Chapter 8: Bodies

Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” Music Video

Sex Change Hospital Episode 1

“Journey of a Pregnant Man,” A Barbara Walters Special

LaVerne Cox interviews with Katie Couric on Katie

July 12, 2014

June 10, 2014

Lelan Bobbé, Portraits – Half Drag

Male Gaze Tutorial by Thomas Streeter, Nicole Hintlian, Samantha Chipetz, and Susanna Callender, University of Vermont, USA.

Coward, R. (1984).  Men’s bodies.  In R. Coward (Ed.), Female desire: Women’s sexuality today (pp. 226–231). London: Paladin.

Dyer, R. (1993). The matter of images: Essays on representation. New York, NY: Routledge.

Hedahl, B. & Besel, R.D. (2013). The rhetoric of sexual experimentation: A critical examination of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.” In T. Carilli & J. Campbell (Eds.), Queer media images: LGBT perspectives (pp. 77–87). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Kessler, K. (2011). Temporarily kissing Jessica Stein: Negotiating (and negating) lesbian sexuality in popular film. In H. Radner & R. Stringer (Eds.), Feminism at the movies (pp. 215–226). New York, NY: Routledge.

Martin Jr., A. L. (2014). It’s (not) in his kiss: Gay kisses and camera angles in contemporary US network television comedy. Popular Communication, 12, 153–165.  

Morris, C.E. & Sloop, J.M. (2006). What lips these lips have kissed: Refiguring the politics of queer public kissing. Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 3 (1), 1–26.

Mulvey, L. (1975). Visual pleasure and narrative cinema. Screen, 16 (3), 6–18.

Plummer, K. (2003). The sexual spectacle: Making a public culture of sexual problems. In G. Ritzer (Ed.), The book of international social problems (pp. 521–541). New York, NY:   Sage.

Singer, T.B. (2006). From the medical gaze to sublime mutations: The ethics of (re)viewing non-normative body images. In S. Stryker & S. Whittle (Eds.), The transgender studies reader (pp. 601–620). New York, NY: Routledge.

Williams, L. (2008). Screening sex. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Exploring Sexual Representations on Scandal

View one or more of the following ABC Scandalepisodes from Season 4: Episode 6, “An Innocent Man”; Episode 7: “Baby Made a Mess”; Episode 8: The Last Supper”; and Episode 9: “Where the Sun Don’t Shine.”  The drama follows the life of powerful lawyer and crisis-management specialist Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), her associates, and her on-again, off-again affair with the President (Tony Goldwyn).  How does the sexual relationship between Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) and Prostitute Michael (Matthew Del Negro) in these episodes compare to how media typically has portrayed gay male sexuality?  What factors may contribute to any differences that you note?

Progress on Broadcast Television: How to Get Away With Murder

Scandal wasn’t the only ABC drama pushing the envelope on representations of gay male sexuality on network television.  The Shonda Rhimes production, How to Get Away with Murder has gained a great deal of media attention for its relatively frank depiction of gay male sexuality.  Like all Rhimes productions, HTGAWM spawns a great deal of Twitter activity, some of which has been critical of the show, leading Rhimes to it defend its representations.

“Shonda Rhimes to Tweeter Who Doesn’t Like ‘Gay’ Scenes: ‘Bye Felicia’”

Consider some of the articles and, using concepts from the chapter, complete your own analysis of how the program represents sexuality.  In what ways do these representations both resemble and differ from other television representations if intimacy between men? How are camera angles, shot composition, and editing used to downplay or highlight aspects of intimacy?      

Richard Lawson, “Is How to Get Away with Murder the Most Progressive Show On Television?”

J. Bryan Lowder, “What’s With All the Bottom Shaming on How to Get Away With Murder?”

Examining the Transgender Gaze

In early 2015, Olympic legend and ex-husband of Kim Kardashian, Bruce Jenner, came under intense media scrutiny based on claims that he was transitioning to life as a woman.  Before family and friends confirmed Jenner’s transition, and Jenner did a sit-down interview with Diane Sawyer, websites were full of photos meant to serve as “visual proof” of Jenner’s transition.  Do a Google Image Search for Bruce Jenner to see some of the images that have populated the internet.  Also, review the New York Daily News photo slide show, “Keeping up with Bruce Jenner’s Extreme Transformation.”  What about Jenner’s appearance do the images emphasize?  How does Jenner’s body become an object of surveillance and speculation?  Why does the story garner so much attention?  What does it say about American culture’s (dis)comfort with transgender bodies?