September 30, 2008

Basic Instinct

The official definition of queer is odd or weird, but in pop culture/society it has been transferred to reference gays/lesbians. After watching this movie I think that the "queer" aspect is minute compared to other themes that were more prominent; such as monster, reversal of roles, and male castration. Catherine's actions in this movie were excessive, manipulative and unpredictable. Catherine is the type of woman who does whatever she wants, and whoever she wants. I think the lesbian plot was purely to show more depth to Catherine's character, I don't think there was any intention of having the lesbian be a "monster", rather the tendencies of Catherine were there to show how evil she was. As the director put it "being gay is not an issue…There is a dark layer to the movie, and I always felt the movie was about evil, but I never linked that feeling of evil with preference of sexuality." I can understand why people were frustrated with the monster being lesbian, but honestly watching the movie now that gay/lesbians are more accepted I did not find that story line offensive.

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Basic Instinct

So after thinking about the definition of 'queer,' and looking up the dictionary definition, I think the word queer basically means going in a different direction. After watching Basic Instinct, I don't really think the intention of the director was to generalize any group of people as bad. I agree with his response when he said there was just a dark layer to the movie, he wasn't trying to demonize anyone in my opinion. The characters that were queer in the movie, if any label should apply, were strong and powerful, even if their characters seem mysterious, but isn't that the point of the movie? The fact that the movie was made in 1992, is probably a reason such strong protest was involved. The timing and the controversy of that movie was due to ground breaking ideas no one had projected into popular culture at that point. It scared people. If a movie of that caliber were to come out in this day in age, there wouldn't be to much said.


My understanding of the term “queer? is when a person identifies their sexual orientation or gender identity in any way that does not follow heterosexual/heteronormative society, but this definition differs for everyone. Although Verhoeven states that “being gay is not an issue…never linked that feeling of evil with peference of sexuality? I believe that there are evident undertones from the heterosexual capitalist patriarchy that gives the film’s “queerness? a very negative connotation. Stone’s character was uncomfortably open in discussing her heterosexual sex life (with the first murder victim) and how she enjoyed sex just for the pleasure of it, though her female relationships in the film show a different side of her. When Roxy dies, she is visibly upset at having lost a love, when in comparison she showed absolutely no feeling when she was informed by Douglass that “the guy she was fucking? was dead. Stone’s strong protagonist female character was shown with this weakness, and Douglass worked quickly to conquer her and her “queerness.?

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"Female Psychopath" and Female Fatale

I would have to agree with the director of Basic Instinct, Paul Verheoven, this movie does have a very “dark layer?, but the film was not taking aim at different sexual preferences but more at the “Female Psychopath?, and the female fatale. Author Deborah Jermyn discusses, “The genre known as The Women From Hell. They are all women who appear in normal, domestic or relationship situations and at first appear well-adjusted. Only later is it understood that they are dangerously deranged. First comes the Mistress From Hell (Fatal Attraction), next the Nanny From Hell (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)…and then the Lesbian From Hell (Basic Instinct).? Catherine, Roxy and Beth are the three characters that could be depicted as “queer? in the film. These three women do not make the film a queer film though because of the bigger picture behind their roles. Without their insignificant relationships it would be impossible to show the Female Fatale role that Catherine was playing.

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Basic Instinct

This movie uses the sexuality of women as a marketable resource to make money. Whether or not the director intentionally depicted women, specifically lesbians, or queers, negatively is irrelevant. Because he did. Queerness is portrayed through females that are presented to us as narcissistic, emotionless, and possessing excessive sexuality. Monsters, to use the term from class. Sharon Stone doesn't close her eyes when Michael Douglas and her kiss the first time, she seems unpredictable in her behavior, the camera zooms slowly on her and takes long, dramatic shots of her to increase her sense of mysticism. The music creates suspense when she is in the shot, and the endless presence of the male gaze depicts her as an object to be stared at and to be cautious of. Looking at queerness outside of Sharon Stone’s character, we see it only in times where people are partying and being excessively sexual.

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Breaking all the rules

The whole movie is based on character development. Without this, there would be no mystery, suspense, and it would not have been very interesting. I think the use of homosexuality and bisexuality played a role in Basic Instinct to show more depth to the characters. I think it showed how Catherine (Sharon Stone) was a free bird, she was not conservative, she was a rule breaker, and overall full of surprises. In the beginning it was made very clear that Catherine was a very sexual person by how she openly spoke of sex. It was also very clear that she viewed sex as purely pleasure with no deep feelings involved. I think Catherine being a bisexual emphasizes her personality. She makes her own way through life not caring what others think. For example, when Catherine was brought in for questioning, she begins to light up a smoke and is then informed that the building is smoke-free. She calmly asks what they were going to do if she continued and pretty much called their bluff. She makes her own way through life and pushes all rules and people aside who interfere. Catherine is also a very sexy character. Women want to be her and men want to be with her. Catherine being a bisexual emphasizes her sexiness because most people find lesbians to be very arousing. I don’t think this movie portrayed bisexuals and homosexuals as being evil in any way.

