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The Association Between Gay Men's Stereotypic Beliefs About Drag Queens and Their Endorsement of Hypermasculinity

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Abstract To date, few researchers have investigated gay men's stereotypic beliefs about drag queens and the association between these beliefs and individual difference variables such as hypermasculinity. To address this omission, 118 men self-identifying as non-heterosexual completed an online survey consisting of an adjective checklist about drag queens and a psychometrically sound indicant of hypermasculinity. As predicted, participants that were more likely to endorse hypermasculine belief statements tended to perceive negatively valenced attributes as more characteristic of drag queens. Possible explanations for this relationship; limitations associated with the current study; and directions for future research are delineated.
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Journal of Homosexuality
ISSN: 0091-8369 (Print) 1540-3602 (Online) Journal homepage:
The Association Between Gay Men's Stereotypic
Beliefs About Drag Queens and Their Endorsement
of Hypermasculinity
CJ Bishop PhD Candidate , Mark Kiss BA Candidate , Todd G. Morrison PhD ,
Damien M. Rushe PhD Candidate & Jacqueline Specht BA
To cite this article: CJ Bishop PhD Candidate , Mark Kiss BA Candidate , Todd G. Morrison PhD ,
Damien M. Rushe PhD Candidate & Jacqueline Specht BA (2014) The Association Between Gay
Men's Stereotypic Beliefs About Drag Queens and Their Endorsement of Hypermasculinity,
Journal of Homosexuality, 61:4, 554-567, DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2014.865464
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Journal of Homosexuality, 61:554–567, 2014
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 0091-8369 print/1540-3602 online
DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2014.865464
The Association Between Gay Men’s Stereotypic
Beliefs About Drag Queens and Their
Endorsement of Hypermasculinity
CJ BISHOP, PhD Candidate, MARK KISS, BA Candidate, and
Department of Psychology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
DAMIEN M. RUSHE, PhD Candidate
Department of Psychology, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
Department of Psychology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
To date, few researchers have investigated gay men’s stereotypic
beliefs about drag queens and the association between these beliefs
and individual difference variables such as hypermasculinity.
To address this omission, 118 men self-identifying as non-hetero-
sexual completed an online survey consisting of an adjective
checklist about drag queens and a psychometrically sound indi-
cant of hypermasculinity. As predicted, participants who were more
likely to endorse hypermasculine belief statements tended to per-
ceive negatively valenced attributes as more characteristic of drag
queens. Possible explanations for this relationship, limitations asso-
ciated with the current study, and directions for future research
are delineated.
KEYWORDS gay men, drag, femi-negativity, hypermasculinity,
Researchers have devoted considerable attention to documenting the
stereotypes and prejudices that heterosexual individuals endorse about gay
men. However, few studies have empirically evaluated the beliefs various
Address correspondence to Todd G. Morrison, Department of Psychology, University
of Saskatchewan, 9 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A5, Canada. E-mail:
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Stereotypes of Drag Queens 555
subcultures within the gay community possess about each other. Drag
queens, a gay subculture consisting of males who impersonate females
for the purpose of entertainment, have received little quantitative attention.
However, prior qualitative research has noted a complicated relationship
between drag queens and other members of the gay community. In a study
evaluating the subjective experiences of drag queens, Berkowitz, Belgrave,
and Halberstein’s (2007) participants reported feeling marginalized by gay
men; yet they also believed they were respected performers in the gay
community. Echoing the last point, Hopkins (2004) observed that successful
drag queens experience a sense of power and normality from their perfor-
mances as they are held in high regard by their fans and admirers. Such
power and normality, however, are relegated to the setting where their drag
performances take place and are appreciated.
Fournet, Forsyth, and Schramm (1988) reported that the gay male par-
ticipants in this study were eager to distance themselves from drag queens
because they believed this group was not representative of the gay commu-
nity. However, although some individuals may consider drag queens to be
unrepresentative of the gay community, others appear to regard the prac-
tice of drag as transgressing the rules placed on us to “perform” our gender
within certain specifications (Schacht & Underwood, 2004). While there is
agreement that drag queens’ performances can be gender transgressive, they
also may be perceived as misogynistic and antifeminist (Nixon, 2009). Thus,
instead of drag queens serving as a figurehead for the gay community, they
may be seen as increasingly anachronistic: A performance without any real
connection or relevance to the concerns of gay and lesbian individuals in
the early 21st century.
A shift in public attitudes toward gay men has been observed, with major-
ity disapproval having been replaced by tolerance and, in some cases,
even acceptance (Yang, 1997). However, negative stereotypes about, and
prejudice toward, overtly feminine gay men is still common, with some
of this negativity occurring within the gay community (Mitchell & Ellis,
2010). A masculine disposition (“straight acting”) and anti-feminine attitudes
have become desirable traits among some members of the gay commu-
nity (Clarkson, 2006). As a result, drag queens have yet to experience the
same level of acceptance as “straight-acting” gay men; indeed, some have
expressed feeling minimized and discounted by a gay community that now
seemingly prefers masculine ideals (Berkowitz & Belgrave, 2010).
