4 – Desire, Fear & the Norm

I thought that this photograph and the words within it fitted well into the discussions of this week’s readings and class. The idea of this person proclaiming, of their assumed gay/queer identity, to a heterosexual/heteronormative audience that they are both their ‘worst fear’ and their ‘best fantasy’ brings forth many discussion points around concepts such as fetishisation and the political space wherein the heteronormative person places themselves.

While looking at this image I immediately thought of how things such as ‘lesbian porn’ are still targeted toward a heterosexual male audience and the dichotomy between someone who would watch ‘lesbian porn’ and yet harass or even be violent toward someone who is a lesbian in their everyday life. This idea of fear can especially be seen if a straight man watches gay male porn as it comes with the possibility of being thought of by others as gay, that part being the ‘worst fear’ (in a society that demeans and points violence and negativity toward gay men and those perceived as more ‘feminine’ and therefore lesser in this patriarchal world) but their ‘best fantasy’ in a sexual sense may be gay male porn.

Throughout the readings there was a theme of sexual desire and fluidity, an image such as this could be read to comply with this theme, as it suggests a fear of a fluid form of sexuality and desire, but brings up the idea that it exists. In the reading Friction Burns’ in Nobody Passes the author states, ‘When I first discovered I had an intense affection for submission I immediately cultivated a sense of shame due to my lack of normalcy’ (41) this quotation can be seen to relate similarly to the idea of having any kind of desire you are taught is not ‘normal’. For this image, there is the idea that you can fantasise about something but the fear of it becoming ‘real’ and a ‘truth’ about your identity and desire, that that is where the shame lies. With this image in particular, with homosexuality or queer desire in a world that condemns that.

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