To gain access to any of the below 53 peer-reviewed journal articles, please click here
Metropolitan Bisexual Men’s Relationships: Evidence of a Cohort Effect
Anderson, Scoats & McCormack
Drawing on 90 interviews with openly bisexual men from three metropolitan cities this research explores experiences related to relationships. In using a comparative cohort research design, we demonstrate the presence of a generational effect, with members of the youngest cohort finding that their partners grant the greatest legitimacy to their bisexual identities. We also show that men of the older cohort maintained more heteronormative attitudes than men in the younger cohort, particularly concerning marriage and children. Finally, we find that while openly bisexual men located in three metropolitan cities were accepting of nonmonogamy for others, they were not largely practicing it themselves.
Journal of Bisexuality
Identities and Identification: Changes in Metropolitan Bisexual Men’s Attitudes and Experiences
McCormack, Wignall and Anderson
Drawing on 90 interviews with men who identify as bisexual from London, Los Angeles and New York, this article examines how bisexual men from three different age cohorts remember first experiencing bisexuality, how they sexually identify today, and how this is changing with younger groups of men. By using an innovative recruitment strategy, the majority of participants are not affiliated with bisexual community groups or counselling services. Thus, it provides insight into how bisexuals outside of these specific institutional settings feel about their sexual identities. Findings support Savin-Williams’s (2005) contention that sexual identities are becoming less central to the lives of younger generations, who use them in more pragmatic and strategic ways.
Journal of Bisexuality
Charlie is so Cool Like: Inclusive Masculinity and Popularity on YouTube.
Morris & Anderson
On the world’s most utilised video-sharing social networking site, YouTube, Charlie McDonnell (Charlieissocoollike), Dan Howell (Danisnotonfire), and Jack and Finn Harries (JacksGap) are Britain’s most popular video-bloggers (vloggers). With more than two million regular subscribers to each of their channels, along with millions of casual viewers, they represent a new form of authentic online celebrity. These young men, whose YouTube careers began as teenagers, do not espouse a traditional form of masculinity; they are not sporty, macho, or even expressly concerned with being perceived as heterosexual. Instead, they present a softer masculinity, eschewing the homophobia, misogyny, and aggression attributed to boys of previous generations. These behaviours are theorised using Anderson’s Inclusive Masculinity Theory. Drawing on analysis of 115 video-blogs (vlogs), along with an in-depth interview with Charlie McDonnell, this article examines how these young men developed and exhibit their inclusive masculinities and attitudes, which we postulate are a reflection of dominant youth culture.
Sixth form girls and bisexual burden
Anderson, McCormack and Ripley
Much of the literature concerning sexual minorities describes various forms of social mistreatment, alongside the psychological ill effects of minority stress. However, bisexual individuals are often described as having additional burdens compared with other sexual minorities. We conceptualise the collective of these social problems as ‘bisexual burden’, and examine for it through the lived experiences of 15 openly bisexual girls (aged 16 – 17) from sixth form colleges throughout the UK. We show that, among this cohort, decreasing cultural stigma attached to sexual minorities results in participants being more accepted by their heterosexual and gay peers, compared to previous literature, mostly without the negative components of bisexual burden. We find that when mistreatment does occur, it does so immediately after she comes out; however, this diminishes quickly due to the cultural unacceptability of homo/biphobia in these settings.
Journal of Gender Studies
The changing experiences of bisexual male adolescents
Morris, McCormack & Anderson
Drawing on in-depth interviews with 15 openly bisexual male youth from sixth forms across the UK, this article documents positive experiences of bisexual male youth in school: participants had positive coming out experiences and did not encounter significant discrimination or harassment because of their sexual identity. Participants attribute this to the inclusive environments of their schools and local cultures. Examining the narratives of two participants who had negative experiences, this article also highlights continued issues for bisexual youth in schools. It thus advances our understanding of contemporary bisexual lives in educational institutions, and contributes to debates about whether sixth forms are more inclusive spaces than secondary schools for bisexuals.
Gender and Education
Openly lesbian team sport athletes in an era of decreasing homohysteria
Anderson & Bullingham
Sociologists who have examined the issue of lesbians in American sport in the 1980s and 1990s normally found overt and covert mechanisms of social discrimination. However, homophobia has been on a rapid decline over previous decades, and studies show attitudes toward female homosexuality in sport have improved since the research conducted on lesbian athletes in the mid-1990s. This article uses data collected between that epoch and current studies to analyze athletic narratives of openly lesbian team sport athletes in 2002. We find no universal pattern for the treatment of openly lesbian athletes existed in this era of decreasing homohysteria. However, as with gay men in sport at the time, athletic capital influenced who came out, and heterosexism was prominent.
International Review for the Sociology of Sport
On the door-step of equality: Attitudes toward gay athletes among academy-level footballers
Magrath, Anderson & Roberts
In this semi-structured interview research, we investigate the attitudes of 22 academy-level association football (soccer) players who are potentially on the verge of becoming professional athletes. We find that, as a result of these men belonging to a generation holding inclusive attitudes towards homosexuality, independent of whether they maintain contact with gay men, they are unanimously supportive of gay men coming out on their team. Thus, this research supports a growing body of literature suggesting that team-sport culture is no longer a bastion of homophobia in the UK. Their support includes athletes being unconcerned with sharing rooms with gay players, changing with them in the locker rooms, or relating to them on a social and emotional level. The only apprehension they maintain is that having a gay teammate might somewhat alter homosocial banter, as they would not want to offend that individual.
