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Queer Theory

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Dylan Frost

on 1 February 2016

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Transcript of Queer Theory

Theorists/ Critics
Queer Theory
Major Beliefs
Queer theory is a set of ideas based around the idea that identities are not fixed and do not determine who we are. It suggests that it is meaningless to talk in general about 'women' or any other group, as identities consist of so many elements. To assume that people can be seen collectively on the basis of one shared characteristic is wrong. Indeed, it proposes that we deliberately challenge all notions of fixed identity, in varied and unpredictable ways.
Queer theorists focus on problems in classifying individuals as either male or female, even on a strictly biological basis

Important Concepts
Queer Theory is often associated with feminism. This theory was supposedly created after the feminist movement of the 70’s, and it’s meaning is often used to help revoke the traditional standards of women and sexuality.
Queer theory is not about being homosexual but rather the changing representatives of all sexualities- ‘queer’ meaning anything ‘odd’ or that differs from the established normality.
Applying the Queer Theory to Literature
Analysis Questions
1. What elements of the text can be perceived as being masculine (active, powerful) and feminine (passive, marginalized) and how do the characters support these traditional roles?
2. What are the politics (ideological agendas) of specific gay, lesbian, or queer works, and how are those politics revealed in...the work's thematic content or portrayals of its characters?
3. What does the work reveal about the operations (socially, politically, psychologically) homophobic?
Establishment of the Queer Theory
Queer Theory originated in Judith Butler's 1990 book Gender Trouble and was first described with the term in Case (1971).The immediate effect of Queer Theory is to destabilize all other notions of gender and sexuality.
Disney Comparison
Judith Butler- Theorist
Tim Edwards- Critic
Most Disney Princess movies can be applied to this theory. In many of the traditional princess movies such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid, the princesses main goal throughout the movie is to win the affection of the Prince. This coincides with the traditional gender roles that suggest that women are supposed to marry and tend the house meanwhile men are supposed to have careers. Brave was the first movie that went out of this traditional realm because the princess, Merida, refused to marry and instead followed her dream of archery. This follows Queer Theory because the theory states that women (or anyone) should not be generalized to traditional standards.
Luce Irigaray - Speculum of the Other Woman, 1974
Hélène Cixous - "The Laugh of the Medussa," 1976
Laura Mulvey - "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema," e and Narrative Cinema," 1981
Michele Foucault - The History of Sexuality, Volume I, 1980
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick - Epistemology of the Closet, 1994
Lee Edelman - "Homographies," 1989
Michael Warner
Important Terminology
1. Heterosexism
3.Transgressive Sexuality
5.Biological Essentialism
When queer theorists analyze literature, they love to play the net—that gray area between author and reader, male and female, light and dark, good and evil.
Queer theory loves destabilizing popular cultural narratives. Meaning taking the character out of place, the word out of place, the sentence out of place. And saying, nothing is what it seems. This theory is a rebel with a cause. It teaches us that language and human expression, in all its forms, are stranger than we ever thought possible. We’re never sure what’s left, though, once queer theorists have torn down all our preconceptions about gender and sexuality.
The goal of queer theorists is to challenge the validity and consistency of heteronormative discourse and bring to light the challenges the LGBT community faces in everyday life.

Well known theorist of power, gender, sexuality, and identity
Discredited feminism
Room for choice/fluid
No link between sex and gender
Gender is who you are at particular times
Constant sexual identities
Text vs. Real Life
Too much emphasis on pleasure, sex, and visuals
Other Examples
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