In class we discussed the different binaries of GL&Q criticism. We discussed the meanings and uses of Essentialist vs. Constructionalist perspectives. Essentialist is “nature” one is born a certain way with a specific sexuality and gender role, whereas constructionalist is “nurture” claiming that society forms sexuality and gender roles. This leads into gender vs sex, gender being largely cultural and fluid and sex being physical and set.
Marketing reinforces societal beliefs of gender/sex and gender roles. My small group discussed the effects of toy marketing for children in particular at length. Walking down Toys-R-Us one can’t help but notice the division of “girls” toys and “boys” toys – even the recently girl-including “boy toys” have been changed so that girl’s nerf guns are hot pink, or pink camo. Which clearly magically transforms it into a “girl toy”.
As to the Great Gatsby we thought that while some of it was enlightening – such as the women defined-woman – using GL&Q theory to understand the meaning of the work was irreverent to the text and was too forced. Jordan and Daisy very easily fell under women defined-woman in that they seem to spend a good deal of time together and operate as (the strongest) support for each other. We thought it was interesting how, and here we thought more in queer theory, of how this related to all of us. We’re all very close to girlfriend(s) who serve as primary emotional support despite our own sexual preferences, and many boys are very close (here we discussed “bros”) also independent of sexuality. Saying that Jordan was possibly queer however seemed a little far given the evidence. This was the same way we felt about the interpretations casting of Gatsby as possibly gay. The main reasoning of his alleged homosexuality seemed to be that he is well groomed and wore pink. However we discussed how neither should be considered markers of homosexuality. Gatsby is a successful self-made business man most of which are well groomed (no one wants to do business with someone who looks unprofessional, its not a safe investment). Furthermore at the time pink was not considered feminine, in fact at the time the book was written it was considered masculine.
Did anyone agree with Tyson’s analysis? Why/Why not?
What other ways does the media reinforce gender roles and stereotypes?
Any thoughts on the queer continuum?