Trina Hendrickson and Basic Instinct

In Basic Instinct, I could understand how portrayel of queerness could be mistaken as evil. The women are shown as evil female monsters throughout the movie backing up the assumptions that women have this unpredictable fear. The women, especially Sharon Stone, are shown as so confident that they can get everyone and everything they want by manipulation. As the movie is filmed, there are many shots that are shown through the male gaze and the women actors are well aware of it. Like the scene where Stone is being interrogated by all the male detectives. Throughout the film male paranoia is evident in the male actors. The movie reflects this fear of excessive feminist power throughtout the movie in many scenes. For example, the sex scene with Beth when she is being bent over and the clothes are torn off in a manly "i have power" way.
As I watched Basic Instinct and looked behind the deeper meaning to the movie and the storyline, I saw not a strong, dominate female Shoron Stone monster but a sensitive woman that has feelings and hurts also. The scene after Roxy dies and Stone is sitting in the chair crying helps portray this softer side. She lets her walls down and communicates how much it hurts when everyone she loves ends up dying and then again when she goes back to her detective to appologize.
I think Beth is the woman that gives queerness a bad name. She had sex with this amazing woman in college and became obsessed. She ended up forming herself into a overwhelming, obsessive female monster that ended up being hte most powerful of all. She desired this partner so much she ended up killing those that would get close to Stone. Looking at this character alone, I can understand how the intrepretation of queerness is dark and evil.

Mixed Thoughts/Insignificant Queerness

First, I don't think the director intended to create a negative image of lesbians. I think it was just a way to add mystery to the movie. We talked about different symbolic meanings in class, such as the ice-pick that resembles a phallus, but did the director intentionally create these symbols? However, I can understand how people have a problem with the "monster" in the film being a "lesbian monster."

I can't decide if it was good or not to see Nick question his masculinity throughout Basic Instinct. We saw him realistically behave sexually violent with Beth as a result of him losing his masculinity/ability to get whoever he wanted, which could be good for people to see, but Beth didn't seem to think she was raped following the event, which makes light of the situation.

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I read the portrayal of queerness in Basic Instinct as antihomosexual. Throughout the film the theme of women are monsters is illustrated but it is not just women who are depicted as the monsters but really it is the lesbians. Catherine is shown to be bisexual but it could be argued that she is truly a lesbian. She reserves her love for women, not men, which is shown in her only emotional scene when Roxy is killed. The conclusion of the movie is that Catherine is the murderer. But the ambiguity in the film from the start still clearly points to the murderer being one of the lesbian women either Catherine, Roxy, or Beth, the college lover, at the end. Because if it wasn’t Catherine it was undoubtably one of these other lesbians. The monster in the film is the femme fatale lesbian who does not have any remorse for any man she kills. This is shown throughout the movie when Catherine is shown to be expressionless when told about the murders. Roxy also is portrayed this way. In “Why the Woman Did It? the author mentions how the film also characterizes the women with the historical stereotype of lesbians being narcissistic. The women in the movie only care about themselves and believe themselves to be very powerful. This is shown by how the women use their sexuality to overpower the men. This is evident in the famous crotch shot scene. The movie also depicts the lesbians at animals and “autoerotic.? The gay club scene is filmed to show us these characteristics of homosexuality. I can understand why queer activists would be upset with this film. The lesbian is portrayed as the monster, the man hater, the unpredictable.

Basic Instinct: Fueling the Fire

The queerness in the movie Basic Instinct played a significant role in identifying the male paranoia Michael Douglas' character struggled with. When talking about how the movie portrayed queerness, I refer to the bisexuality seen in the film. In "The Margins of Pleasure: Female Monstrosity and Male Paranoia in Basic Instinct," Celestino Deleyto talks about the paranoia felt by men when they responds to a woman of intelligence. She goes on to say that Michael's character's paranoia is the cause rather than the effect of female monstrosity (Deleyto 2). Sharon Stone's character is the intelligent woman causing the internal struggle of male dominance that Michael's character experiences. Her bisexuality fueled the fire of the male paranoia. At times in the movie she blatantly chose a female sexual lover over him, making him feel secluded and powerless. When he does get involved with her sexually and her female lover, Roxy, confronts him, he portrays the male dominance when talking to her. As said in class, he infantizes her and basically taunts her about winning Sharon's sexual mojo. I think that Roxy's gender

