Open Access Undergraduate Student Work
Type of Work
Tom and Jerry films; Gay and lesbian studies;
This presentation’s theoretical focus is a return to the performative dimension of identities and social life. Its vehicle for doing such is Tom and Jerry, a series of animation shorts. This American “cat chases mouse” series produced hundreds of shorts and has become a classic in American media memory. Drawing upon Judith Butler’s queer theoretical work and a justification from Eve Sedgwick, a selection of episodes has been subject to analysis. This analysis lays out basic descriptions of performative gender identity in the series while making a normative assessment of their effects. Ultimately, I claim that through ironic detachment, the characters Tom and Jerry subvert normalized gender and sexuality structures through conscious performance. Mere demonstration or recognition of the performative dimension of identity is not inherently progressive in its ends though. This opens the conversation for further discussion of the relation between performance and identity.
Date of Work
Department of Languages and Literatures
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
©2018 Cade M. Olmstead
Olmstead, Cade M., "Tom and Jerry: Performative Queerness in Action" (2018). Undergraduate Student Work. 9.