The emergence of this “masculine ideal” may be traced to shifts in rep-
resentation within the gay community. During the 1970s, a new movement
surfaced wherein gay men started to embrace masculinity and “blue collar”
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556 CJ Bishop et al.
ideals (i.e., the so-called “clone” aesthetic; Clarkson, 2006). Termed straight-
acting, this new subculture actively and publicly rejected stereotypically
feminine gay male roles, traits, occupations, and physiques (Kite & Deaux,
1987; Messner, 1997). A number of explanations have been forwarded to
account for the burgeoning popularity of “straight-acting” gay subculture.
First, the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the early 1980s is believed to have empha-
sized masculinity because gay men did not want to be associated with a
sick or frail image symptomatic of the disease (Signorile, 1997). Second, the
gay rights movement shifted in focus from cultural transformation through
sexual liberation to political and civil rights equality (Epstein, 1987; Escoffier,
1985; Gamson, 1995; Seidman, 1993). The emphasis of attaining parity with
heterosexual individuals may have contributed to gay men adopting a more
heterosexual demeanor. Last, it has been proposed that indirect childhood
bullying communicated via heteronormative undercurrents within the class-
room can result in gay males adopting a more masculine disposition in order
to avoid ridicule and “fit in” (DesRoches & Sweet, 2008).
Femi-negativity1refers to the strategy of seeing someone’s gender perfor-
mance as “normal” or “abnormal” and serves as a tactic to isolate those who
do not conform (Bailey, 1996; Clarkson, 2006; Lotto, 2006). Femi-negativity
may play a role in the development of negative stereotypes about drag
queens. Young boys are generally encouraged, by their parents and, later
on, their peers to embrace masculine male gender roles (Witt, 1997). These
boys are taught and encouraged to reject characteristics and activities con-
sidered to be feminine. Boys who violate the expectations of their parents
and peers to be masculine are typically subjected to various forms of punish-
ment (Birkett, Espelage, & Koenig, 2009). As such, femi-negativity could be
indicative of some gay men attempting to simulate the heterosexual major-
ity, which might lessen their likelihood of being the targets of stereotyping,
prejudice, and discrimination (Skidmore, Linsenmeier, & Bailey, 2006).
A common misperception is that drag performers are mocking women
and femininity. Some scholars have even compared drag to the blackface
performances of the early 1900s and the negative stereotypes of Black peo-
ple they portrayed (Kleiman, 1999). However, narratives of drag queens
suggest that the “true” intention is not to deride women and femininity
but, rather, to reveal and critique the performative nature of gender (Chinn,
1997). Unfortunately, these intentions do not appear to be evident to many
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Stereotypes of Drag Queens 557
individuals (gay or straight). The belief that drag is misogynistic may further
contribute to negative stereotypes about drag queens.
Butler (1990) argues that challenging masculinity through drag performance
is more allowable onstage than offstage. Interviews with drag queens in the
Miami Beach area support this argument (Berkowitz & Belgrave, 2010). While
onstage, drag queen interviewees believed they were respected performers
in the gay community. Participants stated that gay men recognize those drag
queens who put on a good show and that some gay men look up to them as
role models (Berkowitz & Belgrave, 2010). Likewise, gay men who hold drag
performance in high regard will often deem drag queens as local celebrities
(Schacht & Underwood, 2004).
However, offstage, drag queens often feel subjugated, segregated, and
alienated from the gay community, believing their only service is that of
entertainers (Berkowitz & Belgrave, 2010). For example, one of the partic-
ipants in Berkowitz and Belgrave’s study asserted that drag queens are not
viewed as equals in the gay community but rather as “freaks.”
Adding to the complexity of this situation are reports by some drag
queens of the difficulties they experience finding a romantic partner.
Respondents believed that their participation in drag performances had neg-
ative connotations that they are promiscuous or overly feminine. Some drag
queens even go so far as not telling their partners they are drag performers
until the relationship gets serious. These negative connotations seem to stem
from other gay men being unable or unwilling to distinguish between a drag
queen’s onstage persona and who he is when not performing (Berkowitz,
Belgrave, & Halberstein, 2007).
The present study will examine gay men’s stereotypic and counter-
stereotypic beliefs about drag queens. Based on the scant literature available,
it is hypothesized that gay men to whom traditional masculinity is more
important should evidence stronger endorsement of negative stereotypes
about drag queens.
One hundred and eighteen men participated in this study, with 104 self-
identifying as gay, 11 as bisexual to some extent, and three as queer. The age
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558 CJ Bishop et al.
of participants ranged from 18 to 68 (M=28.2, SD =11.2). In total, 71 (60%)
considered themselves religious to some degree, and 47 (40%) did not. Over
half the sample reported having at least some postsecondary education (i.e.,
32% reported completing some university or college, 22% reported obtaining
an undergraduate university degree, and 16% reported having obtained a
Master’s or Doctorate degree). All participants were entered in a draw for a
$50 gift card in exchange for their time.
This measure included 52 stereotypic and 24 counter-stereotypic attributes
based on those originally identified by Madon (1997) and refined on the
basis of a pilot study (see below). Participants were asked to rate how
characteristic they found each attribute to be of drag queens on a 5-point
Likert scale. Response options included: 1 (very uncharacteristic of drag
queens), 2 (somewhat uncharacteristic of drag queens), 3 (no more char-
acteristic of drag queens than of any other group within the gay community),
4(somewhat characteristic of drag queens)and5(very characteristic of drag
queens). Space also was provided for respondents to add any attributes that
they felt were characteristic of drag queens but had not been included on
the checklist.
