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The Pink Pound: Capitalism and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century Britain

Melding together traditional political histories with cultural and gender analyses, The Pink Pound is the first full-length study of the history of the pink economy.

Using diverse sources ranging through early men’s magazines and queer erotic publications, film and theatre regulations, tabloids and popular newspapers, sources on fashion and retailing, government documents and parliamentary papers, business archives and oral histories, The Pink Pound asks who benefited from commercial interest in homosexuality? How were debates surrounding the extension of civil rights to homosexuals propelled forward in the public commercial sphere? How did reformers utilize capitalist strategy and infrastructure to effect social and legal change? And finally, what effect have more open relationships between homosexuality and consumer capitalism had on both business interests and queer citizen-consumers? The Pink Pound is unique and innovative in recognizing the place of homosexuality in mainstream consumption practices and the effect this had on broader social, cultural, and political change.

Conventional wisdom maintains that the pink economy, generally defined as the purchasing power of gay men and lesbians, only emerged from the era of Gay Liberation. And while an increasing variety of openly gay-oriented newspapers, magazines, clubs, and bars appeared throughout the 1970s and 1980s, it was not until the 1990s that terms like the ‘pink pound’, ‘pink dollar’, or ‘pink economy’ gained a foothold in marketing theory, criticism, and texts. But the ‘discovery’ of the gay and lesbian market in the last few decades has in fact obscured a long history of dynamic relationships between business enterprise, (queer) consumers, and the ‘selling’ of queerness and homosexuality throughout the entire twentieth century. The Pink Pound redresses this omission, but also systematically explores for the first time the multiple treatments and discussions by capitalists of homosexual desire and experiences in the commercial mainstream, and the effects these had on capitalism and business enterprise, consumers of all sorts, and the state’s relationship with both.

The Pink Pound is currently under contract with the University of Chicago Press.

The Pink Pound is the first sustained and systematic historical study of the shifting relationship between the consumer economy and social, cultural and political formations of ‘homosexuality’ in twentieth century Britain.

– Anonymous Reviewer, University of Chicago Press

 

Table of Contents:

INTRODUCTION: What is the Pink Pound?

CHAPTER 1: ‘The Author has Definitely Unbuttoned Himself': Queer Profits in Pre-WWII Publishing

CHAPTER 2: ‘A ‘Trifle Pansy’ to my Low Mind': Re-Orienting Market Appeals in the Early Men’s Press

CHAPTER 3: ‘A Spot of Controversy Could Well Turn to Your Advantage': Profit and Regulation on Stage and Screen

CHAPTER 4: ‘Our Sex-Sodden Newspapers': The Tabloid Press at Mid-Century: Competition, Consumption and Consequences

CHAPTER 5: ‘I don’t know why they don’t call it Queers and Queering': Films and Filming’s Queer Strategy and Markets

CHAPTER 6: ‘What has Happened to the Nation’s Manhood?': Carnaby Street and the Mainstreaming of Queer Styles in Post-War Britain

CHAPTER 7: ‘Get a Move On, Mr. Butler': The Business of Homosexual Legal Reform

CHAPTER 8: ‘I am a homosexual and I would like a drink': Queer Commercial Activism and Anti-Capitalism

CONCLUSION: Queer Profits

Project Details

Category

Date
June 2015

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