The origins of our culture's obessions with reality-based media
“Edward Miller has written a sharply observant, often revelatory, and stimulating book that explores the 1970s with gusto, showing all the intimacy and pleasure and startling richness of observation with which a scholar may sometimes approach a period in which he lived.”
—Martin Harries, New York University
Contemporary American media is awash with reality programs, faux documentaries, and user generated content. When did this fixation on real or feigned nonfictionality begin? Tomboys, Pretty Boys, and Outspoken Women argues that its origins can be found in the early 1970s, when American media discovered the entertainment value of documentaries, news programming, and other nonfiction forms. Edward D. Miller challenges preconceptions of the ’60s and ’70s through close readings of key events and important figures in the early 1970s: John Dean’s performance in front of the Senate during the Watergate Hearings; Billie Jean King popularizing tennis by taking on Bobby Riggs in a prime-time match; David Bowie experiencing “outer space” in his tours across America; An American Family and their gay son facing the public’s consternation; and Alison Steele, a female DJ who invited listeners to fly with her at night. Miller explores the early 1970s as a turning point in American culture, with nonfiction media of the time creating new possibilities for expressions of gender and sexuality, and argues that we are living in its aftermath.
In addition to readers attracted to media studies, this book will be of great interest to those involved in LGBT studies, feminism, and queer studies as well as students of contemporary media culture. The aim of the book is to demystify current media trends by providing an analysis of the recent past. Tomboys, Pretty Boys, and Outspoken Women is written for a large audience that extends beyond academia and embraces readers who have an interest in American pop culture and, in particular, the '70s.
Edward D. Miller is Associate Professor at the Department of Media Culture of The College of Staten Island and the Department of Theatre and Film Studies Certificate Program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
"...a great read for fans of American popular culture and media, feminism, LGBT, and queer studies scholars alike."- Ingrid Bejerman
—Ingrid Bejerman, Journalism & Mass Communication Educator