Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference (MURC), 2009

The white hyper-sexualized gay male: a lack of diversity in gay male magazines 2009

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THE WHITE HYPER-SEXUALIZED GAY MALE: A LACK OF DIVERSITY IN GAY MALE MAGAZINES by BENER ESHREF A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF ARTS WITH HONORS in THE FACULTY OF ARTS (Sociology) Dr. Daniyal Zuberi, supervisor DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY The University of British Columbia (Vancouver) April 2009  ©Bener Eshref 2009 Abstract The gay male community has traditionally been a marginalized population struggling for acceptance within the larger international frame. However since the development of gay magazine publications in the 1990s images of the gay male have been more widely spread throughout mainstream society. This study explores how race, age, body image, and sexuality are stereotyped to represent one standard image of the gay male as found in Western gay magazine publications. This is a quantitative media analysis, examining images, covers and advertisements in gay male magazines over a period of four years. By engaging in relevant theoretical discourses, empirical evidence, and scholarly research, this study critically analyzes how the gay identity is mediated by both the mainstream and gay publications. Results from the analysis points to wide spread discrimination within gay publications targeted at all gay minorities, which could have detrimental effects on the gay community. 2 Table of Contents Abstract……………………………………………………………………………. 2 Table of Contents…………………………………………………………………..3 Acknowledgements………………………………………………………………...4 Dedication………………………………………………………………………..…6 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………7 History of Gay Males in Media……………………………………………..10 Literature Review…………………………………………………………………...13 Methodology………………………………………………………………………..27 Magazine Selection……………………………………………………...…28 Data Collection………………………………………………………….…32 Methodological Shortcomings…………………………………………..…33 Findings – Descriptive Analysis…………………………………………………...35 Race and Ethnicity…………………………………………………………35 Age…………………………………………………………………………42 Body Image is Everything………………………………………………….44 Sex Sells……………………………………………………………………50 Cover Image……………………………………………………………….56 Conclusion………………………………………………………………...………59 Appendices………………………………………………………………………..62 Appendix A -  The Advocate cover……………………………………….62 Appendix B – Out cover………………………………………………….63 Appendix C –DNA cover………………………………………………...64 3 Appendix D – Instinct Magazine cover……………………………….…65 Bibliography………………………………………………………………..……66 4 Acknowledgments I would first and foremost like to thank my supervisor Dr. Daniyal Zuberi, for all the unwavering support over the course of this thesis, and for willing to take me on with an already full schedule. Your enthusiasm took this project farther than I could have imagined. I would also like to thank the staff at Priape’s Davie location for supplying me with endless amounts of material needed to conduct my research. In a society where gay publications are still not widely available in most libraries, your knowledge and support truly demonstrated how kind the community actually is.  Additionally I would like to thank Dr. Sonja Embree, of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, for your all dedication and endless effort to the research program. Thank you for taking the time to spend with me challenging my ideas and pushing me past my limits to produce a thesis I am personally proud of. And finally I would like to thank my good friend and academic peer, Sarah Yim for your invaluable contributions and willingness to critically examine my work, your help has aided me far more then you will ever know. 5 Dedication Thank you to my family, and my dear friends for being there to support me during the long and at times frustrating periods of this process. Additionally I would like to thank the gay community for all the support and acceptance while conducting this research.  For all the support and encouragement over the past year and lifetime, I dedicate this thesis to all of you. Introduction 6 In today’s society many individuals take their acceptance within different communities for granted. As Western society becomes increasingly developed social circles have begun to intermingle, losing the stigmas that once separated groups. While African-American and feminist activist groups have managed to achieve some levels of acceptance within mainstream society, other segregated group like the queer movement, in particular the gay male community, are continuously struggling for as much equality as possible. In struggling for equality many activist groups turn to media sources to help spread their words. African-American groups in the 1950s and 1960s used newsletters to promote their meetings, and to spread the word of acceptance. Contemporary feminist groups have turned to the Internet to spread their slogans; developing Internet based web-magazines, and forms to communicate their unremitting struggles. The western gay male movement, similar to both other movements, turned to newsletters and magazines to communicate their struggles to both their community and the general public. Magazines and newsletters became the most important tool used to legitimize the movement’s struggles for acceptance, however within contemporary times the gay male movement has shifted away from activist related publications, to a more commercialized product. While images of the gay male have become standard within western society, the representation of what a gay male is, or what he should be, has become quite repetitive. Mass media has turned to stereotypical images of a white, fit or muscular, well groomed, and styled man to represent an entire community. From these standard images, western society has created the notion of the ‘metro-sexual’ male, a heterosexual male concerned with his outward appearance, which has been directly compared to nearly every gay male established within the mass media. While the media explosion of representations of gay males was going on, queer 7 academics, activists, and community members were questioning the validity of these images. This growing concern developed into the gay community publishing their own print material that was supposed to be a more realistic representation of their community, and would theoretically help counterbalance these stereotypical images created by mass media. As the publications are targeted towards a gay male audience, one would believe that they would have a larger range of representation of the community as a whole, as apposed to continuously running images that represent what the heterosexual community has depicted of the gay male. Gay male magazines serve to legitimize the differences within the community, depicting more diversity within the population, however this could be easily questioned. Critics of gay publications (Julie Dorf, founding director of the international gay and lesbian human rights commission) believe that gay male magazines actually perpetuate the stereotypes developed by mass media, and in reality continue to misrepresent the diversity within the gay community. In order to examine whether gay magazines actually represent a large segment of the community or play into the labels placed upon them by a heteronormative viewpoint, I attempt to critically examine the diversity found within gay male magazines.  By engaging in relevant theoretical discourses, empirical evidence, and scholarly research, this study will critically analyze how the gay community is represented in western gay male magazines. By examining the images of males found within gay male magazines, for race, body type, age, and sexulization this research holds implications for gay media publications to re-evaluate the messages they are sending out to the gay male community in what is acceptable appearance within the population. I will argue that gay magazines actually perpetuate the standard stereotypes that are found within mainstream society. Furthermore it is my contention that gay publications actually negatively impact the gay male community, by pushing individuals who are not seen within the magazines back into their 8 ‘closets’ and in turn actually creates a society in which unrepresented men are unwelcomed, and unvalued. The research gathered from a quantitative critical media analysis should illustrate whether or not the gay publications play into the stereotypes held by mainstream society, or challenge them into re-examining what a gay male in western society actually looks like. History of Gay Males in Media  (Film, Television, and Magazines) Gay males have been found within mainstream media for decades, most often placed in subordinate, comedic positions. Since the late 1970s and early 1980s gay males became a standard in nearly every romantic comedy Hollywood produced. Most of the males, which are often played by heterosexual actors, are played as overly flamboyant and more concerned about their appearance then about anything else. From this point forward gay males have been stigmatized with the effeminate label. The medias selective “feature and reinforcement of certain characteristics and images” (Gross & Woods, 1999: 4) has lead to mainstream society believing the images of what has been displayed.  Furthermore many gay activist groups decided to not argue against the images found within the media, as they were often seen as stepping-stones into mainstream acceptance (Gross & Woods, 1999). Gay society saw the representation of their people in Hollywood as welcomed, in that previously words like ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ were taboo in the media, in addition the entertainment industry didn’t give a second thought to producing images of gays on television that pandered to the worst anti-gay stereotypes ( For a long time the effeminate image of the gay male brought to the forefront by mass media was welcomed by the gay community, as it shifted attention away from hate and onto acceptance. The media, most often liberal, was seen as a helping hand to the queer movement. However as times shifted, as did the representation of gay males found throughout Hollywood films. The gay male character within films became a role 9 most often given to white males who were often highly sexualized actors; this lead to a shift away from the more effeminate roles to the standard machismo roles more concerned about sex then concerned about outer image. These hyper-masculine roles were seen as welcomed by the community as they began to illustrate the men as more masculine and more comparable to other straight males (Connell, 2005). In the late 1990s nearly 420 films appeared on American screens, which brought in just over 1.3 billion dollars, of this nearly every film that was classified as a blockbuster had a gay male character within it (Gross, 2001). This sudden emergence translated over to television as gay characters became standard within American television. Gay characters from Will and Grace and Dawsons Creek, became some of the most liked characters on television, garnering peoples choice awards for the actors who played gay. While the acceptance of gay characters was becoming the norm, the characters often resembled one another. The majority of the characters found in film and television continued to be played by white, masculine (muscular) males. However it should be noted a large segment of the films continued to rely on flamboyant characters, which were also performed by masculine, white males. With this sudden acceptance from the mainstream society, the gay community began to develop their own forms of media, targeted at individuals from their own community. Production companies began to invest in gay films, television shows and of course magazines, apart from the underground seen that was seen as taboo.  