Queer skin, straight masks: Same-sex weddings and the discursive construction of identities and affects on a South African website
Journal article by Tommaso M. Milani and Brandon Wolff in Critical Arts, volume 29, issue 2, 2015.
This article showcases an exploratory study of the website of a Cape Town-based company specialising in arranging same-sex weddings. Informed by queer theory, the article deconstructs the discursive strategies – both linguistic and visual – through which same-sex weddings, and the affects attached to them, are represented on the website. Essentially the argument is that the identitarian and affective constructions on this website are not so radically anti-normative, but are a ‘homo’ version of a well-established heterosexual normality. Same-sex couples who make the choice to get married are portrayed as the epitome of a responsible lifestyle, whereas those who do not are constructed by implication/omission as immoral and irresponsible. Moreover, the queer skin under the otherwise straight masks remains predominantly white. On a more theoretical level, the article argues for an affective turn in the study of consumerism, culture and media in South Africa in order to appreciate how some emotions (but not others) are attached to social class, race, gender and sexuality for marketing purposes.