International Review for the Sociology of Sport.
Sport journalists' views on gay men in sport, society and within sport media
Kian, Anderson, Vincent & Murray
In this research, interviews were conducted with 10 US newspaper sport journalists to gauge their experiences and attitudes toward issues and coverage of open and closeted gay men in sport, sport media, and within society. Concerning closeted athletes, most of these journalists are reluctant to report on athletes’ non-normative sexual orientation, even if that means a competitor could scoop them on a story about a major athlete being gay. Most of these reporters believe that US sport fans are ready for openly gay athletes in professional men’s team sports, but that locker rooms might be slower to adapt. Despite these progressive attitudes and more than 220 years of collective professional media experience, none of these journalists ever worked with a sports reporter who was openly gay to all of their colleagues. Therefore, it was not surprising that most believed sport journalism would be a challenging career for openly gay men, particularly if those individuals also did not conform to gender-normative notions of masculinity.
International Review of the Sociology of Sport
Homosocial Intimacy among Australian Undergraduate Men.
Filiaul, Murray, Anderson & Jefferies
Homophobia and the avoidance of same-sex intimacy have traditionally been considered defining characteristics of heterosexual masculinity. They have not only subjugated gay men, but have maintained negative health implications for heterosexual men as well. However, in response to decreasing homohysteria, researchers from the United Kingdom found that 89% of British undergraduate heterosexual men have engaged in a particular type of same-sex kiss. This research seeks to examine whether this cultural shift, and corresponding homosocial intimacy, is evident among Australian undergraduate men. Among the 90 heterosexual men interviewed, 29% report having engaged in at least one same-sex kiss. Results indicate a changing relationship between the construction of Australian heteromasculinity and the avoidance of same-sex behaviours.
Journal of Sociology
Cuddling and Spooning: Heteromasculinity and Homosocial Tactility Among Student-Athletes
Anderson & McCormack
This article examines the prevalence of homosocial tactility and the contemporary status and meaning of heteromasculinity among British male youth. Drawing on in-depth interviews with forty student-athletes at a British university, we find that thirty-seven participants have cuddled with another male. In addition to this cuddling, participants also engage in ‘‘spooning’’ with their heterosexual male friends. Demonstrating the pleasurable aspects of being a man in this culture, we argue that the expansion of esteemed homosocial behaviors for heterosexual men is evidence of an expansion of changing conceptions of masculinity in contemporary culture. We call for the discussion of heteromasculinities and contextualize our findings using inclusive masculinity theory.
Men and Masculinities
Cohort Effect on the Coming Out Experiences of Bisexual Males
McCormack, Anderson & Adams
This article examines bisexual men’s experiences of coming out across three age cohorts, and documents generational differences in the reception from friends and family regarding this disclosure. Drawing on in-depth interviews with an ethnically diverse sample of 60 openly bisexual men from the United States, we find that the oldest cohort encountered the most stereotypical views and prejudiced behaviour, while those of the youngest cohort expressed predominantly positive coming out stories. We attribute the cohort differences in these experiences to a decrease in cultural homophobia, alongside changes in the social organisation of masculinities.
The Influence of Declining Homophobia on Men’s Gender in the United States: An Argument for the Study of Homohysteria.
McCormack & Anderson
Generations of scholars have examined the variety of correlates of attitudes and behaviors of heterosexual men toward gay men. There has also been substantial exploration of the impact of homophobia on gay men and its gendering of heterosexual men. However, less research exists into the effects of the liberalization of sexual attitudes on these groups. In this forum, we call for scholarly engagement with a relatively new arena of masculinities studies: the impact of decreasing homophobia on socially acceptable gendered behaviors among heterosexual males in the U.S. We offer homohysteria as a concept to examine the social impact of heterosexual male’s fear of being thought gay; suggesting that homohysteria is an effective heurism for investigating micro and macro-level processes relating homophobia to masculinity. Our thesis is that as homohysteria declines, heterosexual males are able to engage in homosocial relationships characterized by a number of positive traits, including: the social inclusion of gay male peers; the embrace of once-feminized artifacts; increased emotional intimacy; increased physical tactility; the erosion of the one-time rule of homosexuality; and a rejection of violence. We focus solely upon heterosexual males and their attitudes toward gay males because these are the demographics of the participants in the empirical research in this area. We then highlight eight key areas where further research could both develop homohysteria as a concept and enhance understanding of social life.
Homohysteria: Definitions, Context and Intersectionality
McCormack & Anderson
In this article, we engage with the commentaries of our Feminist Forum article (McCormack and Anderson 2014) by Parent et al. (2014), Plummer (2014), Worthen (2014) and Negy (2014) to enhance understanding of the concept homohysteria and to explore its application to a range of demographic groups. Developing a stage model of homohysteria that accounts for both increases and decreases in levels of homophobia in U.S. cultures, we focus on three key issues that were highlighted by the commentaries. First, we discuss the definitional clarity of homohysteria. Next, we argue that while it is important to recognize the diversity of sexualities in the U.S. and historically, it is primarily heterosexuals’ perceptions of homosexuality that are most important. Finally, we call for the incorporation of an intersectional and international approach that extends the concept beyond heterosexual men in the U.S.
