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Queer counterpoints: Making ‘mistakes’ in loveLife’s ‘Make Your Move’

Journal article
Authors Tommaso M. Milani
Scott Burnett
Published in Sexualities
ISSN 1363-4607
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Swedish
Language en
Subject categories Media and Communications, Gender Studies, Social Sciences Interdisciplinary, Languages and Literature


Drawing upon queer theory and Said’s notion of the counterpoint, the article analyses the launch episode of a reality television series produced by the South African NGO loveLife, which focused on a young, self-identified lesbian woman in Soweto. We offer a counter example to discourses of the powerless victimhood of Black, gender and sexually non-normative individuals in South African townships. We unveil contrapuntally the pushes and pulls between the voice of the authoritative facilitator, aligned with loveLife’s HIV-prevention and youth leadership development methodology, and that of the young woman herself, who volunteered for the intervention, focusing on their disagreement on how best to ‘accommodate’ the prevailing social norms of contemporary South Africa. We also discuss the counterpoint between us – a discourse analyst observing the effects of particular articulations on South African society related to loveLife’s social aims, and the producer of the episode, charged with the protection of the NGO’s brand identity. We conclude that norms governing gender and sexuality in a rapidly evolving society such as South Africa’s are best understood as presenting analysis with dilemmas and contradictions, and that contrapuntal reading is a valuable tool for bringing these tensions under scrutiny without succumbing to the urge to resolve them.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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