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Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conformby Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Synopses & Reviews
Gay culture has become a nightmare of consumerism, whether it's an endless quest for Absolut vodka, Diesel jeans, rainbow Hummers, pec implants, or Pottery Barn. Whatever happened to sexual flamboyance and gender liberation, an end to marriage, the military, and the nuclear family? As backrooms are shut down to make way for wedding vows, and gay sexual culture morphs into “straight-acting dudes hangin out,” what are the possibilities for a defiant faggotry that challenges the assimilationist norms of a corporate-cozy lifestyle?
Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? challenges not just the violence of straight homophobia but the hypocrisy of mainstream gay norms that say the only way to stay safe is to act straight: get married, join the military, adopt kids! Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore reinvokes the anger, flamboyance, and subversion once thriving in gay subcultures in order to create something dangerous and lovely: an exploration of the perils of assimilation; a call for accountability; a vision for change. A sassy and splintering emergency intervention!
Called "startlingly bold and provocative" by Howard Zinn, and described as "a cross between Tinkerbell and a honky Malcolm X with a queer agenda" by The Austin Chronicle, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is undoubtedly one of America's most outspoken queer critics. She is the author of two novels, including, most recently, So Many Ways to Sleep Badly, and is the editor of four nonfiction anthologies, including Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity and Thats Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation.
"A distinctive collection of essays by gay and transgender activists, performance artists, and scholars embraces the subversive aspects of queer identity and rails against its 'sanitized, straight-friendly version.' Some essays are personal observations of lives on the margins, such as Ezra RedEagle Whitman's attempts to reconcile his homosexuality with Native American conceptions of manliness, or Booh Edouardo's experiences as an autistic transgender man interacting with mainstream gay peers. Others focus more on general trends in gay culture, such as Michael J. Faris and ML Sugie's discussion of racial preferences and prejudices on hookup sites, or George Ayala and Patrick Hebert's examination of the role of the arts in building community among HIV positive men. Some stories are disheartening, like Matthew Blanchard's reflections on his hospitalization and disfigurement after many years of drug-fueled indiscriminate, unsafe sex. Others are much more hopeful, like Kristen Stoeckeler's observations on drag queen and king performers and their playful yet serious blurring of the lines between male and female. Just as the battle for LGBTQ civil rights continues, these essays — alternately moving and sprightly, contemplative and outraged — display the power of presenting an alternative to the mainstream: a world of greater tolerance, acceptance, support, and creativity." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
America's most outrageous queer theorist offers up a juicy alternative to gay assimilationist culture!
About the Author
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore: Called "startlingly bold and provocative" by Howard Zinn, described as "a cross between Tinkerbell and a honky Malcolm X with a queer agenda" by the Austin Chronicle, and named one of Utne Reader's "Visionaries" in 2008, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is undoubtedly one of America's most outrageous queer critics. She is the author of two novels, including, most recently, So Many Ways to Sleep Badly (City Lights 2008), and the editor of four nonfiction anthologies, including Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity (Seal 2007) and Thats Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation (Soft Skull 2004; expanded second edition 2008). Her writing appears regularly in a variety of publications, including the San Francisco Bay Guardian, AlterNet, Bitch, Utne Reader, Bookslut, Lambda Book Report, The Gay and Lesbian Review, and The Stranger. She is the reviews editor at the feminist magazine Make/shift, and has penned a monthly column in Maximumrocknroll for five years. She's gone on five extensive cross-country book tours, and guest-lectured at numerous universities, from Yale to Evergreen, UCLA to McGill.
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