Presentation on theme: "A Level Media Studies. Definition... A field of critical theory that emerged in the early 1990s out of the fields of LGBT studies and feminist studies."— Presentation transcript:
Definition... A field of critical theory that emerged in the early 1990s out of the fields of LGBT studies and feminist studies. 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. Challenges the traditionally held assumptions that there is a binary divide between being gay and heterosexual Suggests sexual identity is more fluid. For example...
Captain Jack Sparrow – Pirates of the Caribbean An ironic and over the top performance Overly elaborate costume and eye make-up Uses feminine and camp gestures Not what we would consider ‘macho’.
Judith Butler (1999) 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.) For example...
Both have built their success on subverting expected notions of femininity Joss Stone By being overtly sexual at a young age. Amy Winehouse By living up to her ‘bad girl’ image. Excessive consumption of drugs and alcohol. She mixes an excess of traditional 1950s/60s femininity by wearing retro dresses that emphasise the female shape and long hair... with a range of tattoos that would once have been considered masculine.
The History... 1950s – police actively enforced laws that prohibited sexual activities between men. Sexually ‘abnormal’ and ‘deviant’. 1967 – homosexuality is decriminalised in UK (2009 for India) In parts of Africa and Asia today it is still punishable by death 1977 – World Health Organisation refers to homosexuality as a mental illness (removed in 1990) Civil partnerships legal in UK from 2004.
Queer theory suggests there are different ways of interpreting contemporary media texts (before decriminalization) Batman and Robin (1960) “homo-erotic overtones...ironically camp.”
Contemporary Texts Queer theory can also be applied to texts where heterosexuality is dominant. Frasier The two brothers, Frasier and Niles have feminine tastes Preferences for fine wine, opera, designer clothes and interior design Joey and Chandler (Friends) Strongly heterosexual text Homo-erotic...an interest in each other that exceeds normal friendship
Queer as Folk (1999) Queer theory suggests there is now a more open and fluid approach to sexuality. There have been a number of changes in attitude. Represented gay culture in Manchester Positive in that it represented gay culture rather than an individual character
Brokeback Mountain (2006) Success of this Hollywood film an indication of more progressive attitudes to homosexuality. For some, the film challenges two quintessential traditional images of American masculinity – the cowboy and the ‘fishing trip’. However, it can also be suggested that the homosexual relationship portrayed here is represented as tragic – a long way from the idealised heterosexual relationships in mainstream Hollywood films. As the film is set in the 1950s, some would also argue that this suggests issues of homophobia belong in the past.
Camp Involves an exaggerated performance of femininity. Emphasis on style, image, irreverence and breaking taboos. A camp style draws attention to how masculinity is constructed. Challenges the traditional notions of masculinity.
Will and Grace An indication of changing attitudes to homosexuality. Contains a number of overtly gay cultural references. However… Although Jack is portrayed as camp, Will spends much of the time ‘playing straight’ (having dinner parties, flat hunting with Grace) His boyfriends provide only fleeting relationships. His relationship with Grace is problematic – Whether he will ‘become straight’ is left open in the narrative (if so, he would be with Grace) – this undermines the queer reading of the text.
Lesbianism Never made illegal Yet suppressed in British culture in 19 th and 20 th centuries. Media representations of lesbians are far less frequent. One or two notable exceptions include Sugar Rush (2005/6)and Tipping the Velvet (2002)
Madonna – bringing queer theory to the masses Masculine traits – very successful in business, seemingly in charge of her own career Disrupts the ‘male gaze’ Also appropriates female constructs Parodic drag performances
In conclusion... ‘Gender trouble’ is evident everywhere in mainstream media. Queer theorists suggest this is evidence of a move towards increasing tolerance of sexual diversity. Others argue that these representations simply present alternatives to the ‘norm’ of heterosexuality. Used because of their shock value, not due to any desire to promote diversity.