A 5-point scale (2=extremely negative;1=negative;0=neutral;
1=positive;and2=extremely positive) was used to determine whether
participants perceived each stereotype as positive or negative.
The ADMI-60 contains 60 statements that denote stereotypical hegemonic
masculinity (e.g., “When my partner struggles during sex it makes me feel
strong”; Burk, Burkhart, & Sikorski, 2004). Participants were asked to indicate
the extent to which they agreed/disagreed with each statement using a 5-
point Likert scale: 0 (strongly disagree), 1 (disagree), 2 (neutral), 3 (agree),
and4(strongly agree). Burk et al. provide evidence attesting to the scale’s
adequate construct validity and scale score reliability.
The checklist developed by Madon (1997) focused on gay male stereotypes;
therefore, to ensure this list was appropriate for the targeted group (i.e.,
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Stereotypes of Drag Queens 559
drag queens), a pilot study was conducted. Four gay men from differing
backgrounds and ages, recruited through chain-referral (snowball) sampling,
served as participants. They were asked to review Madon’s checklist for
suitability and to also provide any additional attributes they believed were
descriptive of drag queens. For an item to be added or removed, agree-
ment was required by at least two participants. Based on this criterion, the
stereotypic attributes “hair dressers,” “wear tight pants,” “transvestites,” “walk
like girls,” and “effeminate” were removed,2with “irritating,” “offensive,”
“condescending,” “embarrassing,” “confused,” “hilarious,” and “dramatic”
being added. The counter-stereotypic attribute “traditional” was removed and
replaced with “entertaining.”
Prospective respondents were recruited via poster-based advertising around
the campus of a Canadian University and at its Pride center. In addi-
tion, Web site links and poster advertising at other university Pride centers
across Canada were employed. In order to maximize the number of par-
ticipants recruited, chain-referral (i.e., snowball) sampling was used both
in person and through the social networking Web site Facebook. Finally,
Listserv recruitment was employed, with a link for the online survey
distributed to Listserv members of a local GLBT organization and the
Canadian Psychological Association’s Section on Sexual Orientation and
Gender Identity (SOGI).
After logging onto the survey website, participants were presented with
a consent form that indicated the study was completely anonymous, vol-
untary, and that they could withdraw at any time without their data being
included. Following the consent page, participants were asked to define the
term drag queen within a text box. After submitting their response, a defi-
nition of drag queen, taken from the Oxford English Dictionary (2009), was
provided to ensure that each participant responded to the subsequent items
using the same operational definition. Next, participants answered basic
demographic questions followed by the stereotype checklist/valence mea-
sure and the ADMI-60. Once complete, participants were asked to provide
debriefing information. Finally, any participants interested in being entered
in a draw for a gift card were asked to provide their personal informa-
tion, which was stored separately. Overall, the survey took approximately
30 minutes to complete.
Frequency distributions were used to identify attributes that respon-
dents perceived as stereotypic and counter-stereotypic of drag queens. As
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560 CJ Bishop et al.
recommended by Madon (1997), for an attribute to be labeled stereotypic,
at least 60% of participants had to classify it as “very” or “somewhat” charac-
teristic and less than 10% had to classify it as “very” or “somewhat” unchar-
acteristic. The converse was used to identify attributes as counter-stereotypic
(i.e., <10% “very/somewhat” characteristic; 60%+“very/somewhat” unchar-
acteristic). The top 15 stereotypic and counter-stereotypic traits for drag
queens are listed in Tables 1 and 2, respectively. On average, the stereotypic
attributes were positively valenced (M=0.41, SD =0.51), and the counter-
stereotypic attributes were negatively valenced (M=−0.32, SD =0.35).
One-sample ttests revealed that both values differed significantly from 0:
stereotypic attributes, t(105) =6.66, p<.001, and counter-stereotypic
attributes, t(101) =−13.30, p<.001.
A multiplicative index (MI) was calculated by multiplying the mean
endorsement for each stereotypic/counter-stereotypic attribute by its
respective valence score; summing these products; and then dividing by 15
(the total number of attributes retained). MI values were generated ranging
from 10 to +10. Scores moving from 0 to 10 suggest stronger endorse-
ment of negatively valenced attributes, whereas scores from 0 to +10 reflect
stronger endorsement of positively valenced attributes.
Given that the ADMI-60 was designed for heterosexual men, items were
inspected to ensure their relevance to gay participants. Specifically, state-
ments on the ADMI-60 were retained for analysis if their rates of agreement
and disagreement were 30% or higher (i.e., the items had sufficient variability
and responses to the items were not skewed). Nineteen items were kept
(see Appendix A). A principal component analysis (PCA) then was used to
TABLE 1 Stereotypes Most Frequently Ascribed to Drag Queens (N=118)
Attribute SC PES Valence MI
Outspoken 93% 4.47 0.03 0.13
Dramatic 91% 4.31 0.10 0.43
Sociable 91% 4.17 1.13 4.71
Enthusiastic 90% 4.16 0.96 3.99
Melodramatic 89% 4.42 0.63 2.78
Proud 87% 4.19 0.89 3.73
Talkative 87% 4.19 0.53 2.22
Well groomed 84% 4.04 1.11 4.48
Flirtatious 84% 4.25 0.11 0.47
Different 81% 3.91 0.42 1.64
Emotional 80% 4.14 0.14 0.58
Liberal 78% 3.92 0.69 2.70
Frank 78% 4.14 0.08 0.33
Individualistic 71% 3.80 0.69 2.62
Open about feelings 67% 3.73 0.66 2.46
MEAN 4.12 0.41 1.63
(SD) (0.21) (0.53) (2.21)
Note. SC =Stereotype Checklist; PES =Personal Endorsement of Stereotypes (possible range 1–5);
Valence (possible range 2to+2); MI =Multiplicative Index (possible range 10 to +10).
