«The End of Queer Theory» - Free Essay Paper
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Studies on human sexual identity have been dynamically changing and these changes have obliged different analysts to think about human sexuality in a way that has not been envisioned by their predecessors. These changes require the analysts to be more aware of the limitations which are imposed by the earlier theoretical concepts and traditions. To this end, the current paper discusses the topic of bisexuality as a major construct of the Queer Theory (Wilchins, 2014). Queer theory emerged out of the fields of women’s studies and queer studies. Ideally, queer theory encompasses both the theorization of queerness itself and queer readings of different text. The theory focuses on the mismatches between desire, gender, and sex. Queer has been associated mostly on issues of such subjects as gays, lesbians, and bisexuals (Binnie & Klesse, 2013). However, analytic frameworks have also incorporated topics such as gender ambiguity, cross dressings, and intersexuality. Initially, queer theory attempted to debunk stable as well as correlated genders, sexualities, and sexes and how they develop from specifically gay or lesbian reworkings of the poststructuralist understanding of the identities as a constellation of unstable and multiple positions. The theory critically examines the different constitutive disclosures of homosexuality, which developed in the last century. This placed the term “queer” in context.
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Gender Identity and Queer Theory
Historically, queer theory merged in the 1990s, which was done majorly as a response to a couple of legal and political events. The term queer was widely used as a derogatory term of hatred or a slang word to represent the homosexual identity as such. It constituted homophobic abuse. Recently, queer has gained different uses, often being used as an umbrella term. Although queer theory does not precisely acknowledge its roots, feminism was very influential in allowing for the emergence of queer theory (Sullivan, 2003). The theory draws heavily from feminists and their commitment to disestablishing patriarchy. This was represented by the critical race theory, which was dedicated to the unmasking of the structures in the society that were rooted deeply in racism. The term “queer” is often used to denote whatever is at odds with what is regarded as dominant, legitimate, and normal in the society. That aims at destabilizing the main and dominant ideas of identity. This identity may be gendered, national, political, ethnic, or sexual. As a result, queer undermines the fixed identities and explores areas, which are excluded by these identities. Queer, therefore, functions as a type of catalyst and that strategically decenters the issue of identity without becoming a construct of identity or a site of identity.
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Queer theory is of the opinion that the use of binary categories is harmful. Moreover, it is maintained that binary identity is an artificial construct, meaning it is created. As a result, the society is only able to understand the meaning of homosexual by relating it to the concept of heterosexual. This is due to the fact that the two terms are oppositely positioned. Similarly, the society can only gain enough understanding of what man means by relating it to a woman, which is positioned and constructed oppositely (Binnie & Klesse, 2013). Queer challenges these defined, very rigid definitional limits. However, it has been associated with the tendency to emphasize more the incoherencies, which occur in terms of gender, sexual desire, and sex (Wilchins, 2014). Additionally, it also articulated the poststructuralist views of positions such as instability and multiplicity, while focusing strongly on complexities of lesbian and gay practices and identities. The play of identities is represented by the currency of performance of the issue of the category. However, the theory emphasizes openness and critique, since it ostensibly tends to resist consolidation.
Intersex and Queer Theory
Generally, queer theorists usually focus on problems faced when trying to classify people as either males or females. This happens even in cases of a very strict biological basis. For instance, the sex chromosomes X and Y may sometimes occur in atypical combinations such as XXY (Monro, 2015). The result of this is complicating the use of genotypes as a way of defining two different sexes. Intersex individuals may sometimes have sexual characteristics, which tend to appear as the most dominant medically and regarded as being disordered. Different scientists have written on the significance of intersexuality. Significant medical literature has focused on genetics of intersex characteristics and their deselection. Additionally, some key experts concerned with the study of cultures have argued that the traditional way of differentiating between culture and biology as independent entities is quite simplistic, hence pointing out the ways through which culture and biology may interact with each other.
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Queer theory has been linked heavily to language, because the topic is never static but rather an ever evolving issue. For instance, there is a belief that queer language evolved from the imposition of labels as well as structures from external mainstream culture. Michel Foucault is one of the theorists who were instrumental in discussing queer theory. Mainly, the discussions were centered on the ways through which knowledge of sexuality developed to the current structure through the use of language as the main medium (Sullivan, 2003). For instance, Foucault indicated that repressive hypothesis was a matter of illusion rather than a suppression of sexuality of the Western society. During that particular period of time, heteronormativity was taken as the main focus of discussions. Under these grounds, heterosexuality was viewed as a normal thing and any deviation from this, such as homosexuality, was viewed as an abnormal thing that came to be termed commonly as queer.
