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Butch Queens Up in Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Butch Queens Up in Pumpsexamines Ballroom culture, in which inner-city LGBT individuals dress, dance, and vogue to compete for prizes and trophies. Participants are affiliated with a house, an alternative family structure typically named after haute couture designers and providing support to this diverse community. Marlon M. Bailey’s rich first-person performance ...more
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published August 29th 2013 by University of Michigan Press (first published June 28th 2013)
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Lauren Levitt
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: quals, dissertation
This ethnography of the ballroom scene in Detroit from 2001 to 2007 provides a good example of ethnographic technique of separating description from analysis. I really liked this book, but I wish that the author had further explored the relationship between competition in the balls and competition under capitalism. What makes competition a market-value in one case and a non-market value in the other?
Carissa Yonan
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I read this book for a class. The professor was awful and so were her textbook assignments, but this was probably the best of the four we read.
Alexa
Nov 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Great content, lots of small errors that were distracting, esp. when the book is expensive. A great insight into Ballroom culture and Black LGBT life in general.
Brandon Will
Aug 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
The world he describes is so alive and fascinating and relevant, it's a story needed to be told. I hope this work finds many more readers.

The way he tells it is largely very dry, though, and I fear this will keep it from some readers.

So I just want to put it clear: yes, the prose is very academic and laborious to get through at times, and I wish there were more case studies and interviews and less repetitive analysis, BUT IF YOU'RE CONSIDERING IT, READ THIS BOOK. It's definitely a valuable,
...more
ralowe
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
yes, we're having this conversation. i have to drop my gripes at the whiplash back and forth between time-wasting rudimentaries that can be popularly grasped due to the super-saturation of drag race and the fleeting bright points of performance study obscurities. we're talking about this and thinking about this. some parts feel like they reproduce the problematic heterosexist logics of the scene, but still, we're in the first place, first and foremost, having this conversation. something ...more
Nat
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A refreshing queer ethnography, one that does not attempt to make a singular claim about the ballroom experience but instead let's the culture speak for itself, recognizing the constant negotiations Ballroom members make to subvert hegemonic gender practices while also taking some of them up in the creation of their own system. Bailey's work is a much needed geometric insight to follow the more sensational texts like Paris is Burning.
Matthew
Required reading for my critical concepts of gender class. I learned a ton about a culture I didn't even know existed: black LGBT ballroom. A vast LGBT network centered around "balls" which are ritualized gender performance and drag events. The chapter on the gender system certainly was effective at pointing out the ways that gender is constructed in US culture.
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