In 1994 TLA, a gay production company, began an international gay and lesbian film festival, that premiered gay films from all a round the world ( These films began to incorporate actors who identified as gay, as opposed to mainstream films that continued to cast straight actors for gay roles.  However in order to garner as much attention as possible many of the characters cast continued to be represented by white, 10 masculine gay males, which didn’t actually increase the diversity of the gay males within society (Gross, 2001). The strong, gay white male became the standard image placed into mainstream society by the gay entertainment community.  As the gay film industry began to garner financial success and gay television networks began to emerge, gay magazine companies began to develop. While gay magazines and newsletters have been in circulation since the 1970s the majority of them were more concerned with political, equality issues and less concerned with lifestyle issues (Gross & Woods, 1999). Furthermore the majority of the publications were difficult to come by and were often found in places that only targeted the gay community. However as media began to notice that the gay community had a large amount of disposable income (Hansen, & Garey, 1998), commercial magazines became the norm. Many gay activist magazines shifted from legal issues to more entertainment-based issues, as was seen with the widely popular transition of The Advocate magazine.  The once politically oriented magazine of 25 years, that was concerned with garnering equality for everyone, shifted to what it is now an entertainment news oriented magazine, more concerned with selling a lifestyle then selling a belief (Sender, 2006). In order to compete with pornographic magazines, gay entertainment magazines began to run images of males in them, as opposed to simple text, which was the style of the 1970s newsletters (Sender, 2006). Many of the magazines first ran images similar to those found in light erotica in order to captivate an audience (ibid), however as times shifted the magazines began to run more editorial works that could compete with other men’s magazines. The initial magazines followed in the footsteps of the newly formed gay movies and television shows, displaying images of the gay white male, while neglecting the rest of the community. While in hindsight this may be seen as problematic, at the time it was seen as beneficial in that another gay voice was being heard in 11 mainstream society (Gross & Woods, 1999).  However as times have shifted, and gay publications have become somewhat more acceptable, now hundreds of gay male magazines are in production as opposed to none, one is left to ponder if gay male magazines sold in mainstream society continue to display the same image created by Hollywood (white, masculine/muscular male), or if they have began to display a more rounded image of an entire community? Literature Review 12 Issues concerning the depiction of gay communities through media have begun to become a heated discussion in academic circles. While at this point much of the research and literature is still concerned with how mainstream society depicts the homosexual male, the growing literature regarding the queer press is most likely concerned with the abundance of sexuality within the gay publications. It is my belief that in addition to sexuality a large chunk of the literature is concerned with how a gay male is supposed to look and act, as opposed to the fact that there may be more then one standard mode of behavior or look for gay males.  It is my belief that the existing literature is more concerned with the gay white male and how he is illustrated within mass media, as opposed to racialized minorities within the gay community. Furthermore the lack of available literature regarding gay ethnic minorities draws me to believe that there continues to be a general bunching of all gay males as one identity group. Whenever an extremely marginalized group receives attention from the mainstream concerns about the accuracy of the representations surface. Researchers begin to questions if the portrayals of queer men are stereotypical? Are the images tokenistic? Are they varied and do they mirror the variety of queer society?  Furthermore how are theses concerns represented through the queer press? The late 1980s and early 1990s saw the discovery of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and (much later) transgendered people by the mainstream western mass media. Since then many social researchers have taken opposing perspectives on the issue of queer sexuality and community representation. While the media explosion on representations of queer males was going on, queer academics and activists were no doubt breathing sighs of relief, as Ritch Savin-William, chair and professor of human development at Cornell University noted “to many, gay and lesbian youth do not exist; they are instead only homosexually behaving adolescents who are 13 temporarily detained from their heterosexual destination. In addition, gay and lesbian youth are frequently invisible to themselves” (1989: 107). This heretofore-invisible group of queer society was now receiving a level of media exposure quite unimaginable to the pioneers in queer studies in the 1980s. Images of the gay male most often found in mainstream media, inevitably include a white male, with a perfect physique or a ridiculously slender unobtainable body. Similar to female magazines of the 1990s, these overrepresentations of muscular and abnormally thin gay males, has had a negative effect on the gay community, causing gay men to have body image problems which traditionally has been a disorder associated to women.  Mitchell J Wood author of The Gay Male Gaze: Body Image Disturbance and Gender Oppression Among Gay Men examines how the queer press plays a fundamental role in gay men reporting to have “the highest levels of body dissatisfaction [and further] shows levels of dissatisfaction comparable to straight women and lesbians” (2004: 46). Wood argues that the gay ideals of physical beauty are traced through media depictions of the idealized gay male body. There is no question that today the most easily accessible form of obtaining images of the idealized gay male comes directly from the queer press, which as Wood’s noted continues to depict some of the same image of the gay male bodies from decades before. “At the end of the nineteenth century in England and America, the dominant image of beauty among homosexual men was that of the dandy: young, soft, aesthetically sensitive, and effeminate” (Wood, 2004: 53-54). Theses images create an issue in the queer society, by continuing to play into heteronormative thoughts and images of the gay male community. The mass-produced images of effeminate males (in mass and queer print media) caused those unrepresented within the 14 community to rebel against many print sources causing “the ideal of the dandy [to fall] out of favor” (Wood, 2004: 54). Wood’s research found that as the effeminate male image fell out of favor, and became more easily persecuted against by heterosexual society, the emergence of “the hypermasculine iconography of the gay macho clone arose” (ibid), causing gay males to have a new image of what is acceptable within their subculture. Of this Wood’s wrote: “In the process, the range of acceptable gender styles for sexual object choice were dramatically narrowed throughout gay communities, with the result being that the effeminate homosexual continued to be stigmatized in both gay and straight worlds” (2004: 54). The queer print press began to shift from images from sickly, slender gay men to more traditional signs of masculinity, “which above all became emblematized in the form of muscle mass” (ibid), Images of the ideal body representation have become the norm with the queer magazine industry often depicting “increasingly pubescent and clean-cut muscular men” (ibid). Wood’s goes on to argue that these images of the idealized pubescent males, replaces images of older gay men as their images became associated within the community “with sickness and guilt” (ibid), leading to the marginalization of the communities oldest members. This emergence of what body type, not to mention race, class and age, is acceptable within the gay print community, and thus within the community as a whole has led to a hierarchal issues, in which those who don’t look like the men in the magazines are devalued. Men who are not represented in the media’s depiction of gay males begin to lose power within the subculture.  Wood’s argues that beyond the images of the hyper-masculine male “race, class, ethnicity, age, disability, and gender body aesthetics not only constitute a pivotal dimension in the construction of gay subcultural identities, but also determine power relations both within and 15 between gay subcommunities” (2004: 57), causing those who do not conform to the idealized accepted look to fall to the bottom of the subcultures hierarchy. In placing gay males that are not represented by the media at the bottom of the gay male hierarchy, other individuals who identify with them find themselves hesitant to come out of the ‘closet’, afraid of persecution by both the heterosexual community and the gay male community. With so little media attention placed on the gay community, many gay men turn to gay media for advice and to see what is the norm within the community. With photos that continuously perpetuate a single stereotype, of the gay male, the images begin to have a negative impact for everyone within the community. Michelangelo Signorile author of Life outside: The Signorile report on gay men: Sex, drugs, muscles, and the passages of life, examined the role that commercialized subculture has upon members of the gay community. Signorile argued that within a capitalist society dependent upon “its hyper-media and ever present advertising bombardment” (1997: 33), commercialized culture, often provided through print, has a powerful impact on most queer identifying men regardless of its sources relatively minute size. He concludes that this system of “body oppression” or “body fascism” provides “a rigid set of standards of physical beauty” (1997: 27-28), that often places emphasis on everyone within the community to conform to the only excepted image of the gay male. He notes that “In a culture in which the physical body is held in such high esteem and given such power, body fascism then not only deems those who don’t or can’t conform to be sexually less desirable, but in the extreme-sometimes dubbed “looksism” – also deems an individual completely worthless as a person, based solely on his exterior. In this sense it is unlike racism or sexism or homophobia itself” (1997: 28). 