How do you define ‘mainstream’?

I’m taking a class in Questioning New Media, for which I had to attend a lecture by Allen deSouza. The lecture included a theme about how all sci-fi is essentially a retelling of the colonial male fantasy. I felt like this was still a generalization, because ultimately movies are an industry, and movies are produced for mass audiences, and EVERY genre has a ‘theme’ that gets regurgitated.

Today in class I mentioned that I didn’t quite get his talk, and someone literally attacked me by saying that I didn’t understand a discourse on ‘heteronormativity’ because I’m comfortable with my identity and being a part of the mainstream (or what you define as ‘normal’). I didn’t say anything to the attacker because it seemed like a response of any nature would end up making me sound homophobic. I did take offense to the fact that the attacker brought in sexuality after he mentioned color because he realized that by the definition of ‘color’, I’m of the same category as the artist. I am also quite angry with the fact that his entire attack was based on a presumption that I am heterosexual based on my appearance (whether I am or am not is irrelevant to the discussion, given that I feel victimized by the stereotype). So basically the fact that I am heterosexual, and that I believe a profit-making business is allowed to sell what people buy, means that I am somehow against homosexuality? I fail to see the connect here.

The fact also remains that ‘mainstream’ is a very loose definition. To this person,  heterosexuality seemed mainstream. But what about the fact that I am a WOMAN? I could argue that gender-wise, especially in a cultural context like India, being male is mainstream and therefore, I am the one who feels marginalized by that fact. Maybe I am being naive, and maybe I am mainstream, but I believe that perspectives vary and a different lens can change the definition of what is or isn’t mainstream. It isn’t fair to presume that someone is or isn’t mainstream, based on one frame of reference and it certainly isn’t fair to verbally attack someone just because you are busy playing victim.

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