Straights: Heterosexuality in Post-Closeted Culture

Straights: Heterosexuality in Post-Closeted Culture

by James Joseph Dean
     
 

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Since the Stonewall Riots in 1969, the politics of sexual identity in America have drastically transformed. It’s almost old news that recent generations of Americans have grown up in a culture more accepting of out lesbians and gay men, seen the proliferation of LGBTQ media representation, and witnessed the attainment of a range of legal rights for same-sex

Overview

Since the Stonewall Riots in 1969, the politics of sexual identity in America have drastically transformed. It’s almost old news that recent generations of Americans have grown up in a culture more accepting of out lesbians and gay men, seen the proliferation of LGBTQ media representation, and witnessed the attainment of a range of legal rights for same-sex couples. But the changes wrought by a so-called “post-closeted culture” have not just affected the queer community—heterosexuals are also in the midst of a sea change in how their sexuality plays out in everyday life. In Straights, James Joseph Dean argues that heterosexuals can neither assume the invisibility of gays and lesbians, nor count on the assumption that their own heterosexuality will go unchallenged. The presumption that we are all heterosexual, or that there is such a thing as ‘compulsory heterosexuality,’ he claims, has vanished.

Based on 60 in-depth interviews with a diverse group of straight men and women, Straights explores how straight Americans make sense of their sexual and gendered selves in this new landscape, particularly with an understanding of how race does and does not play a role in these conceptions. Dean provides a historical understanding of heterosexuality and how it was first established, then moves on to examine the changing nature of masculinity and femininity and, most importantly, the emergence of a new kind of heterosexuality—notably, for men, the metrosexual, and for women, the emergence of a more fluid sexuality. The book also documents the way heterosexuals interact and form relationships with their LGBTQ family members, friends, acquaintances, and coworkers. Although homophobia persists among straight individuals, Dean shows that being gay-friendly or against homophobic expressions is also increasingly common among straight Americans. A fascinating study, Straights provides an in-depth look at the changing nature of sexual expression in America. 

Instructors: PowerPoint slides for each chapter are available by clicking on the files below.  Introduction
 Chapter 1
 Chapter 2
 Chapter 3
 Chapter 4
 Chapter 5
 Chapter 6

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"James Dean's book illuminates the cusp of lived social change in gender and sexual relations, with homophobic attitudes on the decline and public support for gay rights and families on the rise. Straights shows how, during this 'post-closet' historical moment,
people of various racial-ethnic groups define, mark, and sometimes contest heterosexual identities, privilege, and heteronormative social relations."-Michael Messner,author of Power at Play: Sports and the Problem of Masculinity

“It also provides a much needed critical lens for examining the identity at work involved in practicing heterosexual identities."-Sociological Inquiry

“[…] James Joseph Dean has written a valuable research work about true America between metropolises and hillbilly country.”-Sexuality and Culture

“Dean’s timely research contributes to the field of critical heterosexuality studies.”-Men and Masculinities

Straights is a valuable contribution not only to the sociology of sexualities but also to the sociology of gender...a deeply thoughtful analysis.”-Gender & Society

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814789414
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
08/01/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
334,749
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

James Joseph Dean is Associate Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University. His research focuses on the sociology of sexualities, particularly the sociology of heterosexualities. Dean's work has appeared in Sexualities, The Sociological Quarterly, and Sociology Compass, among others.

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