Women Gender and Sexuality Studies
Course title: Queer Gender
paper subject/title: ‘Queering’ Heterosexuality
Heterosexuality is universally described as having a desire or sexual contact with someone of the opposite sex from one's own. This particular definition of heterosexuality for the most part, has remained relatively unquestioned. In turn, this has allowed heteronormative cultures and beliefs to assume heterosexuality as the norm. Marginalizing people who do not fit within heterosexual norms perpetuates the exclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual individuals, as well as, heterosexual individuals that participate in sexual practices that are not in alliance with commonly held notion of heterosexuality. The focus of this paper will be to use Nikki Sullivan’s writing, A Critical Introduction to Queer Theory in order to identify the ways in which Lizzie Borden’s 1986 film Working Girls, ‘queers’ heterosexuality. Analyzing heterosexuality through Sullivan’s writings and Borden’s film, allows for the universal understanding of heterosexuality to be challenged. Heterosexuality is consistent with dominant group membership and with beliefs, values, and institutions that support and are supported by that group. Therefore, the institution of heterosexuality constructs restrictions and allows for little element of real choice. Within heterosexuality, males are the only ones that are given the ability to choose. Males are in the dominant, profiting, and controlling position in heterosexual relationships, whereas females are understood to serve, pleasure, and assume females to abide by the decisions that males make for them. Following the lives of a group of female sex workers, Lizzie Borden’s 1986 film, Working Girls juxtaposes paid “straight” sexuality with lesbianism. Molly, the main character in the film, is the only female who is known to be a lesbian. However, even though Molly is a lesbian and has sex with men, what she is doing...
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