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Queerness Connotations in Films

The concept of connotation in terms of homosexuality has been addressed by a number of critics who relate the issue to film and television depictions of queerness. Doty refers to the connotation of queerness as being able to "suggest things without saying them for certain" (Doty xi). For much of film history, connotation was the norm for queerness, which was rarely denoted in an overt fashion. Doty approaches the issue from the standpoint that connotation has hidden the issue for too long. he cites D.A. Miller to the effect that connotation has become "the dominating signifying practice of homophobia" (Miller 125). Connotation is a way of both hiding the fact of queerness from much of the audience and of portraying queerness as a mental aberration, and numerous critics have started to address this issue and to consider the notion of connotative queerness and what it says about the dominant culture that utilizes it.

Miller points out that connotation is utilized because it allows for a plausible deniability, meaning that a depiction of queerness can be denied as such to those who would criticize such a depiction or find it to be a moral fault. Homosexuality, says Miller,occupies a unique position as "the only subject matter whose representation in American mass culture appertained exclusively to the shadow kingdom of connotation" (Miller 124-125). Miller says that in this sway, insinuations can be both developed and denied at one and the same time. At the same time, says Miller, the use of connotation creates another problem in that "it has the corresponding inconvenience of tending to raise this ghost all over the place" (Miller 125).

Doty addresses this last point and notes that this made it seem that the most effective way to overturn connotation was to argue that while it seemed it was only reading queerness into things where it did not exist, it was actually finding something that really existed in the text. Doty rel...

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Queerness Connotations in Films. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 19:42, August 12, 2020, from