Queer theory


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Queer theory

an approach to issues of sex and gender which has primarily arisen out of postmodernist thought. Queer theory rehabilitates the pejorative term ‘queer’ in order to denote nonconformist sexualities (not necessarily homosexualities) which serve to subvert and confront conventional categories of GENDER and SEXUALITY. These sexualities may include transgressive acts such as sadomasochism and the production of PORNOGRAPHY, TRANSVESTISM and gay camp.

In emphasizing the ‘performative’ aspects of gender and sexuality, Queer theory emphasizes their unnaturalness. From this perspective there are no fundamental identities underlying maleness or femaleness, HOMOSEXUALITY or HETEROSEXUALITY. Emanating from Queer Theory, queer politics seeks to destabilize and collapse existing categories of gender and sexuality. Both Queer theory and Queer politics may be regarded as coming into conflict with FEMINISM generally and lesbian feminism in particular. By emphasizing sexual pleasure as unproblematized they fail to address the role played by sexual politics in the subordination of women. (See S. Wilkinson and C. Kitzinger, 1994.)