Final Paper - Jamie Cox Sara Howard 12-06-11 Imperfect...

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Jamie Cox Sara Howard 12-06-11 Imperfect Lesbians and Men in Cubicles Part I Word Count: 737 Are You Straight, Now? During a high-stress moment in the film, The Kids Are Alright (Cholodenko, 2010), Nic, questions her long-time partner, Jules, about her sexuality after finding out Jules had an affair with a man. Nic asks, “Are you straight, now?” Jules’s response is of the “of course not” variety and throughout the film Jules insists that her status as a lesbian has not changed just because of her sexual relations with a man. Cheshire Calhoun, in her article titled “Introduction: Centering Sexual Orientation Politics”, argues that people should “challenge the assumption…that sexual object choice is the defining feature of lesbian and gay identities” (Calhoun 314). Jules is still just as much of a lesbian as she was before her affair, its part of who she is, its part of her identity, but it isn’t the only characteristic of her life. The identity that a person owns is what separates them from the other people on earth. In their identity a person might cite, among other things, their race, gender, occupation, or sexual orientation, but for most people, their sexual orientation does not define them, they naturally decenter their life from their orientation whether it be straight, gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, transsexual, or pansexual. In the three popular kinds of gay and lesbian films, mainstream film, standpoint films, and queer cinema, the identity of the gay characters is portrayed differently, but only in queer cinema are the homosexual characters defined by anything but their sexuality. Queer cinema is the most accurate representation of
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2 homosexuals because these films show diverse and complex characters, who are not defined solely by their sexuality, opening their story up to being more realistic and multifaceted, creating a story about a person, who is gay, but is also many other things, instead of only a story about a gay character. James Joseph Dean in his article, “Gays and Queers: From the Centering to the Decentering of Homosexuality in American Films” said, “While standpoint films aim at making gay subcultural life a narrative focus, or Hollywood films portray gay characters as ‘normal’, queer cinema aims to contest a uniform image of the homosexual and gay and lesbian subcultural life” (Dean 326). Unlike mainstream and standpoint films, which center sexuality, queer cinema and films like The Kids Are Alright (Cholodenko, 2010) show a new side to homosexuality that decenters it and demonstrates how a person’s identity is not defined by their sexuality
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Final Paper - Jamie Cox Sara Howard 12-06-11 Imperfect...

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