Date of Award

Summer 8-6-2015

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Casey Maugh Funderburk

Committee Chair Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 2

Steven Venette

Committee Member 2 Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 3

Keith Erickson

Committee Member 3 Department

Communication Studies

Abstract

This textual analysis explores the rhetoric of exclusion among homosexual men by analyzing DouchebagsofGrindr.com. The rhetoric of exclusion is used by some homosexual men in order to achieve hegemonic masculinity based on performance of gender, age, race, and physical characteristics to conquer stereotypes of femininity. The gay community utilizes civil rights rhetoric in order to create a dialogue about equality; unfortunately a disturbing number of gay community members frequently discount homosexual male minorities, perpetuating the notion that homosexual minorities are unattractive because they violate heteronormative gender performances. Analyzing the artifact DouchebagsofGrindr.com allows for a glimpse into the self-deprecating online behavior employed by some members of the gay community to obtain hegemonic masculinity.

Hegemonic ideology is shown to influence communication processes, which indicates that culture and society effect how male gender roles should be performed. Heterosexuality is associated with perceptions of masculinity, and discourse becomes disputed when men do not adequately perform their gender as dictated by society. By utilizing masculinity and the public sphere as a theoretical lens, this study highlights the burden on the gay community to appear masculine and physically attractive in order to feel accepted. This research found through the reframing of 349 profiles posted on DouchebagsofGrindr.com that profile photos, profile text, and identifying information of Grindr users are factors that members on DouchebagsofGrindr.com use to determine if a profile should be posted on the website. Finally, findings suggest that the gay community perceives effeminate acting gay men as having failed to adequately conceptualize hegemonic masculinity.