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Stereotypes of Drag Queens 561
TABLE 2 Counter-stereotypes Most Frequently Ascribed to Drag Queens (N=118)
Attribute SC PES Valence MI
Unemotional 88% 1.90 0.67 1.27
Hunt animals 86% 1.75 0.64 1.12
Sloppy looking 86% 1.97 0.83 1.64
Conservative dress 85% 1.95 0.03 0.06
Close-minded 85% 2.08 1.14 2.37
Conservative personality 83% 2.03 0.37 0.75
Act macho 81% 1.78 0.37 0.66
Masculine 80% 1.74 0.25 0.44
Dainty 78% 2.04 0.17 0.35
Cruel 78% 1.88 1.50 2.82
Thin 75% 1.97 0.24 0.47
Old-fashioned 74% 2.12 0.45 0.95
Studs 70% 2.12 0.21 0.45
Athletic 69% 1.99 0.77 1.53
Like the status quo 67% 2.15 0.37 0.80
MEAN 1.96 0.32 0.61
(SD) (0.13) (0.60) (1.17)
Note. SC =Stereotype Checklist; PES =Personal Endorsement of Stereotypes (possible range 1–5);
Valence (possible range 2to+2); MI =Multiplicative Index (possible range 10 to +10).
determine if the pool of items could be reduced further. Diagnostic tests such
as the Kaiser-Myer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy (.90) and Bartlett’s
test of sphericity (χ2[171] =1195.59, p<0.001) suggested the data were
suitable for PCA. A one-component solution was identified (eigenvalue =
9.28; 48.81% variance accounted for), with component loadings ranging from
.55 to .84. Cronbach’s alpha for the 19 items was excellent (.94), with upper-
and lower-bound confidence intervals suggesting that unsatisfactory levels of
scale score reliability were unlikely to occur (95% CI =.92–.96). The mean
score on the 19-items was 34.25 (SD =16.76) indicating that participants
evidenced low endorsement of hypermasculine belief statements.
To investigate the study’s central hypothesis, correlations were com-
puted between total scores on the 19-item hypermasculinity measure and
stereotypic and counter-stereotypic MIs. The resultant rvalues were: 0.62,
p<0.001 and .30, p=0.005. Thus, as gay participants’ hypermasculinity
increases so, too, does their endorsement of negatively valenced stereotypes
about drag queens. Those evidencing greater hypermasculinity also are more
likely to perceive positively valenced attributes as less characteristic of drag
queens (i.e., more counter-stereotypic).
The present investigation revealed that, on average, attributes rated as
stereotypic of drag queens were positively valenced, while those rated as
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562 CJ Bishop et al.
counter-stereotypic were negatively valenced. Further, as predicted, gay male
participants who subscribed to traditional views of masculinity evidenced
negative beliefs about drag queens in two ways: (1) ascription of nega-
tively valenced characteristics and (2) non-ascription of positively valenced
Given previous literature (e.g., Berkowitz et al., 2007), one might antici-
pate that most of the stereotypes gay men hold about drag queens would be
perceived as negative. A potential explanation for the finding that attributes
regarded as most stereotypic received positive valence ratings resides in the
“celebrity” status accorded to some drag queens—within the gay commu-
nity as well as within broader mainstream society (e.g., RuPaul). Many of
the characteristics attributed to drag queens relate to their onstage personas
(e.g., outspoken, enthusiastic, talkative, and frank) and are characteristics
that might be admired in any public figure.
Another possible explanation for positively valenced stereotypes may
relate to the increased visibility of drag queens in mainstream media, since
contact with gay men—be it real, imagined, or via mass media (i.e., paraso-
cial), leads to reductions in prejudice (Herek & Capitiano, 1996; Schiappa,
Gregg, & Hewes, 2005; Turner, Crisp, & Lambert, 2007). For example,
Schiappa et al. (2005) randomly assigned participants to a control condition
(lecture on public speaking) or experimental condition (80-minute pro-
gram featuring Eddie Izzard, a well-known transvestite comic). Participants
completed an “Attitudes toward Transvestites” (ATT) measure pre- and
post-intervention. As expected, scores on the ATT significantly increased,
denoting less prejudice, for those in the experimental group. No statistically
significant change occurred for those in the control condition. It is possible
that a similar phenomenon takes place regarding gay men’s beliefs and feel-
ings about drag queens. Even if the gay men in the current study had little
or no physical interaction with drag queens, they have probably encoun-
tered them, to some extent, through media (e.g., “RuPaul’s Drag Race”).
Such parasocial contact may facilitate a reduction in negative stereotypes
about drag queens.
The finding that gay men who endorse hegemonic masculinity hold
negative stereotypes about drag queens seems broadly analogous to pre-
vious research on heterosexual men. Past studies have demonstrated that
heterosexual men who subscribe to masculine views typically hold negative
attitudes toward gay men (Davies, 2004). These men often have overtly sexist
attitudes, disapprove of feminism, and adhere to traditional views regarding
male sexuality. They tend to view gay men as having cross-gender attributes
and mannerisms, and this forms the basis for their prejudice (Herek, 2004).
