Big Dyke Energy? : Commodification and Queer Female Meaning-Making in the Reception of Ocean’s 8 (Gary Ross, 2018)

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Filmvetenskap

Abstract: In a media landscape that continues to be characterized by heteronormativity, queer female audiences are continuously finding ways to make popular texts their own. Previous scholarship on queer female reception has largely approached queer meaning-making as a text-audience relationship, a perspective which disregards the position of films as commodities surrounded by an extensive promotional network. This thesis investigates the role of commodification in the process of queer meaning-making in popular film through a reception study of the film Ocean’s 8 (Gary Ross, 2018). Using a netnographic method that places social media reception in dialogue with the film and its promotional materials, it challenges the idea that queer meaning is always either embedded in the film text or brought in by the audience “(in)appropriating” the text. Rather, the film and its promotional context create an ambiguity that allows queer readings to flow freely, and actively interacts with a pre-existing Cate Blanchett-as-lesbian fantasy amongst audiences to steer those readings in particular directions. Queer female meaning-making, then, is far from a one-directional action, but rather a complex and constant renegotiation of queerness between commercial actors and audiences alike.

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