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The Inclusive Vision

Essays in Honor of Larry Gross

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Edited By Paul Messaris and David W. Park

Larry Gross is one of the most influential figures in the history of media studies. In this collection of original essays, his former students reflect on his groundbreaking contributions to three major developments: the emergence of visual studies as a distinct field of media theory and research; the analysis of media fiction as a symbol of power structures and a perpetuator of social inequalities; and the growing scholarly attention to the relationships between mass media and sexual minorities.

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13. From Gay Bars to Hook-Up Apps: Social and Media Change (David Gudelunas)

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13. From Gay Bars to Hook-Up Apps: Social and Media Change

DAVID GUDELUNAS

Gay bars, like brick and mortar retail shopping, print journalism, or Madonna’s career, are something that people are obsessed with declaring dead, over with, and not relevant. The reasons for the end of trips to the mall, newsprint on your hands, accessible pop music, and gay watering holes represent a sort of overlapping Venn diagram of internet thought-piece wisdom: we have the world wide web on our phones, the millennials don’t want their parent’s MTV, and what was once considered the fringe is now the mainstream. Of course, gay bars are not dead. In fact, you can walk into one in most major US cities right now and if you stay long enough you’ll likely hear a Madonna song (or at the very least a Madonna-inspired remix).

The possible reasons for the untrue and untimely death of the gay bar (and I use the term ‘gay bar’ here with colloquial intent realizing that lesbians, heterosexuals and many other identity and demographic groups frequent these spaces) are many and complicated. There is speculation that GPS-enabled sex-seeking apps like Grindr and Scruff have negated the need for gay men to meet less strategically in a semi-public space like a gay bar, that younger GLBTQ individuals are more accepted by and thus more likely to socialize with their heterosexual counterparts, that overzealous heterosexual women (many in drunken...

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