Queer Theory – Film Theory

Queer Theory – Film Theory

Film theories from this article: Research Film Theory

Why is queer theory an important political lens?Allows us to investigate whether works of art reinforce or challenge homophobia
Gives opportunity to expose the truth behind harmful myths/stereotypes
What myths exist that are perpetuated against queer people?The myth that “gay people are sick or evil … and that it is therefore in their ‘nature’ to be
insatiable sexual predators, to molest children,
and to corrupt youths by ‘recruiting’ them to
become homosexual” (Dr. Tyson).
Queer people make up a small portion of the population (despite being nearly 10% of U.S. population)
Those raised by queer people will thus grow up to be queer
What is the larger goal of queer theory?To deconstruct, reveal, and draw attention to works of art where traditional categories of sex and sexual expression breakdown, overlap, or do not properly represent the range of human sexuality.
Questions that queer theorists ask when evaluating works of art: What does this work contribute to our
knowledge of queer, gay, or lesbian experience
and history?
Is this work homophobic? If so, is the homophobia explicit or implicit?
How does a work illustrate the problems or complications in one’s sexual identity?
The Rocky Horror Picture ShowFilm’s lead, Dr. Frank-N-Furter, is openly displayed as a transvestite, allowing the film to represent a “non-normative” category of sexual expression
Lead is also describe as “sweet” transvestite, challenging the myth that queer people are naturally evil
Uses example of a heterosexual couple being attracted to members of the same sex to demonstrate that sexuality exists on a wide spectrum


In film, queer theory is applied to evaluate how works of art draw attention to and represent sex and sexual expression, especially in relation to the traditional binaries of heterosexual and homosexual relationships. Through this, we can assess how a film contributes to our knowledge of queer history and queer experiences, and how it expresses the notion that sexuality exists on a spectrum.

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