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Girls Gone Wild

After watching “Basic Instinct? I didn’t feel like queerness played much of a role in the film at all. The filmmaker used queerness as just another tool of the “unknown? to keep Nick on edge and jealous. This film was released in 1992 and there weren’t many mainstream films with queerness in them and it was simply used as a cheap ploy to sell tickets and stir up faux controversy. It was more or less a queer tease to play into a heterosexual shock fantasy for male, heterosexual spectators. I never felt that there was a link between evil and queer when watching the film. I agree with Celestino Deleyto writes she writes, “For all the controversy raised in the U.S. by gay and lesbian groups about the attitude towards lesbianism, the only same-sex relationship developed of any depth by the film is the one between the two men.? The lesbianism plays such a small role in the film that it’s barely worth analyzing. The film wasn't made with much care, evidenced by the ridiculous plot. I don't believe the director intended to make a homophobic film. He just created a silly, thriller with little depth.

Basic Instinct

I was really unhappy about the portrayal of lesbians and bisexuals in this film. One thing that I did not like in particular was how Catherine just threw herself at Nick at the end. It was as if she thought, well the woman I was with is dead so I guess I 'll play the desperate lady now to this big strong man. Then I read this on, "Problems reoccurred later when Eszterhas wanted to make more changes to appease the gay and lesbian communities. Verhoeven point blank refused to incorporate these changes". It seems that the director Paul Verhoeven just wanted to make a film that would bring in the money. Perhaps it isn't that he dislikes lesbians, but maybe the guy is just plain ignorant. That made me not feel so mad anymore but just sad for him. I feel that he portrayed Roxy as sort of crazy and desperate and Catherine as a bitch and a whore. Maybe if he had developed these characters a little more it would have helped his reputation. I thought the character that Michael Douglas played was absolutely disgusting. Are we supposed to identify with him or feel bad for him? He is a rapist, a murderer, and a chauvinistic pig. I left the film believing that he was the actual monster.


The trouble I am having is that I can see both points. I definitely do not think that Paul Verhoevan set out to make a movie trying to portray queers in a negative light. I agree that it's a movie about "evil." It's about how to use other peoples motivations and desires and mold them to your own desires. It's about your best poker face. At the same time, there were bisexuals/lesbians in the film and they were the evil characters. Now we didn't see the whole movie so we might have missed some parts that show those characters doing positive things, but I find that unlikely. But I agree with the director when he says, "Being gay is not the issue..." because "Rocky's" (Hehe) character could have been a guy and I think the movie would have made it just fine. But the problem with that argument is - then why wasn't it a guy? That I have no clue how to answer and can only take stabs in the dark. However, because "Rocky" was a female, it benefits our class because we can talk about penis envy and other theories. We can talk about how Michael Douglas' character might be driven by fear because if two women are in a relationship they have conquered that penis envy. If women conquer penis envy, then men are rendered useless...

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Queerness in "Basic Instinct"

“Basic Instinct? portrays the queer community in a negative light not because the lesbian/bisexual women are murderers but because the heterosexual wins.

A predominant theme in this movie is male paranoia, man’s irrational fear that femininity is contagious, that he will one day become dispensable. Nick watches Catherine and Roxy dance and hold each other, and their passion infuriates him. He watches Catherine use her femininity/sexuality to get what she wants at the police station, and her power frightens him. She causes him to lose control over himself, leading to his drinking for the first time in months. In order to reassert his so-called masculinity, Nick takes Beth back to her apartment and practically rapes her.

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Basic Instinct

I didn’t view the queerness in the film as a negative aspect. I still haven’t been able to view the entire film, but from what I saw it wasn’t something that stood out to me in a negative way. I viewed it as more of a way to put focus on male paranoia, Nick’s paranoia. I agree with Richard Schickel in a comment in the reading Why the Women Did It, “Catherine is certainly bisexual but it is just another aspect of her cultivated air of differentness, her love of high risk games and shock effects.? I don’t think that the fact that Catherine had a female lover was portrayed as a negative aspect of her character; instead, I read it as just another way to point out Nick’s insecurities and male paranoia.

September 29, 2008

Basic Instinct/Queerness

Although I was unable to watch the entire movie, from what we were shown in class I didn’t think Basic Instinct gave a very definite portrayal of queerness. It was unclear whether the relationship between Catherine and Roxy was an actual queer relationship in the traditional “relationship? sense, or whether it was simply another manifestation of male paranoia. On one hand, the portrayal of both women as so sexual that they’re “monstrous? suggests that maybe their romantic relationship is simply another way that they manipulate men. The scene where Nick is rejected from the bathroom stall is a great example of this- he isn’t needed for their sexual satisfaction, they have each other. In addition, when Catherine ultimately chooses Nick in the club scene, we could look at this as implying that she is actually “straight? but is so excessive in her sexuality that she is also interested in women.

