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Friday, Dec 03, 2021
Outlook.com
Essay

The Closet Is Ajar

Homosexuality has been largely absent from popular cinema, but the idea is catching steam

The Closet Is Ajar
The Closet Is Ajar
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Sexual speech came under special attention as newscasts, talk shows, sitcoms and a variety of TV shows challenged conventional family values and sexual normativity including monogamy, marriage and heterosexuality. In the mid-'90s, sitcoms (like Hum Paanch, Shriman Shrimati) featured characters who were unmistakably queer while mainstream films like Daayra, Darmiyaan and Tamanna challenged heteronormativity by presenting queer protagonists. The term 'queer' is being used to challenge the naturalised polarities of sex and gender like masculine/feminine, homo/heterosexuality and gay/lesbian. Reclaimed by queer activists, this once-derogatory slang now affirms that genders and sexual preferences are fluid, trans-gendered and transsexual.

Film and cultural studies argue that spectatorship is not necessarily predictable. Texts do not carry the same meaning for everybody. Instead various factors (like the viewer's location, history and predisposition) contribute to how images are read and interpreted. Therefore, we may suggest that all images are essentially ambivalent and allow themselves to be read differently by different people. Film scholar Andrea Weiss suggests that queer spectatorship is inherently contradictory as it embodies a desire to see while being perpetually invisible. Therefore, she writes, "it resembles a love-hate affair, which involves anticipation, seduction, pleasure, disappointment, rage and betrayal".

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