How Queen's I Want to Break Free Video Explores Queerness in Relation to Queer Theory

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Intro: Like various art forms such as film, television, and literature allows artists to express their own sense of identity, that being nationality, race, class, ethnicity, gender or sexuality. In this case, Queen uses music to illustrate the themes of gender and sexuality through their music video I Want to Break Free (1983). This essay will attempt to discuss how Queen’s music video, I Want to Break Free, explores queerness in relation to queer theory. Firstly, I will introduce the ideas and arguments of queer theory through Gilbert Herdt article Same Sex Different Cultures (1997). I will then discuss Queen’s portrayal of drag within the music video and how it can be seen as queer rather than heterosexual. Lastly, I will argue that Mercury’s depiction of heterosexuality within the music video could also be seen as queer in oppose to heterosexual through his performance of hyper-masculinity.
Queer: Generally speaking, queer theory concerns itself with issues dealing with gender identity and sexual orientation (Herdt, 1997, p. 8). This theory accepts academic sources which raise issues of literature, philosophy, sociology and other scholarly discourses (Herdt, 1997, p. 8). However, queer theorists use these texts and reinterpret them to “seek a new culture and history sought to uncover a period of past social life” (Herdt, 1997, p. 9). Herdt notes that queer theory attempts to expose and subvert the social hierarchies of “power that define normality” (1997, 9). However, in order to do this Herdt notes that within queer theory attempts to deconstruct sexual identity and refuse “all classification and all notions of normality” (Herdt, 1997, p. 9). In saying this, queer theorist believe that one’s sexual identity is based on soci...

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