In a similar manner, gay men who subscribe to masculine views may hold
negative stereotypes about drag queens because they violate the gender
norms and traditional views of sexuality they endorse.
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Stereotypes of Drag Queens 563
Previous research has demonstrated that hypermasculinity, or the desire
to be a “real man,” can be both psychologically and physically damaging for
gay men. In past studies, hypermasculinity among gay men has been associ-
ated with serious health risk behaviors, including HIV infection (Hamilton &
Mahalik, 2009; McInnes, Bradley, & Prestage, 2009), lower-quality relation-
ships (Wade & Donis, 2007), negative feelings about being gay (Sánchez,
Westefeld, Liu, & Vilain, 2010), and male same-sex intimate violence (Kay
& Jeffries, 2010). The current study offers evidence that hypermasculine atti-
tudes may be damaging to the gay community collectively. If one subgroup
within this community negatively stereotypes another, it will be more diffi-
cult to combat the negative stereotyping of gay persons by the heterosexual
There are a number of possible theoretical explanations for the find-
ing that overtly masculine gay men hold negative stereotypes about drag
queens. Herek’s (1987) functional approach to attitudes provides one useful
framework for examining the results. Herek hypothesized that individuals
rely on three primary functions in their appraisal of others: experiential-
schematic, defensive, and self-expressive. With regard to the current study,
the experiential-schematic function would help gay men understand previ-
ous or imagined interactions with drag queens. The self-expressive function
would serve participants with an opportunity to communicate views con-
sistent with their own values and those of their peer group. Finally, the
defensive function would help to distance unwanted stimuli that could elicit
discomfort with participants’ own sexuality, such as drag queens’ violation of
gender norms. For example, an overtly masculine gay man may: (1) have lit-
tle or no interaction with drag queens (experimental-schematic function);
(2) have a peer group consisting largely of other overtly masculine gay
men (self-expressive function); and (3) distance himself from the behavior
of drag queens (defensive function). Through these three functions, overtly
masculine gay men may come to negatively stereotype drag queens.
Future research in this area should include continued qualitative stud-
ies of drag queens’ perceptions of the gay community and their sense of
inclusion or exclusion. Despite being subject to negative stereotypes from
masculine gay men, it is possible that drag queens still maintain a sense
of belonging within the gay community. A more detailed examination of
the reasons for endorsement of positive or negative stereotypes about drag
queens would also be useful. For example, is there a relationship between
internalized homonegativity and endorsement of negative stereotypes about
drag queens? Also, the behavioral implications of subscribing to negative
stereotypes could be examined. Although masculine gay men hold nega-
tive stereotypes about drag queens, are these stereotypes associated with
prejudice or discrimination against members of this group?
A limitation to this study is that a convenience sample was used in
which most participants were young adults and affiliated with gay and
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564 CJ Bishop et al.
lesbian centers. Given that these men have grown up in a society char-
acterized by increased tolerance and understanding of homosexuality, their
stereotypes about drag queens may differ appreciably from older partici-
pants or those less integrated with the gay community. Second, the majority
of participants were residents of a fairly rural Canadian province and, con-
sequently, may have had limited exposure to drag queens. The potential
implications of contact with this social category in terms of the stereo-
types endorsed or rejected are unknown. Third, the measure of hegemonic
masculinity that was used was not designed specifically for gay men. The
19-item version that we created had sufficient variance in terms of item
agreement/disagreement and excellent scale score reliability. The confirma-
tion of predicted associations between scores on the hypermasculinity scale
and endorsement of negatively valenced stereotypes (and rejection of pos-
itively valenced counter-stereotypes) also attests to the measure’s construct
validity. However, it is recommended that researchers wishing to examine
hypermasculinity and attitudes toward drag queens employ a measure that
is content valid for gay men (e.g., Fishgrund, Halkitis, & Carroll, 2012).
Despite these limitations, the current study demonstrates that drag
queens are subject to a range of negatively valenced stereotypes, partic-
ularly by gay men who subscribe to traditional hegemonic masculinity.
Future research should focus on the socialization of young gay men, and
the processes by which they acquire these stereotypes and perceive them
as negatively valenced. Abundant research demonstrates that gay men are
subject to a range of negative stereotypes from the wider world (e.g., Herek,
2000). It seems somewhat ironic, therefore, that a substantial proportion of
our gay sample attributed negative stereotypes to other members of their
community. Efforts to ameliorate this situation would not only be of benefit
to those men who engage in drag but to the gay community at large.
1. The term femi-negativity has been used instead of femi-phobia since any negative attitudes and
prejudice directed toward overtly feminine gay men cannot always be identified as a phobic response.
As a broader term, femi-negativity better captures all forms of negativity directed toward overtly feminine
gay men.
