Queer Theory - Essay Example

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It is undoubtedly true that our society has become more accepting of homosexuals over the years. Part of this may be attributed to the fact that there has been an ever evolving studies that has focused upon gay and lesbian issues…
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Download file to see previous pages Still, gay and lesbian studies has not taken over sociology to where it has become a major part of study. Rather, it has been compartmentalized and put into a small part of sociology. Mainly, it has been studied in the context of other studies, such as culture, gender and sexuality. Queer theory is different, however. It is different in that it does not look at gay and lesbianism as being compartmentalized. It recognizes that sexuality is fluid, and that people who are gay and lesbian may not necessarily have rigid sexuality. More importantly, queer theory is not focused strictly upon gay and lesbian issues per se. Rather, it brings a queer sensibility to many areas of modern life, even areas that are not traditionally thought to be associated with gay and lesbian issues – such as economics, for instance. Queer theory also is interested in looking at heterosexual literature with a queer lens, so that, for instance, a certain piece of literature or art could be interpreted in a way that would encompass queer theory. In other words, queer theory is much more of a sweeping theory than gay and lesbian theory, therefore it potentially has a much larger reach. Moreover, it has the possibility of transforming sociological studies in a greater way than gay and lesbian theory has. This essay will examine queer theory, what it is, and how it is different than gay and lesbian theory. ...
Sullivan (2003) states that sexuality is not natural, but, rather is discursively constructed, and is understood in ways that are culturally and historically specific. Therefore, the very definitions of homosexuality, bisexuality and heterosexuality are culturally specific. And the labels of heterosexual and homosexual mean something very different today than they have in the past, and these labels have been culturally constructed. As Sullivan (2003) notes, there are cultures where same-sex relations have been integral and socially acceptable, but these relations have taken different forms. For instance, in New Guinea, it is culturally acceptable for older boys to orally inseminate younger boys, and these younger boys do the same when they grow older. Then, when the younger boys become adults, they get married and have children of their own. However, during the same period that these actions were culturally accepted in New Guinea, different countries, such as Great Britain and most of Northern Europe, were taking different tacts towards homosexual behavior – Great Britain had the death penalty for buggery, which is what sodomy was known as. As Stein and Plummer (1994) note, Michel Foucault states that sexuality in general has always been something that has been constructed through institutional discourses, such as the Victorian Era when sex meant something very different than what it means today, particularly for women. Along that same vein, homosexuality as we know it today is defined by discursive discourse, and that is why the conception of homosexuality is so different than what it was in the past, and what it is, even now, in different cultures. Because of this, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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