“Pmaybe thinking of pop culture as escape isn’t the right framing at all. Maybe it’s actually vacationism, or retreatism, or getting away for a while. And like most getaways, we usually bring back some sort of keepsake. “
I felt equal parts called and validated by this book and really, that’s all you need to know to take it. If you grew up right in the middle of popular culture – in the early 2000s – there’s a good chance you can at least relate to half of the essays in this book. If you are also part of the LGBTQIAP + community and have only realized in hindsight that the way you thought of Serena van der Woodsen was not because you wanted to be her but because you wanted to be with her, then I can guarantee that this collection will become your gay bible. Grace Perry discusses the pop culture that shaped us through each stage of our teenage years, from Bad girls and Harry potter to original Disney Channel movies and anthems like I kissed a girl and doesn’t hold back when it comes to determining how terribly damaging certain portrayals were on his journey to becoming gay.
Perry is straightforward and funny in his review of the gay heroes of the early 2000s – it’s equally nostalgic and uplifting to remember the gay heroes we created back then before the occasional quirk and actual portrayal in the screen does not become more regular (still not enough, but we are getting there!). From the dissection of Lindsay Lohan’s ‘fall from grace’ and media lesbophobia (as well as Lohan’s subsequent rejection of his wlw relationship) to the very difficult subject of Harry Potter, its transphobic creator, and the queerbaiting of releasing the New to Albus Dumbledore being queer without any allusion to actual novels, this book knows how to pack a punch, expose stereotypes, and highlight how influenced we are by representations of queer characters, especially those who don’t. are not too positive.
While I have my favorite articles in these essays, the ones that really stood out to me were the ones that highlighted how internalized homophobia is a systemic problem. Detailing the queerbaiting that took place with Katy Perry’s release from the shaking earth I kissed a girl reminded me of my own youth and how I used to shout those words long before I realized I was part of the LGBTQIAP + community. Likewise, it was incredibly informative to read Perry’s analysis on Bad girls, a movie that has become a classic and that remains iconic with its witty humor, and realizes that many of the movies that shaped who we are actually had one of the worst portrayals of gay characters. Perry also discusses how teens infused these narratives with queer subtext to feel seen and boyish, if that didn’t make it home.
Beyond analyzing the texts offered by Perry, I also really liked the information we got on his own trip because it reads so much in a similar way to mine – and probably a bunch of others. millennia – experience. Perry’s shift from someone who dresses like a tomboy, to someone who kisses their friends but isn’t gay at all, to someone who supports the LGBTQIAP + community but doesn’t. not part herself, discovering her own identity … it was a roller coaster ride which I’m sure many can relate to.
All in all, I urge all millennials (or human beings who still use 2000s pop culture references – you are the backbone of society, my friends) who wish to remember their experience of the years 2000 to resume this book – Grace Perry’s collection of essays is equally thoughtful and a call to do better in representing the LGBTQIAP + community. A piece of topical literature that you won’t want to miss!
The 2000s made me gay is available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other great book retailers, like your local bookstore, starting June 1, 2021.
Will you pick up The 2000s made me gay? Tell us in the comments below!
Synopsis | Goodreads
Of Onion and Reducer Contributor, this collection of essays is a hilariously nostalgic journey through beloved media of the 2000s, blending cultural criticism and personal narrative to examine how a very straight decade forged a very queer woman.
“If you have come of age at the intersection of Bad girls and The word I: Read this book. “―Sarah Pappalardo, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Reducer
Young gay men today have dozens of gay heroes, both fictional and real, but Grace Perry didn’t have that luxury. Instead, she had to look for the quirk in the cultural phenomena of adolescence that the early augts had to offer: in the downfall of Lindsay Lohan, Gossip Girl, “I Kissed A Girl” by Katy Perry, country-era Taylor Swift and Seth Cohen jumping on a coffee cart. And, for better or worse, those touchpoints shaped her identity, and she came out on the other side, as she puts it, gay as hell.
Join Grace on a journey through the pop culture moments of the early 2000s, before the cataclysmic shift in LGBTQ representation and acceptance – not so long ago that people seem to be forgetting.