March 01, 2008


I have a daughter in grammar school, which means I have been exposed to the unstoppable pop-cultural juggernaut that is the Disney "High School Musical" franchise. One day, when cultural theorists are dissecting it (and yes, that day will come), I hope they take some time to notice this part of High School Musical 2:

I Don't Dance

It's one of the weaker numbers as far as the music and dancing go, but it's my favorite because of its wonderfully unabashed depiction of a homoerotic seduction. Yes I'm aware that there's the long-standing popular conception that musicals are always "gay," and yes there is a long tradition of thinly-veiled homoeroticism in the American musical (among lots of other kinds of theater), but this is Disney! This is aimed at pre-teens. This is one of the most wildly popular bits of youth culture in the landscape right now.

And it would scarcely be gayer if the jock character were singing "I Don't Have Sex with Dudes" instead.

I have to applaud the producers and writers and everyone involved, because they got about as far as they possibly could get without having two teenage boys kiss on screen (Give them time - maybe they can work it into the next sequel). A young generation is being exposed to some of the dynamics and tropes at play for queer teenagers, and it's all set to a funky beat. Thanks, mighty Disney Corporation!

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