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‘One of the boys’: Countdown’s nationalizing project and the performative queering of Antipodean masculinity

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This article explores how the queering potentialities of the Australian music television programme Countdown (1974–87) were drawn into dialogue with the show’s role in a ‘cultural nationalizing project’. Countdown was culturally significant in the way it presented different versions of masculinity and femininity to a mainstream audience, particularly in a period where depictions of identity beyond the heteronormative mainstream where extremely rare, or indeed totally absent, from prime time television. However, while Countdown provided an avenue through which alternate ways of ‘being’ masculine could be made visible, Countdown’s ‘queering’ of the heteronormative masculine subject worked to largely recentre white, heterosexual, cisgendered men in the Australian and Aotearoa/New Zealand cultural mainstream. The show’s positionality within a nation-building media project in the 1970s and 1980s is a salient reminder of the ways in which media are shaped by a complex generic context which frames their production and reception, as well as the heterogeneous context of their broadcast and dissemination.
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Keywords: Aotearoa/New Zealand; Australia; Countdown; masculinity; national identity; queering; television

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Massey University

Publication date: March 1, 2019

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  • Queer Studies in Media & Popular Culture (QSMPC) is a refereed academic journal devoted to the study of representations and expressions of queerness in its various forms. International in scope and representing a wide variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, it publishes scholarship on topics at the intersection of media/popular culture and queerness in gender/sexuality. QSMPC invites articles and artwork pertaining to queerness in media and popular culture, as well as reviews pertaining to recently released queer media artifacts.
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