sprinkle: an undergraduate journal of feminist and queer studies


Jenna June


This paper will take a closer look at Catherine Opie’s Self-Portrait series. Spanning a decade, from 1993 to 2004, each self-portrait is both reflective of an important time in Opie’s life, and are emblematic of a particular period in the LGBTQ movement. Traditional interpretations of these images have read them as independent of one another. When read together however, they present a subtle yet powerful statement on identity and desire. Using José Muñoz’ disidentification theory as a critical lens, I plan to unpack these images and offer new insights that will bring them in line with contemporary queer theory. While iconic on their own, when read together they create a dialogue that challenges the very concept of normal vs. abnormal and speaks to the validity an entire spectrum of individual identities.