Bisexual men and body image
Filiault, Drummond & Anderson
Although the body images of straight and gay men have received extensive research attention, there has been little consideration of bisexual men's perceptions of body image. In this qualitative investigation of openly bisexual men from both the United Kingdom and Australia, men discuss their perceptions of body image, masculinity and sexuality. The findings show that the ideal body described resembles the mesomorphic body image suggested to be ideal by research into both gay and straight men's perspectives on body image. However, the participants differentiated between what they termed a ‘masculine’ body and a ‘gay’ body, with the latter being viewed as undesirable. Thus, concerning perceptions of the male body, the bisexual men in this study participate in the cultural conflation of masculinity and heterosexuality, illustrating a degree of internalised homonegativity.
Psychology and Sexuality
The Need to Review Peer Review: The Regnerus Scandal as a Call to Action
This article uses Mark Regnerus’s methodologically flawed paper “How Different Are the Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same-Sex Relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study,” published in Social Science Research (2012) as a catalyst to expose fundamental faults with the existing peer review system in the social sciences. The acceptance of this article has not only been damaging for same-sex equality, but it also shows the utility of checks and balances in the current peer review system need improving. This is because: (1) the current system fails to utilize digital technologies of open review which have advanced multiple other scholarly disciplines; (2) the author nomination system facilitates the publication of friendly reviews; (3) anonymity in the review system permits reviewers to promote unchallenged, biased, or personally motivated publication decisions; and (4) impact factors might inspire editors to publish articles that might not otherwise be accepted. After first describing the Regnerus scandal and its political implications, the necessity of improvement in peer review on these four counts is discussed.
Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health.
Adolescent Masculinity in an age of Decreased Homohysteria.
Adolescent masculinity in the 1980s was marked by the need to distance oneself from the specter of “the fag.” In this homohysteric culture, compulsory heterosexuality and high rates of anti-gay sentiment necessitated that adolescent boys distance themselves from anything associated with femininity. It was this zeitgeist that brought Connell’s hegemonic masculinity theory to the vanguard of masculine studies. However, homohysteria has diminished among adolescents today. Accordingly, in this article, I foreground research extracts from multiple ethnographies on groups of 16-year-old adolescent boys in order to contextualize the repeated and consistent data I find throughout both the United States and the United Kingdom. In explaining how the diminishment of homohysteria promotes a “One-Direction” culture of inclusive and highly feminized masculinities, I suggest that new social theories are required.
Thymos: Journal of Boyhood Studies
i9 and the Transformation of Youth Sport
In this article I present an analysis of how traditionally run competitive, organized team sports reproduce multiple socionegative effects for youth who play them. After explicating how the structure and culture of traditionally run competitive team sports operates in western cultures, I explain that cultural resistance toward changing sport is beginning to wane. I analyze a consumer-oriented neoliberal approach to transforming these negative outcomes of youth sport through the creation of a new sporting organization, i9 sports. I draw on this example to conclude that structural and cultural changes to youth sport are increasingly viable for at least middle and
upper class parents who are critical of traditional sport options and to initiate a conversation about consumer-led social change initiatives in youth sport.
Journal of Sport and Social Issues
Taking to the streets: the benefits of spontaneous methodological innovation in participant recruitment
McCormack, Adams & Anderson
In this article, we discuss the methodological implications of a qualitative research project that examined the experiences of bisexual men living in three metropolitan cities. A detailed research proposal was approved in advance by both the funder and our university ethics review board. Once in the field however, we found our methods inadequate for recruiting the sufficient number of participants. With only a week to collect data before leaving the city, it was necessary to substantially revise how we recruited participants. We took our research to the crowded streets, shouting for participants. In order to explore the benefits of changing methods in situ, we describe the genesis of the research project and its failings and the development of a new data collection plan. The significance of this article is in the argument that it is important to maintain flexibility when conducting research: that rigidly sticking to a predetermined methodological procedure approved by funding bodies and ethical review panels can hinder the quality of data collected, and stultify the innovation of methods.
The Performance of Softer Masculinities on the University Dance Floor
Peterson & Anderson
In this article we examine the masculinities of heterosexual men in English university dance club settings. We highlight that multiple influences shape perceptions of gender and sexuality—influences that are also used to subvert a polarized gender and sexuality order. This is evidenced by how straight men dance, interact, and even kiss each other. Accordingly, we ask what it means when queer masculinities are performed by otherwise straight-identifying men. We examine the implications that the queering of straights has on understandings of gender and sexuality, arguing that, whether the context is a sporting event or a dance hall, social terrains rely on a body of assumed knowledge that helps construct the social meanings inculcated in and performed by moving bodies. We suggest that homosocial intimacy expressed through men’s dancing together, which used to be considered subversive in the 1980s, is increasingly found in the domain of popular and normative heterosexual youth culture today.
