Friday, March 22, 2013

GWS 325: Lesbian & Queer Media Culture

Hello my Pretty Little Miners!!! Today, I'm Bloody Mary.

I won't cry for you. I won't crucify the things you do.

This week, I went to a class with my good friend Taylor. She's a cool cat. Meow. Say hi!!!

Such a cutie. Anyway, she's been telling me to come with her to this class all semester because she thought I'd really find it interesting. It's a Gender Women's Studies course about Lesbian & Queer Media Culture. Meet the class.

I felt kind of weird taking pictures in this small room but OH WELL. I'm still fabulous.
This class, we were given two readings about gay life in America that were extremely interesting. One was "The Sixth Man" by Jess Stearn. I loved the cover of the book. 

Of course, we didn't read the whole book, just selected chapters from the teacher. This book was published in 1962, and was educating America on the fact that one in every six man is gay. This book created a huge paranoia in the United States during this time. The teacher explained that Stearn was trying to make a comment on McCarthyism with the title of this book. McCarthyism is a campaign against alleged communists in the U.S. government and other institutions carried out under senator Joseph McCarthy. The other reading we focused on was "Gay New York" by George Chauncey.  

The selected chapters we read from both books were about Gay Culture in America. In Stearn's book, she focuses on why Gym Culture is so gay. It shows bodies in a very homo-erotic manner. In this time, casual sexual encounters took place in all male gyms pretty frequently, and kept a secret all through the 20's-60's. The men didn't even care if the wife found out because in 1920, the men ran the household and "she'll stay with me because I'm the man". She collected all of her data from police reports and court records reported by women. Domestic fights would break out from these arguments, and women would call the police just to report the infidelity of their husbands with men at the gym. A lot of these women wouldn't have sex with their husbands anymore after they fond out, and this caused even more domestic abuse reports. Another example was when a gay man hit on a police officer that was off duty, not knowing he was a cop. The cop told the gay man to meet him at the same spot tomorrow. The police showed up with a whole squad and brutally beat up this man, not because he was having gay sex, but because he was expressing his sexuality. 

The other reading put gays in a pretty negative light. Chauncey asked around geographically to gym owners, lawyers, judges, and police about their opinions of the lifestyles of gay men. The book doesn't seem to be negative in the sense where it's mean or nasty, but rather not what you would have expected. Basically, the majority opinion from 1890-1940 was that gay men are responsible for interrupting the social order of America. Like Stearn, he also found proof through police records. America thought gays disrupted normativity, so they wanted to try and make their lives miserable by not hiring them, bashing them in the streets, etc. It got so serious to the point where if a man married to a woman was caught cheating with another man, he wasn't considered to be in the wrong but rather "gayed" by the homosexuals. It was always the gay's fault. 

Stearn made a point that really stuck with me. Gay men are already emasculated and considered "less of men" by most heterosexual men...even today. Some heterosexual men also believe that gay doesn't exist, but men sometimes just choose to partake in gay behavior. It's already queer to be a woman and looked down upon. Gays, in this sense, are two times looked down upon because "they are choosing to be a non man". I really like how she explained this thought, and it makes me want to read the rest of her book so I just might! 

Well, that's all my little miners.

See you next week!

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