2. Due to an oversight, the attribute “warm-hearted” was not included in the questionnaire package.
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Items Selected from ADMI-60
1. I think gay men who cry are weak.
2. I don’t feel guilty for long when I cheat on my boyfriend/husband.
3. There are two kinds of men: the kind I date, and the kind I would marry.
4. I like to tell stories of my sexual experiences to my male friends.
5. If a man struggles while we are having sex, it makes me feel strong.
6. If someone challenges me, I let them see my anger.
7. Many men are not as tough as me.
8. I value power over other people.
9. If a man puts up a fight while we are having sex, it makes the sex more
10. I prefer to watch contact sports like football or boxing.
11. I like to brag about my sexual conquests to my friends.
12. I can date many men at the same time without commitment.
13. I don’t mind using physical violence to defend what I have.
14. I would initiate a fight if someone threatened me.
15. If some guy tries to make me look like a fool, I’ll get him back.
16. I consider myself quite superior to most other men.
17. If another man made a pass at my boyfriend/husband, I would want to
beat him up.
18. Sometimes, I have to threaten people to make them do what I want.
19. If I exercise, I play a real sport like football or weight-lifting.
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... Consequently, they have been found to privilege masculinity over femininity (Miller, 2020), generally wishing to be more masculine than they perceive themselves to be (Sanchez, Westfield, Ming Liu, & Vilain, 2010). Bishop, Kiss, Morrison, Rushe, and Specht (2014) found that gay and queer men who subscribe to hegemonic masculinity held negative stereotypical views of effeminate and other gender-nonconforming men, articulating internalised homophobia as antieffeminacy, which regiments gay and queer masculinities. Clarkson (2006) suggests that a hierarchy of homomasculinities is enforced through homophobic and femmephobic communication, and that gay and queer men are turned against each other in the battle for ascendency within the homohierarchy. ...
Full-text available
The development of queer theory in gender studies has provided multiple possibilities to investigate different aspects of gender construction and performance among people who identify as different from the dominant heterosexual norm. This narrative inquiry examines the identities of gay and queer men in Aotearoa New Zealand, as narrated in semi-structured interviews, with most of them recorded via virtual interactions during the COVID-19 lockdown in March-April of 2020. Narrative analysis of the participants’ stories focuses on how gay and queer individuals navigate their lives as non-normative men who are Othered by traditional, hegemonic and hierarchical masculinity. This research explores how these narratives of post-gay identities contest and move beyond heteronormativity, striving for a liberated presentation of individual self where sexuality is no longer a defining characteristic but one of many on a spectrum.
... Quelle place sont-elles amenées à jouer dans les futures mobilisations publiques LGBT ? Plus encore, dans leur proximité avec le milieu gay, que provoquent les interactions entre les masculinités gays et la visibilité Drag (Berkowitz, Belgrave et Halberstein, 2007 ;Bishop, Kiss et al. 2014) ? Les interrogations que soulève ce ...
... For example, older adults were more likely to distance themselves from their age group when they were exposed to negative age stereotypes (Weiss & Freund, 2012). Other research suggests that Gay men might distance themselves from negative ingroup stereotypes by displaying stereotypically male behaviors (Bishop, Kiss, Morrison, Rushe, & Specht, 2014;Clarkson, 2006;Eguchi, 2009). ...
Special Issue description: Despite equal rights, minority groups such as ethnic minorities, LGBTQ + people, and people with mental or physical disabilities face discrimination on a day-to-day basis in subtle and hard-to-recognize forms. As discrimination slips beneath the surface, it becomes difficult to fight the stigma using collective social identity coping mechanisms. Instead, individual mobility responses such as distancing the self from the stigmatized identity (“self-group distancing”) become more viable as a way to improve one's individual standing. In this overview of the state of the art, we take a social identity lens to reflect on the current empirical knowledge base on self-group distancing as a coping mechanism and provide a framework on what self-group distancing is; when, where and why self-group distancing likely occurs; and what its consequences are at the individual and the collective level. The contributions in this special issue provide novel insights into how these processes unfold, and serve as a basis to set a future research agenda, for example on what can be done to prevent self-group distancing (i.e., interventions). Together, the insights highlight that while self-group distancing may seem effective to (strategically and temporarily) alleviate discomfort or to improve one's own position, on a broader collective level and over time self-group distancing tends to keep the current unequal social hierarchy in place.
... For example, older adults were more likely to distance themselves from their age group when they were exposed to negative age stereotypes (Weiss & Freund, 2012). Other research suggests that Gay men might distance themselves from negative ingroup stereotypes by displaying stereotypically male behaviors (Bishop, Kiss, Morrison, Rushe, & Specht, 2014;Clarkson, 2006;Eguchi, 2009). ...
Full-text available
Outgroup favoritism among members of stigmatized can be seen as a form of self‐group distancing. We examined how intergroup evaluations in stigmatized groups vary as a function of ingroup typicality. In Study 1 and 2, Black participants (N = 125,915; N = 766) more strongly preferred light‐skinned or White relative to dark‐skinned or Black individuals the lighter their own skin tone. In Study 3, overweight participants (N = 147,540) more strongly preferred normal‐weight relative to overweight individuals the lower their own body weight. In Study 4, participants with disabilities (N = 35,058) more strongly preferred non‐disabled relative to disabled individuals the less visible they judged their own disability. Relationships between ingroup typicality and intergroup evaluations were at least partially mediated by ingroup identification (Study 2 and 3). A meta‐analysis across studies yielded an average effect size of r = .12. Furthermore, higher ingroup typicality was related to both ingroup and outgroup evaluations. We discuss ingroup typicality as an individual constraint to self‐group distancing among stigmatized group members and its relation to intergroup evaluations.
