Week 2 Response

In Eve Sedgwick’s “Epistemology of the Closet,” she breaks down the creation, continuation, and history of “the closet,” a space whose influence edges beyond the confines of homosexuality. It is not a stable space but one that moves with/around its subject, as LGBTQ people are forced to navigate a world that constantly pressures them to either remain silent or embrace their identity. The closet has even impacted understandings of gender in relation to same-sex desires. As Sedgwick describes, there remains two particular tropes about gay men and lesbian women: that they are inversions of heteronormativity, “a woman’s soul trapped in a man’s body – and vice versa” (Sedgwick 59.) In the 1951 classic “All About Eve,” the titular character is posited as a villainous homosexual whose masculine tendencies stand in direct contrast of her clearly heterosexual counterparts. Eve is cold, calculating, ambitious, and deceitful, not to mention conspicuously coded as lesbian. Her inversion away from heterosexual desires also marks an inversion away from typically feminine traits. She is contrasted with the heterosexual relationships of Margo and Karen, who by the end of the film are happily married/engaged and content with the outcome of events while Eve goes home alone, unhappy even after winning an acclaimed award. The intention is obvious: Eve represents a villainous lesbian with inverted masculine traits have isolated her from her heterosexual friends and true happiness.

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