This paper examines the controversy surrounding the construction of the Sydney Opera House at mid-century, and the role of “absent” homosexuality in shaping the new ideals of the country as a modern nation. Australian popular culture--in this instance, the Opera House--is an example of “feminine” culture being incorporated into what had hitherto been a masculinist Australian civic identity. The public discourse surrounding the opera house reveals clear anxieties regarding gender and sexuality in Australia in the 1950s, and the inherently unstable narratives of gender and sexuality under Australian patriarchy from the 19th century onwards. Henning Bech’s notion of “absent homosexuality” is the core theoretical perspective utilized in this analysis of mass-mediated political and public discourses surrounding the design and construction of the Sydney Opera House. This paper suggests that the process of including the culturally-constructed feminine realm of “the arts” into its otherwise masculinist civic identity was closely connected to the nation’s desire to project itself as a modern metropolitan society.
Absent Homosexuality: The Mediated Discourses of Masculinity on the Design and Construction of the Sydney Opera House.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 6(2), 136-151.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol6/iss2/9