The Victorian’s preoccupation with sexuality has been well documented over the years. However, Jack Halberstam concentrates on the way a queer person is invariably shown up to be an ass and a failure due to his feminine characteristics which are not in keeping with a male dominated society. He cites several examples, such as the bullish policies of George W Bush in the portrayal of the war on Terror as well as in athletics, where the male fuelled torso and dominance is part and parcel of the secret of any success. Bush was seen to have failed politically, due to not being macho enough and his innate femininity put him out to the wolves. Political failure is an essential part of the process of sexuality, and this is the main thrust of Halberstam’s argument. The sense of loss and failure are important parts of human emotions, and these are essential for man to continue discovering more about him/herself.
Intriguingly, Foucault is scathing about the issue of sexuality which is seen as something that is always in the background but never in the foreground. Although sex is never far from people’s minds, the possibility of consistent failure is seen as putting one out in the cold and without much hope for success. Thus the elements of sexual failure that were part and parcel of Victorian society have continued to dominate today’s society although we express sexual virility and thoughts in a far more direct manner than before. Moral prudishness has remained an intrinsic part of our thinking, even though we are more open minded when discussing sex and sexuality.
Halberstam Jack; The Queer Art of Failure; John Hope 1991, Print
Foucault Michel; The History of Sexuality; Vintage Books, 1991 Print