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Welcome to FairylandQueer Miami before 1940$
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Julio Capó

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469635200

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635200.001.0001

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Women and the Making of Miami’s Heterosexual Culture

Women and the Making of Miami’s Heterosexual Culture

(p.197) 6 Women and the Making of Miami’s Heterosexual Culture
Welcome to Fairyland

Julio Capó Jr.

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter unearths the queer origins of what became normative heterosexuality by locating fairyland’s distinct promotion of transgressive, white, and predominantly middle-class women’s bodies in the 1920s and 1930s. Urban promoters aggressively marketed a fairyland that touted the arrival of a new modern woman who was simultaneously white, moneyed, attractive, and available. The modern and scantily clad “Miami mermaid” became a commodity that permitted urban boosters to continue promoting the area as a fairyland for gender and sexual renegades. While sexual liberation became normative through processes that emphasized women’s ultimate submission to a man and their collective whiteness, the chapter makes clear that these women laid claims to their own bodies and sexualities in significant and extraordinarily queer ways that abandoned the feminine propriety of the past. Middle-class men responded to these changes with a recharged hetero-masculine sense of self undergirded by an articulation of white superiority. Indeed, the marketing of Miami as a site for heterosexual romance and tourism also depended on the city’s proximity to the Caribbean, particularly Cuba.

Keywords:   Miami and Miami Beach, Heterosexuality, Modern woman and “Miami mermaid”, Cuba, Bahamas, Tourism, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Jane Fisher, Sunbathing and bathing suits, Mannish woman and lesbian

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