16 With only two forms of acceptable body image within the gay community, that being more slender and effeminate (past), or more muscular and masculine (present), these images begin to police what is acceptable for all gay males. Similar to Wood’s findings, Signorile finds that the images of the hyper-masculine man neglect the greater gay community, stating, “there’s social and cultural pressure for gay males to be built up” (1997: 151), and that “a lot of it [stems from] the gay media” (ibid), with particular emphasis on gay magazines. By placing increasing prominence on the so-called “cult of masculinity” (Wood, 2004: 55), Signorile notes that gay print media, unlike mainstream media neglects effeminate physical traits and in turn reestablishes normative gender restrictions once thought to restrict the queer movement, i.e. the masculine male, and fragile female. Images seen as crossing gender boundaries creates issues for both the mainstream media, concerned with maintaining a patriarchal society, and the queer media more concerned with being less “othered” and more fitting into the general society. This once again may create psychological issues for men who are struggling to fit into both communities (mainstream and queer). By having one side of society demonstrating images of a more slender effeminate male and the other more masculine images, those who don’t fit into either actually face a type of double discrimination, as they seem to be unwelcomed by both communities. Negative affects of body image on gay males stretch far beyond queer publications, or what straight publication tell gay men they are supposed to look like. Gay males who turn to straight magazines also face issues of an acceptable body image, causing a third factor to be considered by the gay male. Susan M. Alexander of Saint Mary’s College found that branded masculinity is constructed within the popular men’s magazine Men’s Health (2003). Similar to 17 Wood (2004), Alexander found that men consuming this publication often become consumed by the gender ideal through the images displayed within the publication. Of this she wrote that “The shared beliefs or models of gender that a majority of society accepts as appropriate masculinity or femininity and gender display is the variety of ways in which we reveal through our verbal and nonverbal demeanor, that we fit in with masculine and feminine ideas. Ample evidence exists that a gender ideal is socially constructed in a specific historical and cultural context and that it changes over time and according to environment” (2003: 537). Alexander goes onto argue that many of consumers of this particular publication who identify as gay feel the need to fit into Brannon’s 1976 hegemonic masculine gender role; which often have men neglecting their so called feminine side, in replacement of a hyper-masculine role. This demonstrates that individuals regardless of sexuality continue to attempt to display what they see in mainstream society. While in some aspects this could be seen as an okay practice (personal health), for gay men struggling to fit in this could be highly problematic as it leads to identity problems rooted with their body image. Alexander (2003) argues that little has changed since Erving Goffman’s 1976 book Gender Advertisements, in which he argues that both women and men examine images of femininity and masculinity within mainstream society, and then attempt to mimic the act in a form of gender performance (Alexander, 2003: 539 & Goffman 1976). This for gay society could lead to be highly troublesome in that much of the population is reliant on the publications as a form of identifying with the community. This third factor of acceptable gender image (the first two being straight publication’s photos of gay males, and gay publication’s photos of the gay male) only hinders gay men more in that once again it 18 reinforces that the notion that the ideal gay man, must have elements of masculinity, which should include a muscular well, toned body. While many would believe that more mature, well-educated males do not fall prey to images that are found in the pages of magazines, evidence indicates otherwise. For a magazine, like Men’s Health, supposedly concerned with all aspects of health related issues, Alexander found that over a period of one year, 100 percent of the covers advertised “Hard Bodies,” which only perpetuate the idea of branded masculinity. The idea of attaching “appearance to consumption was, and by some is still, considered a feminine characteristic” (Alexander, 2003: 551), however Alexander’s analysis concludes that men, particularly gay men, just as easily associate acceptable appearance to what is being projected at them regardless of their education levels. Alexander research found that while many of the men who consume Men’s Heath are young a large percentage (32 percent) “have college degrees and post college training” (2003: 540), furthermore 25 percent of the readers report to have household incomes of more then $100,000, indicating that it is more then ones age that makes them vulnerable in falling prey to issues concerning ones masculinity.  With very little resources for gay males, many turn to gay media for information regarding the community. By constantly turning to an information source that only projects one image of their community many gay males may find their identity to be in question, as they are reliant on the gay press to see where they belong. Thomas A. Morton and Julie M. Duck’s article “Social Identity and Media Dependency in the Gay Community” conducted a critical examination of the interplay between “social identity and media dependency in the… gay community” (2000: 438). By distributing a survey to 76 gay identified men, they examined the 19 correlation between (a) how often the men use (examine) gay media and their reliance’s upon it, and (b) how the men self identify within the gay community and its norms and perceptions. Morton and Duck base their argument on Media System Dependency Theory (MSD) which “emphasizes the interaction between individual and sociological factors. It conceptualizes media as society’s primary information systems and the links between individuals and the social structure. It further assumes that the impact of media messages on audience perceptions is a function of how dependent audiences are on mass media as sources of goal satisfaction” (2000: 439). The results of their survey are similar to my hypothesis in that “identity [plays] and important barrier to the effects of media through dependencies” (Morton and Duck, 2000: 458). Essentially the results indicate that gay men have a high dependency on queer media for much of their knowledge, in particular on sexual health (which is the focus of this survey), furthermore the men reported (based on a five-point scale) to have a high dependence on gay media in identifying where they belong “within the gay community” (ibid: 445). Based on the results and MSD theory, gay men are more dependent on queer print media (magazines) for exposure to their community, and in processing goals related to their community. Beyond recognition of ones self through body image and considerably race (through MSD theory), gay males also turn print media in determining what is acceptable behavior within the group. As the majority of gay magazines advertise a highly sexualized lifestyle this could be problematic for many gay men, who feel like they may have to follow suit in order to fit into the community. Morton and Duck argue that the dependence of gay males on queer media in identifying the norms and perceptions of the community has a direct association to Henri Tajfel 20 and John Turner’s social identity theory. The theory states, “that part of the individual’s self- concept derives from their knowledge of their membership of a social group” (Tajfel, 1978: 63). Morton and Duck draw from this that when an individual recognizes particular media messages as relevant to the group’s identity (i.e. sexualized lifestyle), it is thus relevant to them and has a direct influence on the individual’s behaviors.  The article further argues that having one identifiable perspective or ideology of what is acceptable within the community creates identity issues for the individual reliant on the media source for their role within the community, via MSD theory. Essentially implying that a lack of diversity within queer print media and publications may cause identity issues for those reliant on the media as their primary information source. Furthermore when examining the publications to see what is acceptable behavior by their community, it could cause gay males to act out and intern cause them to live a more sexualized lifestyle, as seen in the publications. Beyond the effects gay magazines have on body image identification within the community, gay publications have continuously caused issues regarding race within the LGBT community. While both gay publications and mainstream media continues to illustrate the gay male as white, it has lead to an ever-growing lack of minority representation within the gay community. This lack of community representation has caused many ethnic minorities within the gay community to go back into the ‘closet’ which has lead to an unhealthily lifestyle. Gail Dines and Jean McMahon Humez noted that the lack of African-American gay males in the media (straight or otherwise) has caused many gay males to practice a ‘down-low’ lifestyle (2002). This lifestyle is rooted in the media in that it that it is “not only a powerful source of ideas but about race acceptance” (2002: 90) as well. By not seeing gay black males in the media, the gay black community has come to believe that it is unacceptable behavior, and in turn has begun to engage 21 in homosexual activities in secret, which has lead to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases, as they feel no need to protect themselves. Dines and Humez noted that the African-American lifestyle has continuously seen an increase in aids related cases which could be directly associated to the ‘down-low’ lifestyle. In addition to the lack of African-Americans found within gay publications, of the few minorities actually featured, the unprecedented stereotypes that accompany them have also lead to identity issues. While it is my belief that minorities are rarely featured within publication the few Asian men found within the publications are most often depicted in subordinate roles. Russell Lenog noted that Asian males are often feminized within the gay community (1995).  By placing gay Asian males into subordinate feminized roles it essentially is telling Asian individuals that they must conform to feminine roles (Lenog, 1995). Furthermore the few images depict the only acceptable behavior for gay Asian males, which could cause more identity issues for gay Asian males who identify as more masculine, as they may believe that this is not am “attractive quality in Asian males” (Lenog, 1995: 96).  While many people recognize the need for diversity within the queer print society, and the need for easy accessibility to these sources, Cal Gough and Ellen Greenblatt found that the general population is struggling to keep pace to the diversity within the queer community. Gough and Greenblatt found that “the similarities between lesbians and gay men are often over- emphasized to the point of distortion by the media” (1992: 60). The article, which examines all aspects of queer media ranging from books and magazines to recordings and videos, investigates what is being carried and distributed within mainstream libraries throughout North America. Gough and Greenblatt noted that while 22 “the gay and lesbian community is a microcosm of society as a whole; its members represent the full spectrum of human diversity, including race, ethnicity, gender, class, religion, cultural background, age and level of physical ability” (1992: 61), and that it would be “naïve for librarians to assume that a mere dozen or so well-chosen books, and magazines” (ibid) will meet the requirements of the larger gay and lesbian community. Furthermore by lacking the accessibility to gay publication, gay males are forced to turn to the few sources available to them, which may lack the diversity within them and in turn could lead to the male developing a negative self identity, as discussed previously. Gough and Greenblatt’s findings indicate that publishers and libraries find the need to only carry a minute variety of queer publications because many people still believe the myth that the queer community lacks a range of diversity. While many still believe that the lack of publications available are a direct result of supply and demand, Gough and Greenblatt note that since Kinsey’s estimates over 50 years ago, “most studies place the size of the gay and lesbian community [within the United States alone] at ten percent” (1992: 60), meaning the community now has an increased demand for diversity within its publications. Furthermore they note that the availability and diversity of the publications has grown to over 300 different gay and lesbian publications in 1992 and could only be estimated to have grown since that time. Similar to Thomas Morton and Julie Duck’s (2000) findings Gough and Greenblatt make a valid point insinuating that the increasing size of the community relies on diverse media to feel identifiable with the gay community. While much has been written about the growing demand for a more diverse range of publications targeted at the queer male community, others argue that the media is doing a great job of representing the growing demands of a diverse gay community. Melissa Hart author of 23 The Assault of Laughter, reported that the gay markets are actually growing to meet the diverse demand of the community. In 2005 Hart reported that there were “350 magazines and newspapers serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community” (2005: 51). Hart argues that with the gay population within the United States, numbering well over 10.5 million according to the nonpartisan Urban Institute, editors are craving “articles that focus on gay and lesbian issues in all areas of life” (2005: 52). In addition to asking for diverse subject matter, Hart’s interviews with gay magazine editors indicates that they are not only looking for gay writers but for heterosexual authors in order to establish a large, diverse, range of articles fit for every lifestyle. The increased diversity of publications benefits not only those who identify under the LGBT umbrella, but rather everyone within society as it begins to blend “legislative and social issues” (Hart, 2005: 53), that effect all members of the general public. This increased diversity further aids those who look at queer publication as the primary root for knowledge into the group’s norms and practices, and may actually play a beneficial role in ones creation of their social identity (Morton and Duck, 2000). While mainstream magazines may have begun to accept article written by gay authors, Hart at no point examines what type of images accompany the articles. Furthermore by only examining the articles found within the publication, and not examining the images and advertisements, Hart neglects to actually mention the effects images have on readers. Additionally Hart at no point talks about the growing range of articles being published by gay males, and whether or not the publication running gay authored articles are pigeon holing the writers into one genre. Literature into this is yet to be published, but could prove to be highly beneficial when examining the role gay authors have in representing the gay community. 24 Advertising in gay publications has also been a major issue, in that many companies are afraid to invest in gay publications. Many industries continue to find the homosexual lifestyle as over sexualized, which could be a negative image for their companies. With companies believing that the queer community is to hyper-sexualized to run image in, it leaves the queer community questioning whether or not their sexuality is acceptable within mainstream society.  Jon Fine reports that advertisement executives are still hesitant to run advertisement campaigns within queer magazines. Fine argues that advertisers are cautious in spending advertising budgets in queer magazines in that many firms are still “afraid to talk about gay sexuality” (2001: 22). Furthermore Fine notes that ad firms are afraid that running campaigns that aren’t as sexy as the gay publication themselves would end up being a waste of money as the gay community would not find it interesting (2001). This demonstrates that there continues to be a hyper-sexualized stigma associated with both the gay community and now the gay media. However Peter Cummings, publisher of the gay youth targeted XY magazine believes that its simple homophobia that keeps advertisers away. In a 6000-word article Cummings attacked advertisers (by name) saying, “people automatically call anything associated with a gay youth magazine porny” (Fine, 2001: 22),  referring to abundance of scantily clad men found within not only his publication but also within the majority of gay magazines. In attempting to shed a light on an issue of hate, Cummings, actually illustrated that gay publication’s continue to demonstrate one particular lifestyle (hyper-sexualized), and that publications should not have to change in order to garner the advertising dollars of mainstream industry. However noble Cummings argument and stance may be it is this lifestyle that gay magazines are illustrating that may be actually creating issues for the gay community. 25 No matter the reasoning for the lack of mainstream advertisements within queer publications, Fine’s research actually provides more insight into the gay publication community that was previously not noted. Fine argues that gay audiences are “very fashionable and trendy with a lot of double-income households” (2001: 22). Furthermore his research indicates that gay males aged between 18-24 are more likely to look at magazines over newspaper, radio, television, and even Internet sources. In addition to the lower age demographic Fine’s results indicate that for those aged between 25 to 54 years, magazines are either the second or third resource in identifying gay issues, and for those even older (55 plus) magazines follow newspapers, television and cable consumption, but are still in high circulation. These results indicate that magazine consumption within the gay community is soaring; and neglecting to advertise to gay men could be problematic not only to the consumers (gay men) but also to the advertisers looking at making a quick dollar. Furthermore these statistics could be used to explain the growing issues of acceptance within the gay community, since gay males turn to gay publications in such high numbers. 26 Methodology Throughout many western-based nations the spectrum of queer media has begun to become moderately diverse.  The gay male society has a wide gamut of media supposedly targeted at their diverse community including an assortment television show, which include gay talk shows, sitcoms, and even dramas, radio shows, and an ever growing gay film industry, 2007 had over 100 gay film festivals ( While the spectrum seems to be continuously growing, the representation of the gay male (in western media) is somewhat questionable. In order to examine the diversity within the queer media spectrum I focused my attention on gay male magazines. Since individuals who are part of the sub-culture of the gay community typically publish most gay male magazines, it should provide more insight into the diversity within the community. To collect the data needed to examine my hypothesis, I have conducted a quantitative, critical media analysis of gay print media, particularly western-based gay male magazines. My rational in conducting a media analysis is based upon the findings of scholarly researchers (Tajfel, Morton & Duck) that community acceptance is produced through media representation, such as images found in mass publications. Data was collected from four western-based publication in order to examine the diversity within each magazine. Once the publications were determined three to four years worth of material from each publication was examined, depending on whether the publication was a biweekly, monthly or quarterly print. I then examined every image within the publication to determine the diversity within the magazines. Each individual magazine was then examined for a range of issues including the average race of the people within the magazines, age range, body image, and generally how sexuality provocative the advertisements and general images on the covers and within the magazines were. Images were chosen as opposed to text in that images 27 perpetuate an essentialist perspective of what gender is; furthermore the images are the clearest form of distinguishing between the diversity of the individuals found within the magazines. Magazine Selection In order to begin I first needed to determine which four publications I would use to gather the information from. The spectrum of gay male magazines has reached new levels; as of 2008 there are over 500 gay male magazines in publication ( While large portions of these magazines are erotic or foreign publications, narrowing down the remaining amount to the four magazines used was a considerably lengthy process. First I immediately disregarded any publication that is or has been considered erotica, from that point I determined which magazines would be used based on three key points: genre, readership numbers (sales), and the average readers personal demographics. The information for this was collected from each publications website, magazines without assessable information regarding these topics were disregarded. The four magazines chosen were done so because they have the largest readership numbers, cover the largest spectrum of readers (based on age and class) and cover a large genre spectrum, which when combined should essentially include the largest variety of readers from within the gay male community. Additionally by covering the largest spectrum of gay male magazines, theoretically they would have the largest amount of diversity found in the images. The first magazine chosen was The Advocate, an American publication that has been in circulation for over 10 years ( Before its development into a lifestyles magazine, The Advocate, was a local activist newspaper used to inform the queer community of issues concerning their community for nearly 25 years 1967 to 1992 (Sender, 2006). The magazine has 28 one of the largest circulation numbers throughout all of America, averaging well over 100,000 (+) sold per issue. Additionally the magazines main sales are in the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia, which illustrates it’s a highly westernized magazine. Beyond its phenomenal sales, the magazine advertises that its key demographic audience is aged 18-65, often well educated, with good employment. Comparably the publication could be measured to magazines like Time, and Newsweek.  