‘Hey man, how’s u?’: Masculine Speech and Straight-Acting Gay Men Online

Sarson, Charlie (2020) ‘Hey man, how’s u?’: Masculine Speech and Straight-Acting Gay Men Online. Journal of Gender Studies. ISSN 0958-9236

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This article explores how gay men in the UK reflect upon the speech practices of those who refer to themselves as “straight-acting” on hook-up apps. Using interview data from eight informants, this article identifies cultural and social models of hegemonic masculinity that gay men are perceived to take inspiration from to masculinise their speech and outlines the linguistic conventions and patterns that straight-acting gay men are said to enact. It is suggested that straight-acting gay men draw on the figure of the “lad” in British culture and emulate some of their speech practices to increase their proximity to a hegemonic masculinity, but that they also speak in short, blunt, and non-conversational manners to other app users to remain socially indirect and inexpressive. Using sexual scripting theory and style-shifting as theoretical frameworks, this article also suggests that gay men emulate a “straight-acting” style if a sexual hook-up is sought as opposed to dates or friends. This has potential implications for the self-worth of marginalised, effeminate gay men using hook-up apps, and also contributes to previous literature on gay masculinities, hook-up app usage and interactive practices, highlighting the intersections between hegemonic and subordinated masculinities.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2020.1794802
6 July 2020Accepted
16 July 2020Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: gay men; straight-acting; masculinity; speech; online; Grindr
Subjects: CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-01 - English studies > CAH19-01-07 - linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham School of Media
Depositing User: Charlie Sarson
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2020 10:10
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2023 16:17
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/9543

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