As a gay male, I’ve had to learn to detach from “critique” and “analysis” in order to fully submerge and enjoy films that do not speak, deny and/or represses my identity. For example, romantic comedies are often elusive of gay characters. Until recent years, gay characters have been included in these and they have often played the role of the best friend or confidant of the main female character – see My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997);Monster in Law (2005); Devil Wears Prada (2006). In the end, the story is not about the gay man, but about the heterosexual couple.
These representations of gay men as an accessory or clown of the woman send the message that the space of the queer is in the margins of film, as comedic relief and whose story is never worthy of occupying the central part of the narrative or having a narrative at all. Pleasure comes from detachment from momentary access to the heterosexual romance or narrative naturally denied by reality. Also, because rom-coms are usually known as “chick flicks,” it is often women and gay men who are stereotypically known as the audiences for these movies. Perhaps it speaks to the gay’s identification with the female central characters in the absence of more appropriate representation? Also, is the freedom to gaze upon the usually handsome male character without the danger of being “caught” or shamed one of the pleasures of gay man spectatorship?