'Love is the Message" : Sexuality and Social Change in the Disco Era
MetadataShow full item record
As much as disco intrigued and excited its straight listeners, significant tensions existed between straight and queer participants, as well as between white and nonwhite attendees. Though the political upheaval of the 1960s created a cultural climate that allowed for popularizing a queer genre, the idealism of disco as an inclusive genre was an illusion. The discord between different racial and sexual groups that took part in the so-called 'inclusive' genre ultimately killed the genres popularity by the 1980s. As such, the questions about disco’s life and death are: What caused disco's quick rise in popularity? How did disco change as the genre became more mainstream? What pre-existing tensions became embroiled in disco culture as the genre became more popular? How did these tensions contribute to disco's downfall after its short-lived success? The author argues that the rise and fall of disco music and culture reflected the uncertainties and tensions Americans felt toward sexuality and gender during the 1970s. At this time, Americans dealt with a shifting cultural landscape due to the aftereffects of the sixties counterculture movements. As a genre created by marginalized groups that increased in public visibility during the 1970s, disco was inherently defined by these changes. The author examines disco trends, songs, media, attendees, and performers with a gendered analysis. In doing so, the author examines how seventies disco changed and reinforced definitions of masculinity and femininity for queer and straight men and women.