Gay Stuff and Guy Stuff: The Construction of Sexual Identities in Sidebars on Reddit

  • Boka En Birkbeck College, University of London
  • Michael En Goldsmiths College, University of London
  • David Griffiths University of Chester

Abstract

The online community reddit seems to offer countless opportunities for the expression ofsexual identities in specific groups called ‘subreddits’ – from those who playtheir part in the ‘maledom sexology’ to others who ‘celebrate’ ‘femboys’ or‘girls with glasses’ to ‘gay bros’ doing ‘guy stuff’, and ‘actual lesbians’escaping the ‘male gaze’. The short descriptions that sidebars in these subredditsoffer may appear to serve simply as a welcome to those whose identities theyclaim to represent. However, it is these very representations that co-producethe identities of those who could be included in them. Based on analyses ofsidebars displayed in subreddits, we explore which aspects of identity are seen– and thereby made – to be markers of personal and collective sexualidentities. By taking a closer look at what is said – and what is not – aboutboth those who create content and those who are seen as this content, we seekto elucidate how sidebars in subreddits serve to include and/or excludespecific behaviours in/from the normative visions of socially negotiated sexualidentities. Based on these identity re-presentations and their potentialeffects on the experience of reddit users, we examine how the unlimitedopportunities for the construction of one’s (sexual) identity that the Internetappears to offer turn out to be restricted by hegemonic as well as othernormative prescriptions of seemingly open and welcoming communities.

Author Biographies

Boka En, Birkbeck College, University of London
Michael En, Goldsmiths College, University of London
David Griffiths, University of Chester
Published
August 8, 2013
How to Cite
En, B., En, M., & Griffiths, D. (2013, August 8). Gay Stuff and Guy Stuff: The Construction of Sexual Identities in Sidebars on Reddit. Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network, 6(1). https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.31165/nk.2013.61.293