• MA in Visual & Critical Studies

  • Henry Witecki

  • Amanda N. Simons - CCA Graduate Thesis Events

    Amanda N. Simons



    Thesis Abstract

    Two women hold hands while a minister validates their “marriage.” While an image of two brides certainly offers a depiction of same-sex marriage, its social and cultural value is less than that of its heteronormative counterpart. Since the passage of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), government-validated same-sex marriage in the United States has been politically in flux and legally conflicting between state and federal laws, yet images of same-sex couples posed in tropes of the marriage ceremony are still (paradoxically) created, circulated, and modeled as a visual instruction manual of sorts. This project examines post-DOMA depictions of queer weddings in The New Yorker, Astonishing X-Men comics, the Internet, and beyond, interrogating the marketing of same-sex marriage equality in light of national legal conflicts. Can an image of two smiling brides really represent “marriage,” or does such a depiction spark the potential for new—yet still unequal—meaning-making?