Radicalizing Maledom: The Hercules Parade and Simulacrum of Corporate Masculinity before and after Times Squareʼs Metamorphosis

Jonathan Perez
In Volume 1, Issue 1
Spring 2010


This paper demonstrates how a desire for new manhood has been expressed, shamed, and performed within the economic and racial subordination of a common gay experience limited by conceptions of American freedoms of speech. Through looking specifically at the act of cruising, I show how a distinctly feminist politics in the twentieth century emancipates a radical queerness against the excluding logic of culturally powerless individuals under a bourgeois capitalist ethos. Where liberal ideology fails to recover freedoms of speech, for sub-cultural communities, a set of radically embodied discourses, or what I call a politics of ‘desire’, subverts and reinvents bourgeois masculinity through new acts. Times Square rises to the American progressive vanguard as a site for the competing discourses of a politics of minority philosophy that contrasts with the surveillance of those deemed culturally illicit, and those with ‘public rights’. Yet the state surveillance and transformation of the urban subject, seen here, has continued to haunt the survival processes that frame an all-too visible state racial, sexual, and political system that undercuts what futures might be realised in feminist and anti-racist alliances.

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