All the Rage: The Story of Gay Visibility in America

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University of Chicago Press, Sep 1, 2003 - Social Science - 356 pages
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Splashed against the tumultuous Clinton years and framed by the clash between gay political might and anti-gay activism, All the Rage presents the first authoritative guide to the new gay visibility. From the public outing of Ellen DeGeneres to the vicious murder of Matthew Shepard, gay lives and images have moved onto the center stage of American public life. Lesbians and gay men are indeed everywhere, from television sitcoms to Budweiser ads, from the White House to the Magic Kingdom. Combining personal stories with incisive analysis, Suzanna Danuta Walters chronicles this historic moment in our culture, arguing that we live in a time when gays are seen, but not necessarily known.

Many consider the new gay visibility a sign of social acceptance, while others charge that it is mere window dressing, obscuring the dogged persistence of discrimination. Walters moves beyond these positions and instead argues that these realities coexist: gays are simultaneously depicted as the sign of social decay and the chic flavor of the month. Taking on the common wisdom that visibility means progress, All the Rage maps the terrain on which gays are accepted as witty accessories in movies, gain access to political power, and yet still fall into constrictive stereotypes. Walters warns us with clarity and wit of the pitfalls of equating visibility with full integration into the fabric of American society. From the playful TV fantasies of lesbian weddings on Friends to the very real obstacles confronting gay marriage, from the award-winning comedy Will & Grace to Bible-thumping radio superhost Dr. Laura, All the Rage takes on naive celebrants and jaded naysayers alike. With a sophisticated mix of caution and optimism, it provides an illuminating guide through these exciting, controversial times.
 

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Contents

IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES
1
The Love That Dares to Speak Its Name The Explosion
3
Pride and Prejudice The Changing Context of Gay Visibility
30
A KISS IS JUST A KISS
57
Ready for Prime Time? TV Comes Out of the Closet
59
Dossier on Ellen
81
All Gay All the Time?
95
COMING SOON TO A THEATER NEAR YOU
129
Wedding Bell Blues Imagining Marriage
179
Mom Ive Got Something to Tell You The ComingOut Story in the Age of Visibility
197
It Takes a Lesbian Village to Raise a Child Parenting Possibilities
210
MONEY MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND
233
Consuming Queers Advertising and the Gay Market
235
If Its Pink Well Sell It Gay Entrepreneurship
273
BEYOND VISIBILITY WELCOME TO OUR RAINBOW WORLD
290
NOTES
301

Hiding Dying and DressingUp
131
Out Is In Liberal Narratives for the Nineties
149
IN THE FAMILY WAY
177
BIBLIOGRAPHY
315
INDEX
323
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Suzanna Danuta Walters is an associate professor of sociology and director of the Women's Studies Program at Georgetown University. She is the author of Material Girls: Making Sense of Feminist Cultural Theory and Lives Together/Worlds Apart: Mothers and Daughters in Popular Culture.

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