Mediating Representations: Depictions Of Queer Bodies In The Media

31 October 2021

Artist’s statement


When queerness is portrayed outside the confines of safe spaces, we are all in danger and thus, the shame of being queer is profoundly disempowering. Different privileges exist in our lives, and we must use those privileges to bring attention to the rights of LGBTQIA+ communities. There is no peace for any person if an individual is being discriminated against, socially outcasted or killed on the basis of sexuality. 


From the lens of basic human rights, this exhibition focuses on how homophobia resides in the world around us, and the ways in which popular culture perpetuates queerphobic stereotypes and beliefs; while commenting on the suppression of sexual identity in various spaces, where LGBTQIA+ individuals assimilate to heteronormative ideals to avoid discrimination, violence and social rejection.


If the visibility of the body shapes its public significance, then the performances of the body can be seen as a presentation of oneself. The more we engage with harmful stereotypes, the more popularity they gain. And thus, more stereotypes are produced; conforming to an algorithmic loop of production and consumption. Here lies the potential to reject and destabilise heteronormative behaviours and ideals. Imitation lies at the very nature of stereotyping – and here, a consumable queerness is born – a single constructed and unwavering image of what queerness looks like and sounds like. As a consequence, a certain set of expectations are set out for queer bodies, often made to feel the need to conform to these stereotypes as a means of validating our queerness. This cyclical recreation of these images works to reinforce the difference in a homogenised community that is already built on difference, creating and perpetuating divisions.


With the nature of media, the performance of the body is chained to a perpetual cycle of presentation and representation. The shaping and reshaping of oneself seems centred on negotiating stereotypes of oneself, mainly gendered images of masculinity and femininity as well as images of heterosexuality and homosexuality in relation to sexual identities. The presentation of sexuality is linked to visual displays of the body. Visual aesthetics and curatorial decisions have the potential to destabilise the norms of sexual representations; allowing individuals to exist outside of heteronormative binaries, reclaiming their rhetoric shame and discrimination surrounding queerness; thus undoing the representational praxis that rejects bodies that do not fit a governing ideal.