Media shapes and supports certain ideas about how we view ourselves and others. The narratives that we consume train us to desire a particular formula of what critic Lauren Berlant calls "the good life": growing up, becoming a man or a woman, getting married, having children, and retiring. People who fail to fit into these narratives are often punished and excluded from society. However, queer theorist Jack Halberstam asks us to reconsider failure as a means of resistance. The texts that I examine fail to conform to narrative expectations or to fit formulae that are easily consumable or defined. They present queer characters and relationships that exceed social norms and generic conventions. These characters and relationships encourage us to reconsider the models of desire given to us, and to embrace a more nebulous state of anxiety found in liminal space. In Chapter 1, I discuss Argentine-Spanish-French film XXY (2007), which follows the story of Alex, an intersex teen who refuses to fit within the binary of male or female. In Chapter 2, I argue that Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958) lays the groundwork for the visual representation of anxiety and desire in the Japanese manga Aku no Hana (Flowers of Evil ), which explores non-monogamous relationships structured around sadistic voyeurism. In the conclusion I turn briefly to children's cartoons Steven Universe and Adventure Time, in which failure has been reimagined as queer utopia. By focusing on media that resist heteronormative conventions we can start to reimagine models for more empathetic and compassionate communities.
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Jones, Anna Maria
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Mitchell, Aidan, "Reimaging Desire: Queer Time, Liminal Space, and Narrative Anxiety" (2015). HIM 1990-2015. 608.