chapter  10
13 Pages

Bodies

ByDavid Serlin

In September 1945, the Cleveland Health Museum sponsored a contest to find the most “typical woman” in Ohio. This essay examines the cultural and political context of this contest as a springboard for exploring how terms such as “typical,” far from scientifically neutral, were deployed to distinguish some American bodies from their queer counterparts, thus illuminating the ways in which the boundaries that ostensibly separate normative from queer bodies are carefully produced and vigilantly maintained.