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Social Media and Queer Theory in The Digital Era
The current digital age acts as good platform through which queer individuals may freely express and present their views. The rise of social media is not only instrumental for the development of queer theory, but also very significant for the empowerment of queer people, as well as helping them to take a dominant role instead of the original passive status (Monro, 2015). Queer individuals can now freely express their views on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. This has contributed heavily towards reaching the aims of queer theory. Social media offers a very good opportunity for people to narrate their own stories. Form this end, the use of social media highly encourages queer equality. This is due to the fact that everyone is given equal rights of telling their own personal stories and sharing with others if that is what they want to do (Edelman, 2004). The lack of limitations in undertaking these activities has really helped queer individuals feel free to share views of different issues surrounding sexuality. For instance, gay people now have an opportunity to share their views on issues affecting gays. The social media has also created a concept, which can be termed queer community, through which queer individuals can meet to communicate and discuss their issues. For instance, Facebook is able to put a human face on a civil rights movement. If other users share these photos, the network of friends attached to the sharer will be able to view the content. This network is able to break down all the barriers between queer people and the people who identify as major heteronormative allies or even friends (Monro, 2015). The number of queer individuals may increase, hence, building and developing the queer community. Such networks allow queer individuals to keep in touch, as well as share different information. Additionally, social media platforms now allow these individuals to discuss the policies which are relevant to their own lives.
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Social media is significantly helping queer people to handle the rights of advocacy as well as propaganda. This occurs by encouraging queer people to create and develop their editorial skills, which can in turn allow others to participate in the dynamic conversation. Ideally, the more people discuss an issue such as bisexuality and same sex marriage, the higher are the chance of gaining public discourse and domain (Edelman, 2004). Additionally, increased discussion also enables more people who are outside one’s social circles to expose opinions different from their own. Social media has also contributed significantly towards ending queer theory by acting as an important factor in promoting the civil rights movements. This is due to the fact that the platform offers a very diverse channel of mobilizing the society. Social media also works effectively by affecting generations and impacting the future significantly (Wilde, 2015). People may arrive at this position differently, for example, through the use of personal experiences as well as through the experience of other people around them. As a result, the hallmarks of society could be very instrumental in giving its children a determination towards the future of different ideologies, advanced in the society. Queer individuals also find it easier to access the social media platforms. Information is usually passed in a simpler language as compared to academic platforms.
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Why Bisexuality Matters
Contemporary culture usually paints bisexuals as greedy, duplicitous, fickle, promiscuous, confused, ultimately attention seeking, and closeted gays. These are very unfortunate claims, which tend to be convenient to everyone except to the bisexuals. Sadly, bisexuals in the society have become the main target of politics of delegitimization (Monro, 2015). The existence as well as the desires of bisexuals are being erased from the views of the society and subsequently are being reconfigured, so as to fit within people’s comfort zones. Fundamentally, bisexuality is an unsettling hegemonic institution of its queer counterpoint and heterosexuality, and as a result, is ultimately ignored.
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However, bisexuality just like homosexuality is a very significant thing to heteronormativity. Queer theory has been accepted as major grounds for its ability to bridge the actual, as well as the theoretical, collective and personal experiences so as to reveal the construction of a system that has seemed to recognize heterosexuality only (Sullivan, 2003). Rather, they have relied on marginalized sexual others, branded homosexuals. However, in an attempt to theorize identities which are non-heterosexual, queer theory has only tended to theorize homosexuality. Bisexuality should, however, be taken seriously.
Often, bisexual identity is erased, delegitimized, and culturally prejudiced. This prejudice is even extended to other realms of societal existence. In terms of literature, bisexuality is usually countered by the reality of being conquered (Edelman, 2004). This is quite invisible, but ubiquitous nonetheless. Excising bisexual identity from texts usually perpetuates a very dangerous notion that bisexuality must and will continue to be conquered and that it must be overcome eventually. However, the truth is that human sexualities are usually less predictable, less coded, and less visible (Binnie & Klesse, 2013). Through closer inspection, the matrix formed by homosexual oppositional system is not really seamless and sexualities are not less challenging in a steady position.
Bisexuality, whether psychological or biological, assumes that there are only two major types of sex orientations: male or female. On the one hand, girls have been historically associated with nurturing and subordinate roles. On the other hand, despite personal inclinations, boys are forced to express aggression and dominance. Queer theorists usually refer to gender binary as beings made upon only two major categories, male and female (Wilchins, 2014). These two classifications are used to define the human sexualities as far as a wide diversity of sexual practices and identities are envisioned, as having to reflect the hybrid of these two major ingredients. Formulations which are based on gender binaries are usually not limited to psychoanalysis as a result; they routinely appear in various different patient narratives.
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Different genders as well as queer theorists have offered alternative ways of thinking about the cultural underpinnings of the natural sexual identities, such as ‘man’ and ‘woman’. Gender usage as a way of ranking identities is a very common way of organizing experience (Wilde, 2015). Ideally, average people have a certain level of homosexual component and a very strong component of heterosexual identity. The homosexual component needs to be sublimated as it now exists in the society. As a result, this should be taken as a valuable human asset and should be put into social uses.
With regard to the unstable identity category, in which intersexuality is, the capabilities of the Internet discussions seems to be a fitting space through which the issues of gender identities and sex are being explored. Contradictions with regard to gender identities may be tolerated more on the Internet compared to other types of communication platforms. Due to this, social media networks have been instrumental in contributing to the end of queer theory. While bisexuality was highly disregarded and criticized traditionally, the rise of social media and more societal awareness has led to changes in discourse concerning the topic. It is now gaining more widespread acceptance.