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Queer Sensations

Postwar American Melodrama and the Crisis of Queer Juvenility

Cael Keegan

This essay analyzes the cinematic genre convention of the “sensation scene” as a vehicle for the representation of queer crises in American juvenility during the postwar era. Through popular cinema, post-WWII America organized and communicated concerns about the production of “fit” masculine and heterosexual juveniles who would be capable of carrying out the postwar expansion of American democratic and capitalist ideologies. The sensation scene was deployed by popular films to mark queer and racialized masculinities in an aesthetic system that mirrored institutional efforts to prevent “unfit” juveniles from accessing the benefits of full social and political participation. Today, the genre device continues to structure popular film representations of and common thinking about the relative value of young, male American lives.

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From Adolescent Boys to Queer Young Men

Support for and Silencing of Queer Voice in Schools, Families, and Communities

Michael Sadowski

Gilligan (1996) and other feminist relational psychologists have identified a “silencing” to which adolescent girls are vulnerable when they confront pressures to conform to patriarchal values and norms in various social contexts. As Machoian (2005) and other researchers have noted, the silencing of girls’ authentic voices at adolescence is associated with heightened risk for depression and for suicide, cutting, eating disorders, and other self-harming behaviors. This article is based on in-depth interviews that examined the ways in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-identifying youth might be subject to an analogous silencing of their authentic “queer voices.” Drawing on four case studies of male youth who participated in a larger qualitative research project, the article examines how schools, families, and communities both supported and silenced the authentic expression of their voices as gay- or queer-identifying boys. Since two of the case studies are based on interviews with participants at both late adolescence and young adulthood, the article also examines the effects of supportive factors over time and how they helped contribute to a purposeful, voiced sense of queer male identity as the participants reached manhood.

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Who (the) Girls and Boys Are

Gender Nonconformity in Middle-Grade Fiction

Michele Byers

, as they mirror for us their potential futures in the present. These characters exist in queer temporalities in which their futures are imagined “according to logics that lie outside [of] those paradigmatic markers of life experience” ( Halberstam 2005

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Queer Girlhoods in Contemporary Comics

Disrupting Normative Notions

Mel Gibson

Introduction “What in the Joan Jett are you Doing?!” ( Stevenson et al. 2016: 3 ) In focusing on the representations of queer girlhoods in contemporary fictional graphic novels for young readers, I look at two ongoing series, Lumberjanes (2015

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Mapping the (Adolescent) Male Body

Queerness, Pedophilia and Perversions in "L.I.E." and "Mysterious Skin"

Sarag E. S. Sinwell

Drawing on the work of Gayle Rubin, Jonathan Dollimore, and B. Ruby Rich, this paper will explore the ways in which Michael Cuesta’s L.I.E. (2000) and Gregg Araki’s Mysterious Skin (2004) portray adolescent male bodies and subjectivities within the context of the queer. Throughout these films, cinematic identification is primarily tied up with the stories of adolescent boys. However, the perverse acts in which they participate (both voluntarily and involuntarily), the inclusion of multiple points of view, and the focus on our own cultural constructions of childhood, adolescent and adult sexualities trace a network of nodes of identification. Thus, I argue that L.I.E. and Mysterious Skin queer identification by imagining a multiplicity, fluidity, and diversity of modes of identification that engage with both the normal and perverse natures of identity, sexuality, and subjectivity.

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Resisting the Demand to Stand

Boys, Bathrooms, Hypospadias, and Interphobic Violence

Celeste E. Orr

When analyzing bathrooms as both a litmus test for biological sex and volatile sites of gender policing, the discrimination that trans, genderqueer, nonbinary, queer, and gender-nonconforming people face are understandably central (see Cavanagh

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Queering Virginity

From Unruly Girls to Effeminate Boys

Eftihia Mihelakis

collection of eight essays that seeks to offer a non-linear and queer approach to understanding virginity in literature and popular culture. This volume openly challenges the perceived monopoly of the hymen as the sole signifier of virginity, proposing

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Non-normative Bodies, Queer Identities

Marginalizing Queer Girls in YA Dystopian Literature

Miranda A. Green-Barteet and Jill Coste

In this article we consider the absence of queer female protagonists in dystopian Young Adult (YA) fiction and examine how texts with queer protagonists rely on heteronormative frameworks. Often seen as progressive, dystopian YA fiction features rebellious teen girls resisting the restrictive norms of their societies, but it frequently sidelines queerness in favor of heteronormative romance for its predominantly white, able-bodied protagonists. We analyze The Scorpion Rules (2015) and Love in the Time of Global Warming (2013), both of which feature queer girl protagonists, and conclude that these texts ultimately marginalize that queerness. While they offer readers queer female protagonists, they also equate queerness with non-normative bodies and reaffirm heteronormativity. The rebellion of both protagonists effectively distances them from the queer agency they have developed throughout the narratives.

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Crossdressing Dansō

Negotiating between Stereotypical Femininity and Self-expression in Patriarchal Japan

Marta Fanasca

In this article, I focus on the childhood and adolescent life experiences of dansō (female-to-male crossdressers) who work as escorts in contemporary Japan, and on the process that led to their presentation of self as gendered masculine in their private and working lives. During their childhood and adolescence, dansō have to negotiate their identity and self-presentation to adhere to the gendered pressures of Japanese society. Through an analysis of interviews undertaken with 14 dansō informants, I explore dansō’s construction of a male identity before adulthood, highlighting the societal impositions they experienced and the coping strategies to which they resorted in order to create and maintain a space in which to express their queer selves.

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Siobhan B. Somerville

This article offers a first-person account of the author's experience teaching an undergraduate course on local queer culture, using her own campus as the site for primary research. The course asks how students might understand the role of Midwestern public universities in the production of queer culture. And how might such knowledge revise understandings of queer culture and its locations, both in the past and in the present? The author describes the course design, the goals of introducing undergraduate students to two scholarly methods (archival research and ethnography) and a number of original research projects undertaken by students.