Nicole’s Bridge to the Blog – Gay, Lesbian, & Queer Criticism

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?

3 thoughts on “Nicole’s Bridge to the Blog – Gay, Lesbian, & Queer Criticism

  1. Hey people, just to be clear about Rich’s idea, she doesn’t say that all strong relationships between women mean they sexually desire each other. Rather, she is redefining the concept of lesbianism, broadening the term to say it should not only be used for sexual desire/contact, but rather that we should value all relationships between women as important and the sexual one is different in intensity but not foreign to the others.

  2. Toy-r-us is a great examle of how society displays heterocentrism (assumtion that heterosexuality is the norm). The aisles begin with hot pink and purple feathers and sequin and then transforms into blue green and camo nurf guns and trucks. Although marketing has a major influence on how society sees gender but I think that your parents have a major influence as well. I have been in multiple stores/ toystores where a little girl will pick up a nerf gun, or jump into a battery powered boys jeep their parents say “put that down thats for boys”. That automatically shames the kids for displaying that behavior.
    I agree that Tyson did stretch Gatsby a little far when talking about LG&Q theory. Back then it was acceptable and expected for men like Gatsby and Tom. business men, to be well dressed and taken care of. Also, Daisy and Jordan’s relationship seems more to me like best friends rather then sexually wanting each other.

  3. I agree with the argument that you made about how Tyson stretched the gay lesbian and queer theory and how the fact that Gatsby wears purple and pink suits and is constantly well groomed makes him gay. When we think of successful people throughout the world they are always in the latest fashion suits with hair gelled back perfectly and we do not automatically think that they are gay. Being well groomed is a sign of financial success and professionalism, not homosexuality.
    I also liked how you touched on the woman defined woman with Jordan and Daisy. Due to the fact that they are always together does not make them sexually desire one another,but just depend on each other emotionally. We all have that one best friend of the same sex that is our rock and who we can tell everything to. Just because we share that emotional experience does not make us sexually desire that said friend. So in conclusion, I believe Tyson might have stretched this section in the criticism of Gatsby a little too much in my opinion.

Leave a Reply