The magazines main genre as noted by the publications website, is political and news oriented, with a growing queer entertainment base. Unlike the other magazines used to gather the research, The Advocate is published biweekly, however it should be noted that as of 2009 the publication switched to a monthly publication. Therefore the information gathered from this publication was from January 2006 to December 2008, and covered a total of 72 issues. The second magazine examined was DNA; “Australia’s largest selling gay male magazine” ( While the publication only averages a total circulation of 45,000 per issue, it has a total readership of around 135,000 per month, as it is also available as an online magazine (ibid). The publication similar to The Advocate has the majority of its sales in Australia, USA, Canada and the UK, however it also has increasing sales in New Zealand and Europe. DNA magazine’s demographic profile1, according to the 2007 DNA survey, showed that the most dominant readership belongs to men who are same-sex attracted (98% of all readers), and 66% of DNA readers are aged between 18 and 34 years of age ( Additionally 44% of all readers are “tertiary educated” (ibid), and have an average annual income of $70,500, they also live in a double-income household and share control of the household budget (ibid). The magazines main genre is rooted in pop-culture, with the majority of 1 F igu re 1 .1  – DNA Magaz ine ’ s  2007 demog raph i c  p ro f i l e 29 the articles discussing issues of fashion, entertainment, and sex. The publication is comparable to mainstream magazines like Maxim, and Stuff.  The publication is released on monthly bases, therefore the information gathered from this publication was from January 2005 to December 2008, and covered a total of 48 issues. It should also be noted that everything gathered was done solely by magazine and not with the publication online magazine, as advertisements and images online seemed to be different to those found within the actual publication. This may be because the company offers reduced rates for advertisements published online. Figure 1.1 – DNA Magazine’s 2007 demographic profile 30 The third magazine chosen was Out, an American publication that has been in print for over seven years and has circulations of over 75,000 per issue. The magazines key demographic is aged between 18 and 50 and is considered to be well educated ( Similar to the other publication the magazine is sold in Canada, USA, Australia and the UK. The magazines main genre is similar to DNA, in that it focuses on pop-culture, fashion, and entertainment; additionally the magazine has begun to run a sports column (since 2007) focusing on both mainstream and gay athletes. Out is comparable to mainstream publications like Details, and Entertainment Weekly. The magazine releases 10 issues a year, with no real timeline, as they seem to be released on a sporadical bases. The magazine was examined from January 2005 to December 2008, and covered a total of 40 issues. While Out chosen because of its diverse readership demographic and its circulation numbers, it should be noted that the publication is actually owned by the Regent Entertainment Media group, which also owns and produces The Advocate. While this may be seen as problematic, the publications focus on different genres and readers essentially making them reach a larger spectrum of gay males, and for this reason they were both chosen to be part of the research. The final publication examined was Instinct Magazine, an American publication that recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary. The magazine boosts that it is America’s number one selling gay magazine, averaging well over 100,000 issues sold per month. The magazine notes, “Instinct readers are young, gay trendsetters, with an audience of affluent, highly educated brand loyal gay consumers with high disposable incomes” ( The genre and editorial2 content of the magazine is considerably entertainment based with 52.1% of all editorial coverage focusing on Entertainment (within this category it includes entertainment news). It is 2  I n s t i nc t  Magaz ine 2007 ed i t o r i a l  con ten t  – Sou rce :  Chr i s t ophe r  Jones ( I ns t i nc t  Magaz ine marke t i ng mange r ) ,  pe rsona l  commun i ca t i on Nov 2008 . 31 also the only magazine examined that includes an travel section which makes up 6.8% of all content, which brings in another audience and readership within the gay community. The remainder of the content is split between fashion 27.5% and Sex/Health 13.6%. Instinct magazine is released in a monthly fashion, and therefore was examined over a four-year period spreading from January 2005 to December 2008 covering a total of 48 issues. It should be noted that during the four years examined the magazine released a special sex issue, which was not examined. Figure 1.2 Instinct Magazine 2007 editorial content Data Collection Once the publications were determined a total of 208 magazines were used for the quantitative analysis. There are several key aspects I examined each magazine for: race, age, body image, and sexualized imagery. Every image within the magazines, including advertisements, were placed into distinct categories. Race was broken into six subsections: Black, White, Hispanic, South Asian, Asian, and Other, based on the image of the individual or individuals within each image. Once this was analyzed each image was then examined to determine the range of the age of the average person within the picture. While age is considerably difficult to determine based on imagery alone it was broken into two subsections 40 and below, and 41 and older. The images that were too difficult to determine were removed from the analysis, and disregarded. The third thing examined was body image, each image was placed into one of three groupings: slender to fit, hyper-masculine (stereotypical bodybuilder), and 32 overweight. The final thing examined for was how sexually provocative the images were. This section was separated by two categories: advertisements, and general images. Each was then placed into one of three subcategories: neutral, sexualized, hyper-sexualized. This entire process was then duplicated for cover images. The cover photos were placed into their own category, as covers are typically used to generate interest into that month’s publication; therefore the diversity or lack thereof makes it slightly more important then the images found within the particular publication. Methodological Shortcomings  While logistically conducting a quantitative media analysis would provide great insight into the connections between gay media images and diverse community representation, some issues of concern arose while conducting the media analysis.  The first issue of concern was regarding how the magazines were selected. By neglecting magazines that did not have established online websites, I possibly overlooked some magazines that may have had large readership and circulation numbers. While theoretically I assumed that magazines without websites are still in the development phases, it would be unethical of me to not note the possible issue of disregarding a large segment of magazines. The second issue of concern that arose was regarding my decision to examine images and advertisements only, and not examining articles. While images are the clearest way to examine the diversity represented within the publications, it should be noted that there are articles that discuss issues of diversity (i.e. race, age, body type) without printing images to accompany them. While these articles could prove to be beneficial in that they show diversity and may establish a strong feeling of acceptance within their membership of the community (Tajfel, 1978), I chose to 33 not examine the articles in that images were far more obvious in illustrating the diversity within the queer community. The final issue of concern that arose within the media analysis was my decision to exclude examining the quantity and diversity of the females represented within the images. While many of the magazines ran diverse female images throughout their publications I chose to exclude them from the research in that they seemed inconsequential to the study. However it should be noted that women of all diversities play an important role to the gay community, as the diversity of the females found within the images could prove to reaffirm minority groups sense of self. Findings – Descriptive analysis Race and Ethnicity: The discussion of radicalized identity groups within the queer media is traditionally unspoken and ignored. The findings reported in the following paragraph provide a descriptive overview of the different types of race found within The Advocate magazine. The Advocate is considered to be the most diverse of the publications examined as it is most often compared to political magazines like Time. Due to the context of the magazine, one would simply assume that there would be a larger diversity of racial images. During the period of January 2006 to 34 December 2008, the number of magazines examined amounted to 72 issues; the number of images (with males) found in The Advocate issues amounted to 5,748 (excluding cover pages). Of the 5,748 images3 the majority of them had images of white males (71.1% - 4,089 men). The next dominant racial ethnicity found was Black (17.1% - 986 men), Hispanic (7.1% - 432 men), Asian (2.2% - 105 men), other, which included Middle-Eastern men (1.1% - 89 men), and South- Asian (.80% - 47 men). Figure 1.3 -  Pie Chart of The Advocate Magazine by racial makeup (excluding cover page)  It was interesting to note the majority of the minorities were often political leaders, and of that most of them were placed in smaller images found in the corners of the pages, as opposed to full- page layouts. Additionally men of ethnic diversity found within the advertisements were often placed next to, or in between other white males. As The Advocate’s key demographic is well educated, most often older, men the lack of diversity within the magazine suggests that the patriarchal standpoint that white men continue to be at the top of the employment and educational hierarchy is somewhat still believed. Beyond that of the 986 images of black males the majority of them were African political leaders or African-American leaders, few depicted gay black males. This lack of gay black males, essentially plays into the notion of the so-called “down-low” phenomenon, which notes black men (often successful) engage in homosexual lifestyles without anyone admitting to their sexuality as gay (King & Hunter, 2004). In not illustrating images of gay black males, the magazine perpetuates the notion that the strong black male isn’t gay, and shames the gay black community to remain within the ‘closet’. Furthermore ‘down-low’ acts have been proven to 3 F igu re 1 .3  - Pie Chart of The Advocate Magazine by racial makeup (excluding cover page) 35 increase sexually transmitted disease as the men who partake in the act refuse to practice safe sex as they adamantly deny being labeled queer. DNA is a magazine directed towards a more youthful audience, with some territorial education. As the magazine is most often compared to sexually charged magazines like Stuff and Maxim, the images of the males are often more highly sexually posed.  From January 2005 to December 2008, 48 DNA magazines were examined, for a total of 7,619 images4 of with males in them (excluding covers). Similar to The Advocate the majority of men displayed were white (60.1% - 4581 men). The next dominant racial ethnicities found were Asian (18.2% - 1384 men), Black (11.6% - 887 men), Hispanic (7.2% - 547 men), South- Asian (1.7% - 133 men), and other (1.1% - 87 men). Figure 1.4 – Pie Chart of DNA Magazine by racial makeup (excluding cover page) Unlike The Advocate, DNA magazine’s second dominant racial make up was made up of Asian men. However the majority of the men were placed in highly feminized poses. Most of the men were placed in subordinate poses parallel to their white counterparts. Furthermore the white males within the image were often in hyper-masculine poses as if to assert their domination over the Asian males.  These images perpetuate the “subordinate narrative within contemporary Western gay scenes related to the dominant exclusion of Asian men” (Sullivan and Jackson, 2001: 11). Furthermore Gerard Sullivan and Peter Jackson authors of Gay and Lesbian Asia, note that stereotyping Asian men as sexually subordinate “has contributed to the minoritizing of studies of Asian homosexualities within the White dominant queer academy” (2001: 12). Additionally by continuously placing image of Asian males in subordinate poses, the Asian 4 Figure 1.4 – Pie Chart of DNA Magazine by racial makeup (excluding cover page) 36 males individual self-concept becomes associated to the stereotypical image being portrayed, as noted in social identity theory (Tajfel, 1978). Beyond the lack of racial diversity found within DNA magazine, one notable ethnicity excluded from the Australian publication was that of the Aboriginal male. As Australia similar to Canada has a diverse Aboriginal community, one would have expected to find at least one image of an Aboriginal male, however not one image was found in all 7,619 pictures. Out magazine is comparable to DNA magazine in context, however is considered to have a much more highly educated readership. The magazine runs continuous images of both straight and queer entertainers throughout the publication and therefore was examined with the belief that there would be a more diversity within the publication. From January 2005 to December 2008, Out publications had a total of 3,542 images5 (excluding cover pages), found in 40 magazines. Once again the dominant race found within the publications were White males (66.0% - 2339 men). The next dominant racial make was as follows: Black males (13.4% - 476 men), Hispanic (10.9% - 387 men), Asian (6.4% - 228 men), South-Asian (1.8%- 65 men), and other (1.3% - 47 men). Figure 1.5 - Pie Chart of Out Magazine by racial makeup (excluding cover page) Similar to both other publications (The Advocate and DNA), once again ethnic minorities were placed in subordinate roles. Furthermore the majority of the white were placed into powerful positions over the minorities. Of the 1,203 images with ethnic minorities in them, 876 (72.3%) of the people in them were well known heterosexual males, which further diminish the role of the 5 Figure 1.5 - Pie Chart of Out Magazine by racial makeup (excluding cover page) 37 gay ethnic male. In contrast only 42.8% of all the images with white males were of well-known heterosexual males. The final magazine examined was Instinct Magazine, which is considered to be America’s number one selling gay male magazine. The magazine is targeted at young trendsetters, with “highly disposable incomes” (, and is the only magazine examined with a travel section, which theoretically would make one believe there would be more ethnic diversity within its pages. From January 2005 to December 2008 a total of 48 issues were examined producing 4,638 different images6 (excluding cover images) with men in them. Of that, once again the majority of the images were white males (71.8% - 2,765 men). The remaining images were as follows: Black (11.0% - 732 men), Hispanic (9.8% - 649 men), Asian (3.7% - 243 men), South-Asian (1.1% - 76 men), and other (2.6% - 173 men). Figure 1.6 - Pie Chart of Instinct Magazine by racial makeup (excluding cover page) Instinct Magazine similar to The Advocate, both had the highest percentage of white males found within their magazines. Both publications additionally were targeted at the wealthier more educated cliental. Furthermore both the publications are the longest selling publications, which may indicate that a lack of racial diversity may be something more rooted with the communities historical past. As a whole all the magazines perpetuate the racialized stereotypes that exist within the queer community, that the majority of gay males are white. The majority of the images that included marginalized racial groups placed the males in a ‘token’ position, in which one minority was found amongst a group of white males in a single image. Additionally the ‘token’ male is 6 Figure 1.6 - Pie Chart of Instinct Magazine by racial makeup (excluding cover page) 38 most often found in the back of the image7 (68% of all images examined) or off to the side as seen in figure 1.7. These stereotypes that are created of the subordinate and ‘othered’ minority Figure 1.7 – ‘Token’ advertisement found in Out magazine (April 2007).  are therefore negotiated, produced and reproduced in the greater society, which acts to hinder the racial minorities role within the queer community. However it should be noted that as a whole the publications seemed to have begun to place more images of marginalized males within the magazines as of late. More images of black males have been placed in all three of the American publications (The Advocate, Out, Instinct 7 Figure 1.7 – example of a ‘Token’ advertisement found in Out  magazine (April 2007). 39 Magazine). Between 2007 and 2008 there has been nearly a 100%8 jump in the amount of images featuring ethnic minorities. Figure 1.8 – Line chart of the frequency minority males are found within all four publications from 2005 – 2008.  This sudden increase in minority images found within the publication may be connected to the so-called ‘Obama effect’, which has occurred within the United States since the ending of 2007. Gary Yonge has noted that since Barack Obama was thrust into the mainstream with his presidential bid, African-Americans and other minorities have begun to become more prominent within Western media (2007). This ‘Obama effect’ seems to have translated over to only the American publications as DNA the only Australian magazine seemed to have little to no change in the quantity of minorities found within their publication. This slow increased exposure to minority males within gay publications may also aid adolescent males in their coming out process, which could reduce the stigma of gay males within racialized communities (Newman & Muzzonigro, 1993). Furthermore as discussed earlier could reduce the amount of sexually transmitted disease found within communities that partake in the down-low lifestyle. Age: The discussion of age within many queer communities is similar to that of race in that it is traditionally unspoken of.  Similar to many mainstream female magazines age seems to be devalued within most publications, as it is often seen as unattractive (Courtney & Lockeretz, 8 Figure 1.8 – Line chart of the frequency minority males are found within all four publications from 2005 – 2008. (The Advocate, DNA, Out, Instinct Magazine) 40 1971). For this part of the study the magazines were separated into two groupings, the first included The Advocate and Out which were placed together because their target demographic is an older audience, the second grouping of DNA and Instinct Magazine were placed together as they are viewed as younger, trendier publications. The first combination of The Advocate and Out publications had a total of 9,290 men within their images, however after removing the images of men in which I was unable to determine whether they were 41 years and older or 40 years old and younger, we were left with only 5,763 males9 left to examine. Of that remaining amount, 4,638 (80.6%) males were clearly under the age of 40, with the majority of the men looking between the ages of 18 and 30. Only 1,125 (19.4%) of the men within the publications looked over the age of 41; with the majority of those images being straight political leaders. The few images of older gay males most often included fashion designers, and community activist; however their images were considerably smaller in size, making up only a third of the average image found within the publications. Figure 1.9 – Bar chart of The Advocate and Out magazines age makeup (excluding cover page) The second combination of DNA and Instinct Magazine had a total of 12,257 men within their images, however after removing the men whose age were undeterminable, we were left with only 9,786 images10 to analyze. Of the remaining amount of images 8,431 (86.2%) pictures were of men younger then 40 years old, with the majority of these men being in there twenties. There were only 1,355 (13.8%) images of men over 41 found within the publications. Figure 1.10 – Bar chart of DNA and Instinct Magazine age makeup (excluding cover page) 9 Figure 1.9 – Bar chart of The Advocate and Out magazines age makeup (excluding cover page) 10 Figure 1.10 – Bar chart of DNA and Instinct Magazine age makeup (excluding cover page) 41 Most of the older men found within the second group were often found in images similar to that of the ‘token’ minorities. The older men were often placed in-group photos that had other younger males with them. Furthermore the photos often had the men dressed in suits, as opposed to the images of younger men dressed in little to no clothing. These statistics perpetuate the common notion that many readers “may believe homosexuality does not exist among elderly people” (Cabaj & Stein, 1996: 305).  By neglecting such a large community, older gay men have been ignored by both mainstream society and the queer community.  This is especially astonishing as research dated back to 1948 and Kinsey, indicated that gay men and lesbians exist in substantial numbers across the age span (ibid). Furthermore it would by dim-witted to believe that there are no older gay males living within society. By neglecting such a large segment of the community, 1.75 million gay males over the age of 65 identified in 1996 within the United States alone (ibid), makes it harder for gay men of all ages to grow and feel excepted within the community (ibid). These magazines perpetuate what mainstream “plays, novels and even (until recently) scholarly presentations have painted a bleak future for young gay men and lesbians [in that] the older gay man is said to become increasingly isolated as he ages (Cabaj & Stein, 1996: 306). This establishes a major issue for the gay community in that by neglecting the older gay male, both the older population and the aging younger population loses a sense of personal identity and community. Body Image is Everything: Images of the ‘ideal’ body have become the norm within the gay male community. While the at times past (1950’s to 70’s) the gay male was typically associated with having an 42 effeminate body type (very slender, with little to no muscle tone), this has long changed. Mass media has associated the gay male with the ideal, muscular body type. Since each magazine has a different genre and demographic I examined each magazine individually to determine the average body type found within the publications. As The Advocate is considerably the most prominent gay magazine sold, determining many of the male body types within the images was far more difficult in comparison to the three other publications, as most of the men were shot from the head up or in loose-fitted clothing. Of the 5,748 images examined only 3,612 images were clear enough to be placed into one of three distinct categories (slender to fit, hyper-masculine11, and overweight). The publication was the only magazine that actually illustrated an equal amount of diversity within its images when it came to issue of body image. The majority of the men found within the publication were classified as slender to fit 49.3% (1,782), the remainder being hyper-masculine 29.9% (1,082) and overweight 20.8% (748).  