Journal of Men’s Studies
The Declining Existence of Men’s Homophobia in British Sport
Bush, Anderson & Carr
This research provides the first-ever quantitative account of British university athletes’ attitudes toward having a gay male teammate. We use a four-year longitudinal study to investigate athletes’ attitudes concerning gay men in their sporting spaces. Using questionnaires of 216 male athletes from all university sports offered upon entry (2006), and then again upon exiting the university (2009), we show that attitudinal dispositions of homophobia have decreased from minimal (upon entrance) to non-existent (upon exit). We find that the strength of one’s athletic identity is associated with lesser degrees of support for gay team-sport athletes upon entering the university, but that this effect does not emerge upon exiting. We highlight the study’s results, situating them within inclusive masculinity theory, and discuss how results might vary at other institutions.
The Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education
Shifting Masculinities in AngloAmerican Countries
This article provides an overview of the changing nature of masculinities in several English speaking cultures. The evidence and theory come from numerous investigations into masculinities among both gay and straight male youths in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Collectively, I show that cultural homophobia is rapidly decreasing among young men in these cultures, and that this is particularly true of teamsport athletes. I suggest that the dominant way of theorizing masculinities over the previous quarter century, hegemonic masculinity theory, is incapable of explaining these changes. Thus, I introduce a new theory, inclusive masculinity theory, and the new heuristic concept of homohysteria, to make sense of the changing nature of young men’s masculinities.
Masculinities and Social Change
Inclusive masculinity in a physical education setting
There is a strong relationship between the cultural practices of competitive, organized youth sport and compulsory physical education. The hyper-masculine, violent, and homophobic culture traditionally found within boys segregated sporting spaces is mirrored when youth are compelled to participate in physical education. However, cultural homophobia is on rapid decline in Western countries. Recent research shows high school and university sport to be an increasingly inclusive environment for openly gay male youth. I explore this cultural shift among high school (sixth form) physical education students in England. Using three months of ethnography, and conducting 17 in-depth interviews with 16-18 year old ostensibly heterosexual boys, I show an absence of homophobia and homophobic discourse, the abatement of violence, the absence of a jock-ocratic school culture, and the emotional support of male friends. Thus, I show that while the structure of sport education has remained the same, the hyper-masculine culture surrounding it has changed.
Thymos: Journal of Boyhood Studies
Heteronormativity in the University Classroom: Novelty Attachment and Content Substitution among Gay-friendly Students.
Ripley, Anderson, McCormack & Rockett
This article explores the complex relationship between an openly gay instructor, homophobia, and heteronormativity in a university classroom. The authors first tabulated the frequency with which the instructor used the lives of heterosexuals and homosexuals as examples of content or as content itself, and then they interviewed 32 students about their perceptions of these frequencies. They found that students significantly overestimated lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) frequencies and underestimated heterosexual ones. The authors develop two analytical concepts to highlight this form of heteronormativity: novelty attachment and content substitution. They explain these phenomena by suggesting that the novelty of using LGBT examples and discussing homosexuality as content results in the activation of stereotypes among otherwise gay-friendly students. They examine the cognitive underpinnings of this using social identity theory and call for further research to examine the applicability of their theory to other minority groups.
Sociology of Education
Exploring the relationship between homosexuality and sport among the teammates of a small, Midwestern Catholic college soccer team
Adams & Anderson
Despite decreasing homophobia, openly gay male athletes are still rare in organized, competitive teamsports. In this action research, we explore two aspects of homosexuality and sport: (1) the effect of a gay male soccer player coming out to his teammates; and (2) the effect of having an openly gay researcher in the field. This is, therefore, the first-ever first-hand account of an athlete’s coming-out process with researchers in the field. Even though this is action research and, therefore, not generalizable, we highlight that this research contributes to the body of literature on sexuality and sport because we document the interactions of straight athletes with a gay player and a gay researcher among the heterosexual players at a small, Catholic college in the American Midwest. We use interviews to show that players were accepting of homosexuality before the beginning of this research and show that discussions with these two gay men further promoted players’ perspectives on homosexuality. This led to an increase in the team’s social cohesion and a decrease in heteronormativity
Sport, Education and Society
Examining Media Contestation of Masculinity and Head Trauma in the National Football League
Anderson & Kian
American football has long been central to the construction of masculinity in the United States. Of the multiple masculine scripts promoting professional players’ hegemonic masculine status, sacrificing one’s body for the sake of sporting glory is a key tenet. Sport journalists have traditionally used their media platform to reify this social script, an act which simultaneously promotes their own masculine capital. However, this article investigates a crack in this hegemonic system. Through a media analysis of the reporting on Aaron Rodgers’ self-withdrawal (after hitting his head) from an important National Football League (NFL) game, we argue that increasing cultural awareness as to the devastating effects of concussions, in the form of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, combined with a softening of American masculinity is beginning to permit some prominent players to distance themselves from the self-sacrifice component of sporting masculinity. Concerning concussions, we conclude major sport media are beginning to support the notion of health over a masculine warrior narrative.
Men and Masculinities
Male Team Sport Hazing Initiations in a Culture of Decreasing homohysteria
Anderson, McCormack & Lee
In this longitudinal ethnographic research, we report on 7 years of hazing rituals on two separate men’s sports teams at one university in the United Kingdom. Using 38 in-depth interviews alongside naturalistic observations of the initiation rituals, we demonstrate that hazing activities have changed from being centered around homophobic same-sex activities to focusing on extreme levels of alcohol consumption. We show that whereas same-sex activities once occurred paradoxically to prohibit them, today these initiations open up the possibility of same-sex behaviors for young men in the life stage of emergent adulthood.