... Indeed, 'drag queens often rely on the 'real' male body beneath the performance of femininity' (Drysdale, 2019, p. 25). It is a common misconception that drag queens are mocking women and femininity (Bishop et al., 2014). Rather, they are challenging traditional binary gender and sexual identities (Rupp, Taylor & Shapiro, 2010). ...
Full-text available
The field of event studies has attracted a breadth of research on the triple-bottom line of economic efficiency, environmental integrity and social equity. The focus of many studies related to event tourism, however, has fallen upon the economic and environmental dimensions of events with far less attention on “social equity.” The potential of events tourism to facilitate justice and equity for marginalised and minority groups has been especially overlooked. LGBTQI+ communities utilise gay events, such as pride parades, as mediums to communicate their identities and seek support from broader society. This paper examines a unique festival space where LGBTQI+ communities can resist marginalisation and exclusion, counteract stereotypical images and representations, and reconstitute space to fully embrace their identity and their communities. This study draws on neo-tribal theoretical insights to examine the case of the Broken Heel drag queen festival, held in the rural Australian town of Broken Hill. The study analyses Instagram posts using a netnographic approach to explore the spatiality of this festival and participant practices on the journey and at the festival site. Results points to the importance of LGBTQI+ events such as the Broken Heel festival to counter marginalisation and promote social justice and sociality for LGBTQI+ people through individual and collective expression of emotional connectedness and non-heterosexual identities.
... For those for whom this threat occurs, it is likely to lead to negative reactions to drag performers. There is, to our knowledge, little psychological research on this topic, but Bishop, Kiss, Morrison, Rushe, and Specht (2014) show that gay men who endorse hypermasculinity indeed view drag queens more negatively (see also Berkowitz & Belgrave, 2010). ...
Full-text available
In the Western world, gender has traditionally been viewed in the Western world as binary and as following directly from biological sex. This view is slowly changing among both experts and the general public, a change that has been met with strong opposition. In this article, we explore the psychological processes underlying these dynamics. Drawing on previous work on gender performativity as well as gender as a performance, we develop a psychological framework of the perpetuation and disruption of the gender/sex binary on a stage that facilitates and foregrounds binary gender/sex performance. Whenever character, costume, and script are not aligned the gender/sex binary is disrupted and gender trouble ensues. We integrate various strands of the psychological literature into this framework and explain the processes underlying these reactions. We propose that gender trouble can elicit threat—personal threat, group-based and identity threat, and system threat—which in turn leads to efforts to alleviate this threat through the reinforcement of the gender/sex binary. Our framework challenges the way psychologists have traditionally treated gender/sex in theory and empirical work and proposes new avenues and implications for future research.
... While they reported feeling celebrated as performers, drag queens also report feeling marginalized by other gay men on an interpersonal level (Berkowitz, Belgrave, & Halberstein, 2007). In particular, and in line with other findings about how masculinity functions within the gay community, gay men who report concerns with appearing masculine are also more likely to display a negative attitude toward drag queens (Bishop, Kiss, Morrison, Rushe, & Specht, 2014). Thus, advocates and leaders within the gay community need to ensure that the message that they send both to the wider world and toward those struggling with their sexual identity is one of acceptance, regardless of whether one is enacting in line with traditional gender role stereotypes. ...
Full-text available
Recent literature has described the phenomenon of “straight-acting” gay men: gay men who identify with traditional heteronormative masculinity. The current study examined predictors of “straight-acting” identification in gay men and how identifying as straight-acting relates to well-being. A sample of Australian gay men (N = 966) provided self-report data on two potential predictors of straight-acting identity: self-perceived masculinity and internalized homophobia. A path analysis assessed how these variables related to straight-acting identification. While masculine self-presentation positively predicted well-being and internalized homophobia negatively predicted well-being, straight-acting identification, which positively correlated with both, did not independently predict either psychological distress or physical well-being. Analyses further suggested that internalized homophobia had particularly deleterious effects among gay men who were more feminine. Implications for clinical and public health interventions among gay men are discussed.
... The cultural meanings attached to femininity underlie experiences of prejudice, as supported by interdisciplinary scholarship (for an overview, see Hoskin, 2017a;Bailey, 1996;Hooberman, 1979;Miller, 2015;Theodore & Basow, 2000). The overarching theme of feminine devaluation runs through terms such as trans-misogyny (Serano, 2007(Serano, , 2013a, femi-negativity (Bishop, Kiss, Morrison, Rushe, & Specht, 2014), sissyphobia (Bergling, 2002(Bergling, , 2006Eguchi, 2011), anti-effeminacy (Sanchez & Vilain, 2012), slut-shaming (Tanenbaum, 2015), and misogynoir (Bailey, 2014), even though these terms target specific social groups (e.g., transgender women, gay men, women of color). Feminine devaluation, however it is termed, connects rape myth acceptance to homophobia (Davies, Gilston, & Rogers, 2012); homophobia to misogyny (Kilianski, 2003;Taywaditep, 2001); and misogyny to white supremacy (Anti-Defamation League, 2018). ...
