Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-08-05
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

BOOK REVIEW Media Queered: Visibility and Its Discontents
by Yasmin Nair
2008-03-19

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Edited by Kevin G. Barnhurst, published by Peter Lang. 298 pages, $32.95

________

Queers are everywhere in the media and we no longer have to furtively seek and consume images of ourselves. Media Queered, edited by Kevin Barnhurst, a professor of communications at the University of Illinois at Chicago, ponders the costs and advantages of this new-found visibility.

The liveliest pieces complicate our understanding of the conditions that produce queer visibility. Edward Alwood's 'A Gift of Gab' is about pre-Stonewall appearances of gay and lesbian activists on talk shows and their complex negotiations with broadcasters and audiences. Vincent Doyle's 'Insiders-Outsiders' describes the campaigns by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation ( GLAAD ) and the group StopDrLaura.com ( SDL ) to force Laura Schlessinger's sponsors to drop her radio talk show. While Doyle doesn't address the inherent contradiction of queers fighting to influence someone's rhetoric—when the Right protests gay expression, we call it censorship—but he does show that SDL, despite its self-characterization as a grassroots group, was as professional as GLAAD. That goes at the heart of what it takes to gain queer visibility: 'Getting heard requires … .ways of framing arguments that do not question the structural inequality … of media activism … '

Barnhurst's 'Visibility as Paradox' notes 'the rise of the full-time homosexual, who works at the crossroads of queer and straight communities … .' That issue is a theme here, as is the changing nature of activism. Katherine Sender's 'Professional Homosexuals' points out that out queer professionals define respectable activism as promoting their visibility. Sender alludes to the fact that one lesbian's employer banned gay and lesbian employee groups 'out of fear they would function as trade unions.' This raises the issue of whether structural inequalities in the workplace are left untouched by the cause of queer visibility as an end unto itself.

The least productive essays here are those that emerge from queer theory. Han Lee's 'Queering Race in Cyberspace' considers online personal profiles on Gay.com and how users deploy racial categories. He describes how people use metaphors around race to construct narratives of desire and exclusion and concludes that, online, 'Race is queered.' That statement only seems daring and revelatory and ignores the embodied realities of race and class in the off-line world. Clearly, the process of 'queering,' has exhausted itself and offers few new insights.

Other than in a set of pieces by journalists like Windy City Times' Tracy Baim and NPR's Jason DeRose, Media Queered doesn't overtly address the economic restructuring of the media landscape where conglomerates and rising queer corporate power forge messages about what 'the community' wants. That's partly an effect of the disciplinary roots of this anthology, but it also speaks to a fact to which queers have not yet reconciled: We have queered capitalism, and are paying the price.

Essays frequently contradict each other. Todd Mundt's 'Talking Gay' celebrates the rise of queer representations but Gavin Jack writes, in 'Whorephobia,' about the media's refusal to engage the complexities of queer sex workers, 'The point is to question claims that visibility achieves practical equality and that a more talkative media is necessarily more progressive.' Such contentiousness makes Media/Queered a textured and interesting record that questions our fealty to visibility.

Contact Yasmin Nair at welshzen@yahoo.com . She also blogs on www.bilerico.com .


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

NATIONAL Anti-trans killings, surveys, 'Trans Care' book, gay-bar news 2020-08-05
BOOKS Yvonne Zipter: Looking at Chicagoan's life, poetry collection 2020-08-05
BOOKS In fashion: Jay Manuel dishes on 'The Wig, The Bitch & The Meltdown' 2020-08-04
Wizard World postponed until June 24-27, 2021 2020-07-29
NUNN ON ONE TV: Ashley Romans bites into juicy role on AMC series 'NOS4A2' 2020-07-26
Five Worth Finding: Bill T. Jones book, Music Box thriller and more 2020-07-22
VIEWPOINTS 'All Boys Aren't Blue' is the audacious memoir of a Black queer man 2020-07-22
BOOK REVIEW Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man 2020-07-21
BOOKS Local activist Wanda B. tells her life story in 'Leader by Fault' 2020-07-17
NUNN ON ONE PHOTOGRAPHY Peter Bussian focuses on New York's trans community 2020-07-08
BOOKS Joey Skladany entertains, instructs in 'Basic Bitchen' 2020-06-28
Printers Row Lit Fest officially cancelled 2020-06-25
Library board president leaves post over anti-LGBTQ statements 2020-06-24
BOOKS Skokie native writes about creating an LGBTQ family 2020-06-24
BOOKS Photographer focuses on 'The People of the Pride Parade' 2020-06-23
Library board president criticized for anti-LGBTQ speech 2020-06-17
Gerber/Hart celebrates Hot Wire: The Journal of Women's Music and Culture 2020-06-10
Spyners Pub owner posts racist screed on Facebook, apologizes later 2020-06-03
BAMtheatre starting virtual classes 2020-05-26
BOOK REVIEW Calamity: The Many Lives of Calamity Jane 2020-05-25
PASSAGES H.G. Carrillo, author 2020-05-18
Gerber/Hart Library hosts virtual panel on The 10% Show 2020-05-16
Comedian Cameron Esposito's new memoir digs into queer liberation, Catholic upbringing 2020-05-12
BOOKS New book explores life of astronomer-turned-activist Kameny 2020-05-12
Autobiography reflects on heyday of Chicago LGBT media 2020-04-29
BOOKS Jen Manion talks 'Female Husbands' and writing process 2020-04-15
BOOK REVIEW An Indefinite Sentence: A Personal History of Outlawed Love and Sex 2020-04-15
Virtual reading of Terrence McNally work on April 16 2020-04-15
36th annual Printers Row Lit Fest put off to Labor Day weekend 2020-04-10
Historians seek responses from LGBTQ people 2020-04-06
Virtual reading of Terrence McNally's Mothers and Sons April 16 2020-04-03
Five Worth Finding: From an absorbing memoir to cool socks 2020-04-01
CAKE postponed until June 2021 2020-04-01
BOOKS Legendary Chicago 'lesbian of conscience' tells her story 2020-04-01
SPLC releases 'Hate and Extremism' report 2020-03-23
BOOK REVIEW Ian McKellen: A Biography 2020-03-17
Gerber/Hart will be closed to the public until March 31 2020-03-16
Women & Children First delaying, cancelling events 2020-03-13
'The Boys in the Band' writer Crowley dead at 84 2020-03-08
BOOK REVIEW The Trans Generation 2020-03-08
 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.