Sunday, February 28, 2010

Combating Hegemony

“But I’m a Cheerleader” raises an important point that could be lost in all of its wit. Overall, what does this film work to accomplish? Yes, it works to question common thoughts on the “normalcy” of heterosexual relationships, but more importantly, it adds to the discourse on the subject, which had previous been disarmed by those with discursive power. To explain, one must comprehend Michel Foucault’s claims on power that from his insistence that power is not a possessive ability, rather it flows though belief systems, or discourse, that work to create a body of common knowledge that everyone should adhere to. From this established common knowledge comes a disposition towards what actions are right and which are wrong, or deviant. Somewhere along time, the discourse created the standard relationship as a heterosexual one, with homosexuality being the deviant choice. However, the resistance to the norm has been there (which reinforces the notion of power that the discourse has held), but had been somewhat miniscule and obscured that it was not able to achieve legitimacy. Obvious, we are very nuanced to have to have an to specifically encounter these issues in a classroom setting, but it shows that the discourse is changing, thanks to a more diverse set of contributors to gender and sexual theory. Previously it seems that the merit of gender and sexual theory was non-existent, as it was merely accepted, through discursive power that the common knowledge was only of heterosexual relationships (either a result of procreation or religious influences, etc.). Because the conditions for who received merit for their thoughts on sexuality were mainly just spitting back these “common knowledges,” it can follow that the merit was largely unwarranted. With the contribution pool becoming much larger, and working to paint a more complete picture of all of the intricacies of sexuality, it works to disarm the power that the discourse of heterosexuality once had. The call for more contributors may mimic the notion of an affirmative action program, but it has the best of intentions by seeking to include all viewpoints into the wealth of discourse on the subject (whether it is gender, sexuality, race theory, etc.). Hopefully, by including and respecting the totality of claims towards sexuality, the current structure will illuminate the privileges that heterosexuality has possessed and work to combat the privileges. “But I’m a Cheerleader” may take a comical tone at times, but its significance cannot be ignored, as it actively functions as a counter to the assumed hegemony of heterosexual relationships.

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