These statistics most closely paralleled societies actual obesity trends, as Dr. Katherine Flegal et al, noted between 1999 to 2000 the obesity rate amongst males were 30.5% within the United States (2002). While the statistics still illustrate that the majority of gay men are slender to fit or hyper-masculine the majority of these images were actually found in the advertisements. The majority of the overweight images were associated to interviews conducted with prominent leaders within both the heterosexual and homosexual lifestyle. The second publication examined was DNA magazine, the most youthful of all the publications. Of the 7,619 images12 featuring males the majority of them in this publication 11 Hype r - mascu l i ne body image i s  a t e rm gene ra l l y  app l i ed t o  men who exh ib i t a muscu la r  body .  I t  i s  mos t  o f t en assoc ia t ed w i th i n  t he bodybu i l d i ng commun i t y .  (Mshe r  & Tomk ins ,  1988 :  78 ) . 12 Figure 1.12 - Pie Chart of DNA Magazine by body image (excluding cover page). 43 undeniably demonstrated a hyper-masculine body image. A total of 6,389 males portrayed the hyper-masculine body type, which is a total of 83.9% of the total images printed from January 2005 to December 2008. The remaining images were made up slender to fit men with 13.5% (1030 images), and overweight men with only 2.6% (201 images). Figure 1.12 - Pie Chart of DNA Magazine by body image (excluding cover page). The unprecedented amount of images depicting the standard gay male body as hyper- masculine13, feeds directly into the increased amount of body image concerns amongst gay men. A recent study conducted by Sara Kimmel and James Mahalik found that minority stress factors like internalized homophobia and expected stigma for being gay were associated with body image dissatisfaction and masculine body ideal distress (2005). Figure 1.13 – Photo spread found in DNA magazine, illustrating a hyper-masculine body image (August 2008). 13 Figure 1.13 – Photo spread found in DNA magazine, illustrating a hyper-masculine body image (Retrieved from, August 2008 online publication). 44  Hyper-masculine images, similar to those found in figure 1.13, within gay magazines only act to further increase the stress levels associated with body image and gay men. Furthermore as DNA magazine is directed at the youngest audience the publication creates body image issues for the communities youngest members, which could later unfold to become major psychological issues (Brand et al, 2006).  The t h i r d  magaz ine exam ined f o r  body image was Out magaz ine ,  s im i l a r  t o  The Advoca te  a l a r ge po r t i on o f  t he  images f ound w i t h i n  t he pub l i ca t i on were d i s rega rded as t hey  s imp l y showed men f r om t he  f a ce up ,  mak ing i den t i f y i ng t he re  body t ype d i f f i cu l t  t o  accomp l i sh .   Howeve r  t he  r esu l t s  o f  t he med ia ana l ys i s  h igh l y  d i f f e red f r om t ha t  o f  i t s  s i s t e r  magaz ine ( same pub l i she r )  i n  t ha t  Out  s t r ong l y  i l l u s t r a t ed images o f  t he s l ende r  t o  f i t  ma le .  Of t he  2 ,894 image14 t ha t  were exam ined 14 Figure 1.14 - Pie Chart of Out Magazine by body image (excluding cover page). 45 2 ,383 images ( 82 .3%) were o f  t he s l ende r  t o  f i t  ma le .  Wi th  t he r ema in i ng amoun t  nea r l y  even l y  sp l i t  be tween ove rwe igh t  ma les 276 ( 9 . 5%) and hype r - mascu l i ne ma les 235 ( 8 . 2%) . Figure 1.14 - Pie Chart of Out Magazine by body image (excluding cover page). In printing such a large percentage of males that are slender to fit in body size, the magazine plays a critical role in perpetuating and establishing eating disorders within the gay community. As gay males turn to magazines far more then the males that identify as straight (Duggan, 2004), this continuous exposure to unhealthy, slender body images establishes negative body satisfaction in gay males (ibid). Additionally a British survey found that “gay participants scored higher on all measures of eating disturbance and were more dissatisfied with their bodies” (Williamson & Hartley, 1998: 160). Out magazine represents an unrealistic image of the gay community, which acts to further ‘other’ individuals who don’t identify as slender or fit, which could lead to serious eating disorders. The f i na l  magaz ine exam ined f o r  body image was I n s t i n c t Magaz ine ,  wh i ch had a t o t a l  o f  4638 images15 t ha t  were sc ru t i n i zed .  Of a l l  t he  images exam ined t he re  seemed t o  be an even sp l i t  be tween t he  hype r - mascu l i ne body w i t h  2127 images ( 45 .9%) and t he  s l ende r  t o  f i t  body w i t h  2056 images ( 44 .3%) . The r ema in i ng 455 images ( 9 . 8%) were o f  ove rwe igh t  ma les ,  mos t o f  whom were o lde r  men . Figure 1.15 - Pie Chart of Instinct Magazine by body image (excluding cover page). 15 Figure 1.15 - Pie Chart of Instinct Magazine by body image (excluding cover page). 46 Instinct Magazine similar to all three other publications neglected to acknowledge the overweight gay community, and intern perpetuated the conventional image of the slender, or muscular gay male. All four of the publications play into the myth that all gay males are concerned about their body image, and disregard that gay males exists beyond the ideals set forth by both the mainstream and queer community. Furthermore these images establish what is considered sexually attractive within the community, and thus create another psychological stress for men who identify as overweight (Kimmel & Mahalik, 2005). Instead of moving beyond the stereotypes established by the heteronormative16 society all the magazines play a fundamental role in gay men reporting to have “the highest levels of body dissatisfaction” (Wood, 2004: 46). Thus it could be noted that the gay ideals of physical beauty are traced through media depictions of the idealized gay male body, and everyone who does not fit into the spectrum feels ‘othered’ by both the heteronormative and queer community. Sex Sells: Marketers worldwide would all confirm that sex has been used to sell everything from household appliances to pet food. Sexualizing images in advertisements is almost inevitable, but using sex to display a lifestyle to the queer community creates issues far greater then simple advertisements, in that it begins a slipper slope of objectification, that other groups  (feminist) have been struggling to combat for decades.  Furthermore the magazines establish an image of the homosexual lifestyle that is centered in the belief that gay males are only concerned with sexual activities. 16 Heteronormativity – is a term used to refer to the institutionalization of heterosexuality in mainstream society (Ingraham, 1994: 205). 47 Given DNA and Instinct Magazines youthful demographic, it was reasonable to examine the two magazines collectively. In order to examine the 12,257 images of men found within both publications from January 2005 to December 2008, they were separated into two categories: advertisements and general images, which included photo layouts, interview pictures, and celebrity photos. There were a combined total of 7,562 men found within the advertisements and 4,695 men found within the general images. The majority of the advertisements (47% of all advertisements) found within the publications were focused on selling sexualized objects17 like underwear, male enhancement materials, and pornographic items (i.e.: DVDs, magazines, lubricants, ect). The remaining amount of the advertisements was spread amongst products like: cars, alcohol, clothing, and personal hygiene products. Figure 1.17 – Advertisement found in DNA magazine, illustrating a sexualized image (September 2008). 17 Figure 1.17 – Advertisement found in DNA magazine, illustrating a sexualized image (September 2008). 48 The combinations of both types of advertisements (sexualized and the remaining products) were placed into one of three categories: neutral, sexualized, or hyper-sexualized images. In order to be considered sexualized the images had to have elements of nudity, and eroticism within them (as seen in figure 1.17 above). In order for an image to be considered hyper-sexualized (as opposed to sexualized) the image would have to be seen as over the top (as seen in figure 1.18 below), which states “whose got you by the balls?” (DNA, Sept 2008). Figure 1.18 – Advertisement, illustrating a hyper-sexualized image (DNA September 2008).  Advertisements that were placed in the neutral section were standard product placement images, with fully clothed men in them (as seen in figure 1.19). Neutral advertisements most often resembled images found in most mainstream magazines, and would be considered safe for viewing for people of all ages. Figure 1.19 – Advertisement found in Instinct Magazine, illustrating a neutral advertisement (January 2006). 49 The majority18 of the ads were undeniably placed in the hyper-sexualized category with nearly 63% of the total amount. The next dominant advertisement styles found were sexualized images with 21% followed by neutral advertisements with 16%. The hyper-sexualized images found Figure 1.20- Pie Chart of DNA and Instinct Magazines advertisement totals (excluding cover page). throughout the advertisements essentially perpetuate the heteronormative belief of the over- sexualized gay male (Rohlinger, 2002). Furthermore these images that emphasize a highly eroticized masculinity create issues for individuals who do not necessarily fall into the masculine niche (Dines & Humez, 2002). Individuals that don’t fall into the hyper-masculine, over sexualized advertisement audience run the risk of falling into what researchers have labeled the “feminized male” (Keane, 2005:194) grouping. These are men are often seen as more effeminate 18 Figure 1.20- Pie Chart of DNA and Instinct Magazines advertisement totals (excluding cover page). 50 as they don’t fall into what society (in this case the gay community), sees as what real men are supposed to look and act like. Results for The Advocate and Out magazines actually showed very similar results. While a large portion of the advertisements found in The Advocate didn’t have any people in them, as they were mostly product placement ads, the remaining advertisements were similar to that of Instinct Magazine and DNA. The majority of the advertisements were hyper-sexualized with 43%, followed by sexualized male images with 41% then finally neutral advertisements with 16%. While the different groups of magazines advertised different products, it was interesting to note that both had 16% of their total advertisements classified as neutral. While the images found in The Advocate and Out establish similar problems with respect to the hyper-sexualized gay male, the images also create other issues as age now becomes contributing factor. As the readers of The Advocate and Out are considered to be an older demographic, one must now consider how images of hyper-sexualized youthful males alienate older men from feeling welcomed or valued within the community. Older men who don’t find themselves within the publication often feel devalued, which could lead to a disconnect between the generations of older and younger gay men (Sender, 2003). The second portion of images examined, with respects to sexuality, was the general images found within the magazines (layouts, interviews, celebrities, etc). Once again Instinct Magazine and DNA were placed together in that they shared a similar target demographic. Of the 4,695 images examined the majority of the men, 58%, were placed in hyper-sexualized poses. The remaining images were classified as sexualized poses with 22% and neutral images with 21%.  The majority of the hyper-sexualized images included men who were classified as hyper- masculine (87%); furthermore images that included both hyper-masculine and slender men often 51 had the hyper-masculine male in a dominant stance over the slender male, as seen in figure 1.20, with the muscular male resting on the back of the more slender male. Figure 1.21 – typical image found in Instinct Magazine or DNA ( The second grouping (The Advocate and Out) of images19 also had the men in mostly hyper- sexualized poses (43%). However the remaining males were placed in neutral poses (31%) then followed by sexualized poses (26%). Figure 1.22- Pie Chart of The Advocate and Out general image totals (excluding cover page). The difference in poses came mostly due to the images that accompanied major interviews with political leaders, as they seemed to be in more neutral poses as opposed to the images that accompanied the fashion layouts. While statistically the general images in all four of the magazines seem similar to the advertising images in terms of context. The general images in actuality establish greater problems within the queer community as they institute what is the most common and acceptable behavior within the community. Julie Dorf, Founding Director of the International Gay and 19 Figure 1.22- Pie Chart of The Advocate and Out general image totals (excluding cover page). 52 Lesbian Human Rights Commission, noted that the hyper-sexualized lifestyle presented throughout most gay magazines creates identity issues for gay men attempting to find a place within their community (Chasin, 2001).  Furthermore this carefree lifestyle of continuous sexuality, as seen in figure 1.21, has been connected to an increase in sexually transmitted disease within the gay population, since advertisements within the publications promote sex, while neglecting to promote safe sex (ibid). The saturation of hyper-sexualized images in the magazines points to an overemphasis of a sexual lifestyle, which reinforces the motivations for the gay community to begin to have a more sexually charged standard of living. Cover Image: The cover photo for all magazines plays an important role in that it is used to encourage an individual to buy the article or to generate interest into that month’s publication. The images most often used on the covers of all four of the magazines were of gay celebrities, or groups of scantily clad men, and in the case of The Advocate political leaders. However the major issue of contention when it came to cover images was that of its racial disparity. Of the 208 magazine covers20 examined there were a total of 302 men found on them. Figure 1.23 – Bar chart of all four-publication covers based on race. Of the 302 males featured on the cover nearly 88.4% (267) of them were white. This was then followed by black males at 5.9% (18), Hispanic males at 3.0% (9), Asian males at 1.7% (5), and finally the other category with only 1.0% (3) of the total males found on the covers; South-Asian males were not found on any of the covers. The majority of the magazines that had minorities on 20 Figure 1.23 – Bar chart of all four-publication covers based on race. 53 the covers had them placed in the ‘token’ position as other white males often surrounded them. Furthermore one of only three Black males found on any of the covers on his own was Barack Obama following his electoral bid. It should also be noted that the most political, news oriented magazine, The Advocate, did not run a cover photo of Barack Obama till he was elected president, and the image was partially covered with text as seen in Figure 1.24 (below), the February 2009 cover (the issue was not included in the research). Figure 1.24 – Barack Obama cover photo (The Advocate, February 2009) This blatant neglect of minorities on the cover of gay magazines, demonstrates how devalued ethnic minorities truly are within the community. The publications are basically insinuating that race, unlike sex, does not sell issues and thus tells minorities within the community that they are unvalued. Furthermore James Thomas Sears who examined African-American males growing up gay in the American South, noted that growing up without seeing men like themselves made 54 black, gay adolescents live their lives as ‘sexual rebels’21 (1990). This leads back to black males living their lives on the ‘down-low’ which intern leads to the increase of sexually transmitted diseases. Since white, often hyper-masculine, males are found on the majority of the covers, it further perpetuates the belief of many racialized minorities, particularly Black minorities, that “homosexuality [is] a White phenomenon largely irrelevant to the interests of the Black community” (Garnets & Kimmel, 1993: 366).  This makes both gay minorities and gay White males, the subject of persecution by hate groups, and bigots. In addition to neglecting minorities on the cover, our statistics indicate that the majority of the magazines ran covers with hyper-masculine males (63%), in particular DNA magazine ran nearly 93% of all its covers with hyper-masculine males. By pushing a hyper-masculine image onto the gay community, it once again acts as a tool in reinforcing unhealthy body images within the community. All these images seek to produce what is acceptable within the gay community and by devaluing individuals who would not be classified has having a hyper-masculine (muscular) body, the magazines neglect once again another segment of the gay community, a common finding throughout all aspects of the magazines. Conclusion In general the findings from the quantitative media analysis, illustrates that there continues to be a major lack of diversity within gay male publications.  The findings indicate that there the gay, white, hyper-sexualized male has come to be the main representation of the gay community. This is problematic in that by only having one representation of acceptable 21 Sexua l  r ebe l s -  Unsa fe sexua l  l i f e s t y l e ,  i . e .  unp ro tec ted sex (Sea rs ,  1990 : 13 ) . 55 behaviour and identity for gay males, those who do not measure up could feel excluded from the community. Furthermore the statistical results overwhelming indicate that a large segment of the gay population is underrepresented within gay magazines. The neglect of a large part of the community only acts to perpetuate the narcissistic myth of the gay white man; furthermore it establishes subtle signs of discrimination for minorities within the gay community. As minorities were not adequately represented in any of the publications, it is understandable that there continues to be a large ‘closeted’ population in ethnic minorities (Humez, 2002). The results also indicate, that similar to women’s magazines, these publication may play a role in the increase of anorexia cases in gay males as the overwhelming image displayed by the men is that of the hyper-masculine or incredibly slender male. While it is clear that there is a blatant neglect of minorities, another major finding is that there is almost only one representation of white males within the publications as well. By continuously representing the gay white male as hyper-sexualized and incredibly masculine, at least in physic, it leaves one pondering the question how do the white males who do not identify as this feel? Furthermore does the overrepresentation of white gay males, negatively impact the white males more then if they were not represented at all? Beyond what was found in the magazines, what is more concerning is what was not found, which is the acceptance of gay males of all races, ages, and body types. This type of exclusion from over 200 magazines only further segregates the gay community, in that those not found within the publications often find themselves confused with which group to identify with. In addition this research poses the question to the publishers, of why aren’t individuals of different backgrounds, and makeup’s represented within the pages of gay male magazines? And 56 furthermore why hasn’t the gay community taken a stance against this transparent discrimination? While the findings indicates that there lacks a major amount of diversity within the publications, there also continues to be a major lack of research and literature into gay publications. As there is a major need of current research surrounding gay publications and minorities (within the community), these results could be advanced in a multitude of directions. From a health perspective, sociologist can examine how the exclusion of minorities from major publications, creates stress (and other health) issues for those looking to belong to a community (this could be done through SES and MSD theory). Furthermore sociologist concerned with health issues could examine how the lack of inclusion into the community effects individual races, which may help explain the ‘down-low’ phenomenon found in African-American gay males. From a psychological perspective one could examine the effects these images have not only on minorities, but rather the whole gay community in reference to the hyper-masculine male image. Psychologist or Sociologist could do this by conducting a series of qualitative interviews with gay males that read these publications to see how their representation actually affects them. The study could also be duplicated for lesbian magazines in order to study how images found in lesbian magazines affect their community. The magnitude of future directions for this research is limitless and could be applied in a multitude of fields. The final thing to consider is what direction gay publications are going towards. As you have read previously (introduction), the gay media has been growing since the 1980s and has changed and evolved with the times. As society becomes more connected with the gay community, one would hope that the publishers would feel the need to become more connected with the greater queer community, placing images that represent all members into their 57 magazines. It should be noted that while the print industry is still playing into the stereotypes of the gay male, the queer film and television industry has begun to display more diverse images as of late (2008 saw the first African-American gay film festival). While ultimately the decision of who will be featured in pages of the magazines falls to the publishers, I hope that awareness brought to the forefront by articles like this will begin to show the prejudice that exists within the gay community. Appendix Appendix A: The Advocate cover example 58 Appendix B: Out cover example 59 Appendix C: DNA cover example 60 Appendix D: Instinct Magazine cover example 61 Bibliography 62 Alexander, S. M. (2003). 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