Reading the most recent post by gay prof about his love for Wonder Woman reminded me of what irks me about the gay movie/tv show genre’s representations of women, especially the “fag hag.” Women in Eating Out and Will & Grace love their gay male friends because they are trying so desperately to complete their lives with a heterosexual relationship and constantly push the queer quality of their friendship into “normal” territory. Also, there’s a fawning quality to their characters and an off-putting self-centeredness. I wonder how much it is that there are women like this out there or if it’s gay men’s twisted desire to be loved by women as forbidden objects. But whatever. I’m not really all that interested in “real” representations so much as I am in transformative ones — ones that enable us to rethink how people are in the world.
Anyways, gay prof points out that queer icons, unlike fag hags, are women who blend and bend gender and challenge what gets relentlessly rescripted as normal masculine and feminine traits. I like that understanding of women who are queer icons.
On a related note, author Brent Hartinger talks about the “gay genre” in movies and television. His discussion treads the usual grounds of assimilation and acceptance (gay people have made such headway in being accepted that there now can be movies that just incidentally have gay characters! woo!). On the one hand, yes, I agree it’s great that movies with gay characters don’t have to thematize homosexuality or make it the central issue anymore. And frankly, the “gay genre” as coming-out narrative is quite overdone and frustrating in its lack of complexity about issues that gay men face (even in what happens to people in coming out). But I’d prefer to think that the best movies with gay characters, content, perspectives, and so on help to queer/skew normative assumptions about gender and sexuality, and in that respect, it’s sad that queer movies are now just like every other movie.