Edited By William M. Reynolds
Chapter Twelve: Dirt Roads andNarrow Minds: Visual Media’s Queering of the American South
Dirt Roads and Narrow Minds: Visual Media’s Queering of the American South
KAREN C. COLLIER
As a woman who was born in the South and grew up here, I’ve always considered the South home. I know what life is like here; I understand the diversity that comprises this region of the country. However, as I’ve traveled more extensively over the past decade, I’ve learned that not everyone appreciates the beauty and uniqueness of the American South. Instead, they see it as a source of ridicule, an inspiration for jokes and other forms of humor. Sadly, I have seen how the South is subordinated in the eyes of many people around the world—often, people who have never even experienced the South for themselves. The formation of these stereotypes by which the South is queered can be attributed largely to representations by popular culture, specifically television and movies.
The first time I felt “bad” for being a Southerner was when I visited friends in Illinois in 2001. During that trip, I was ridiculed for my Southern roots, enduring jokes about my accent and allusions to my lack of education. The people who made these comments had never even been to Georgia, my home state, or anywhere else in the South. Thus, I could not help but wonder how they had developed such biases toward this region of the country. Why had they decided that these stereotypes were accurate and, further,...
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