Queer theory is a portion of academia that’s still finding its footing, however, it’s highly valuable. The subject requires that you critically think about the world, especially as it relates to gender, gender expression, sexuality, etc. Below you’ll find seven reasons you should take a queer theory course at some point in your life.
1. You’ll begin to understand how important and critical language is.
For instance, did you know that sex and gender are two completely different things? Most people use them interchangeably, but you shouldn’t. Sex refers to biology while gender is socially constructed. Additionally, you’ll learn that things like sexuality are discoursive. It emanates out of language, which is pretty cool when you consider how powerful words are.
2. Queer Theory will help you begin to deconstruct societal “norms” that you cleave to.
Did you know there’s a multitude of identities that exist outside of the gender binary? Male and Female are just two of as many as 20 or more genders. There are people that identify as transwomen, pangender, androgynous, etc., however, they exist in the margins. Click here to learn about more appropriate adjectives to use for those that don’t identify as male or female.
3. You’ll learn that we’re all pretty great actors, but you don’t have to play the part society has assigned you.
Gender performativity, a word coined by queer theory pioneer, Judith Butler, is used to describe the role(s) we all play to keep the act of gender alive. Like RuPaul says, “We’re born naked, and the rest is drag.” How cool is it that gender is a verb?
4. You’ll learn so much about how great author Michael Foucault is.
While phenomenal, Foucault’s teachings/concepts can be a bit overwhelming when first learning about queer theory, however, there are other writers out there with awesome perspectives on queer theory. Riki Wilchins, gender activist, has a wonderful book called “Queer Theory, Gender Theory: An Instant Primer” that is a great start for anyone interested in the subject of queer theory.
5. You’ll learn that any sexual orientation outside of heterosexuality isn’t deviant.
A lot of people have a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea of homosexuality, and part of that ignorance can be attributed to growing up in a society steeped in heteronormativity. We know that sexuality is fluid, so it’s more believable that the falsehood is that they’re all of these “straight” people out there who are only “straight” and have never had an inkling of an attraction toward the same sex? Hmmm.
6. You’ll learn that themes of Queer Theory have been prevalent in popular culture for years.
It may seem as though art has always been produced to be consumed by cisgendered white males, but that isn’t the case. There are a plethora of films that are integral to the study of queer and gender theory. Classics such as Stonewall, The Celluloid Closet, Boys Don’t Cry, and The Color Purple are perfect examples and representations of those that live in the margins.
7. You’ll about how great postmodernism is for your life.
Because can there really be an absolute truth? I don’t believe so, the truth is relative. The world is too complex, there is too much nuance for there to be absolute truths. Postmodernism teaches you to question everything, deconstruct established “Truth(s).” This is one of the more beautiful aspects of queer theory. You’ll feel a bit upset, even angry when certain truths you’ve held on to for so long become broken down, but that’s what becoming enlightened is all about. Why go through life thinking the world is only black and white when in reality it’s a lot more colorful and brighter?