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Mythic FrontiersRemembering, Forgetting, and Profiting with Cultural Heritage Tourism$
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Daniel R. Maher

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062532

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062532.001.0001

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The Hello Bordello and Brave Men Matrix

The Hello Bordello and Brave Men Matrix

(p.144) 6 The Hello Bordello and Brave Men Matrix
Mythic Frontiers

Daniel R. Maher

University Press of Florida

The frontier complex reinforces narratives of heterosexual normativity and white male hegemony by using narratives of femme fatales, madam entrepreneurs, and brave deputies. Following Judith Butler’s critique of gender performativity, this chapter details how brothel madam Laura Zeigler is used as an example of “equal opportunity employment in the West” whereas the “Bandit Queen” Belle Starr narrative demonstrates the value of adhering to “proper” gender roles. Meanwhile, deputies and outlaws alike are elevated to legendary, heroic heights to underscore their “bravery.” The 1872 “Going Snake massacre” involving the Cherokee gentleman Zeke Proctor and Deputy US Marshals is ubiquitously offered as testimony to the lawlessness of Indian Territory and the bravery demonstrated to combat it. Seldom heard is the fact that then US Marshal Logan H. Roots was intentionally “scaring up business” for the federal court from which he was embezzling money. These mythic narratives function to silence, conceal, and legitimate the violent and forcible acquisition of land in Indian Territory that made Oklahoma statehood inevitable.

Keywords:   white male hegemony, heterosexual normativity, Judith Butler, Zeke Proctor, Logan H. Roots, Laura Zeigler, Belle Starr, Indian Territory, Oklahoma statehood

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