Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Feminist Media Studies

First Page


Last Page




In the wake of E.T.'s 1982 debut, film critics Marina Heung and Vivian Sobchack established that the enduring appeal of E.T. inheres in the dissolution of the nuclear heterosexual family over the latter half of the twentieth century and the film's “fairy tale” stand-in for the “mythology of family relations” that Dana Cloud terms “conservative familialism.” As Carl Plantinga puts it, E.T. offers a “virtual solution … to [a] traumatic problem.” Despite this, however, E.T. remains for many an inconsolable tragedy. Approaching E.T. from the perspective of the queer child who grows “more sideways than up,” in the real absence of a fairy tale solution to the traumatic problem of conservative familialism, I here seek to identify and celebrate E.T.'s “complex range of queerness” that has until now remained largely closeted.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Feminist Media Studies, Volume 14, Issue 2, 2014, available online: