Male and femininity as synonymous. In the world

 

            Male conversations have
often been stereotyped as talks of “sports, women, and wine”, but gender talks
are clearly different within different contexts (Cameron 2017: 92). Within an article written by Deborah Cameron, she analyzes a
conversation between a group of heterosexual males, delving into language used
in their conversation to perform a sense of male heterosexuality. This language
includes alienation of homosexuality, empowerment of stereotypical masculine characteristics,
and “women’s talk”.

            Within the conversation, the group
of men separate themselves from homosexuality. The conversation leads into gay people
by talking about their “weirdness”, as one informant states “why gays,” clearly
showing confusion to homosexuality (Cameron 2017: 93). Goffman has observed how culture can lead to forming gender roles, or
‘rules’ every male or female should follow, such as gender specific clothing
backed by advertisements (Sully, 2012). The group labels their classmate as
homosexual due to him not following his particular gender role, for example
wearing short shorts (Cameron 2017, 94). Various statements form this out-group
for homosexuality through calling perceived gay classmates “comical”, “goofy”,
and “effeminate” (Cameron 2017: 93). Further reinforcement of this out-group mentality is seen when one
informant remarks that a gay classmate is the “antithesis of a man”, further
contrasting themselves with homosexuality (Cameron 2017: 94). As heterosexual
males, the group shows a need to contrast themselves with what they consider non-heterosexual
actions. Their classmates did not follow the particular gender roles deemed
socially acceptable by such a culture, ultimately leading to alienation by the
group (Cameron 2017: 94). 

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            Additionally, it is clear that the
group deems homosexuality and femininity as synonymous. In the world of
advertisement, masculinity is seen as a contrast to femininity, and it isn’t
about what masculinity is, rather what it isn’t (Sully, 2012).  Men in our culture are not shown to be posed
in the ways women are or wearing women’s clothing (Sully, 2012). If there is
such posturing in a feminine sense, the men are accompanied within the
advertisement with a female in a subordinate position, to reassure the audience
of the male’s heterosexuality (Sully, 2012). The group considers a classmate gay
for hitting on a girl they deem ugly, as standard masculine traits assume that
males hit on only attractive females (Cameron 2017: 93). This shows that to the group homosexuality is not based on sexual
preference, rather not meeting the groups standards of masculinity that have
been shaped by the culture (Cameron 2017: 94). By deeming feminine traits as gay, they indirectly empower traits they
associate with masculinity, whether it be talking about sports, wearing
particular clothes, or hitting on girls that are minimally attractive (Cameron 2017: 94). The language
used is ultimately denigrating to characteristics deemed feminine, empowering
stereotypical masculine characteristics (Cameron 2017: 94).

             Lastly, the informants use language within
their conversation that is commonly attributed as “women’s talk” (Cameron 2017: 95). Cultural
stereotypes paint female conversations as rapport talk full of cooperation, while
masculine conversations are competitive (Sully, 2012). One of the main aspects of rapport talk is to firmly establish an
in-group by breaking down every minute aspect of the out-group, in this case
any classmates the group deems homosexual (Cameron 2017: 96). There are dominant speakers and a hierarchy that indicates competition
within the conversation (Cameron 2017: 96).  However, despite inclusion of stereotypical
male conversation techniques, there is still a case to be made for the presence
of listenership and support within the group parallel to female conversations (Text 2017: 100). Simultaneous
speech, latching, and the use of words such as “like” show these traits of active
involvement in the group analogous to “women’s talk” (Text 2017: 100). Engaging
in this women’s talk would typically be paradoxical to the groups need to
contrast themselves from feminine traits, but this is superseded because the
only ‘immediate danger’ to what they consider the masculine trait of
heterosexuality is that of homosexuality (Cameron 2017: 98). It is very likely that such rapport talk would not be done in the
presence of females, because then the direct threat to their masculinity are
the females (Cameron 2017: 99). The
heterosexual males are making homosexuality akin to femininity to serve as a
contrast group to display masculinity.

            Ultimately, the informants in the
conversation use language to set a stage for male heterosexuality in ways that
denigrate homosexuality by deeming it feminine and weird, all while engaging in
a way that is paradoxically considered socially feminine itself. By equating
females and gays, it is clear that being gay to them isn’t simply about sexual
preference, rather whatever doesn’t fit their mold of masculinity. There is a
strong argument that the group also delves into stereotypical female traits
within their talk. Through forming an out-group for gays, likening them to
females, and using cooperative techniques, the group forms a sense of
heterosexuality.

 

 

 

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