Our book club voted to read a suggestion from one of the many Pride Month reading lists: The 2000s Made Me Gay – Essays on Pop Culture by Grace Perry.
I have to say the nostalgia trip was a lot of fun. And obviously this was such an eye opening experience to read when you have grown up with the same popular culture, but lacked the perspective of what it all meant to someone who was also coming to terms with their own sexuality. I’m really looking forward to hearing what the others thought of this book in our book club.
We were raised in homophobia, came of age as the world changed around us, and are raising children in an age where it’s never been easier to be same-sex parents. We’re both lucky and jealous.
I smiled a lot reading this as there were so many pop culture things that I’ve forgotten! Even the Apple iPod right there on the cover, I used to have one and I’d totally forgotten that! I wonder if I still have mine somewhere and what music it holds. 🙂 Probably Evanescence at least. \m/ (<— Honestly I had to Google how to make make those “metal fingers”, in pre-emoji way, feeling old)
I’m a millenial, an elder millenial as comic Iliza Shlesinger would say (if you haven’t watched her on Netflix, check her out), and thus I knew that a book about the pop culture of the aughts would resonate with me. I was ready to remember it all: the time before smart phones, before Netflix, before a lot of things. A time that made some great entertainment, some of it still following me to this day. And The 2000s Made Me Gay delivered.
The essays follow Grace Perry’s experience of discovering her own sexuality and growing up with the available entertainment of 2000s. It was great to read (and relate to) how much comfort, peer example and imaginary friends pop culture can be at its best. Even without the sexual identity side of things, I could vividly remember the moments from my teenage years when I too took comfort from very familiar pop culture characters that felt like friends. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to come to terms with who you are, and find ways to be open about it. Perry describes these challenges in good detail, and there were many subjects that were very thought provoking e.g. the chapter on butch/femme types of lesbians, and the whole chapter of losing your virginity. The tone of the book is very humoristic, but there are some very touching moments too that have you feeling the hurt with Perry.
The timeline of Grace Perry’s memories gets at times a bit confusing, but it might also be due to me taking a long time to read this during August. Most of the pop culture references were veeery familiar, and brought back many memories: Gossip Girl, Harry Potter, Pretty Little Liars, Harry Potter, Katy Perry and Ellen DeGeneres to mention some of the topics the author goes through in her own memories. There were some references that were much less familiar, and those moments in the book can be more difficult to follow.
I really enjoyed Perry’s book not just for the pop culture nostalgia trip, but also for reading of an experience I did not have. It’s always eye opening to learn from experiences that are at the same time very familiar, and yet have a very different perspective from your own. The lack of presentation for different sexualities in the years we millenials grew up, the amount of inappropriate jokes and homophobia, and the slowly evolving world where the first role models started to become more open about their sexuality, paving the way for the openness of today was interesting to read through. The book works as a good reminder of how different things were were sexual minorities when we were kids, and how much things have progressed since. Looking forward to see how much more things will progress in the next 20 years!
The 2000s Made Me Gay – Essays on Pop Culture by Grace Perry fills these prompts in the two Reading Challenges I’m doing this year:
A book that has something in common with your own life (Helmet Reading Challenge)
A book that discusses body positivity (Popsugar Reading Challenge)