One of the things that caught my attention in Judith Butler’s Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire section was the part of identity in terms of gay and straight people. She writes:

“The repetition os heterosexual constructs within sexual cultures both gay and straight may well be the inevitable site of the denaturalization and mobilization of gender categories. The replication of heterosexual constructs in non-heterosexual frames brings into relief the utterly constructed status of the so-called heterosexual original. Thus, gay is to straight not as copy is to original, but, rather, copy is to copy” (Butler 41).

This reminded me of a Prop 8 commercial with Justin Long, along with other known actors, who are all in support of gay marriage.

“Devin and Glenn” are portrayed in a relationship with stereotypical heterosexual standards. This to me was a homosexual relationship “copying” a heterosexual relationship, which in any case is a constructed thing where nothing about the relationship identity is innate between two individuals. The commercial shows the couple having breakfast with their family, bickering, and the inevitable weight gain that always seems to happen to couples when they’re comfortable. For this relationship of two men to mirror “what really happens” between men and women, it is showing how an “original” relationship functions, which Butler writes “the original [is] nothing other than a parody of the idea of the natural and the original” (41). Many homosexual relationships do imitate the expectations that heterosexuals have for their own relationships. Because gender is constructed over time and is not something that is destined, then relationships between people is an expansion of that construction where their thoughts and actions toward one another are not naturally so.

This also reminded me of an interview Lindsay Lohan gave (don’t ask me how I ended up watching this) where she “discussed” her sexuality on Alan Carr’s Chatty Man Show.

 It starts at the 7:10 mark.

Alan Carr asks Lindsay if she’s an Arthur or a Martha, focusing on her bisexuality. She had a relationship with Sam Ronson, and through pictures, they functioned in a “man/woman” situation, where Lindsay was the role of a constructed heterosexual woman and Sam played the man. By using words like “role” and “play” it suggests in and of itself that these relationship identities aren’t really based on anything real, but again it is based on the “idea”, as Butler puts it.

Evan Rachel Wood (leave it to me to post only references of pop culture) also talked about her bisexuality during an interview with Esquire, and she said this:

“Yeah, I’m more kind of like the guy when it comes to girls. I’m the dominant one, I’m opening the doors, I’m buying dinner. Yeah, I’m romantic.” For Wood to acknowledge the idea of a man/woman relationship applying to not only relationships between men and women, but to herself and another woman, it is displaying that central concept that these “norms” are being recreated everywhere, in all sorts of situations. I think people like to function in ways that are more easily defined than others, and these social constructs of relationships are some ways in which it makes things flow between two people. Often we all are conditioned into thinking specific roles are who we should be and how we should act, and these constructs are made applicable to all sexes and sexualities through the ability of manipulations of the roles.

 

-Bailey Cook

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