Essay on Homosexuality in My Summer of Love

Essay on Homosexuality in My Summer of Love

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“Acting queerly means, above all else, transgressing, disrupting, and subverting straight norms and conventions” (Nowlan 8); in other words, acting queerly means challenging the heteronormative ideology. The heteronormative ideology, or simply heteronormativity, is a cultural bias that sees heterosexuality as the normal and only one sexual orientation. This term also comprises the idea that in most societies exists a prescribed set of “straight norms” (Nowlan 8), among which patriarchy and a strong division between the feminine and the masculine play a leading role. In some cases, subverting heteronormativity is the main idea and aim behind many films portraying in some ways the queer community. However, there are also films that, in spite of having, for example, homosexual characters, do not “act queerly”; in fact, some of these even reinforce heteronormativity and are thus counter-productive to the LGBT community. One example is Pawel Pawlikowski’s My Summer of Love (2004) (based on the novel of the same title by Helen Cross), which centers on the lesbian love story between two teenagers girl, Mona and Tamsin. In what follows, it will be shown that Pawlikowski’s film is detrimental to the gay community, as it reinforces the heteronormative ideology, rather than challenging it.
The first reason why My Summer of Love emphasizes the normalized heterosexual ideology is found in the main narrative of the movie, namely that of the tomboy. According to Barbara Creed, the tomboy is “the central image used to control representations of the potentially lesbian body” (Creed 112) and in Pawlikowski’s film one of the two main characters, Mona, can be described as being a tomboy. This feature is significantly made explicit by the mise-en-s...

... middle of paper ...

...not a film that acts queerly: there is no “transgressing, disrupting, and subverting” of “straight norms and conventions” (8).

Works Cited

Creed, Barbara. “Lesbian Bodies: Tribades, Tomboys and Tarts”. In The Body: A Reader. : Mariam Fraser and Monica Greco (eds.). London: Routledge, 2005, 111-124.

My Summer of Love. Dir. Pawel Pawlikowski. ContentFilm, 2004. Film.

Mulvey, Laura. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”. Screen. 16.3 (Autumn 1975): 6-18.

Nowlan, Bob. “Queer Theory, Queer Cinema”. In Coming Out to the Mainstream: New Queer Cinema in the 21st Century. JoAnne C. Juett and David M. Jones (eds.). Cambridge: Cambridge Scholar Publisher, 2010, 2-20.

Pawlikowski, Pawel. “My Summer of Love”. Interveiw by Jen Foley. BBC Movies, 2004. Accessed 5 November 2013.

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