The Role of Popular Culture for Queer Teen Identities’ Formation in Netflix’s Sex Education



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Vázquez Rodríguez, Lucia Gloria and García Ramos, Francisco José and Zurian Hernández, Francisco Adelino (2021) The Role of Popular Culture for Queer Teen Identities’ Formation in Netflix’s Sex Education. Media and Communication, 9 (3). pp. 198-208. ISSN 2183-2439

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Queer teenagers are avid readers of popular culture; as numerous audience studies prove, television plays a significant role in identity-formation for LGBTIQ+ youth, providing them with the information about sexuality, gender roles or non-normative relationships usually unavailable in their educational and home environments. In this article we analyze how some of the protagonists of Netflix’s TV show Sex Education (2019-present) utilize popular culture as a tool to explore their desires, forbidden fantasies, and gender expressions, becoming instrumental in the formation of their queer identities in a way that metatextually reflects the role LGBTIQ+ shows play for their audiences. Such is the case of Adam, a bisexual teenager that masturbates to the image of a fictional actor featured in a 1980s action film poster; Lily, whose sexual fantasies of role playing with alien creatures are strongly influenced by spatial sci-fi; and Ola, whose onyric universe is influenced by David Bowie’s genderbending aesthetics. However, the most representative example of how popular culture influences the formation of queer identities is Eric, whose non-conforming gender expression follows the example set by the trans characters in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Gender identity; Identity formation; LGBTIQ+ media; Popular culture; Queer; Sex Education; Teens
Subjects:Social sciences > Information science > Audio-visual communication
Social sciences > Information science > Communication
ID Code:67818
Deposited On:16 Sep 2021 11:06
Last Modified:17 Sep 2021 06:58

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