The Elvis We Deserve: The Social Regulation of Sex/Gender and Sexuality Through Cultural Representations of 'the King'

Law, Culture and the Humanities, 2010

U. of Edinburgh School of Law Working Paper No. 2009/05

42 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2009

See all articles by Sharon Cowan

Sharon Cowan

University of Edinburgh - School of Law

Date Written: March 31, 2009

Abstract

This paper analyses the way in which the image, masculinity and sexual identity of Elvis Presley have been recently culturally deployed by particular social groups. It explores the way in which the image of Elvis is used by lesbian drag king performers who try to queer the cultural stereotypes which form the basis of the social regulation of gender roles; and the use of Elvis's image by the U.K. fathers' rights campaign group "Fathers 4 Justice" as a sign of unthreatening familiarity to support traditional heteronormative ideas of masculinity and gender roles. These cultural re-appropriations of Elvis raises questions for contemporary understandings of sex/gender and sexuality; as the motto of the San Francisco based Elvis impersonator "Extreme Elvis" suggests, "Every generation gets the Elvis it deserves".

Keywords: drag kings, Elvis, gender, masculinity, performance, sexuality

Suggested Citation

Cowan, Sharon, The Elvis We Deserve: The Social Regulation of Sex/Gender and Sexuality Through Cultural Representations of 'the King' (March 31, 2009). Law, Culture and the Humanities, 2010; U. of Edinburgh School of Law Working Paper No. 2009/05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1371151 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1371151

Sharon Cowan (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh - School of Law ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

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