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The queerness in Basic Instinct seemed to be something of sideshow in that it wasn’t the main point of interest, yet its presence was impossible not to notice and wonder about. Yet even though it didn't have center stage, its connection to the suspicious women in the film present it as subversive and dangerous. The fact that Queer activists protested the film doesn’t surprise me because this portrayal of queerness in the film seemed only negative. Three out of the four women characters in the film are painted as queer in some regard, and all three are suspected of or confirmed as being evil killers. Whether or not any of them seemed like they were supposed to truly be bi or lesbian would probably seem irrelevant to the activists because the bottom line is that these women who are all leading "deviant" lifestyles to one degree or another also engage in varying levels of homosexuality.

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Basic Instinct

I do think that there is queerness in the movie, which is an obvious fact. I think that this movie although, may be precieved bad, actually stimulates that women do have control over men, despite white male hierarchy! Although, it does not really represent women in a great aspect, in such that she needs to use her sex appeal, and queerness to control the male, it still shows that males dont always have control. The monster completely has control over that male ( Catherine and Michael). A specific example is when you see Catherin go into her room to change and you see Michael looking at Catherine, the male gaze, I think that she knew that he could see her and she was using her "assets" to manipulate Nick and kind of gaining control over his "phallas". Throughout the clips that we saw Catherine and her "queerness" poses a power over Nick causing him to have male paranio! He is completely disctracted by her looks and she gains complete control over him, with that I do think it is a lot deeper then him losing control (castration complex) I think that Nick has a feer over homosexuality. With that I think thats where,

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The portrayal of queerness in Basic Instinct was completely inadequate. I totally sympathize with the queer community being offended by the portrayal of homosexuality in this film. From what we see of the relationship between Catherine Tramell and her female lovers (Beth and Roxy) we don’t doubt that she is a heterosexual but we see Nick (Michael Douglas) feeling jealous and inferior because of these relationships. Celestino Deleyto points out in her essay that “this perception [of male uncertainty of women] does not only associate, as in noir, female sexuality and criminality but, more specifically, turns all the women into nominal lesbians, even though all the frequent love scenes are heterosexual and Sharon Stone’s Catherine Tramell is perceived as intensely heterosexual.? This point seems to reinforce the idea that homosexuality is viewed (at least by the characters in the film) as sexual liberation and used to take power away from men by not needing them for sexual pleasure.

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Basic Instinct

I believe the movie Basic Instinct portrays queerness as a way to enhance male paranoia. You have the “monster?, Catherine, who is rich, beautiful, manipulative, and obviously wanted by men. Catherine acts as if she doesn’t need men in her life, and plays them by being involved with another women, Roxy. This relationship with another women causes male paranoia throughout the film. An example of male paranoia would be when the guy sees Catherine and Roxy dancing at the club. He becomes fearful that he will be rendered dispensable and begs for Catherine’s attention. In the movie, Catherine always ends up back with the guy even though she is portrayed as queer. To me this could be because of the norm of femininity, and being with a man is more “accepted? in society.

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Is Queer the Issue?

Queerness to me is any preference of sexuality other than being heterosexual. Considering this, the main character Catherine Tremell, played by Sharon Stone was a queer woman, being bisexual. I feel as if the queer theme used in the movie Basic Instinct was to add a layer of darkness, as the director Paul Verhoeven said. The queerness in the movie was to enhance the femme fatalness of Stone as a dangerous and knieving serial killer. The queer aspect may have also been placed as a subconscious message to the audience that queer is "weird" and "dangerous" so beware. But also, the queerness may have been used to entice not only the male protagonist but the audience as well. As Deleyto discusses Freud's analysis, he says that the drive towards forms of unpleasure is far greater than the ones for pleasure. So the queer aspect represents a form of unpleasure for many people, thus it is a driving point to view the film. This enhanced version of the femme fatale is the monster which entices us to view the film.