Journal of Adolescent Research
‘‘I Kiss Them Because I Love Them’’: The Emergence of Heterosexual Men Kissing in British Institutes of Education
Anderson, Adams & Rivers
In this article, we combined data from 145 interviews and three ethnographic investigations of heterosexual male students in the U.K. from multiple educational settings. Our results indicate that 89%have, at somepoint, kissed another male on the lips which they reported as being non-sexual: a means of expressing platonic affection among heterosexual friends. Moreover, 37% also reported engaging in sustained same-sex kissing, something they construed as non-sexual and non-homosexual. Although the students in our study understood that this type of kissing remains somewhat culturally symbolized as a taboo sexual behavior, they nonetheless reconstructed it, making it compatible with heteromasculinity by recoding it as homosocial. We hypothesize that both these types of kissing behaviors are increasingly permissible due to rapidly decreasing levels of cultural homophobia. Furthermore, we argue that there has been a loosening of the restricted physical and emotional boundaries of traditional heteromasculinity in these educational settings, something which may also gradually assist in the erosion of prevailing heterosexual hegemony.
Archives of Sexual Behaviour
Updating the Outcome: Gay Athletes, Straight Teams, and Coming Out in Educationally Based SportsTeams
In this article I report findings from interviews with 26 openly gay male athletes who came out between 2008 and 2010. I compare their experiences to those of 26 gay male athletes who came out between 2000 and 2002. The athletes in the 2010 cohort have had better experiences after coming out than those in the earlier cohort, experiencing less heterosexism and maintaining better support among their teammates. I place these results in the context of inclusive masculinity theory, suggesting that local cultures of decreased homophobia created more positive experiences for the 2010 group.
Gender & Society
The Rise and Fall of Western Homohysteria
In this essay, I draw upon my pro-feminist background to describe the formulation of the concept of homohysteria and explain its heuristic utility in conceptualizing historical shifts in heterosexual men’s gendered regimes. I suggest that in times of high homohysteria, heterosexual men are compelled to align their identities and behaviors with orthodox (hypermasculine) notions of men’s masculinity. This is in order to avoid homosexualization. Conversely, heterosexual men retain considerably more gendered freedom in times of low or no homohysteria. I describe this as a cultural process related to homophobia and define the term homohysteria as men’s fear of being homosexualized, through association with feminized behavior. I suggest that there are three elements necessary in its production: (1) mass awareness that homosexuality exists as a static sexual orientation, (2) a cultural Zeitgeist of disapproval of homosexuality, and (3) the conflation of femininity with homosexuality. I then show how, through identity politics, homohysteria can eventually give way to less homosexually panicked masculinities, something I describe as inclusive masculinities.
Journal of Feminist Scholarship
The Decreasing Significance of Stigma in the Lives of Bisexual Men
Ripley, Anderson, McCormack, Adams & Pitts
This article is constructed around a keynote address given at the Bisexual Research Convention, held in London 2010. The keynote was delivered by sociologist Eric Anderson, on behalf of himself and the other authors of this article. The keynote reflected upon a body of ongoing research, funded by the American Institute of Bisexuality and collected by this team of researchers, into the changing relationship between men and homophobia. It first contextualizes 20th-century attitudes toward homo/bisexuality before showing a declining significance of biphobia and homophobia in men’s lives today. In accordance with the keynote, this article draws from preliminary findings of multiple ongoing studies of bisexual men in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Journal of Bisexuality
Masculinities and Sexualities in Sport and Physical Cultures: Three Decades of Evolving Research
This article traces the foundation of the study between sport and physical cultures and masculinities and sexualities principally by examining the homophobic zeitgeist by which the academic discipline was formed. I show that the intense homophobia of the mid-1980s waned throughout the 1990s, and that during the new millennia, researchers found more inclusive forms of heterosexuality. Indeed, research on masculinities and homophobia today shows that, even in the traditionally conservative institution of sport, matters have shifted dramatically. This has resulted
not only in improved conditions for sexual minorities, but it has also promoted a culture of softer, more tactile and emotional forms of heterosexual masculinities. These studies, alongside those within this special issue of the Journal of Homosexuality, highlight the necessity of developing new ways of theorizing the changing dynamics between masculinities, sexualities, and physical cultures in the next decade.
Journal of Homosexuality
Inclusive masculinities of university soccer players in the American Midwest
Male team-sport athletes have traditionally been described as some of the most homophobic and femphobic men in North American culture. However, in this ethnographic research of an education-based soccer team at a small Catholic university in a rural part of Middle America, I use inclusive masculinity theory to highlight that a softer version of masculinity is in operation. I use participant observation and 22 in-depth interviews to show that these men are gay friendly, that they avoid fights, and that they use reciprocal disclosure and homosocial tactility to emotionally bond. Although the type of masculinity the men on this team exhibit retains some orthodox behaviours, it is nonetheless far removed from the traditional model of hegemonic masculinity commonly attributed to team-sport athletes found in American institutes of sport and education.
