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MDSA01H3 Chapter Notes -The L Word, Queer Theory, Human Sexuality

Media Studies
Course Code
Ted Petit

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Media CH.9 Queer Analysis
- Queer theory is an interdisciplinary perspective that seeks to disrupt socially
constructed systems of meaning surrounding human sexuality
- Sexuality is an enduring emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction towards others based
upon their gender
- Traditionally, sexuality is interpreted as either has heterosexual or homosexual
- Queer theorists assert that this traditional understanding misrepresentations the full
spectrum of human sexuality
- Binary: heterosexuality/homosexuality
- Queer theorists work to expose the shortcomings of these labels and show how they
work to support systems of social power and privilege
- Heteronormativity - refers to a diverse set of social practices that function to
perpetuate the heterosexual/homosexual binary and privilege heterosexuality
- Hetronormative social roles or powers maintain the distinction b/w heterosexuality and
homosexuality out of necessity
- Hetronormative practices encourage individuals to identify with heterosexuality from an
early age and regularly re-convince people that is mutually exclusive of homosexuality
- Sexual othering - the process of stigmatizing homosexuality as abnormal to privilege
- There are countless derogatory terms once can use to degrade a non-heterosexual
person and many of these words (like gay, faggot or dyke)
- GLBTQQIA refer to all the degrading terms for homosexuals
- Queer theory is opposed to individual sexual practices or feelings that we would label
heterosexual these theorists work against the systematic normalization of
heterosexuality and not individual heterosexuals
- Queer has also come to symbolize a rejection of clear sexual definitions in one’s
scholarship, interaction and daily life
- Media Studies Queer Analysis continued
- The media links heterosexuality to monogamy and homosexuality to promiscuity
- Homosexual characters show up less often in American films and when they do they are
exhibited as “hyper-sexual”
- The lower frequency of homosexual characters in the media coupled with their often
inflated appetites results in particularly damaging, stereotypical images
- The images of promiscuity is the case even in supposedly GTBTQQIA friendly
programming e.g. the show Queer as Folk or The L Word
- Although there is no absolute association b/w a person’s gender
(masculinity/femininity) and sexuality the media often portrays heterosexuals as having
definite gender roles and media shift unpredictability b/w classic and opposite gender
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