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Straight Girls and Queer Guys

The Hetero Media Gaze in Film and Television

Christopher Pullen

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Examines the emergence of gay male and female heterosexual alliances within contemporary media

Exploring the archetypal representation of the straight girl with the queer guy in film and television culture from 1948 to the present day, Straight Girls and Queer Guys considers the process of the ‘hetero media gaze’ and the way it contextualizes sexual diversity and gender identity. Offering both an historical foundation and a rigorous conceptual framework, Christopher Pullen draws on a range of case studies, including the films of Doris Day and Rock Hudson, the performances of Kenneth Williams, televisions shows such as Glee, Sex and the City and Will and Grace, the work of Derek Jarman, and the role of the gay best friend in Hollywood film. Critiquing the representation of the straight girl and the queer guy for its relation to both power and otherness, this is a provocative study that frames a theoretical model which can be applied across diverse media forms.

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List of figures
Chapter 1: The Hetero Media Gaze
Chapter 2: Queer Gazes and Identifications
Chapter 3: Film and Commodity
Chapter 4: TV and Domesticity
Chapter 5: Documentary and Performance
Chapter 6: Youth, Realism and Form
Select Filmography

About the Author

Christopher Pullen is Senior Lecturer in Media Theory at Bournemouth University, UK. His research interests relate to the representation of minority identity in the media, with a particular focus on sexual diversity, AIDS, youth and school education. His recent books include: Gay Identity, New Storytelling and the Media (2012), Queer Youth and Media Cultures (2014), and Queer Love in Television and Film (2013) (co-edited with Pamela Demory).


'Pullen’s book is an important intervention into queer screen culture. In presenting the heteromedia gaze, Pullen offers a reading of how the coupling of straight girls and queer men resist the dominant desiring gaze with a sense of transgression and rebellion, thus offering not only new ways of seeing and reading these texts but also revealing the incomplete continuum of such reading.'

- Rohit K. Dasgupta, Rupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities

Friendships between straight girls and queer guys have a rich, complex place in popular culture that is rarely given sustained scholarly attention. In this sharp, original, and wide-ranging book, Christopher Pullen shows us how representations of this "unlikely coupling" work—and how they matter.

Professor Joshua Gamson, University of San Francisco

'Christopher Pullen’s monograph Straight Girls and Queer Guys approaches the titular relationship from a welcome variety of angles. He demonstrates how, as a storytelling trope, the bonds between queer-coded men and explicitly or presumptively heterosexual women have a diverse history across cinema and television.'
- Nick Davis, Northwestern University, Evanston, Women's Studies