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Chapter 09.pdf

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Media Studies
Michael Petit

Chapter 9: Queer Analysis Queer Theory: An Overview - Queer Theory = seeks to disrupt socially constructed systems of human sexuality - Sexuality = individual emotional, romantic, sexual attraction (based upon other’s gender + sex) - Heterosexuality + Homosexuality = cultural/social construction/category - functions as a shortcut to describe sexual drives - Heteronormativity (heterosexism) = system of inequality (derived from homosexual / heterosexual binary) - heteronormative practices = encourage people to identify with heterosexuality (from an early age) - social practices that maintain heterosexual / homosexual divide = privilege heterosexuality - heterosexuality = normal + desirable (opposite + contrast to homosexuality) - Sexual Othering = stigmatizing homosexualiy as abnormal = priviledge heterosexuality - privilege → access to social practices: marriage, military service, insurance benefits, medical visitation rights - derogatory terms = gay, faggot, dyke - Queer Theorists = work against the normalization of heterosexuality + not individual heterosexuals Queerness & Visibility I: Sexual Stereotypes in American Media - Heteronormative Systems = maintain binary of sexuality - persuade us to sort sexual practices into one of two categories - the fact that heterosexual stereotypes don’t appear to be constructions speaks to the power of heteronormative systems 1. Natural / Deviant - Heterosexuals = high representation in media = normal - Homosexuals = low representation in media = abnormal (deviance, criminality, anti-social) 2. Monogamous / Promiscuous - heterosexuality = monogamous = normal - homosexuality = promiscuous (hyper-sexual drive, inflated sexual appetite, anonymous sex) = abnormal 3. Gender Clarity / Gender Ambiguity - heterosexuals = definite gender roles = normal - homosexuals = unclear gender roles (represented: classic / opposite blend of gender roles) = abnormal Queerness and Visibility II: the Problems with “Positive” Representation - visibility = number of queer characters present in the media - ↑ visibility diverse visibility = invisibility - i.e. increased visibility of certain homosexual characters overlooks other types of homosexual characters
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