The Sexuality and Gender of Glam Rock

Prior to considering the impact of sexuality and gender on “I Want To Break Free,” it is necessary to explain the connection between “I Want To Break Free” and the messages of sexuality and gender presented in glam rock music. Glam rock was a subgenre of rock that emerged in Britain during the 1970s. The genre “offered a new, implicitly queer, image of masculinity in rock…because it disputed the ideology of authenticity by positing gender identities as constructed rather than natural” (Auslander 2009, 40).

Freddie Mercury on stage in Oakland (1982) via VOGUE/Getty Images. Photograph by Steve Jennings.

Equally as important, the music of glam rock was characterized by drums, voices and guitars as the primary instruments and “shouted lyrics [that are] often monotonous…and repetitive” (Auslander 2009, 51). The visuals and musical styles present in glam rock helped to criticize notions of gender identity and sexuality, supporting the claim that the glam rock elements of “I Want To Break Free” help to accomplish the same goal.