Buying gay: how physique entrepreneurs sparked a movement


Buying gay: how physique entrepreneurs sparked a movement



Columbia University Press

publication year



Buying Gay looks at the rise and proliferation of physique magazines in the post-WWII period. By the 1930s physical culture magazines had begun to proliferate in response to a growing sports culture. But it wasn't until the 1950s that gay physique magazines emerged on the scene. Bob Mizer, a gay photographer, launched a homosexual physique magazine, Physique Pictorial, in 1951. People like Mizer, Johnson argues were under constant attack by the law enforcement and censorship agencies. Physique magazines were not closeted and were not separate from the rest of the gay political and consumer culture. They were perceived as gay magazines by everyone involved in their production or reception and they were integral to the development of a homophile movement, especially the legal struggles that culminated in federal court rulings in 1962 and 1967 that allowed open homoeroticism and frontal male nudity. Johnson attributes an arm of the homophile movement to gay physique magazines who helped create a community through readership and participants and spectators in bodybuilding competitions. Beautifully written, Buying Gay astutely shows how social movements are made possible, in part, by capitalism.

education level





Leo Valdes

was created by

Johnson, David K.

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