, misrepresented in, or omitted from mainstream popular culture. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Queer Theory <ul><ul><li>Thomas Waugh (1997) terms this school of thought “Gender/Queer Theory” in Between the Sheets in the Streets , which examines Queer documentary. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social Constructionism vs Biological Essentialism </li></ul><ul><li>Question: Do you believe Gender & Sexuality is completely constructed by societal forces? </li></ul><ul><li>Question: What are some of the ways this can be seen as taking place? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Alexander Doty (1993) Something Queer Here <ul><li>Aligns his analysis with Audience & Reception Theory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Queer positions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Queer readings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Queer pleasures </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Articulates concern for youth audiences since the realm of mass culture greatly “influence[s] our identity construction”. </li></ul>
  6. 6. What or who is Queer? <ul><li>“Queer” = Unity + Diversity </li></ul><ul><li>Queer as inclusive of Gay & Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender communities </li></ul><ul><li>Making Things Perfectly Queer: Interpreting Mass Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Question: “Whose text is it anyway?” </li></ul>
  7. 7. Larry Gross – Out Of The Mainstream <ul><li>- Sexual minorities and their place in mass media </li></ul><ul><li>- television upholds mainstream values (dominant ideology) and “normalizes” them </li></ul><ul><li>- minority positions that challenge status quo are not ignored, but discredited </li></ul><ul><li>- homosexual/queers positions challenge societal gender roles </li></ul>
  8. 8. Larry Gross – Out Of The Mainstream <ul><li>Stereotyping present in depictions of queerness </li></ul><ul><li>ie) TV movies aimed at straight audiences </li></ul><ul><li>Resistance and Opposition: </li></ul><ul><li>1) “Ignoring” mass media </li></ul><ul><li>2)Subversion </li></ul><ul><li>3)Self-representation </li></ul>
  9. 9. Critiques of Queer Theory <ul><li>Terminology – Gender Theory </li></ul><ul><li>Reading too much into things? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Heterosexual assumption that a same sex pair of screen characters that have a bond must be gay. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Homosexual undertones/humour used to reinforce the “rightness” of heterosexuality. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Exclusion of other disenfranchised lifestyles? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Concerns addressed by Queer Theory <ul><li>Issues of representation/misrepresentation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exclusion/omission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stereotypes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mainstreaming of Queer culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Big Gay Al </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Austin Powers II: The Spy Who Shagged Me </li></ul></ul>
  11. 15. <ul><li>Ideology & Hegemonic forces regarding gender & sexuality </li></ul><ul><li>“Normalizing” gender roles </li></ul><ul><li>White, male, heterosexual as the norm </li></ul><ul><li>Institutionalized – politics, church, education, the traditional family etc </li></ul>
  12. 16. <ul><li>Vern & Bonnie Bullough (1993) </li></ul><ul><li>Gender roles are equated with masculinity and femininity, male as provider, female as nurturer </li></ul><ul><li>These two concepts can help us understand how gender is a social construction directly linked to heterosexual roles. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender Identity – Self conceived </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender Role – As it is perceived by others </li></ul></ul><ul><li>According to dominant ideology, these should both be equal or the same. </li></ul><ul><li>This ideology about gender roles and sexuality is constantly reinforced throughout the majority of mass culture. </li></ul>
  13. 17. Camp as a subversive mode of opposition <ul><li>Gay subtexts – pre-Gay rights movement </li></ul><ul><li>Camp as the intellectual subversive presence in mass culture </li></ul><ul><li>Rabbit In Drag </li></ul><ul><li>Gender play/bending – David Bowie, Prince </li></ul>
  14. 19. Queer Readings of Popular Text <ul><li>Audience & Reception Theory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The study of how audiences interpret by looking at the social setting and context. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Denotation - Encoding </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Connation – Decoding of the message </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>This view places the audience as an active participant within mass culture, sometimes challenging the status quo. </li></ul><ul><li>The Odd Couple, Buddy films </li></ul><ul><li>Billie Holiday </li></ul><ul><li>Identifying with strong, independent female celebrities Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Janet Jackson </li></ul>
  15. 27. Media Texts about Queer experience <ul><li>Paris Is Burning </li></ul><ul><li>Texts about Queer experience, often made for a straight audience </li></ul><ul><li>Question – Is Madonna appropriating Queer culture or paying homage to it? </li></ul>
  16. 29. <ul><li>Mainstreaming of Queer culture / Appropriation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lesbian chic/lesbianism made ok in media texts because of male fantasy alignment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Madonna & Britney, T.A.T.U., Dreamworlds II </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use of stereotypes and “blanching” of gay culture, toning it down </li></ul><ul><li>Will & Grace vs Queer As Folk </li></ul><ul><li>Queer Eye For the Straight Guy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Question – Are these positive or negative depictions of Queer culture & to what audience do they speak? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the implications of such depictions? </li></ul></ul>
  17. 33. Media Texts by/for Queers <ul><li>Dorothy Arzner - Dance, Girl, Dance </li></ul><ul><li>Wachowski Brothers - Bound </li></ul><ul><li>Questions conventions of film genres & depictions such as the Gangster film </li></ul><ul><li>Gangster film has been traditionally associated with negative depictions of female sexuality </li></ul><ul><li>Internet as site of new wave of bottom up resistance to metanarratives about sexuality </li></ul><ul><li>Brock Press & bulletin boards recent issue </li></ul>
  18. 34. Dorothy Arzner
  19. 41. Conclusions <ul><li>Question: Where is Queer Theory now? Do you see movement toward the sorts of goals articulated by Doty and Gross? </li></ul><ul><li>Queer Theory has helped to bring about an awareness of the embedded nature of messages in media texts as well as looking critically at these messages about what is “normal”. </li></ul><ul><li>As an intellectual extension of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender movement, it is still seeking to improve upon the misrepresentation and lack of representation of diverse perspectives in mass culture. </li></ul>
  20. 42. Bibliography <ul><li>Able, Sam. (1995). “The Rabbit in Drag.” Journal of Popular Culture, 29 , 183-202. </li></ul><ul><li>Adam, Barry. (1995). The Rise of Gay and Lesbian Movement. New York: Twayne Publishers. </li></ul><ul><li>Alexander, Jonathan (2002). Queer Sites: Studying the Construction and Representation of Queer Identities on the World Wide Web International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies, 7.2-3, 85-106. </li></ul><ul><li>Bullough, Vern & Bullough, Bonnie. (1993). Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender . Philadelphia: University Of Pennsylvania Press. </li></ul><ul><li>DeCecco, John & Elia, John, eds. (1993). If You Seduce A Straight Person, Can You Make Them Gay?: Issues in Biological Essentialism versus Social Constructionism in Gay and Lesbian Identities. New York: Harrington Park Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Doty, Alenxander & Creekmur, Corey K., eds.(1995). Out In Culture . U. S.: Duke University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Hanscombe, Gillian & Humphries, Martin. (1987). Heterosexuality . London: GMP Publishers Ltd. </li></ul><ul><li>Kinsman, Gary. (1987). The Regulation of Desire: Sexuality in Canada . Montreal: Black Rose Books. </li></ul><ul><li>Leap, William & Boellstorff, Tom, eds. (2004). Speaking in Queer Tongues: Globalization and Gay Language . Chicago: University of Illinois Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Lorimer, Rowland & Gasher, Mike. (2001). Mass Communication in Canada . Ontario, Canada: Oxford University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Waugh, Thomas, Holmlund, Chris & Fuchs, Cynthia, eds. (1997). “Walking on Tippy Toes: Lesbian and Gay Liberation Documentary.” from Between The Sheets, In the Streets . </li></ul>