Queering Representations of Straightness

Edited by Sean Griffin

Subjects: Film Studies, Gender Studies, Popular Culture
Series: SUNY series, Horizons of Cinema
Paperback : 9781438426181, 278 pages, May 2009
Hardcover : 9781438426174, 278 pages, May 2009

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Sean Griffin

1. Stop the Wedding! William Haines and the Comedy of the Closet
Victoria Sturtevant

2. Flirting with Hetero Diversity: Film Promotion of A Free Soul
Mary Beth Haralovich
3. “Pintele” Queer: The Performance of Jewish Male Heterosexuality in Yiddish American Cinema of the Great Depression
David Lugowski

4. Straight Heroes with Queer Inclinations: Male Film Stars in the Swedish 1930s
Louise Wallenberg

5. Putting ’Em Down Like a Man: Eleanor Powell and the Spectacle of Competence
Adrienne L. McLean

6. Turned Inside/Out: Violent Inversions of Heterosexuality in Vincente Minnelli’s Home from the Hill
David A. Gerstner

7. Mispronouncing “Man and Wife”: The Fate of Marriage in Hollywood’s Sexual Revolution
Michael DeAngelis

8. Hetero-nation: Toward a “New and Improved” Global Public Image
Bhaskar Sarkar

9. Time Crisis and the New Postfeminist Heterosexual Economy
Diane Negra

10. “Are You Saying My Son Is a Bitch Boy?”: The Perilously Achieved Hegemonic Masculinity of Ben Stiller
Kevin Heffernan

11. “Fuck Boy Meets Girl”: Heterosexual Aspirations and Masculine Interests in the World of Quentin Tarantino
Allan Campbell

12. A Straight Cowboy Movie: Heterosexuality According to Brokeback Mountain
Harry M. Benshoff
Works Cited
List of Contributors

Uncovers the queer nature of heterosexuality on film.


Just as feminist scholars have turned to considerations of masculinity and scholars of race have begun to consider whiteness as a category, this collection brings the insights of queer theory to bear on cinematic representations of straightness. Spanning decades and cultures, from silent Hollywood films to modern Mumbai cinema, the essays in Hetero uncover multiple forms of heterosexual desire and demonstrate that heterosexuality is in fact a heavily contested terrain. Movies often become a place where one specific "heteronormative" ideal is upheld as proper, while other types of heterosexuality are denied or pathologized. By investigating how heterosexuality functions as a social construct, these essays deconstruct normative heterosexuality's simultaneous omnipresence and invisibility, effectively breaking down the barriers of sexual identity. Hetero offers a collective call to expand the ways in which queer theory is applied and put into practical use, and exposes the queer nature of the love that does dare speak its name.

Sean Griffin is Associate Professor in the Division of Cinema-Television at Southern Methodist University. His previous books include Queer Images: A History of Gay and Lesbian Film in America and America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies.


"This book proves that the analytical tools of queer theory are substantial and revelatory and should not be ghettoized to films that feature gay or transgendered characters." — CHOICE

"By bringing the lessons of queer theory to the analysis of representations of heterosexuality, this book demonstrates that 'hetero' is as complex a category as 'homo.'" — Kristen Hatch, University of California, Irvine