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Queer theory refers to any deviance from straight values that can be marked as non-, anti-straight, or contra-. Alexander Doty believes that queerness should be seen as anything that does not follow the norms set by a straight society. The reductive take on queerness in reference to sexual orientation is opposed by many activists. Doty proposed that queerness lies within everyone with varying intensities and consistency. With that being said classifying a person off of a single trait is wrong. Queerness is fluid without boundaries. Sullivan’s main idea in “Performance, Performativity, Parody and Politics” is that an individual’s identity is based on their surrounding factors and because of these factors we identify that way. Sullivan mentions Queer theory as a deconstructive strategy aiming to denaturalize the norms of sex, gender, sexuality, and the relations between. Power structures dictate the characteristics of a man or woman with intention to become “natural”. These norms vary according to time, place, or situation.
In Hollywood film queer moments are common throughout all genres. Queer readings can be used to undo the heterosexual norms established by the film industry as a whole. By using this different perspective audiences are exposed to many sexual codes that are notable in the products of cultural film production. I chose to analyze “Family Guy” with a focus on the character Stewie. In the series Stewie never comes out as “gay”. Throughout the series he is always wanting to kill his mother Lois and mentions taking over the world. Stewie’s outbursts of anger are due to his constant struggle of not knowing and having to suppress his sexuality. This suggests homosexuality to be violent and misrepresents the community. This plays into how homosexuality is seen as deviant and odd as opposed to how heterosexuality is seen as normal and good. In a close reading I will analyze a scene where Stewie plans to kill Lois. The shot begins with a wide shot with Stewie off to the left and Brian on the right. The two are sitting on the couch in their typical attire. Stewie begins the conversation by listing terrible things he wants to do to Lois. Stewie claims he will, “Drip hot candle wax down her back while he rides her on her hands and knees”. Brian then responded with “Are you gonna shower her off after all that candle wax?”. The two go back and forth with each remark getting worse for the rest of the scene. Stewie’s violence towards his mother relates to his dissatisfaction with his sexual identity. With otherness and other deviations having ties back to the mother this further cements sexual deviance as an abnormality. This also ties into the ideas of Sullivan. Sullivan mentions that an individual can identify themselves based on the factors that shaped them in their lifetime. When a mother like Lois combats Stewie’s actions with further suppressing him, the results are a deviance from the norms set by society. It is up to the constant changes and fluidity of queerness that decide whether something is queer or not.
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