Everyone has a secret: Closeting and secrecy from Smallville to The Flash, and from shame to algorithmic risk

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Abstract

This article charts changes in the representation and encoding of superhero closeting metaphors from US television programs Smallville (2001–2011) to The Flash (2014–). Many theorists have noted that superheroes’ hidden secret identities resemble closeting. However, because of legal and social changes in LGBTQ acceptance, as well as intensification of the data-driven security state, closeting on The Flash connects to a fundamentally different set of algorithmic neoliberal social processes. As a result, The Flash portrays a form of post-shame closeting wherein secrecy is a practice of necessary self-defense against mechanized necropolitical violence and social erasure based on unpredictable data markers of risk.

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Kustritz, A. (2020). Everyone has a secret: Closeting and secrecy from Smallville to The Flash, and from shame to algorithmic risk. Sexualities, 23(5–6), 793–809. https://doi.org/10.1177/1363460719850114

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