Queer possibilities in teen friendships in film, 2000-2009

Hughes, Katherine Ross (2013) Queer possibilities in teen friendships in film, 2000-2009. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis seeks to determine how representations of dyadic teen homosocial bonds and relationships in film lend themselves to queer possibilities. Looking at teens in film across genre, certain types of dyadic homosocial relationships emerge: the best friendship, the antagonistic teen girl friendship, the boys friendship within a wider homosocial milieu, and friendships which fit these types but include gay and lesbian characters. I ground the research by establishing a record of the films released theatrically in the UK between 2000 and 2009 with teens as primary characters, and develop a qualitative and textual analysis of dyadic homosocial relationship types which illuminates their queer possibilities as well as the modes of denial and compensation which may accompany the threat those queer possibilities represent. As it investigates the policing of gender and heterosexual norms in teen homosocial relationships in key texts such as Aquamarine (Allen 2006), Superbad (Mottola 2007), Thirteen (Hardwicke 2003), The Covenant (Harlin 2006), Evil (Håfström 2003), and My Summer of Love (Pawlikowski 2004), the research here expands teen film studies, and applies queer reading practices to an often under-analysed segment of film. It also contributes to gender studies, as the findings here point to the ways that boys continue to be tied to physicality, violence, and athleticism, while girls continue to be tied to mirrors, masquerade, and manipulation. The move to include a variety of genres allows a consideration of how genre-specific tools of analysis, such as those developed in relation to the teen film genre or to dyadic homosocial relationship films such as the buddy film and female friendship film, can be productively mobilised across genres. Issues such as denial of homosocial desire through displacement, triangulated relationships, and passing heterosexual foils link these films to the history of films about homoerotic homosocial friendships. I argue here that queer possibilities are present in a wide variety of otherwise heteronormative films. My arguments centre on structures of desire and denial within homosocial friendships, as well as to the similarities between the heteronormative representations of homosocial desire and those present in specifically gay and lesbian narratives. The ways that these emerge are gender and age specific. By bringing out the denied and repressed homoerotic desires in these films, I demonstrate their existence in various forms. The thesis demonstrates that, in keeping with dyadic homosocial relationships between adult characters, in representations of dyadic homosocial bonds, the boundaries between homosocial/homosexual remains fluid in friendships between teen girls while it is much more rigidly separated in friendships between teen boys, primarily through homophobia, even in films containing gay and lesbian main characters.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Queer representation, teen film, textual analysis, queer film, queer reading, gender studies, film studies, youth studies
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Boyle, Prof. Karen and Geraghty, Prof. Christine
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Dr Katherine Hughes
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4085
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2013 13:56
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2016 10:41
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/4085

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