December theme: Queer/ing Animation
Curated by: Kodi Maier
Deadline: November 25th 2016
In his article “No Place Like Home: The Transgendered Narrative of Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues,” Jay Prosser states that “queerness effects an opening of the borders between genders, disturbs the discrete categories of lesbian, gay, man, woman – undoing their identity narratives – and, as a result, enables the formation of new political, cultural, and social coalitions” (486). In Prosser’s view, “queer” is a call for plasticity, for flexibility, within society’s heteronormative understand of gender and sexuality. Those who identify as “queer” frequently use their identities to criticize and disrupt these notions, demanding acknowledgement when society ignores them, representation when they and other LGBT+ individuals are erased.
Animation operates in a similar way: its plasticity allows the medium to move freely between the realism of Walt Disney to the absurdity of Jan Švenkmajer, constantly searching for new possibilities of expression. As Paul Wells explains, “the animated film has the capacity to redefine orthodoxies of live-action narrative and images, and address the human condition with as much authority and insight as any live-action film” (1993: 4). In other words, animation’s elasticity opens a realm where ideas of normalcy are disrupted and hidden potentials are revealed much in the same way that queer theory disrupts common understandings of gender and sexuality to explore other options in regards to embodiment and expression.
How, then, can concepts of queerness be applied to animation? If queer and LGBT+ individuals are frequently erased, where can they be found in animated films and animation history? December’s theme seeks to answer these questions and more.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Queer animators (i.e. erasure of queer identity, impact sexuality or identity has on their work)
- Studios’ relationship with queer communities (e.g. treatment of queer employees, interaction with queer fans, marketing practices aimed specifically at the queer community)
- Queer representation within animation (e.g. positive representation, gaps in representation, possible examples of queerbaiting)
- Animation as a tool for queer activism
- Applications of queer theory to animation as a medium
- Queer fan communities and their relationship to a particular animated text (e.g. queer interpretations of a character, slash and femslash communities)
Posts of between 300 and 500 words, which discuss any aspect of the above topic are welcome. Contributors are encouraged to include clips and images to support their posts. Please also include a short bio to accompany the post. All permissions are the responsibility of the contributor. Please contact the guest editor Kodi Maier at firstname.lastname@example.org for submissions and questions.