Abstract

This essay revisits post-Stonewall lesbian and gay U.S. cultures of the 1970s to analyze the anti-urban politics of two rural-based journals—RFD ("Radical Fairy Digest") and Country Women—as they countered the metronormativity of slick leisure magazines such as Advocate. It explores how white gay male "ghetto" urbanity reprinted itself as a normalizing print style in nationalizing glossies, and how RFD, alongside Country Women, responded to this historical packaging with oppositional stylistics of their own. Resistant to the sophisticated middle-class bicoastality offered in Advocate, both working-class rural-based journals extended the radical critiques of the Gay Liberation Front to produce "critical rusticity," an intersectional opportunity to geographically, corporeally, and aesthetically inhabit non-normative sexualities that offers new possibilities for the sexually marginalized outside the metropolis as well as inside it. Hence the essay examines the visual cultures of rural-based queers that spoke volumes about the calcification of U.S. metronormativity over the course of the 1970s as RFD and Country Women together promoted "rural stylistics" dedicated to the unsophisticated, the rustic, the anti-urbane, and the anti-cosmopolitan. Both of these journals exhibited complicated, sometimes flawed, gender and racial politics as they critiqued the Advocate's urbanity. Acknowledging their respective complexities, the essays reveals how a working-class "country journal for gay men everywhere" presented alternative aesthetic opportunities to dominant U.S. gay lifestyles via rural U.S. lesbian-separatism. Interrogating these anti-middle class journals thus illuminates how stylistics—broadly conceived—continues to function as a point of political and cultural contestation for gay urbanites and their detractors in post-Stonewall U.S. queer cultures and queer studies.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 341-372
Launched on MUSE
2007-07-11
Open Access
No
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