Gender and Education
“Aren't We All a Little Bisexual?”: The Recognition of Bisexuality in an Unlikely Place
Anderson & Adams
The hypermasculine subculture of men’s team sports has traditionally been characterized by the one-time rule of homosexuality: one same-sex sexual experience is normally equated with a homosexual orientation. Thus, men have been polarized into sexual identity categories, erasing bisexuality as a legitimate or viable category of sexual identification. Accordingly, in this research the authors examine the perspectives on bisexuality among team sport athletes. Interviewing 60 male soccer players from three strategically selected U.S. universities, the authors show that these athletes accept bisexuality as a legitimate and non-stigmatized sexual identity. The authors find that the athletes intellectualize an understanding of bisexuality in highly complex ways. The authors also highlight that though only a very small minority have engaged in same-sex sexual behaviors, at some level, most players recognize some degree of bisexuality in their own identities. The authors suggest that these results are a product of increased exposure to and contact with homosexual persons, leading to decreasing cultural homohysteria, finally resulting in increasingly open discussion and complex understanding of sexual behaviors and identities that were once erased or stigmatized in men’s team sport culture.
Journal of Bisexuality
An investigation of ethnicity as a variable related to US male college athletes’ sexual-orientation behaviours and attitudes
Southall., Anderson, Nagel, Polite and Southall
While most often forbidden by university policy, homophobic attitudes and intolerance of gay/lesbian athletes may still exist within intercollegiate athletic departments. Against this backdrop, this study examines attitudes towards sexual orientation from a sample of Division I and III male university athletes (n_397) from four universities in the south-eastern United States. The study’s primary research questions are: a) utilizing ethnicity as the independent variable, what are the sampled male athletes’ attitudes towards sexual orientations? and b) is there a relationship between male college athletes’ ethnicity and their sexual-orientation attitudes? Using the frameworks of social script and critical race theories, this article discusses the results’ significance for university athletic administrators, faculty and college athletes.
Ethnic and Racial Studies
The re-production of homosexually-themed discourse in educationally-based organised sport
McCormack & Anderson
In this study, we draw on findings from one year of participant observation and 12 in=depth interviews with men in a highly-ranked English university rugby team in order to nuance theoretical understandings concerning the re-production of homosexually-themed discourse in organised sport. We use ethnographic data to theorise the complex relationship between language, homosocial masculine relationships and organised sport. In examining the political, intentional and inadvertent effects of these men’s discourses, we define and discuss the notion of gay discourse as a form of heteronormativity that is dissimilar to the traditional use of homophobic discourse. Highlighting that homosexually-themed discourse is best understood as a continuum, we stress the importance of context in interpreting the meaning and explicating the effects of this kind of discourse.
Culture, Health & Sexuality
Intersectionality, Critical Race Theory, and American Sporting Oppression: Examining Black and Gay Male Athletes
Anderson & McCormack
This article examines the influence of the racial categories of White and Black and the sexual categories of gay and straight on sporting American men. The effect of the intersection of these cultural categories is discussed by investigating the exclusion of athletes who are both Black and gay, as well as highlighting the culturally perceived differences of (straight) Black and (White) gay men. However, the analysis accounts for more than just difference, examining the commonalities of oppression between these discrete identity groups. We use the research on Black athletes to call for further empirical study on gay athletes. It is argued that critical race theory and intersectionality offer complex and nuanced understandings of these oppressions, which, when theorizing is left solely to the realm of post-structuralism, can otherwise be missed.
Journal of Homosexuality
Inclusive masculinity theory and the gendered politics of men's rugby
Anderson & McGuire
This ethnographic research uses one year of participant observation and 24 interviews to examine the construction of masculinity among team-members within a highly successful rugby squad, at a high-ranked academic university in England. We find that the players and coaches share a sporting field in which variations in their gendered belief systems are sharply contested. Teammates believe their coaches to be exhibiting an out-of-date, orthodox version of masculinity, and instead of adopting their coaches’ perspectives on masculinity, players take a more inclusive approach to masculinity-making. The players on this team – all of whom identify as heterosexual – contest three fundamental principles of orthodox masculinity: homophobia, misogyny, and excessive risk-taking. These men do not degrade women or gay men in any measureable manner, and they are emotionally supportive of each other when ill or injured. We suggest that these results require a new way for theorizing about masculinity, and we therefore propose inclusive masculinity theory to frame our data and discuss our participants’ complicated association with the political project of adopting more inclusive attitudes toward masculinity.
Journal of Gender Studies
Establishing and Challenging Masculinity: The Influence of Gendered Discourses in Organized Sport
Adams, Anderson & McCormack
This study examined how coaches and players constructed and regulated masculinity in organized sport. Using participant observation, the authors examined the role of discourses in the construction and regulation of sporting masculinity within a semi-professional British football (soccer) team. Two predominant discourses were present: (a) masculinity establishing discourse and (b) masculinity challenging discourse—heuristic tools to understand the use of toxic language in the construction and maintenance of masculinity. Coaches frequently used discourses that drew on narratives of war, gender, and sexuality to facilitate aggressive and violent responses for enhancing athletic performance. However, the authors also found that these discourses have limited influence beyond the playing field, highlighting the segmentation of the sporting and social identities of these players and a loosening of the traditional and empirically evidenced ability of sports to socialize men into narrow forms of masculinity.
