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From Goodwill to GrungeA History of Secondhand Styles and Alternative Economies$
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Jennifer Le Zotte

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469631905

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469631905.001.0001

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Genderfuck and the Boyfriend Look

Genderfuck and the Boyfriend Look

(p.183) Chapter Six Genderfuck and the Boyfriend Look
From Goodwill to Grunge

Jennifer Le Zotte

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes the many ways in which secondhand exchange served the gay liberation movement and helped create a broader scope of sexual identities and related imagery, through not only political activism, but by cultural routes such as glam rock, punk, underground art and film, and avant-garde performance art. Some secondhand dressers such as activist José Sarria used secondhand exchange to both financially support gay rights and to oppose homophobic public perceptions. Others, like underground filmmaker Jack Smith and Hibiscus of the psychedelic drag troupe The Cockettes, cited anticommercial motives for seeking alternative economies and for presenting "queer" appearances. Both men and women—like the Bowery-browsing punk icon Patti Smith—displayed cross-gendered appearance, yet public reception of "genderfuck" suggested that men in women’s clothing were assumed to be more politically radical than women in men’s attire. Regardless of these inconsistencies, by the end of the 1970s, a queer, "trash" self-presentation had entered the country’s visual lexicon, and was specifically associated with popular musicians and artists.

Keywords:   Gay liberation movement, Queer history, Genderfuck, José Sarria, Jack Smith, Cockettes, Patti Smith, Glam rock, punk

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