'Queer: A Graphic History Could Totally Change the Way You Think About Sex and Gender' Vice
Activist-academic Meg-John Barker and cartoonist Jules Scheele illuminate the histories of queer thought and LGBTQ+ action in this groundbreaking non-fiction graphic novel.
From identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion, Queer explores how we came to view sex, gender and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture and our understanding of biology, psychology and sexology; and how these views have been disputed and challenged.
Along the way we look at key landmarks which shift our perspective of what's 'normal' - Alfred Kinsey's view of sexuality as a spectrum, Judith Butler's view of gendered behaviour as a performance, the play Wicked, or moments in Casino Royale when we're invited to view James Bond with the kind of desiring gaze usually directed at female bodies in mainstream media.
Presented in a brilliantly engaging and witty style, this is a unique portrait of the universe of queer thinking.
Academic/activist Barker (Rewriting the Rules) attempts to demystify the ideas that make up queer theory's framework, accompanied by plenty of illustrative and humorous cartoons from Scheele (Metroland). Spanning from 19th-century sexology and Freud to modern queer theorists such as Julia Serano and Sara Ahmed, Barker analyzes the history of the word queer itself, examining the progressive and regressive aspects of theory's most vital thinkers. Though Scheele's portraits are somewhat lazily copied and pasted throughout the book (reminiscent of her zine work), her diagrams and visual aids are invaluable in understanding Barker's more intricate explanations. Perhaps most importantly, Barker and Scheele make sure to emphasize that while queer theory has many problems with race, disability, and various hierarchies, the nature of queerness ensures that these issues can be changed. This hopeful and welcoming attitude should encourage readers to queer their own lives in whatever ways feel right.