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Up from Invisibility: Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Media in America
     

Up from Invisibility: Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Media in America

by Larry Gross
 
A half century ago gay men and lesbians were all but invisible in the media and, in turn, popular culture. With the lesbian and gay liberation movement came a profoundly new sense of homosexual community and empowerment and the emergence of gay people onto the media´s stage. And yet even as the mass media have been shifting the terms of our public conversation

Overview

A half century ago gay men and lesbians were all but invisible in the media and, in turn, popular culture. With the lesbian and gay liberation movement came a profoundly new sense of homosexual community and empowerment and the emergence of gay people onto the media´s stage. And yet even as the mass media have been shifting the terms of our public conversation toward a greater acknowledgment of diversity, does the emerging "visibility" of gay men and women do justice to the complexity and variety of their experience? Or is gay identity manipulated and contrived by media that are unwilling -and perhaps unable -to fully comprehend and honor it?While positive representations of gays and lesbians are a cautious step in the right direction, media expert Larry Gross argues that the entertainment and news media betray a lingering inability to break free from proscribed limitations in order to embrace the complex reality of gay identity. While noting major advances, like the opening of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore -the first gay bookstore in the country -or the rise of The Advocate from small newsletter to influential national paper, Gross takes the measure of somewhat more ambiguous milestones, like the first lesbian kiss on television or the first gay character in a newspaper comic strip.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this era of Ellen and Will and Grace, it's hard to remember that only half a century ago gays could not appear on screen unless they were killed or otherwise punished by the end of the film. Up from Invisibility: Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Media in America looks at the mass media's relationship to homosexuality from mid-century to the present day. Communications professor Larry Gross at the Annenberg School shows how Stonewall, the AIDS epidemic and the much-vaunted purchasing power of '90s "guppies" have influence the media representation of gays. ( Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this era of Ellen and Will and Grace, it's hard to remember that only half a century ago gays could not appear on screen unless they were killed or otherwise punished by the end of the film. Up from Invisibility: Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Media in America looks at the mass media's relationship to homosexuality from mid-century to the present day. Communications professor Larry Gross at the Annenberg School shows how Stonewall, the AIDS epidemic and the much-vaunted purchasing power of '90s "guppies" have influence the media representation of gays. ( Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Coverage of the Stonewall riot, the AIDS crisis, outing, and the media furor surrounding Ellen DeGeneres's coming out are just a few of the events touched on by Gross (communications, Univ. of Pennsylvania), coeditor of The Columbia Reader on Lesbians and Gay Men in Media, Society, and Politics. Gross considers how cultural, political, and commercial factors have influenced or been reflected in the portrayal of gay and lesbian people in the mass media during the last 50 years. In some cases, as in his extensive discussion of the New York Times, he observes how changes in key personnel can dramatically affect the coverage of gay and lesbian issues. Gross acknowledges progress from the time when gay characters could only be portrayed as victims or villains but also notes the continuing pervasiveness of stereotypes and the pressure to assimilate to the majority's norms in order to be represented. Filled with detailed examples, this scholarly study is engaging and readable. For all libraries. Debra Moore, Cerritos Coll., Norwalk, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Columbia Journalism Review - James Boylan
A readable account of the gradual emergence of a gay-lesbian presence in news, entertainment, and advertising over the last fifty years.

Journal of Mass Communication Quarterly - Roger Streitmatter
Not only adds to our understanding of the culture but also encompasses material from an impressive number of venues that should be, but often are not, included in a book about the media.

Columbia Journalism Review
A readable account of the gradual emergence of a gay-lesbian presence in news, entertainment, and advertising over the last fifty years.

— James Boylan

Journal of Mass Communication Quarterly
Not only adds to our understanding of the culture but also encompasses material from an impressive number of venues that should be, but often are not, included in a book about the media.

— Roger Streitmatter, American University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231119528
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
12/19/2001
Series:
Between Men~Between Women: Lesbian and Gay Studies Series
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.36(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
1510L (what's this?)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Joan M. Garry
This book makes the best case yet to illustrate how intrinsically the mass media and the gay and lesbian civil rights movement are intertwined—and no one can do that with the eloquence and credibility of Larry Gross. The insight he offers about media and our growing visibility within it solidifies his place as a thought leader in the academy, the media, and in our civil rights movement.

Richard Dyer
In Up from Invisibility Larry Gross provides both an empirical overview and an acute analysis of lesbians and gay men in the media. He looks at the ways we have been represented and at how we have intervened in production, and is enviably at home with all forms of media. As one has come to expect of the author, it is a wonderful combination of historical breadth, sociological rigor, artistic responsiveness, political passion, nuance, humor, and good sense.

Meet the Author

Larry Gross is Sol Worth Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Contested Closets: The Politics and Ethics of Outing, editor of Image Ethics: The Moral Rights of Subjects in Photographs, Film, and Television and On the Margins of Art Worlds, and coeditor (with the late James Woods) of The Columbia Reader on Lesbians and Gay Men in Media, Society, and Politics.

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