Thinking Queer: Sexuality, Culture, and Education

By Susan Talburt; Shirley R. Steinberg | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter 8
From the Closet to the Corral: Neo-stereotyping in In & Out

Shirley R. Steinberg

Weekly manicures, style consciousness, limp wrists, Judy Garland albums, Rogers and Hammerstein overtures, neatness, swishing, and a love of poetry do a queer make. As we end a century of filmmaking, Hollywood writers create signifiers that define queerness to viewers. These signifiers serve to create and reinscribe a pedagogy that includes stereotyping, homophobia, and the desexualization of homosexuality. When viewers use critical media literacy they become informed and are able to discriminate between films that serve to liberate queerness as opposed to those films that reinscribe heterosexism. As we incorporate a pedagogical look at the curriculum that cinema presents, disturbing patterns emerge in films that appear to be queer friendly on the first read.

Gay filmmaker Paul Rudnick ( Jeffrey, In & Out, Addams Family Values), for example, is keenly aware that he is writing scripts for a public that is traditionally homophobic. His intent is to introduce mainstream audiences to gayness as an alternative lifestyle that in no way can harm their comfortable, heterosexual lives -- to make gayness palatable and "not so bad." Using his own gayness as capital, Rudnick's film In & Out claims a legitimacy and self-consciousness that is intended to disarm even the most disapproving viewer. Instead of declaring "We're here, we're queer, get over it," as Rudnick did more comfortably in Jeffrey, the script quietly whispers the message: "We're here, we're queer, and we are endearing enough to overlook our one flaw -- we're queer." I contend that many films designed to soften the blow (pun intended) of homosexuality serve to recover homophobic stereotypes and actually harm Hollywood attempts to normalize queerness and create tolerance. Rudnick's intent, while noble, turns into more fodder that straight viewers must sludge through in order


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Thinking Queer: Sexuality, Culture, and Education


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 235

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?