The Bowery

“Although the beginnings of a gay male subculture were just visible… the social conditions for a lesbian milieu seem to have been absent in what was still a heavily masculine culture” (City of Women, p. 92). This quote elucidates how prominent heterosexuality was in relation to the obscure homosexual culture. I do think the tight class structures of the emerging Bowery group restricted public expressions of sexuality. The City of Women literature elucidates how women, while starting to gain more independence via labor and social freedom, were still subjected to inequality and subordination that stemmed from the predominant patriarchal mindset of the time. Historically, women gained more rights prior to that of homosexuals. It is easy to conclude that if women did not have significant social or legal equality than the acceptance of such equality for homosexuals would be even lower than that of women.

Regarding Butler’s article, there may have been more gender realities present during the time of the Bowery but only two were commonplace and generally accepted. Citing the novel Creating American Culture, “American identity, like other social identities, was constructed in contrapuntal fashion, in opposition to a culturally different Other” (Creating American Culture p. 66). Anything other than the two prescribed gender realities would be considered “other” and outside of the cultural norm, making it hard for other gender realities to make themselves present.




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