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Edge of Seventeen: Juvenile Agony and Youth Fantasies in New Queer Adolescence Films
Unformatted Document Text:  have the option of authentic relationships with anyone who can help them deal with their emotional crises. Thus an inexperienced but sincere young heterosexual actor in such films as those dealt with here, can find himself playing not only role model but also confessor and phantom friend to people in great pain and need (Gross 1996, p. 383-4). Importantly, the new queer adolescence films, usually starring familiar straight actors, challenge the heteronormative misconception of the queer adolescent as a totally hopeless teenager whose destiny is to be outcast, persecuted, declined, and finally killed under tragic circumstances. The first important message of these discussed films of the 1990s is that it is not homosexuality which is the problem, but homophobia. The second message is that coming out is difficult and painful but staying in the closet is much worse. Coming out is presented as the only way for a queer teenager to achieve his/her personal, social, cultural and sexual liberation. The influence of cinema on self image, erotic identity, identification and socialization of queer adolescents is significant. In analyzing his attraction to Hollywood divas, for example, Daniel Harris notes that, as a gay teenager, he did not belong in the community in which he lived, that he was different, a castaway from somewhere else, somewhere better, more elegant, more refined, a little Lord Fauntleroy isolated from the voices of the great film stars. Harris was seeking to demonstrate his separateness, to show others how out of place he felt, and, moreover, to fight back against the hostility he sensed from homophobic rednecks by belittling their crudeness through unremitting displays of his own polish and sophistication (1997, pp. 9-10). Further, he points out that the gay audience perceived the female legendary movie-star “As a naked projection of their frustrated romantic desires, of their inability to express their sexual impulses openly in a homophobic society, and to seduce and manipulate the elusive heterosexual men for whom many homosexuals once nursed bitterly unrequited passions” (Harris 1997, p. 12). The new queer adolescence melodramas and comedies are part of New Queer Cinema 7 of the 1990s and early 2000. Their importance lies in their being primarily targeted at young gay and lesbian viewers, who often experience hardship in their family, school and neighborhood. This audience needs these supportive visualizations of struggle and success, agony and happiness, destruction and attraction. 7 ˜ B. Rubi Rich (1992) suggests that in new queer films there are traces of appropriation and pastiche, of irony, as well as a reworking of history with social constructionism. Rich contends that these works are irreverent, energetic, alternatively minimalist and excessive, and above all, they are full of pleasure.

Authors: Padva, Gilad.
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have the option of authentic relationships with anyone who can help them deal with
their emotional crises. Thus an inexperienced but sincere young heterosexual actor in
such films as those dealt with here, can find himself playing not only role model but
also confessor and phantom friend to people in great pain and need (Gross 1996, p.
383-4). Importantly, the new queer adolescence films, usually starring familiar
straight actors, challenge the heteronormative misconception of the queer adolescent
as a totally hopeless teenager whose destiny is to be outcast, persecuted, declined, and
finally killed under tragic circumstances. The first important message of these
discussed films of the 1990s is that it is not homosexuality which is the problem, but
homophobia. The second message is that coming out is difficult and painful but
staying in the closet is much worse. Coming out is presented as the only way for a
queer teenager to achieve his/her personal, social, cultural and sexual liberation.
The influence of cinema on self image, erotic identity, identification and socialization
of queer adolescents is significant. In analyzing his attraction to Hollywood divas, for
example, Daniel Harris notes that, as a gay teenager, he did not belong in the
community in which he lived, that he was different, a castaway from somewhere else,
somewhere better, more elegant, more refined, a little Lord Fauntleroy isolated from
the voices of the great film stars. Harris was seeking to demonstrate his separateness,
to show others how out of place he felt, and, moreover, to fight back against the
hostility he sensed from homophobic rednecks by belittling their crudeness through
unremitting displays of his own polish and sophistication (1997, pp. 9-10). Further, he
points out that the gay audience perceived the female legendary movie-star “As a
naked projection of their frustrated romantic desires, of their inability to express their
sexual impulses openly in a homophobic society, and to seduce and manipulate the
elusive heterosexual men for whom many homosexuals once nursed bitterly
unrequited passions” (Harris 1997, p. 12). The new queer adolescence melodramas
and comedies are part of New Queer Cinema
7
of the 1990s and early 2000. Their
importance lies in their being primarily targeted at young gay and lesbian viewers,
who often experience hardship in their family, school and neighborhood. This
audience needs these supportive visualizations of struggle and success, agony and
happiness, destruction and attraction.
7
˜ B. Rubi Rich (1992) suggests that in new queer films there are traces of appropriation and pastiche,
of irony, as well as a reworking of history with social constructionism. Rich contends that these works
are irreverent, energetic, alternatively minimalist and excessive, and above all, they are full of pleasure.


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