April 24, 2009

The Many Meanings of Elvis

Sharon Cowan has published The Elvis We Deserve: The Social Regulation of Sex/Gender and Sexuality Through Cultural Representations of 'the King' as a Working Paper. Here is the abstract.
This paper analyses the way in which the image, masculinity and sexual identity of Elvis Presley have been recently culturally deployed by particular social groups. It explores the way in which the image of Elvis is used by lesbian drag king performers who try to queer the cultural stereotypes which form the basis of the social regulation of gender roles; and the use of Elvis's image by the U.K. fathers' rights campaign group 'Fathers 4 Justice' as a sign of unthreatening familiarity to support traditional heteronormative ideas of masculinity and gender roles. These cultural re-appropriations of Elvis raises questions for contemporary understandings of sex/gender and sexuality; as the motto of the San Francisco based Elvis impersonator 'Extreme Elvis' suggests, "Every generation gets the Elvis it deserves".

Download the paper from SSRN here.

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