Constructions of Heterosexuality in the Cinema

By Wheeler Winston Dixon

Subjects: Cultural Studies
Series: SUNY series, Cultural Studies in Cinema/Video
Paperback : 9780791456248, 218 pages, January 2003
Hardcover : 9780791456231, 218 pages, January 2003

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations



1. Constructing Straightness

2. Breaks in the System

3. Performativity and Rupture

4. The Commodification of Straightness

Works Cited and Consulted

About the Author


Explores the ways that stereotypes of heterosexuality are portrayed and constructed in film.


straight / 'strāt (adj.) . . . without curves . . . correct . . . honest . . . not deviating from the normal . . . conventional . . . Heterosexual

Practically all mainstream cinema is "straight," and has been since its inception. In Straight, Wheeler Winston Dixon explores how heterosexual performativity has been constructed in film, from early cinema to the present day. In addition to discussing how cinematic visions of masculine and feminine desire have been commodified and sold to reinforce existing societal constructs, Dixon also documents the recent emergence of "hypermasculinity," a kinetic and exaggerated masculinity that has been created to counter the more gentle, thoughtful male portrayed in While You Were Sleeping, Sleepless in Seattle, and other films that seemingly threaten the established order of patriarchal cinematic discourse.

Wheeler Winston Dixon is the James Ryan Endowed Professor of Film Studies, coeditor in chief of Quarterly Review of Film and Video, and chairperson of the Film Studies Program at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. His many books include The Second Century of Cinema: The Past and Future of the Moving Image; The Films of Jean-Luc Godard; and The Transparency of Spectacle: Meditations on the Moving Image, all published by SUNY Press; and Collected Interviews: Voices from Twentieth-Century Cinema.