Rethinking the Politics of Literature
Edited By Louisa Söllner and Anita Vržina
Vulnerable Fictions: Queer Youth, Storytelling, and Narratives of Victimization
This essay puts theoretical writing on youth, sexuality, and queer pedagogy into conversation with Francesca Lia Block’s novels Weetzie Bat and Baby Be-Bop. Moving away from narratives of victimization, I propose a theory of “storying” that foregrounds how the terms of self-reference used by queer youth are established through stories told by others.
“What were you going to tell me?” Weetzie asked. “I’m gay,” Dirk said. “Who, what, when, where, how – well, not how,” Weetzie said. “It doesn’t matter one bit, honey-honey,” she said, giving him a hug. Dirk took a swig of his drink. “But you know I’ll always love you the best and think you are a beautiful, sexy girl,” he said. “Now we can Duck hunt together,” Weetzie said, taking his hand. (Block 7)
Certain popular conceptions of queer youth would have us believe that coming out is never as smooth a process as portrayed here for Dirk, a teenaged character in Francesca Lia Block’s young adult novel Weetzie Bat. In many accounts of queer youth experience, living outside the heteronormative mainstream can only culminate in harassment, bullying, and in extreme cases, lethal violence. “Are we all truly Matthew Shepard?” Eric Rofes asks in an essay that explores the pervasive “Martyr-Target-Victim” narrative – which depicts queer youth as the inevitable victims of homophobic violence – and its central role in popular conceptions of queer youth (42). Troubled by the notion that queer youth seem defined by their potential victimization, Rofes...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.