Aesthetics Wiki
Aesthetics Wiki

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Not to be confused with Campcore, an aesthetic about camping, the activity taking place in nature.

Camp is an aesthetic style and sensibility that seeks to express irony and subversion of mainstream society through deliberately assuming a gaudy aesthetic. As described by Susan Sontag, the academic who codified the term, its characteristics are: "artifice, frivolity, naïve middle-class pretentiousness, and shocking excess".[1] It is utilized in multiple mediums including film, fashion, theatre, music, and even modes of speech.

The aesthetic concept is popular within the gay community because of gay men being perceived by mainstream society as less masculine and worthy of ostracization. Camp becomes a way for them to exaggerate the effeminate and taboo parts of themselves as a rebellion against what society perceives a man should be, and the culture's behavior and camp inform each other. For example, drag shows, the gay "accent," and cult films popular within the LGBT community such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show are examples of camp.


Visuals

There are no "official visuals" of camp, as the word itself needs to be used in the context of who is performing camp. For example, Marilyn Monroe's white dress flaring up in the subway grates is not camp itself, but when another person mimics her actions in a highly exaggerated parody, it will be considered camp. This is especially true if the person doing the Monroe parody is doing so in a way to mock the white male gaze.

It is also difficult to classify visuals because camp is unlimited, and highly dependent on the individual's unique perspective.

  • Drag shows
  • Exaggerated movements such as batting eyelashes, dancing, etc.
  • "Tacky" materials such as sequins, plastic, and rhinestones