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Coming Out of the Cabinet: Fashioning the Closet with Sweden’s Most Famous Diplomat
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Musicology and Performance Studies, Musicology and Performance Studies.
2012 (English)In: Studies in Fashion and Beauty: Volume One / [ed] Efrat Tseëlon, Ana Marta González and Susan Kaiser, Bristol, UK & Chicago: Intellect Ltd., 2012, 233-254 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This article offers a critical analysis of the media discourse surrounding the Swedish diplomat Sverker Åström’s coming out as a gay man at the age of 87. Particular interest is devoted to his striking fashion choice of wearing a pair of oddly coloured socks, which highlighted his contradictory masculinity as well as the many inherent paradoxes of the closet. Åström’s red and green socks functioned as a means to express forbidden desires, to oppose normative expectations in a playful way and to grant the gay subject a presence in a world that is still very much structured by the logics of the closet. Moreover, his contradictory body language, coupled with his repeated affirmations that his coming out was a private issue, revealed a divided masculinity that was ideologically dependent on a pre-feminist understanding of gender and sexuality as private, that is to say non-political. The article argues that there was strong evidence to suggest that his coming out was in fact a tactical move in a political game, a move aimed to denounce and ridicule the Swedish Security Police (SÄPO), who, after decades of surveillance, refused to grant the diplomat access to its classified files on him.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bristol, UK & Chicago: Intellect Ltd., 2012. 233-254 p.
Keyword [en]
the closet, fashion and homosexuality, cold war masculinity, Swedish sexual politics, Sverker Åström
National Category
Performing Arts
Research subject
Theatre Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-80489ISBN: 9781841506487OAI: diva2:555909
Available from: 2012-09-21 Created: 2012-09-21 Last updated: 2012-09-26Bibliographically approved

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