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The Femme Fatale of Basic Instinct

I agree with Paul Verhoeven, I did not see that being gay as a major issue within the film Basic Instinct. Although there were undertones, seeing as all Catharine’s close and emotionally intimate relationships were with women (Roxy, Hazel Dobkins) I did not see this as a criticism on queerness, or lesbianism. I felt that the film focused on man’s struggle with powerful women within a patriarchal society and dealt specifically with male paranoia. There is a constant power struggle that Nick has with Catharine which can be seen in all the scenes with her, during questioning, their sexual in-counters, etc. What makes Catharine so “scary? and “unpredictable?, making her the perfect femme fatal, is her taking control of patriarchy, taking control of the gaze. I think the scene that best demonstrates that is the infamous questioning scene, she quickly takes control and becomes in charge of the questioning. Her blatant sexuality scares Nick, as well as the other males in the film, it is unexpected. In The Margins of Pleasure Celestino Deleyto quotes E. Ann Kaplan who says, “The film noir expresses alienation, locates its cause squarely in the excess of female sexuality (‘natural’ consequences of women’s independence)…? Her sexuality is explored throughout the film and continuously taunts Nick. This explains the scene later when Nick rapes Beth to gain back his power that was taken from him by a woman.

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Basic Instinct

In Basic Instinct queerness plays a role in setting up the character of the femme fatal or “monster? in the opposite role of the main male character. The role of queerness was used more to make the bisexual character Catherine a threat to the heterosexual character Nick, as opposed to signifying that all lesbians/bisexuals, in general, are “monsters?. My interpretation of the term queer is a title or description of someone’s sexual orientation: gay, lesbian and/or bisexual. To me queer is a description of the sexuality of both Catherine and Roxy, and their public displays of affection.
In the beginning of the movie the audience starts viewing Catherine as the “bad? or “evil? character because of her ability to mess and toy with the minds of the detectives. As the movie progresses, Catherine’s sexuality, of being a lesbian/bisexual, also helps develop her character as being the “monster?. The character of Nick seems uncomfortable and threatened when Catherine expresses her sexuality (for example, when she is kissing Roxy).

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Basic Instinct

In my opinion, the main actress wasn't even queer. I think she was just using that identity as a means to manipulate and conquer the lead male character. It made him feel uncomfortable and that was her way of playing games with him. In Basic Instinct, the portrayal of queerness was very odd. She was technically with another women, but yet attracted to men. Obviously, her partner wasn't on the same level as her. I think that the movie played up "queerness" more than necessary. The movie was about a murder mystery and manipulative woman. The movie could have existed without her female friend, and still give basically the same message.

Basic Instinct

When I watched this film I really didn't think much of the queerness in the film. I agree that there was a queer aspect to the film but that it was not viewed in a negative or positive way. Instead I viewed it as a jealous lover who added suspense to the film. However the fact that she was jealous and always viewed in a very sexual way might explain why there was such a backlash in the queer community over the film. The film also depicted queerness in a negative fashion by always showing them in a "party" scene. I think that by always showing the queer aspect in a purely sexual or party situation gives a negative image to the queer community. The constant party situations and sexual behaviors when the two are together leads to the poor image of the queer community. Also, as many individuals in class discussed, we did not feel that the queerness in the film was not prevelant enough to call this a queer film. I agree that the queerness was there but I do not think it validating calling the film queer.

Male Bonding and Paranoia

I definitely agree with Deleyto that there is this them of patriarchal order and feminist backlash. I viewed the portrayal of “queer? characters as negative in Basic Instinct. When I use the word queer I guess I mean the theme or action of persons being attracted to the opposite sex in a sexual way. All of the queer characters in the film were promiscuous and had some kind of psychotic and violent behaviors. T hey also seem to have this kind of personality where they don’t care about anything or anyone. Catherine was the stereotype of a narcissistic lesbian (“Why Women Did it). This is pretty obvious when we think of Roxy, Catherine, Beth and the queer people at the night club. However, in the way Michael Douglas’ character exudes male paranoia we also see the homophobia present in the film. Michael Douglas is very threatened by Katherine’s sexuality and dominance, especially when he sees her with Roxy. He and his male colleagues all have the theme of male bonding, and we

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Basic Instinct

The portrayal of queerness in Basic Instinct is confusing and unclear. Roxy and Catherine have an obvious relationship, but it is unclear if it is actually a queer relationship or if they are purposely making Nick and other men uncomfortable and feel useless. It is no secret that men are threatened by women's homosexuality, simply because then they are no longer needed or desired. The same is true and is portrayed in this film. The reading "The Margins of Pleasure" by Celestino Deleyto, describe this fear of heterosexual men no longer being needed by women and the paranoia that goes along with that fear. I found this film to be repulsive and crude. When this movie was released, the queer community held protests and were very upset because of the bashing of lesbianism and the suppression of the female desire. Personally, I think this film was about Nick winning, Nick wanting to be the powerful man and turning Catherine "straight" again. As the film ends, it appears he has succeeded but at the same time, when I define queer it doesn't mean you have to be homosexual. You can be bi-sexual or transgender or anything you want, it's also not complete homosexuality. Catherine could be one or many of the descriptions of queer and I think this movie was about getting rid of those different desires of hers, and focusing on Nick's. As long as his desires were met and she was heterosexual at the end of the day, the movie succeeded its purpose.

