The Picture of Dorian Gray Needs More Gay

Rantasmo paints a portrait of the queer subtext in Oscar Wilde’s haunting morality fable, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

About rantasmo

Needs More Gay dissects the highs and lows of gay pop culture with the precision of a dull machete.


  1. I thought the subtext was fairly clear, though all in all though I feel this pushes Dorian to be more bisexual then homosexual. Still you make fair points and I agree with a lot of what you bring up.

  2. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    I think Oscar Wilde wanted to highlight how society back in the 19 hundreds and how they made him a monster because they weren’t really fond of gay people back in that time and everybody was mean to him and thats what kind of made him the monster that he is. Also I hear Penny Dreadful is a good show maybe I’ll watch that sometime in the future.

  3. “Archetypal pimp fashion icon” needs to be put on Wilde’s grave.

    “The Sins of Dorian Grey” sounds kind of awesome. I may have to hunt that down.

    Josh Hartnett as a bisexual Victorian werewolf… yeah, that should have been a lot more covered than it was. I remember when I saw that episode where h and Dorian hook up a few weeks after it first aired, thinking, “Huh, I don’t remember anyone mentioning this.” Maybe biphobia? Dunno.

    I’m not surprised Basil finds him hot, if he looks like Ben Barnes. I mean, wow.

    Interesting point about how he cares about how he’s perceived, and the shallowness of what we think about “bad” people and how they “look.”

    Just to be pedantic, I always got more of a bisexual than gay vibe from Dorian, but for men in that time and place, I suspect there was little difference a lot of the time. See also Wilde, who was very upset when Florence Balcombe turned him down for Bram Stoker, and reportedly did love his wife when they first married, and then later began swinging more in the “pretty young men” direction.

  4. So… unrelated to the central arguments made here, it wasn’t really subtext for me to begin with, i actually like the idea, for certain media, that Dorian gains sort of a healing factor through the picture.
    The deal was to preserve his youth and beauty, healing wounds sorta makes sense then.

  5. The most surprising thing to me: Rankin and Bass, the creators of “Thundercats” and the animated version of “The Hobbit”, actually did live action work?

    Gonna have to dig that one up and give it a painful look see ^_^

  6. I hate how Penny Dreadful’s writers just killed off Angelique the way they did. Like what was the point of her character or even half of Dorian’s plot line? Why even introduce her to the show if they were just going to kill her off and never mention her again. She had no impact on the plot whatsoever, which is a shame because she was a compelling character.

    • Got to admit, I saw that coming a mile off.

      I mean, Dorian is supposed to be indulging in all of his Sins and Vices; a thoroughly Evil person, but we hadn’t seen any real evidence of that, other than his wanting in part to upset Society by openly dating a Transgender woman.

      I’m guessing that he would have killed anyone who discovered his ‘secret’, whether he loved them or not (although it did strike me that Dorian would leave the secret way to his painting not completely closed like that).

      Now what does he have to upset Society even more than a Transgender girlfriend? A Undead, Genocidal one, of course! ^_^

  7. funny enough, this was my favorite book as a young queer, bulimic, very VERY vain teenager, even though I was and am a cisgender girl. I immediately related to Dorian and Lord Henry both, since I liked to think of myself as deep and brooding and all that shit.

    Interesting to think of the gay as subtext, I always read it as text. that being said, I was a giant lez myself at the time so maybe everything was just super gay to me for that reason

  8. “I guess the Vitorian Era ran on the same engine as Fable 2.”

    That line got a spontaneous clap from me when I heard it. Nice!

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