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Slippery Subjects: Intersecting Economies of Genre in Gay Male Coming-Out Films, 1995–2015


Mühlheim, Martin (2016). Slippery Subjects: Intersecting Economies of Genre in Gay Male Coming-Out Films, 1995–2015. In: Leer, Martin; Puskás, Genoveva. Economies of English. Tübingen: Narr, 199-223.

Abstract

This paper documents and explains the frequency of one particular motif – boys or men going swimming – in gay male coming-out films produced between 1995 and 2015. To do so, it develops a methodology (distant watching) that allows researchers to arrive at a reasonably accurate estimate of a cinematic motif’s frequency within any given genre, without actually having to watch all the films in their corpus. It then explains the frequency of swimming scenes in coming-out films through a set of intersecting reasons – some legal, some economic, and some aesthetic. Finally, the paper demonstrates (a) that a better understanding of generic conventions yields interpretative gains in the discussion of individual cases, and (b) that swimming scenes are particularly frequent in one subgroup of coming-out films: those in which the protagonist is still struggling to establish a non-heterosexual self-identity.

Abstract

This paper documents and explains the frequency of one particular motif – boys or men going swimming – in gay male coming-out films produced between 1995 and 2015. To do so, it develops a methodology (distant watching) that allows researchers to arrive at a reasonably accurate estimate of a cinematic motif’s frequency within any given genre, without actually having to watch all the films in their corpus. It then explains the frequency of swimming scenes in coming-out films through a set of intersecting reasons – some legal, some economic, and some aesthetic. Finally, the paper demonstrates (a) that a better understanding of generic conventions yields interpretative gains in the discussion of individual cases, and (b) that swimming scenes are particularly frequent in one subgroup of coming-out films: those in which the protagonist is still struggling to establish a non-heterosexual self-identity.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Uncontrolled Keywords:Film Studies, Coming Out, Queer Theory, Distant Reading, Gay, Genre Theory, Symbolism, Homosexuality
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:04 Nov 2016 13:17
Last Modified:10 Nov 2016 09:32
Publisher:Narr
ISBN:978-3-8233-8067-2

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