Dangers of the Femme Fatale

Though I agree that the portrayal of lesbians and bisexuals could be viewed as “negative,? I don’t think that this was the purpose or theme of the film. The focus of the plot revolvs around what I would consider the two “main? characters (Nick and Catherine) and their heterosexual relationship…which was not portrayed as the positive alternative to homosexuality—quite the contrary in fact. Rather, I think that this surprising dysfunction deserves more attention. As Deborah Jermyn says in her article, this is a film about the “femme fatale? and the dangers that the female killer (which is strongly linked to feminism) represents to society. I feel Catherine’s identity, as a female, is a more critical role to address than her bisexuality (though this is by no means insignificant). While her “queerness? is one facet of her dangerous persona, it the literal female killer which threatens heterosexual male society most.

Basic Instinct

In the article Why The Woman Did It it talks about the queerness in the movie Basic Instinct "Avoiding the controversy about the film's homophobia, which instigated a massive protest based on the contention that the film portrayed lesbians and bisexuals as predatory murderers, Verhoeven sticks to a discussion of the film's formal conventions. At the same time, however, one cannot help but notice Verhoeven's verification of what became the game and lesbian activists' strategy for ruining the film's box-office appeal: "Catherine did it!" the ubiquitous signs that marked the demonstrators' protests were intended to ruin the element of suspense that is the hallmark of the detective narrative." After reading this article and watching the movie I still don't know if I see Paul Verhoeven trying to cast being gay as negative concept. Never once was I thinking while watching the movie that because Catherine was gay meant she was a murder. I can see how Queer activists might of thought that the film portrayed lesbians and bisexuals as predatory murderers. But I do agree with the article when it says that the over reaction was to get attention.

Queerness in Basic Instinct

There is queerness in Basic Instinct, however most viewers would only notice the obvious “queerness? in the bisexuality between Roxy and Catherine. Moreover, there is queerness in the plot of the story and the way the characters develop. I agree with Deleyto, “lesbianism is not so much a social reality presented by the film as one more feature of the male perception of the dangerous modern woman?. The lesbianism is just another twist to the plot. I think the real queerness in this film is Nick’s character and the castration process he goes through. Nick constantly feels his manhood and masculinity threatened by Catherine’s beautiful, confident, tempting, sexual and complex character. She poses a threat to Nick because he can’t figure her out. She frustrates him to the point where it drives him to start drinking again and then he commits violent acts (car chases and nearly raping Beth). The queerness and dark layer to the film is the threat of castration and the control women can have over men.

The portrayal of queerness in Basic Instinct was a negative one. Kathryn and Roxy were portrayed as heartless, cold and diabolical. Three of the four primary female characters in Basic Instinct are killers. Their characters together, establish that “women? can be suddenly and inexplicably violent. Basic Instinct is surely a homophobia film in the sense that it renders visible the systemic homophobia of masculine heterosexual desire (Why The Woman Did It pg 134). I felt that this film had no plot and was merely constructed as a soft core porn for men to fulfill their sexual fantasies. The character Roxy was either fondling or kissing Kathryn or interacting with Nick as an evil “monster.? There is one particular scene where Kathryn and Roxy are at a night club. Roxy goes into the men’s restroom and straddles Kathryn while she is doing cocaine in a bathroom stall. The two then go out onto the dance floor and slowly and sensually, dance, kiss and caress one another.

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Male Desire

In the article, " Why the Woman did it", the author write, " Basic Instinct is surely a homophobic film in the sense that it renders visible the systematic homophobia of masculine desire." To many people the portrayal of queerness in Basic Instinct is seen through the theme of bisexuality, (between Catherine and the other main female characters). To me the theme of queerness in the film is dominated by male paranoia and the homophobia of masculine imagery. Through out the whole film we see things through Nick's eyes. We see the anger in his eyes when he is at the club and he sees Catherine and Roxy dancing together. At this point you see the need of control inside of him. He needs to "turn her" to be interested in him, to want him. Later we see this again when Nick kills Beth, he shout, " still like girls Beth?" Nick had such a fear of not being needed by these queer woman, he put it before his investigation. By doing this with the lead male character one may get the idea that being a queer woman is worst than being a murderer. I understand the word queer to be in reference to the sexual preference of a person (gay, lesbian, bisexual), that is a choice, a choice that can not be controlled by others. However in this film the theme is all about control and in the end we see Nick prevail as

