To me, feminism is also about liberating men from the stereotypes that they have to be the breadwinners, that they have to be a certain way, and they can’t explore their feminine sides. That’s crippling men. That’s crippling how fully men can experience their emotional lives and everything. They have to bond with each other by putting women down? That’s sad. What about having real friendships? Wouldn’t that be great?
Disco broadened the contours of blackness, femininity, and male homosexuality. African-American musicians and producers experimented with lavish, sophisticated arrangements that didn’t always sound recognizably “black.” Their lush new sounds became the foundation of disco. With this sonic turn, black masculinity moved away from the “sex machine” model of James Brown towards the “love man” style of Barry White. As for gay men, as they became newly visible, largely through the dissemination of disco culture, their self-presentation shifted as effeminacy gave way to a macho style recognizable to anyone who has ever glimpsed the Village People. Feminism’s critique of three-minute sex found its voice in disco, and black female performers broke with representational strategies rooted in respectability. There’s no way to make sense of how we got from Diana Ross to Lil’ Kim without exploring disco.
Alice Echols, author of Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture
“Once inside, everybody’s a star. The social rules are simple but rigid: All you want to hear is how fabulous you look, so you tell them how fabulous they look. You talk about how bored you are, coming here night after night, but that there’s no place else to go. If you’re not jaded there’s something wrong. It’s good to come in very messed up on some kind of pills every once in a while, and weekend nights usually see at least one elaborate, tearful fight or breakdown. If you’re 18 you’re over the hill.”
-about Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco, 1973