By definition, queer is anything that is in conflict with what is dominant, legitimate, and normal. It does not necessarily refer to anything in particular. It is not used to distinguish the positionality, and not the positivity…
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The purpose of this paper is to examine how themes of heterosexuality and homophobia can also be present in queer films, and how homosexuals have been continuously demonized and marginalized in films, thus promoting a deeper sense of homophobia in the society and reflecting how widespread the social institutions believing in the sexual norms are. The approach of looking into theories of social deviance in relation to sexuality in queer films can aid in refocusing on the issue of social stigma and exclusion from the mainstream. Degradation in Mainstream and Queer Films While it is true that there will always be great films, a lot of those that reached blockbuster success portray gay characters in a supporting role, usually as a friend of the female lead character. While there is nothing wrong with supporting roles, sometimes, these gay characters are not fully developed in the film and are used as a of parody of the homosexual stereotypes that, ironically, have been fought by several organizations over the years. Despite the good intentions of the film, degrading the role of these gays into something to stir laughter due to their “homosexual” antics is something that is not right. This dos not happen in mainstream films only. Even in queer films such as “The Birdcage,” some of these homosexual parodies can be observed. For example, in the film's last part where the gays are dancing to the song “Macho Man,” it can immediately be felt that it is meant to be a joke that “macho” and gay are two terms that cannot come together. Even though the film is really all about the the message that gays should be treated equally, resorting to using the stereotypes for laughter defeats the overall message. Another example of this is “Brokeback Mountain,” where homosexuality is supposedly “celebrated” judging from the way the public acknowledged the film. However, how are the gay men portrayed in the story? They are shown as “queer” --- people who cannot be accepted in the mainstream, the “other.” Even homosexuality here is shown as something shameful and to be kept secret. Such films do not really bridge the gap of inequality between the heterosexuals and the homosexuals. Queer films actually do not advance the idea that homosexuals are equal to their heterosexual counterparts. They just breed a what can be called “understanding” towards homosexuality, but they do not really allow the mass audience to relate to them. They do not treat the idea of homosexuality as something normal, but as something that invokes pity. Heavenly Creatures To further expound on this idea, a recently viewed film entitled “Heavenly Bodies” will be discussed. This film is based on a true story of two teenage girls who committed murder in 1954. The story is about Pauline and Juliet, the two teenage girls who are involved in a “strange” relationship that is viewed as homosexual (lesbian) by the people around them. The two girls are shown as the exact opposite of the other --- Juliet being extrovert, and Pauline being introvert. Despite being based on a true story, one cannot help but notice how the “weird” details of these two girls are played up in the story. It has been mentioned earlier that homosexuals have been continuously demonized and marginalized in films, and this is observed in this
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