From Perverts to Fab Five

The Media's Changing Depiction of Gay Men and Lesbians

By Rodger Streitmatter

© 2009 – Routledge

232 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780789036711
pub: 2008-11-17
US Dollars$41.95
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Hardback: 9780789036704
pub: 2008-11-17
US Dollars$130.00
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About the Book

From "Perverts" to "Fab Five" tracks the dramatic change in how the American media have depicted gay people over the last half-century. Each chapter illuminates a particular media product that served as a milestone on the media's journey from demonizing homosexuals some fifty years ago to celebrating gay people--or at least some categories of gay people--today.

The media, Streitmatter argues, have not merely reflected the American public's shift to a more enlightened view of gay people, but they have been instrumental in propelling that change. The book spans the breadth of communication venues. Individual chapters focus on major news stories, entertainment television programs, and mainstream motion pictures that captured the public imagination while, at the same time, sending powerful messages about gay men and lesbians. Ideal for any reader interested in the changing depiction of gay men and lesbians in the media over time, or as required reading in media courses.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. "Perverts" on the Potomac: Homosexuals Enter the News Arena 2. Stonewall Rebellion: Reporting on an Epic Event 3. The Boys in the Band: Homosexuality Comes to the Big Screen 4. Soap: A Gay Man Comes to TV Land 5. AIDS Enters the News: Reporting on the "Gay Plague" 6. AIDS Becomes Major News: "Now No One Is Safe" 7. Gays in the Military: The Debate over Lifting the Ban 8. Fleeting Images of Lesbians: Killing, Kissing, Being Chic 9. Philadelphia: "A Quantum Leap for Gays on Film" 10. A New Gay Man in Town: Hollywood Shifts to Positive Stereotypes 11. Ellen: Coming Out, On Screen and Off 12. Will & Grace: The Biggest Gay Hit in TV History 13. Queer as Folk: "An Unvarnished Treatment of Gay Life" 14. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: The "Fab Five" as Gay Reality Special section: Gay Visibility Vs. Lesbian Visibility 15. The L Word: Lesbians Move into the Spotlight 16. Same-Sex Marriage: A Journalistic Love Fest 17. Brokeback Mountain: "A Breakthrough Gay Romance" Conclusion: From "Perverts" to "Fab Five": Progress in Three Stages . . .and Waiting for a Fourth

About the Author

Rodger Streitmatter is a Professor and Senior Associate Dean in the School of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C. He is author of six previous books, including Mightier than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American History, Voices of Revolution: The Dissident Press in America, and Sex Sells! The Media's Journey from Repression to Obsession. He holds a Ph.D. in American History.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC012000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gay Studies
SOC017000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Lesbian Studies
SOC052000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies