Synopses & Reviews
Why are so many women single, so many men resisting marriage, and so many gays and lesbians having babies?
In Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal, J. Jack Halberstam answers these questions while attempting to make sense of the tectonic cultural shifts that have transformed gender and sexual politics in the last few decades. This colorful landscape is populated by symbols and phenomena as varied as pregnant men, late-life lesbians, SpongeBob SquarePants, and queer families. So how do we understand the dissonance between these real lived experiences and the heteronormative narratives that dominate popular media? We can embrace the chaos! With equal parts edge and wit, Halberstam reveals how these symbolic ruptures open a critical space to embrace new ways of conceptualizing sex, love, and marriage.
Using Lady Gaga as a symbol for a new era, Halberstam deftly unpacks what the pop superstar symbolizes, to whom and why. The result is a provocative manifesto of creative mayhem, a roadmap to sex and gender for the twenty-first century, that holds Lady Gaga as an exemplar of a new kind of feminism that privileges gender and sexual fluidity.
Part handbook, part guidebook, and part sex manual, Gaga Feminism is the first book to take seriously the collapse of heterosexuality and find signposts in the wreckage to a new and different way of doing sex and gender.
"Taking the outrageous self-presentation of shape-shifting, gender-bending pop icon Lady Gaga as a lodestar, University of Southern California English and gender studies professor Halberstam (Female Masculinity) defines a new kind of feminism based on a 'maverick sense of bodily identity.' 'Going gaga' is not about music, fashion, or celebrity; it describes a constellation of behaviors that reject the traditions and institutions that reinforce notions of sex difference and individual rights. Halberstam argues that feminists who embrace gender ambiguity and unconventional family and romantic arrangements are 'unbecoming women,' or, in the lingo of the current political moment 'occupying gender' in order to find true liberation. The book culminates in a 'Gaga Manifesto,' which suggests that we embrace 'funky forms of anarchy' and accept the fluidity of identity and sexuality for the happiness and betterment of all mankind. Halberstam's discussion of authoritarian feminist mothers, pregnant men, and gay marriage incorporates both pop culture artifacts and academic theory, and the result is a satisfying but digressive romp through shifting contemporary conceptions of love, sex, and commitment. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A roadmap to sex and gender for the twenty-first century, using Lady Gaga as a symbol for a new kind of feminism
Judith “Jack” Halberstam, a well-known academic in queer theory, gender, and cultural studies, makes sense of the tectonic cultural shifts that have transformed gender and sexual politics in the last few decades. This colorful landscape is populated by symbols and phenomena as varied as pregnant men, late-life lesbians, SpongeBob SquarePants, and queer families. Using Lady Gaga as a guide—and with equal parts edge and wit—(s)he navigates the reader through a new vision of feminism that privileges gender and sexual fluidity, and invites us to envision a world in which gender is blurred and we all “go gaga.”
About the Author
J. Jack Halberstam is the author of four books, including Female Masculinity and In a Queer Time and Place. Currently a professor of English and gender studies and director of the Center for Feminist Research at the University of Southern California, Halberstam regularly speaks on queer culture, gender studies, and popular culture, and blogs at The Bully Bloggers.
Table of Contents
A Note from the Series Editor
PREFACE Going Gaga
One: Gaga Feminism for Beginners
Two: Gaga Genders
Three: Gaga Sexualities: The End of Normal
Four: Gaga Relations: The End of Marriage
Five: Gaga Manifesto