Theresa Donis – Queer Theory (Blog Post #1)

Queer Theory

The idea of queer theory is focused around breaking down the norms that have been built up around human sexuality. Traditionally, we see sexuality—or sexual identity, through either one of two lens; relating homosexuality and heterosexuality. Over the years, the spectrum of sexuality has grown, leaving these two categories to be seen as misrepresentations of the varied sexual drives that actually exists. This system of partisanship is what the book refers to as heteronormativity– a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal sexual orientation. Especially in today’s media, we can see the bias between how heterosexual and homosexual relationships are portrayed differently.

LGBTQ is shorthand, which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer. his term acts as an inclusive umbrella for a diverse set of sexual and gender identities in the community. Something that I’ve recently noticed is that although the media is becoming slightly more comfortable with introducing LGBTQ representation, there is still a great lack in characters. Even in the event that they do introduce these characters, many shows in entertainment have shown them more likely to be killed off than the straight character. Also, their storylines tend to solely revolve around their sexuality and struggles pertaining to that. When we watch television shows today or ads, they only seem to promote heterosexuality in one way; its either gay or lesbian. They also follow many stereotypes that our culture has produced (i.e.: a gay man is to act as feminine—if not more than, a woman). These can be very harmful because it places limits on all people who fall under this umbrella.

In what ways outside of media have you seen heteronormativity reinforced in everyday life?

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3 thoughts on “Theresa Donis – Queer Theory (Blog Post #1)

  1. Hi Theresa,

    I found your post to be very interesting. I agree with you that there’s a lack of LGBTQ representation in the media and that when they do introduce a LGBTQ character, the story usually revolves around their sexuality and struggles pertaining to that. Heteronormativity goes hand in hand with gender stereotyping and is something I see very often, if not all the time, outside of the media. One example of this is walking in a store and seeing items that are targeted toward women vs. products for men. The female products are always in soft materials, colorful, “cute,” or sexy, while products for men often are made in sturdy materials like leather and canvas, and are usually muted or dark colored. This is an assumption that if you’re a man you want to be masculine and “rough” and that being a woman means being feminine and sexy. These are stereotypes that pertain to heterosexuality and are certainly not true when it comes to reality. Also, products for parents always incorporate pictures of heterosexual couples as opposed to other dynamics. Besides products, I often observe heteronormativity in social contexts. As a woman or a man, you’re expected to act and behave in a certain way that is considered feminine or masculine. One example of this is when I went out with my female friends to a bar and one of my friends managed to shock everyone at the bar (including the bartender) when she bought a guy a drink. The norm is for men to buy women drinks and not the other way around. Again, something that is based on the premise that men should be assertive and dominant, while women should be passive and submissive. Heteronormativity is everywhere and one can just hope that society continues to improve for a more diverse and fair representation of the LGBTQ community in the near future.

    //Megan Junglander

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  2. I definitely agree with your post especially where you mentioned that even if they do introduce characters in a show, they’re more likely to be killed off before the straight character. I’ve been watching the show Pretty Little Liars since it first came out on ABC Family (now Freeform) and was patiently waiting for the reveal of “A” being that it was supposed to be a different “A” from the Pretty Little Liars books. Finally once “A” was revealed, it happened to be a character from the show who was initially presented to viewers as a female but apparently was transgender since a teenager. Within the next episode or two, this “A” character was murdered. I applaud the writers of this show for attempting to include LGBTQ characters (other than Emily, one of the main characters) in their storyline, but it was a bit weird to me that the first transgender character of this show got killed off immediately. I believe it was done due to the feedback the writers received from fans and how disappointed they were in the “A” character itself and not so much the fact that she was transgender. It’s very important to constantly be aware of how those of the LGBTQ community are treated around us.

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  3. This post is very interesting to me and i definitely agree with the fact that when we see a gay man they are stereotyped into the category of being extremely feminine. It is also true that we hardly see any sort of homosexuality in the media within tv shows, ads, etc. What I do believe is that although in today’s society we are still a bit hesitant in accepting the homosexual community, we are definitely very hesitant when it comes to the transexual community. I feel that in the past homosexuality was less accepting but now in today’s times it is definitely more accepted, but trans people are being targeted in today’s society the same way gays were targeted in the past.

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