Title page for ETD etd-10152009-152556

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Sonnekus, Theo
Email theo@icads.co.za
URN etd-10152009-152556
Document Title Invisible queers : investigating the 'other' Other in gay visual cultures
Degree Master of Arts
Department Visual Arts
Advisor Name Title
Prof J van Eeden Supervisor
  • Gay Pages
  • homomasculinity
  • heterosexualisation
  • the gay niche market
  • representations
  • gay colonial representations
  • gay black self representation
  • black homophobia
  • black self-representation
  • blackness
  • colonial fantasy
  • colonial representations of blackness
  • consumerism
  • Othering
  • The South African gay press
  • whiteness
  • queer racism
  • queer advertising images
Date 2009-04-29
Availability unrestricted

The apparent ‘invisibility’, or lack of representation of black men in contemporary mainstream gay visual cultures is the primary critical issue that the study engages with. The study presupposes that the frequency with which white men appear in popular representations of ‘gayness’ prevails over that of black men. In order to substantiate this assumption, this study analyses selected issues of the South African queer men’s lifestyle magazine Gay Pages. Gay visual cultures appear to simultaneously conflate ‘whiteness’ and normative homosexuality, while marginalising black gay men by means of positioning ‘blackness’ and ‘gayness’ as irreconcilable identity constructs. Images of the gay male ‘community’ disseminated by queer and mainstream media constantly offer stereotypical, distorted and race-biased notions of gay men, which ingrain the exclusive cultural equation of white men and ideal homomasculinity. The disclosure of racist and selectively homophobic ideologies, which seem to inform gay visual representation, is therefore the chief concern of the dissertation.

By investigating selected images that ostensibly embody the complex cultural relationship between race and homomasculinity, the study addresses the following forms of visual representation: colonial representations of ‘blackness’; so-called gay ‘colonial’ representations; black self-representation; gay black self-representation; and contemporary representations of homomasculinity in advertisements and queer men’s lifestyle magazines such as Gay Pages. A genealogy of images is explored in order to illustrate the ways in which ‘blackness’ and ‘whiteness’ are respectively positioned as contradictory to and synonymous with dominant visual representations of homomasculinity in gay visual cultures. The hegemony of ‘whiteness’ in images sourced from colonial systems of representation, queer male art and commercial publicity, for example, are thus critiqued in order to address the various race-based prejudices that appear to be symptomatic of contemporary gay visual cultures.

Copyright © 2008, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Sonnekus, T 2008, Invisible queers : investigating the 'other' Other in gay visual cultures, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-10152009-152556/ >

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