Queer Theory: Critics
There are inevitably people who don't like queer theory because they think it is deviant or inappropriate, or more likely don't really know what it is anyway. In a recent edition of the journal Sexualities, Tim Edwards gave a list of reservations which are at least based on some understanding of what it is.
Edwards's arguments appear
below (abridged, of course,
For most people, their sexual identity isn't particularly fluid, it's surprisingly constant really. [But you could say: How does Edwards know this?].
Queer theory cheats, by focusing on cultural texts (rather than real life) where
it is easier to find sexual or gender ambiguities.
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, for example, deconstructs sexual categories and dualisms
in a bunch of 'elite' literary texts. Others have taken this to be an account
of real social life.
Judith Butler's followers similarly ignore real-life oppression and instead support
their optimistic worldview by gazing at gender-blending movies and photography.
Discrimination at home and at work, for everyday gay people, are forgotten about
in this approach.
Butler's argument that gender exists at the level of discourse ignores its significance
as 'an institutionalised social practice'.
The celebration of radical diversity may lead to individualism and fragmentation.
By celebrating difference, queer politics makes the 'gay' or 'lesbian' identity
all too important.
Queer theory celebrates pleasure and therefore puts too much emphasis on sex.
It also puts too much emphasis on the visual, and too much emphasis on the young
Conclusions? Draw your own.