Cover image for Entertaining lesbians : celebrity, sexuality, and self-invention
Entertaining lesbians : celebrity, sexuality, and self-invention
Gever, Martha, 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Routledge, [2003]

Physical Description:
xii, 236 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library HQ75.6.U5 G48 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Charting the rise of lesbian celebrity, Martha Gever asks whether such exposure is good for lesbians or hurts their cause. Stars from Ellen DeGeneres to Melissa Etheridge to Chastity Bono send a message that being out is now acceptable, but have they created new stereotypes along the way? Entertaining Lesbians takes a look at the peril and promise of being not just out of the closet, but out in the public eye.

Author Notes

Martha Gever is Assistant Professor of Communication at Florida Atlantic University/Broward. Her books include: Queer Looks: Perspectives on Lesbian and Gay Film and Video and Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Cultures. She is the former editor of The Independent Film and Video Monthly.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Readers who pick up Gever's book expecting a gossipy tell-all will be surprised to find instead a thoughtful, wide-ranging discussion of lesbians in 20th-century pop culture that touches on the history of photography, tabloid journalism, theories of mass culture, and the politics of coming out, among other subjects. Famous-and entertaining-lesbians such as Mercedes de Acosta, Jill Johnston, and Martina Navratilova are portrayed at length to highlight Gever's main interest: their strategies of self-representation. She shows how de Acosta (1893-1968), lover to both Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, employed discretion in her affairs but not because of self-hatred, as was so often assumed to be the reason lesbians remained closeted. Gever (communications, Florida Atlantic Univ.; coeditor, Queer Looks) makes the case that up to the late 1970s, the term lesbian was so stigmatized and pathologized that even women who by today's standards were clearly lesbians would have refused the label, for entirely healthy reasons. Her book goes on to show how and why lesbian celebrities have taken a more prominent position in mainstream entertainment. Written in a relatively jargon-free style that should appeal to general readers, this book is recommended for women's studies and sexuality collections, as well as those focusing on communications and popular culture.-Ina Rimpau, Newark P.L., NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: Celebrity talk, lesbian style
2 Visibility now!: The sexual politics of seeing
3 Celestial configurations: Aspects of lesbian stardom
4 Going public: Star wars in the liberation movements
5 In retrospect: Legends of Mercedes de Acosta and company
6 Popular mechanics: Advanced technologies of lesbian celebrity
7 Afterword

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