EMERGENCE OF QUEER THEORY

The acceptance of queer identity is not so easy in society. A hetero normative society wishes to build the society in a ‘normal’ manner. A strong consciousness of morality is manufactured and working in our society. As per heterosexual norms, sexual minorities are not human beings. They are portrayed to be unnatural and aberrant. The major reason behind the negative approach against them is that their life leads the ‘normal’ society into a feeling of insecurity. If a situation arrives where we have to admit their sexual identity, it would be the end of all established social laws on sexuality. It would be terrible for us to suffer if a homosexual makes any change to the existence of our ‘natural’ society. The social construction of Indian males and females doesn’t accept the individuality of homosexuals; in other words the elimination of power structure. In a hetero normative society, homo and heterosexuals are influenced by the power structure; the difference is this power structure is not that much visible to the ‘normalized categories’. Issues regarding the purpose of reproduction also make homosexuals ‘abnormal’. A hetero normative society provides two options to the homosexual community. This focuses specifically on sexuality as a primary component of human identity, social organization, and textual representation. There are certain theories related to homosexuality.

Gay/Lesbian theory:
It emerged prominently as a distinct field only by the 1990s. It emerged as a part of feminist studies. Both are similar in many ways, though the lesbian/gay movement has not yet gained the momentum of feminist movements. The lesbian/gay criticism field is strongly multi-disciplinary, with perhaps a predominance of cultural studies over literary material. But lesbian/gay criticism is not of exclusive interest to gays and lesbians. It may help define the nature of this field and make an initial comparison with feminist criticism. Books by gay/lesbian writers or critics are not necessarily part of gay/lesbian studies and the purpose of this criticism is that lesbian/gay studies do for sex and sexuality approximately what women’s studies do for gender.

Queer Theory:
The lesbian theory was not fully distinct from feminist studies. It was just a subfield called lesbian feminism. The second kind of lesbian thinking, designated libertarian lesbianism by Paulina Palmer, breaks away from feminism and makes new allegiances with gay men rather than with another woman. And this kind of lesbian theory sees itself as part of the field of ‘Queer theory’ or ‘Queer studies’, terms increasingly used by gays, despite the homophobic origins of the word ‘Queer’ as an abusive one in this context. The queer theory includes both queer readings of texts and theorizes the ‘queerness’ itself. The queer theory builds both upon feminist challenges to the idea that gender is part of the essential self and upon gay/lesbian studies to close examination of the socially constructed nature of sexual acts and identities.

Key Figures

Judith Pamela Butler is an American philosopher and gender theorist whose work has influenced political philosophy, ethics, and the fields of third-wave feminist, queer, and literary theory. She stated that no one can’t lay a specific claim to sexuality, but one can perform an identity: repeat clothing, gestures, attitudes, etc can be imitated as we as parodied. In one of the essays, she says “Since I was sixteen, being a lesbian is what I’ve been”. It indicates one has to constantly or repeatedly perform identity to maintain that.

Michel Foucault is a key poststructuralist influence on the development of queer theory. By his sociological research, he was able to identify four specific types of humans- that society has tried to control throughout history.
• Hysterical woman- commonly referred to as nymphomaniac.
• The masturbating child.
• The Malthus ( political economist Thomas Malthusian) couple: control reproduction, the rise of birth control, ethics of population control, etc.
• The perverse adult: Foucault termed this category as homosexuals. He says that homos and heteros are binaries but they are mutually dependent upon each other.

Key Principles

• Sexuality has always a connection with our social existence.
( Our attitudes towards sex, emotion, and erotic activity reveal much about the social classification and society’s economic and political priorities.
• Negative social attitudes about expressions of social desire have had a profound impact on many individual’s public and private lives.
• Social attitudes about sexuality have changed over time.
• Men’s same-sex desires have been treated differently from women’s over time.
• Social attitudes about sexuality have changed significantly across cultures, religions, classes, and ethnic groups.
• Social attitudes about sexuality resonate through literary texts that may challenge or maintain the status quo.