The Spartan Spectacle
If a guy likes the film 300, is he gay? In 2007 writer Matt Feeney launched a tirade (new window) against critics who would interpret 300, and other macho-man action flicks, as homoerotic. Men who like such films, he argues, shouldn’t be called gay! (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) But what does the film itself have to say about gender and sexuality? “The Spartan Spectacle” takes a sharp look at how masculinity is constructed in 300. Drawing on Judith Butler’s concept of gender performativity, as well as Michael Kimmel’s interrogation of American masculinity as homophobia, the video examines ways 300 subverts a homoerotic interpretation of its Spartan protagonists. Through close analysis of the film’s final sequence, “The Spartan Spectacle” shows that 300 does plenty to undercut a queer reading while reassuring potentially homophobic viewers that its heroes are all man.