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Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to Market Paperback – June 2, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (June 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312239262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312239268
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,449,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Is it possible to have a meaningful revolution in the middle of a capitalist spending frenzy? This, Chasin contends, is the central question facing the gay rights movement. In a passionate, if ultimately utopian, analysis of gay politics, Chasin asserts that the creation of a gay-oriented consumer market--in tandem with the mainstreaming of a gay politic that disavows broad-based coalitions with women and people of color--has prevented homosexuals from pursuing a more radical vision of social change. Although the movement has brought same-sex marriage and gays in the military into public debate, it has not promoted a comprehensive vision that would "provide all people with access to the full range of social institutions, over and above the equal right to them." Chasin, who has taught at Yale University, is terrific on the specifics: she notes the way recent gay-targeted ads evoke images of assimilation and national identity by using the U.S. flag or the Statue of Liberty, and she points out that advertising and magazine copy often create the impression of an all-white, predominately gay male community, while hypersexualizing the few images of racial minorities. Likewise, she deftly assesses how the contemporary marketing of gay culture resonates with the way consumption has historically contributed to ethnic identities. But while her arguments are capable, they often feel overintellectualized and don't always adequately account for the myriad contradictions inherent in struggling for social justice under the constraints of capitalism. Agent: Malaga Baldi.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Many in the gay press seem to take pride in announcing every new commercial or advertisement that targets gays and lesbians, and books such as Grant Lukenbill's Untold Millions: Secret Truths about Marketing to Gay and Lesbian Consumers (1995) tout the potential of the gay and lesbian market. Chasin, cochair of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission's board of directors, questions in this thoughtful treatise, however, whether this is the kind of "acceptance" that leads to progressive social change. She documents the existence of the gay and lesbian "niche market of the 1990's," looks at the gay and lesbian press, and examines specific advertising campaigns. She then investigates the role of boycotts and focuses on the 1977 campaign against orange juice marketers who had used Anita Bryant as a spokesperson. Chasin also considers fundraising and gay and lesbian nonprofit organizations, and asks what strings might be attached to moneys raised. Throughout her analyses, Chasin acknowledges conflicts and differing points of view among gays and lesbians but warns against "cultural assimilation." David Rouse --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Brown on June 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have read many books on controversies in the gay and lesbian liberation movement, but I've read none more fascinating and eloquent than this one. Chasin challenges us to question if what we really WANT is to be a part of the homogenized mass-media culture that we've been seeking to gain acceptane in. I was also impressed by the exhaustive research that went into this piece. I was also impressed to learn that Ms. Chasin has worked with the IGLHRC association, and with up-and-coming activist Kerri Gawreluk. It's wonderful to finally see a book that is a result of collaboration between true pioneers in the new gay/lesbian generation.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Selling Out offers a welcome breath of fresh air into the stifled and conservative rhetoric of present-day lesbian and gay identity politics. As both an author as well as a committed activist, Chasin is able to innovatively and deftly examine and deconstruct issues concerning the commodification and niche marketing of the LGBT activist movement and to courageously question, among other issues, whether or not visiblity alone for the LGBT community is an effective means of gaining equal rights. Through its combination of exhaustive research and eloquent, intelligent writing, Selling Out becomes an indispensable resource not only for scholars, but for any reader with an interest in gaining an amazingly thorough and fresh analysis of important issues concerning the queer community. I offer my sincerest graditude and congratulations to Alexandra Chasin for giving us this truly remarkable eye-opener!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By dave-o on July 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
Chasin's analysis of the relationship between capitalism and civil rights movements (particularly the gay movement) is long overdue. It is intelligently researched and well-thought out. However I am not interested particularly in economic theory and at times the book feels too academic, like Chadrin just transposed her college dissertation to book format. If it had been better edited to perhaps weed out some of the more theoretical parts and if she had expanded on contemporary case studies the book would feel more readable to a non-business-oriented reader. I was disappointed that there was no mention of 'Gay Day' at Walt Disney World and how this very corporate commercial venue is a summer mecca for (often upper-middle class white male) gays across the U.S. as it seems like an ideal study for the subject. The author is to be commended however for her writing about the drawbacks of the 'mainstreaming' of the gay movement and how commercial gains are not necessarily positive ones.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the type of thought-provoking read that is much needed in order to achieve social justice for gay and lesbian people. It made me think twice about celebrating the arrival of gay couples on the pages of the magazines. This book made me realize how much the struggle for liberation is about more than simple acceptace but is about understanding and appreciating the particular situations of people who suffer discrimination. I particularly found interesting Chasin's comments about the Anita Bryant/orange justice boycott. I'm recommending this book to my friends.
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Messina on November 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
Alexandra Chasin makes some excellent points in "Selling Out," some of which I agree with, but I found Chasin's tone to be the book's greatest encumbrance. She writes about the gay and lesbian community's increasingly consumerist public facade the same way that Trotsky wrote about Stalinism in "The Revolution Betrayed." Any embrace of consumerism or superficial comfort by an individual is ultimately anti-woman, anti-minority, anti-poor, etc. For example, an advertisement for DINNERWARE inspired by Pullman dinner services from the 1930s is racist because the railroads kept blacks and Asians in subserviant positions! Sometimes it sounds like Chasin seriously expected the Stonewall riots to be the next Russian Revolution, and all gays and lesbians should have rejected the post-industrial consumerist society entirely. Maybe if Chasin herself was living in some commune in Idaho and sewing her clothes out of hemp could I find some dignity in the positions she takes, but she of all people taught at YALE, the traditional bastion of wealthy white male American power and the alma mater of President George Dubya Bush, so I find it very hard to believe that she has rejected all of the values of the bourgeoisie.
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