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Basic Instinct

Let me first say that I do not in any way think was director Paul Verhoeven trying to make a statement in against the gay and lesbian community. I just think he knows America's obsession with sex and he knows that it sells. So to sex it up a bit by adding a lesbian and a bisexual character to the normal old-fashioned thriller, he was just trying give people what he thought they wanted. Something sexy and different. He said that he just felt that the movie was about evil and not the preference of sexuality. The problem though is not his film. If he had those things to say about it, he really was trying to take a stand and let everyone know what he was trying to do when he made this picture. The problem is that with film, any film can be read different way. To me that is the best part about film. Two people can watch the film and both can come out with two exact opposite meanings of what they thought the movie was about. Also in queer studies, when watching a movie they try to find another meaning for the film. In this case, queer activists read this film a certain way and did not appreciate it at all. After reading the two articles and watching the film I do agree with certain things that the queer activists and writers saw. I just cannot agree with them being mad and picketing the film because ever since movies have been around every race, gender and sexuality has either been the good or bad guy/girl, so when I read about how they got upset, for me it felt like somebody just wanted some attention.

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September 28, 2008

Basic Instinct

While watching the movie, Basic Instinct, the only way I saw portrayal of queerness was between the women, mainly Catherine and Roxy. I can see why people are upset because it does set a stereotype for lesbians, but I also agree with the director when he makes the point that there is a dark layer to the movie, and how he always felt the movie was about evil. The reason I think people felt this stereotype was because Catherine is playing the perfect femme fatale or “monster" role in this movie. She was the main person of investigation for a brutal murder of a wealthy, beautiful, seductive and wealthy former singer who is brilliant at playing with the minds of both men and women. I think Celestino Deleytos makes perfect sense when saying “the central "monstrous" female protagonist and the gender and sexual relationships constructed around this figure in one of the most popular films of the genre, Basic Instinct, my hypothesis is that the representation of female monstrosity is the product of a paranoia related to gender relationships in Contemporary society.?

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Basic Instinct and Queer-ness

In evaluating what makes Basic Instinct queer, first we have to define what makes any film queer. Perhaps it is simply the prescence of "queer-ness" (that is, a gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered character). However, that would make any silly film aimed at teenage boys that makes fun of homosexuals a "queer film", which is frankly ridiculous. In order for a film to have a queer element, it should have a portrayal of a GLBT character(s) that is not simply ment to mock. In that way, then, Basic Instinct can be seen as a film with queer elements.
The portrayal of lesbians in the film, however, is inherently false, since it is based on psychoanalytical concepts of male paranoia that we discussed in class. The fear of the detective that he is not necessary to make Catherine sexually fulfilled can be seen quite clearly by both the audience and Catherine (and she manages to play with that fear by being very sexually open with her girlfriend in front of him). There is also a certain element of "female paranoia" in a way that is at play in the film. In Jermyn's "Rereading the Bitches from Hell", she evaluates the ways the "female monster"

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Basic Instinct

After watching Basic Instinct, I noticed an underlying theme of misogyny throughout the film. Women were portrayed as monsters who are not to be trusted. They are threatening and if you get involved with them they will seduce you and then leave you; trick you, use you, destroy you, and kill you. If you’re not careful, they will ruin your friendships, cause you to lose your job, and make you question your sexuality. I can certainly see why queer activists were upset by the production of this film, but I’m wondering if feminists and those fighting for women’s rights had the same reaction. The director states that this movie is about evil, and I’m not sure that evilness is strictly of queers, but more so of women in general. Deleyto brings up the point that all the principal women in this film are violent killers. Not only are these women psychopathic murderers, but even worse, they are lesbians. This film seems to endorse and favor male sexuality, and anything that deviates from that is seen as “queer? and dangerous. Sedgwick is quoted in Deleyto’s article as saying: “the intense homophobia that characterizes most homosocial formations in our society are products of the same system that oppress women.? I couldn’t agree more with this statement. In Basic Instinct, this combination of femaleness and homosexuality equals a monster.

Basic Instinct: Laughably Removed From Reality

While I didn't find myself particularly struck by the representations of queerness in "Basic Instinct", I can certainly see how queer activists would heavily criticize the film. At the same time, I am also struck by how insincere the film is in every respect. To me, the film others both male and female characters, rendering both genders so bizarrely unrelatable that it is impossible to take the film seriously at all.

