Introduction
Corey K. Creekmur and Alexander Doty
Out
in Culture charts some of the ways in which lesbians, gays, and queers
have understood and negotiated the pleasures and affirmations, as well as
the disappointments and denials, of mass culture. As readings that challenge the
hegemonic structure of mainstream opinion and representation-what has been
called compulsory heterosexuality (Adrienne Rich), the heterosexual matrix Gudith
Buder), or the straight mind (Monique Wittig)l-the essays collected here de-
velop antihomophobic and antiheterocentrist critical approaches to some of the
major forms of contemporary mass culture: film, television, popular music, and
fashion.
Homosexual men and women have always had a close and complex relation to
mass culture. Historians such as David Halperin, John D'Emilio, and Lillian
Faderman have argued, in fact, that the identity that we designate homosexual
arose in tandem with capitalist consumer culture.
2
But, like all marginalized
minorities or (sub)cultures, gays and lesbians often found their cultural experi-
ence and participation constrained and proscribed by a dominant culture in
which they are a generally ignored or oppressed, if logically integral, part.
3
Certainly, gays and lesbians can experience and make meaning of mass culture
in ways the culture industries encourage: consuming it "straight" as "just mere"
entertainment.
Historically, however, gays and lesbians have also related to mass culture
differently, through an alternative or negotiated, if not always fully subversive,
reception of the products and messages of popular culture-and, of course, by
producing popular literature, film, music, television, photography, and fashion
within mainstream mass culture industries. As a result, many gay and lesbian
popular culture producers and consumers have wondered how they might have
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