Saturday, March 12, 2022

The 2000s Made Me Gay: Essays on Pop Culture by Grace Perry


I've been wanting to read this ever since I heard about it. The concept! The premise! The Myspace-blue cover! The stylized iPod Nano! When it went on sale, I snapped it up faster than you could say the title of the book. THE 2000s MADE ME GAY is a collection of pop culture essays about the aughts, by Grace Perry, a lesbian woman, who recounts how pop culture influenced not just her coming out, but also the way she expressed her gender, the way she perceived gender norms and sexuality, and the ups and downs of all those things.

For me, one of the stand-out essays was the one about Mean Girls and how it expresses some pretty harmful double standards about being gay as a woman versus as a man. I also liked her essay on being a tomboy and how a lot of tomboy characters seem to be coded in a way that could be perceived as sapphic, even though they usually end up being paired with a male love interest (examples: Spinelli from Recess and all of the movie, Cadet Kelly). She also wrote a really interesting essay on what she calls "Banter Boys," which are kind of the male equivalent of manic pixie dreamgirls, in my opinion.

Overall, I really enjoyed this collection. There were some chapters that didn't resonate quite as strongly for me-- I never watched Glee (because when it came out, I was firmly entrenched in my goth metal phase and thought that it was a show for the evil prepz) and I'm not really a fan of Taylor Swift-- but for the most part, this ended up being nostalgic in the best way and I think I'm going to keep it around on my Kindle so I can revisit the essays that spoke most strongly to me.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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