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Human Sexuality by Gayatri Gopinath

The article by Gayatri Gopinath addresses the issues that rotate around globalization, immigration, gender, culture and sexuality. The article explains how modernization has conflicted with cultural ideals where people are being immersed into cultural liberalization of the environment of their habitat. In her work, Gopinath points out that Asian gender and sexuality, in the face of globalization and queer Diaspora framework, have been transformed into consumable commodities, where female bodies have become objects that people can enjoy when looking at them. Accordingly, the author’s ideas rotate around how people consume reformed and restructured gender themes and ideals. Analyzing the hyper visibility of Bollywood movies, she brings out the idea that gender and sexuality in the global village are something that can be tailored to suit different ideological positions.

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Moreover, the author tries to challenge many of the assumptions that have been put forth in studies of same-sex phenomenon and sexuality by non-western societies. She brings forward the discussion of the latter in her examples of Bollywood movies and photography indicating that the gay identity exists, but with opposition to heterosexuality. Accordingly, she states that homosexuality and same-sex relationships can only find fulfilled public expression through increasing public visibility. The photo presented by the writer clearly supports this assumption. In addition, the hyper visibility of such imagery has led to changes in views on the issue of sexuality and migration.

According to Gopinath, Bollywood movies have transformed and opened up a new Indian culture. Through them, people have been exposed to cultural practices such as sexuality that they have never used to know. Making a reference to films and photography, the author exposes how sexuality and gender issues have been manifested in the modern culture. She also points out that post-9/11 timeline saw disappearance of an Asian male from the limelight of the society. In the same time, the sexualization of Asian women’s bodies as consumable commodities became evident due to globalization. Moreover, she suggests that it is only when this aspect is viewed under the queer Diaspora framework one is able to disconnect from other views (Gopinath, 2005). She also brings out the need and desire for sexual recognition on the national level. As most of the issues discussed in the article relate to Asians living in Diaspora, it means that immigration contributes to cultural and sexual awareness and the need to live in the place where there is no judgment for being queer and different from the others.

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Gopinath (2005) also notes that, within the frames of the U.S. nationalism, queer Diasporas and heterosexualization of Asian women bodies have led to the disappearance of south Asian media. In addition, she states that it has caused the transformation of south Asians into consumable multicultural commodities. The migration of South Asian’s into the Western countries and the revolution of the views have occurred due to cultural exchange through migration, photography and cinematography. The perception of sexuality that the western population had has been shared by the South Asian immigrants. In her article, she makes a reference to Sekhon’s work that portrays two Asian men, one naked and the other clothed in the streets of London. The artwork manifests that the issues of gaysim and sexual orientation with regard to Asian nationalism, which should be open, and people should have the freedom to express their feelings. It is an indication that that the problem should be perceived from the unbiased perspective to understand the underlying factors of this phenomenon.

The role of sexuality and gender and the internationalization of culture practices also come to play when the queer Diaspora theories are considered. Diaspora communities have been becoming a common phenomenon around the world. With many cities and Western countries accepting gayism as a form of social living, immigration has been found to be based on some of the deeply rooted sexuality and gender issues. As McCready (2013) notes, the concept of queer Diasporas has been found to challenge nationalist ideas. A belief that a nation is superior and the Diaspora should be a copy of the traditions and national culture and its values has also seen a change with queer Diaspora strengthening its positions around the world, especially in Western countries. These ideas, which were thought to be fundamental to traditional form of Diaspora, have changed. Therefore, the concept has helped scholars in identifying the underlying relationship in the construction of a normative gender and sexuality and nationalism relationship.

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Close observation on the phenomenon of queer Diaspora indicates two main concerns. The first concern, as noted by Deasai and Brandzel (2008), revolves around the notion that queer Diaspora development is based on the issues that relate to cultural nationalism. In the article, it is evident that queer Diaspora of South Asia is reduced if compared to Indian culture, not considering other factors that divide groups into different subgroups. The other issue concerns the concept that Western countries are perceived as a place for sexual liberation, freedom, and visibility. Accordingly, it is into the western culture that homosexuals escape seeking sexual liberation. Additionally, there has been hyper visibility of Bollywood films and other commodities that are aimed at increasing visibility of sexuality and gender-related issues. As Massad (2002) notes, some nations such as the United States of America and UK see their citizens have accepted the phenomenon of homosexuality. It has led to the increase in sexual and gender-related immigration with the aim of finding sexual heavens, where they will be free to express their sexuality without facing much of nationalism and unacceptance.

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