Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Religious blogger argues John Wayne’s films and characters are ‘queer erotic spectacle’

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According to religious blogger Jonathan Poletti, movie star John Wayne represented a queer “erotic spectacle”. However, this might be somewhat controversial among the actor’s more conservative longtime fans, who only saw him from the perspective of heterosexuality as a hyper-masculine character. Still, Poletti argued that the symbolism behind Wayne and his films penetrated something much deeper.

Wayne’s birth name was Marion Robert Morrison, but he was often referred to as Duke throughout his professional career. He was a collegiate athlete who later turned to acting after an accident while bodysurfing.

The movie star created one of the most iconic images of a cowboy in western film. His first starring role was in Raoul Walsh’s The big track 1930, which failed at the box office. Soon after, he was making B-movie westerns with no sign of success. However, everything changed after starring in John Ford’s ensemble film stagecoach in 1939.

Wayne became an American icon who embodied nationalism and hypermasculinity. He also demonstrated abusive language against the LGBTQ community and people of color in a 1971 Playboy interview. Still, the average Wayne fan probably wouldn’t associate him with anything other than straight ruggedness.

Poletti wrote on Medium that there was a certain odd quality to Wayne’s films and characters. The cowboy character was largely invented by legendary filmmaker John Ford, whom he called a “closed gay man from Maine.” Actress Maureen O’Hara recalled seeing the director “put his arms around another man and kissed him” during filming The long gray line.

Additionally, Poletti noted that the Evangelical Christian community was intrigued by the image Wayne projected through a cowboy, calling it an “erotic spectacle, as much for the male spectator’s visual pleasure as for the female”.

In the 1942s The spoilers, “Wayne Almost Drags” in the role of Roy Glennister. Additionally, his films are generally set on desert sets where women are typically underutilized and the focus is on the men.

Ford and Wayne made many feature films together, but their relationship was far from stable. The director often bullied and abused the actor for better performance. Poletti likened this to “S&M (sadism and masochism)” to invent films he called “almost ballet.” After all, Katharine Hepburn herself referred to his wonderful dancing skills.

Poletti quoted critic Paul Varner as referring to the western genre Wayne used to fill his filmography with a “queer genre”. He wrote that the men in these films were in “sexless” marriages with male company, which had an inherent “homoerotic nature”.

RELATED: John Wayne forced his manhood on his son: ‘He wasn’t allowed to cry’

The image of Wayne takes many forms when looking at his entertainment career, one of which is a queer lens. Along with the likes of Clint Eastwood, Wayne will always represent one of the most important images of cowboy manhood. He had an undeniable charm that many of his peers found appealing, but he also drew audiences.

The American icon is represented by appearances such as The Seekers, red river, The man who shot Liberty Valance, True gritand The quiet man. Wayne represented a form of masculinity that reached audiences around the world.

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