© 2017

Women, Camp, and Popular Culture

Serious Excess

  • Provides an overview over the politics of camp across different formats in contemporary media landscape

  • Proposes a new defintion of camp as detached attachment to account for the strategy's unique combination of critical distance and affective involvement

  • Investigates the uses of camp in popular culture as a form of parodic intervention by women

  • Features detailed analysis not only of the visual aspects of Lady Gaga’s music videos but connects these to her live performances and the use of voice for queer effects

  • Ascertains camp's value in countering recent media trends such as lesbian chic and postfeminism


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Katrin Horn
    Pages 15-33
  3. Katrin Horn
    Pages 193-252
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 257-264

About this book


This innovative study claims camp as a critical, yet pleasurable strategy for women’s engagement with contemporary popular culture as exemplified by 30 Rock or Lady Gaga. In detailed analyses of lesbian cinema, postfeminist TV, and popular music, the book offers a novel take on its subject. It defines camp as a unique mode of detached attachment, which builds on affective intensity and emotional investment, while strongly encouraging a critical edge.


contemporary popular culture lesbian cinema queer cinema Lady Gaga 30 Rock Postfeminist TV post-feminism popular music camp

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.American StudiesFAU Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany

About the authors

Katrin Horn is a postdoctoral fellow in American Studies at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany. She is co-editor of Stimme, Kultur, Identität (2015) and author of several articles on US American popular music and television. 

Bibliographic information


“Against claims that camp is dead, Katrin Horn argues convincingly that camp is alive and well – and female. Locating lesbian, postfeminist, and queer camp in mainstream popular culture, Horn shows that the camp woman is not the exception to the rule, but that camp's critique of proscribed sex and gender roles remains a crucial strategy in popular culture.” (Pamela Robertson Wojcik, Professor of Film, Television, and Theater, University of Notre Dame, USA)

“This study crashes the party that has confined camp to associations with gay male spectatorship and parodic frivolity. Making the case for camp as a highly adaptive, keenly affective mode of detached attachment, Horn illuminates how women producers and consumers have fun with, and make fun of, popular culture by taking camp seriously. With a dry wit befitting a study of camp, Horn’s engaging, exhaustive analysis of key texts stakes a defiant claim to camp’s pleasures and potential.” (Maria San Filippo, Assistant Professor, Communication and Media Studies, Goucher College, USA)

“Like camp itself, Horn’s book is pleasurably disruptive, making us rethink and reframe our favorite critics on this topic as well as our favorite performances and stars. Locating D.E.B.S., But I’m a Cheerleader, 30 Rock, and Lady Gaga on the same yellow brick road, Horn makes a stunning case for camp’s feminism, queerness, diva power, and wicked political chops.” (Linda Mizejewski, Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Ohio State University, USA)