Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Is Spongebob the Ultimate Expression of Queer Theory?

Through the readings, Queer theory is defined as "an umbrella term for a coalition of culturally marginal sexual self-identifications [as well as used to] describe a nascent theoretical model which has developed out of more traditional lesbian and gay studies" (Jagose) While queer is, of course, concerned with sexuality and sexual identity, it challenges the notions that these are fixed and argues for the justification of unstable constructs of sexuality and gender, which Alexander Doty refers to as ‘a place not concerned with, or limited by, notions of a binary opposition of male and female or the homo versus hetero paradigm'. Queerness is certainly inclusive of lesbians and gays, but it is also concerned with alternative expressions of sexuality that, according to Jagose, include "cross dressing, hermaphrodotism, gender ambiguity and gender-corrective surgery." So all in all, it can be understood that queerness is about destabilizing conventional categories, and subverting the identities derived from and normalized by our hegemonic culture.

Using this definition of queer, along with Doty's assertions that many of society's historical texts and television shows/ characters it can be said that cartoon characters such as Spongebob and Patrick (Spongebob Sqaurepants), Rocko and Heifer (Rocko's Modern Life) and of course, Bert and Ernie (Sesame Street) are the ultimate examples of queerness. These characters are certainly not limitied in their identies and are often seen move between those "notions of binary opposition" or ignoring them completely. Not only do they challenge the conventional divisions of human / animal, child / adult, and male / female, all also express the same readings of same-sex identity, behavior, and desire as the films and TV shows described by Doty. These cartoon characters are so succesful in subverting conventional identities and behavior that they may just be the truest illustration (pun intended) of "queer".


  1. aaaah,....
    very good!
    many times people have debated, and tried to prove that SpongeBob is gay.
    great example!!

    1. SPONGEBOB IS NOT GAY. The way I see it, it's just two friends.

  2. It's interesting because there are parents out there who won't let their kids watch Spongebob Squarepants because of this.

    Here's an article about it:

  3. I'm so glad you brought this up! It's a really good point and something I just used "asexual" to describe.