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September 27, 2008

Basic Instinct

The movie Basic Instinct builds up a complex theory of how society has cultivated the image of the violent woman as a lesbian. This movie portrays queerness when looking at women. The camera is constantly framing, zooming, looking up and down and capturing the female body. In many parts of the movie Catherine would talk and the camera would be zoomed in at her face then Nicks face to see his expression. In Basic Instinct there is a clear example of a femme fatale or “monster? played by Sharon Stone. She is attractive, over sexual and likes to play with men and women’s minds. Gay rights activists strongly criticized the film and its depiction of homosexual relationships, especially the portrayal of lesbian and bisexual women as psychopathic serial killers. I can see why the queer community can be outraged because of the relationship between Catherine and other women. It is offensive for Catherine to be unfaithful to her female partners, giving lesbians a bad representation. Deleyto explains how lesbians in films are seen as dangerous modern women from a male characters perspective. Catherine enjoys the fact that Nick gains male paranoia when realizing that Catherine is bisexual. You can tell that Nick feels angry and surprised when Catherine and Roxy are kissing in the club. His sexually masculinity is getting taken away by a woman. According to Jermyn men feel that when women are with other women that they are conquering patriarchy. This leads Nick to practically raping Beth to feel dominant and wanted.

Basic Instinct: So Bad, It's Almost Decent.

In Basic Instinct my interpretation of the portrayal of queerness differs from situation to situation. I understand why the gay community and feminist circles of 1992 were upset with this film; there is ambiguous and stereotypical coding of characters based on gender, sexual orientation, and profession. The women are not represented very well in this film. They all are murders and/or “crazy? (Beth, Catherine, Roxy, and Hazel). Roxy is portrayed as the worst stereotypical lesbian: a jealous, murdering woman who ends up dead. And while not a huge contributing factor to the movie, the stereotypical remarks made about psychologists may also "add fuel to the fire".

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Basic Instinct in 250 words: Not so successful.

Though there are multiple ways to read the portrayal of queerness in Basic Instinct (BI) and much nuance to be considered- a blog of 250 words or less allows the space for one argument. I ascribe to Hart's argument that we can read Catherine as a lesbian (her argument p. 129 as my foundation) and also Deleyto's argument about the spectrum from homosocial to homosexual that is explored in the relationship between Gus and Nick, which also inserts the threat women pose to the male bond (her argument p. 9 as foundation). Drawing on the arguments posed by both Jermyn and Deleyto about BI's relationship to gender roles in contemporary society, I see queerness presented as embodying both the threat and destabilization of the heterosexual patriarchal order.

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September 26, 2008

Queerness in Basic Instinct

Throughout this movie there are many different representations of queerness. The first and most obvious representation through characters is between Catherine and Roxy, the next that is a bit more subdued-as explained by Deleyto-is the relationship between Nick and Gus. Queer is also shown in the themes of this movie. Catherine is a women that doesn't fit into the normal "feminine" role. She is very off putting to Nick, in the fact that she is a take control, confident, sexual woman. The effect this has on Nick is to make up for the masculinity he feels in being siphoned off of him. He engages in very masculine, even violent, actions (nearly raping Beth, going with Gus and shooting Beth).

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September 25, 2008

Basic Instinct

I think that queerness in Basic Instinct is represented mostly in terms of male fear that the repercussions female bonding eliminates male power and therefore make him effeminate which implies his own homosexuality. I understand queer as simply non heterosexual and therefore deemed abject by the mainstream culture (as in the Deleyto essay). As Jermyn explains, the relationships between Catherine and Roxy, and Catherine and Hazel represent Nick's own fear of femininity because with the notion of "divide and conquer", or the fear of female bonding, is the idea that strong relationships among women allow them to reject male systems of domination and overcome patriarchy. Also Nicks experiences of the female relationships in the movie represents itself when, feeling emasculated, he half-rapes (I don't know I saw it more as just rape, but I will allow for other interpretations) Beth to try and assert his masculinity and deny Catherine's dominance over him and therefore his own feared homosexuality. I agree with the "Why the Woman Did it" reading of Basic Instinct in that the bisexual and

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September 24, 2008

"dangerous modern women"

There are lots of ways in which queerness is portrayed throughout Basic Instinct. I agree with Deleyto, in that the lesbians of this film are perceived as “dangerous modern women? in the eyes of the male characters. An example of this queerness is when Nick first discovers that Catherine has a female lover. The male paranoia can also be associated with this scene. While the two females hug and kiss Nick becomes instantly shocked and uncomfortable. His facial expression becomes blank, along with his body language looking nervous and confused as he makes his way out of the room. As viewers, we can see that Nick feels threatened because a woman has taken his place, sexually. There is also a queerness in emphasizing the female body in this film. The camera is constantly framing, zooming, or panning on female body parts. For example, when Catherine gets out of the car and it is raining, the camera focuses on her long-bare-legs as it slowly creeps up her figure.

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