The Lesbian Menace: Ideology, Identity, and the Representation of Lesbian Life

The Lesbian Menace: Ideology, Identity, and the Representation of Lesbian Life

The Lesbian Menace: Ideology, Identity, and the Representation of Lesbian Life

The Lesbian Menace: Ideology, Identity, and the Representation of Lesbian Life

Synopsis

"Electroshock. Hysterectomy. Lobotomy. These are only three of the many "cures" to which lesbians have been subjected in this century. How does a society develop such a profound aversion to a particular minority? In what ways do images in the popular media perpetuate cultural stereotypes about lesbians, and to what extent have lesbians been able to subvert and revise those images? This book addresses these and other questions by examining how lesbianism has been represented in American popular culture in the twentieth century and how conflicting ideologies have shaped lesbian experiences and identity." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Electroshock. Hysterectomy. Lobotomy. These are only three of the many "cures" to which lesbians were subjected in the mid-twentieth century. "The severity of these treatments," historian John D'Emilio writes, "suggests a perception of homosexuality as a disease almost as threatening to society as the sin of Sodom that provoked the destruction of biblical cities" (18). How does a culture evolve to have such a deep-rooted aversion to a particular minority? What persuades otherwise rational people to maltreat and maim those who proclaim their homosexuality? The answers to these questions are tremendously complex and beyond the scope of the present work, but it is thinking about such issues that has led to this book. In the chapters that follow, I examine one means by which American society in the twentieth century has perpetuated cultural stereotypes about lesbians-- namely, through their depiction in the popular media, including books, movies, magazines, and music. The Lesbian Menace begins . . .

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