Journal of Language and Social Psychology
Comparing the black and gay male athlete: Patterns in American oppression
Anderson & McCormack
In this article, we examine the political stratifications of society by race and sexuality, and the processes by which sport helps subordinate members of each group. In applying social movement theory to gay and black men in sport, we highlight the historically similar patterns of oppression levied upon each group. We develop a four stage social movement theory model that may be useful in predicting the future patterns of homophobic discrimination, as openly gay athletes gain prominence in sport. We then discuss the intersectionality of race and sexuality with respect to sporting men, and argue that further research is necessary to understand the relatedness of these two seemingly disparate categories. Finally, we issue a political call for black sports leaders to actively participate in supporting the gay liberationist project.
Journal of men’s studies
'It's Just Not Acceptable Any More': The Erosion of Homophobia and the Softening of masculinity at an English Sixth Form
McCormack & Anderson
This ethnographic research interrogates the relationship between sexuality, gender and homophobia and how they impact on 16- to 18-year-old boys in a coeducational sixth form in the south of England. Framing our research with inclusive masculinity theory, we find that, unlike the elevated rates of homophobia typically described in academic literature, the boys at ‘Standard High’ espouse pro-gay attitudes and eliminate homophobic language. This inclusivity simultaneously permits an expansion of heteromasculine boundaries, so that boys are able to express physical tactility and emotional intimacy without being homosexualized by their behaviours. However, we add to inclusive masculinity theory by showing the ways in which boys continue to privilege and regulate heterosexuality in the absence of homophobia: we find that heterosexual boundary maintenance continues, heterosexual identities are further consolidated, and the presumption of heterosexuality remains. Accordingly, we argue that even in inclusive cultures, it is necessary to examine for the processes of heteronormativity.
‘‘At least with cheating there is an attempt at monogamy’’: Cheating and monogamism among undergraduate heterosexual men
In this qualitative research, I first use hegemony theory to describe the cultural forces that position monogamy as the only privileged form of committed sexual relationship coupling available to undergraduate heterosexual men. I then interview 40 heterosexual male students for their experience with monogamy and cheating, finding that the hegemonic mechanisms of subordination and stratification that stigmatize non-monogamy consequently result in an absence of consideration of the problems associated with monogamy. I use cognitive dissonance theory to explain participants’ desires for simultaneously wanting monogamy and non-monogamy, calling this dissonance ‘the monogamy gap.’ Data suggest that participants who cheat do so not because of lost love, but instead cheating represents an attempt to rectify conflicting desires for monogamy and recreational sex.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
The Maintenance of Masculinity Among the Stakeholders of Sport
Feminist and hegemony theorizing are used to explicate how sport and its ancillary organizations and occupations have managed to reproduce its masculinized nature despite the gains of second wave feminism that characterizes the broader culture. The author shows that contemporary sporting institutions largely originated as a political enterprise to counter the first wave of feminism, and describe how gender-segregation and self-selection permits sports’ gatekeepers to near-exclusively draw upon a relatively homogenous group of hypermasculine, over-conforming, failed male athletes to reproduce the institution as an extremely powerful gender-regime. The author suggests that, because orthodox notions of masculinity are institutionally codified within sport, it will take more than affirmative action programs to bring gender equality off the pitch; it will also require gender-integration on the pitch.
Sport Management Review
John Amaechi: Changing the Way Sport Reporters Examine Gay Athletes
Kian & Anderson
In 2007, John Amaechi became the first former National Basketball Association (NBA) player to publicly announce he was gay. Former NBA star Tim Hardaway made a series of homophobic remarks a week later. A textual analysis was used to analyse narratives on Amaechi’s revelation and/or Hardaway’s comments published in 50 international newspapers. Four dominant themes emerged from the data. While most of these themes supported narratives that gay males remain unwelcome in men’s team sports, all were challenged consistently, thus, showing the fluidity of hegemonic masculinity and the increasing societal acceptance of gays and gay lifestyles. Moreover, print media writers exhibited little homophobia and frequently called for more acceptance of gays, particularly within sport.
Journal of Homosexuality
An Investigation of Male College Athletes’ Attitudes toward Sexual-Orientation
Southall, Nagel, Anderson, Polite and Southall
Multiple studies have found homophobic cultures within intercollegiate athletic departments. Accordingly, intolerance of gay/lesbian athletes (while most often forbidden by university policy), may still exist. Many “straight” athletes feel gay/lesbian/bi-sexual (GLB) athletes do not “belong” in college sport. In addition, female sport participants are frequently assumed to be lesbians. Within this social milieu, this study surveyed 698 male and female college athletes from four Division I & III universities in a traditionally conservative region, the South-eastern United States, to determine their attitudes toward sexual orientation. The primary research questions were: (a) “What are college-athletes’ attitudes toward sexual orientation?” and (b) “Is there a significant relationship between athletes’ gender and expressed attitudes toward sexual orientation?” Specifically, this study focused on an examination and discussion of male college athletes’ attitudes toward sexual orientation. Results confirm a relationship between athletes’ gender and their sexual-orientation attitudes, specifically the existence of a higher degree of sexual prejudice among male college athletes. This research reveals that while homophobia is quickly eroding - even in the American South - there still exists a need for both expanded research of college athletes’ sexual-orientation attitudes as well as an expansion of educational programs for male college athletes, college athletic administrators and faculty, since 28% of male athlete respondents still reported being homophobic.
Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate athletics
Inclusive Masculinity in a Fraternal Setting
This ethnographic research uses thirty-two in-depth interviews and two years of participant observation on a large chapter of a national fraternity to examine the construction of masculinity among heterosexual men. Whereas previous studies of masculine construction maintain that most men in fraternities attempt to bolster their masculinity through the approximation of requisites of hegemonic masculinity, this research shows that there also exists a more inclusive form of masculinity institutionalized in the fraternal system: one based on social equality for gay men, respect for women, and racial parity and one in which fraternity men bond over emotional intimacy.
Men and Masculinities
‘‘I Used to Think Women Were Weak’’: Orthodox Masculinity, Gender Segregation, and Sport
This article explores the cultural and structural forces that help influence the reproduction of sexist, misogynistic, and anti-feminine attitudes among men in team sports. It first shows how the segregation of men into a homosocial environment limits their social contact with women and fosters an oppositional masculinity that influences the reproduction of orthodox views regarding women. However, this research also shows that when these same men compete in the gender-integrated sport of cheerleading, they positively reformulate their attitudes toward women. These findings therefore suggest that gender-integrating sports might potentially decrease some of the socio-negative outcomes attributed to male team sport athletes, possibly including violence against women.
“Being Masculine is not About who you Sleep with...:” Heterosexual Athletes Contesting Masculinity and the One-time Rule of Homosexuality
Using in-depth interviews and participant observations, I examine how two groups of heterosexual high school US football players alter differently the construction of heterosexuality and masculinity after joining collegiate cheerleading. First, I show that informants from both groups make masculinity accessible to gay men before next describing how they reconcile heterosexuality with limited forms of same-sex sex. Forty-percent of the heterosexual men I interview confirm engaging in same-sex sex, although they differently frame the requirements for it. I suggest these findings have various meaning for the relationship between sexuality and masculinity, as both groups somewhat strengthen and contest the borders of heterosexuality and masculinity. These findings beckon consideration as to how the relationship among sport, sexuality, and homophobia is changing.
Sex Roles: A Journal of Research
Using the Master’s Tools: Resisting Colonization through Colonial Sports
This ethnographic research analyses the relationship between colonial sports and traditional Navajo culture. It finds that while the Navajo have fully ingrained colonial sports into their culture, they have not necessarily adopted the colonial meanings of individualism and dominance associated with those sports. Sports like basketball and baseball are shown to provide the Navajo with recreation and entertainment; but most significantly, they seem to provide the opportunity to compete directly against Euro-Americans in an ostensibly equal arena. By occasionally beating white teams at their own game, this research shows that colonial sports are actually used as a form of resistance against colonial culture. Still, this research shows that standout athletes find themselves caught between a sport that promotes superstardom and a culture that rejects it, a social location that is difficult for these athletes to navigate.
International Journal of the History Sport
Orthodox and Inclusive Masculinity: Competing Masculinities Among Heterosexual Men in a Feminized Terrain
Using in-depth interviews and participant observation from sixty-eight male cheerleaders and four selected cheerleading teams, this research examines the construction of masculinity among college-age heterosexual male cheerleaders. Whereas previous studies of men in feminized terrain have shown that hegemonic processes of dominance and subordination influence most men to bolster their masculinity through an approximation of orthodox masculine requisites, this research finds that heterosexual men in collegiate cheerleading today exhibit two forms of normative masculinity. One form retains most tenets of orthodox masculine construction, whereas the other is shown to be more inclusive. Men who subscribe to this inclusive form of masculinity do not respond to their transgression into feminized terrain in the same manner as has been shown in other investigations of men in feminized arenas because they are shown to accept feminine behavior and homosexuality among men. The emergence of this more inclusive form of masculinity is attributed to many factors, including the structure of the sport, the reduction of cultural, institutional, and organizational homophobia, and the re-socialization of men into a gender integrated sport.
Openly Gay Athletes: Contesting Hegemonic Masculinity in a Homophobic Environment
This research provides the first look into the experiences of openly gay male team sport athletes on ostensibly all-heterosexual teams. Although openly gay athletes were free from physical harassment, in the absence of a formal ban against gay athletes, sport resisted their acceptance and attempted to remain a site of orthodox masculine production by creating a culture of silence surrounding gay athleticism, by segmenting gay men’s identities, and by persistently using homophobic discourse to discredit homosexuality in general. Sports attempt to tolerate gay male athletes when they contribute to the overarching ethos of sport—winning—but try to taint the creation of a gay identity within sport that would see homosexuality and athleticism as compatible. Still, by proving themselves successful in sport, and meeting most other mandates of hegemonic masculinity except for their sexual identity, gay male athletes show that hegemony is not seamless and that there is a possibility of softening hegemonic masculinity in the sporting realm.
Gender & Society
Trailblazing: The True Story of America’s First Openly Gay Track Coach.
Sociology of Sport Journal