chapter
Kissing
Pages 3

In Western culture, kisses have signified romantic love, and linked to this (although not the same thing), the eruption of the private realm of sexuality into the public sphere of politics. Popular culture is saturated with kisses. In movies, television programs, magazine advertisements, and postcards, they are exchanged as betokening the contract of romantic heterosexuality that structures our culture, our ambitions, and our dreams. “In classical Hollywood cinema, the classic kiss…conventionally represents sexuality. The power of this kiss derives from its dual metaphoric and metonymic function. It both stands for sexual activity and begins it…[thus comes the] metonymic power of the kiss to suggest both romance and sexuality” (Straayer 44).