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Gender Meets Genre in Postwar Cinemas$
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Christine Gledhill

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036613

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036613.001.0001

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“The Gay Cowboy Movie”

“The Gay Cowboy Movie”

Queer Masculinity on Brokeback Mountain

Chapter:
(p.233) Chapter 17“The Gay Cowboy Movie”
Source:
Gender Meets Genre in Postwar Cinemas
Author(s):

Steven Cohan

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252036613.003.0017

This chapter examines how the “gay cowboy movie” tag condensed the slippages in thinking required to sustain this dualism, which structured accounts of the reception to Brokeback Mountain (2005). Because the tag's indelible attachment to the film carried with it implications of mockery and scorn, the tag became the banner cry of those most offended by the film's supposed repudiation of John Wayne and the Marlboro Man. Likewise, the tag was indirectly referenced by assertions from the other side of the gender divide that, as a universal love story, Brokeback Mountain was much more than a gay movie. Nevertheless, the tag's omnipresence in the public discourse about Brokeback interrupted this dominant account of its reception by refocusing attention on the film's homoerotic specificity, which is, after all, what audiences were responding to in one way or another. It is in this context, that Brokeback Mountain worked most effectively as a “gay cowboy movie.”

Keywords:   gay cowboy movie, Brokeback Mountain, gay men, gender, genre, homoerotic specificity

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