Full-text available
The devaluing of femininity is a social problem with serious consequences. Violence against women, men, transgender people, and racial minorities is often exacerbated when elements of femmephobia are present. Femmephobia refers to the devaluation and regulation of femininity and suggests a separate, perhaps overlapping, phenomenon specific to gender (e.g., femininity), rather than gender/sex (e.g., woman) or sex (e.g., female). Yet, despite growing evidence warranting the consideration of femmephobia, little research has considered femininity as an intersectional axis. Femmephobia has been examined in a fractured manner, isolating its various manifestations in specific, rather than overarching ways. The current paper explored how these systems are interrelated and argues that sources of oppression underlying many forms of violence today (e.g., anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes, Incel attacks, sexual violence, transgender murders) are all symptoms of the same underlying social prejudice: femmephobia. While sexism, transphobia, homophobia, and racism also play a role, previous research tends to overlook or conflate the role of femmephobia in fueling prejudice and violence. Using in-depth interviews and thematic analysis, the current paper explored the intersecting role of femmephobia in experiences of oppression among sexual and gender minorities (N = 38). Two thematic networks are presented. The first network pertains to masculine themes: masculine privilege, masculinity as protective, and masculinity as the norm. The second network pertains to femininity: feminine inferiority , femininity as target, and femininity as inauthentic. The connection between these two thematic networks illustrates the symbiotic relationship between femmephobia and the gender binary. Finally, patterns identified from the thematic analysis were used to generate a model of femmephobia. This paper suggests that the gender binary is not merely a division; it is also hierarchical and regulated by femmephobia.
... Fischgrund, Halkitis, and Carroll (2012) explicate how hegemonic norms for masculinities within gay men's communities strongly impact the mental health of gay men, with recommendations for reframing how masculinities are constructed and constituted within gay communities to lessen the psychological and social pressures to engage with dominant norms for masculinity. In their study of non-heterosexual identifying men's perspectives of drag queens, Bishop, Kiss, Morrison, Rushe, and Specht (2014) delineate how many gay men hold negative perceptions of drag queens, particularly in regards to the drag queens' respective gender expression and perceived femininity. These negative views can affect drag queens' sense of community and belonging in mainstream gay cultures. ...
Full-text available
Authenticity is a commonly heralded ideal in Western modernist discourses, with a large amount of literature describing individuals' personal journeys towards self-fulfillment (Bialystok, 2009, 2013, 2015, 2017; Taylor, 1991; Varga, 2014). This paper examines Lauren Bialystok's (2013) conception of authenticity in sex/gender identity and proposes that effeminate or 'femme' gay men make a strong case for fitting within such a conception of authenticity. Effeminate gay men experience significant in-group discrimination within gay men's communities, with many gay men "defeminizing" (Taywaditep, 2002) themselves upon entering adulthood and mainstream gay communities. Through this exploration of Bialystok's (2013) model for authenticity in sex/gender identity and the identity-based challenges effeminate or femme gay men experience, this paper describes why effeminate gay men fit Bialystok's model, and the ethical dilemmas of theorizing authenticity in personal identity (Bialystok, 2009, 2011). Providing supportive and positive early environments in school while specifically addressing gender-based discrimination in childhood provides more opportunities for positive identity development and the potential of fulfilling self-authenticity within gender identity for femme gay men.
This paper explores the discursive constructions of femininity and masculinity expressed by incels. Situated within a new wave of misogyny, incels blame feminism for disrupting a natural order whereby women and broader societal structures are organised around heterosexual, monogamous couplings. Using femmephobia as a lens, I consider how incels employ heteropatriarchal conceptions of emphasised femininity to both devalue women and describe pervasive social conditions that force them to remain celibate. Femmephobia casts feminine expressions as inherently performative and directed towards a masculine subject. Through an online ethnography of incel-identified subreddits and a deep-reading of Elliot Rodger’s manifesto, this paper situates incel discourse within contemporary work on critical femininity. It finds that incels use gendered actors to illustrate and explain their status as incels. Further, these actors all operate within heteropatriarchal understandings of gender, and operationalise femininity or hegemonic masculinity for social capital. Through the use of these actors, incels demonstrate how they view sexual access and relationships as a unique form of capital that they are denied. Taking gender as its starting point, this paper contributes to the emerging field of critical femininity through an understanding of the misogyny and femmephobia expressed by incels through the use of gendered actors.
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We propose a communication analogue to Allport's (19541. Allport GW 1954 The nature of prejudice Cambridge, MA Perseus Books View all references) Contact Hypothesis called the Parasocial Contact Hypothesis (PCH). If people process mass-mediated parasocial interaction in a manner similar to interpersonal interaction, then the socially beneficial functions of intergroup contact may result from parasocial contact. We describe and test the PCH with respect to majority group members' level of prejudice in three studies, two involving parasocial contact with gay men (Six Feet Under and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) and one involving parasocial contact with comedian and male transvestite Eddie Izzard. In all three studies, parasocial contact was associated with lower levels of prejudice. Moreover, tests of the underlying mechanisms of PCH were generally supported, suggesting that parasocial contact facilitates positive parasocial responses and changes in beliefs about the attributes of minority group categories.
Sexual prejudice refers to negative attitudes toward an individual because of her or his sexual orientation. In this article, the term is used to characterize heterosexuals' negative attitudes toward (a) homosexual behavior, (b) people with a homosexual or bisexual orientation, and (c) communities of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. Sexual prejudice is a preferable term to homophobia because it conveys no assumptions about the motivations underlying negative attitudes, locates the study of attitudes concerning sexual orientation within the broader context of social psychological research on prejudice, and avoids value judgments about such attitudes. Sexual prejudice remains widespread in the United States, although moral condemnation has decreased in the 1990s and opposition to antigay discrimination has increased. The article reviews current knowledge about the prevalence of sexual prejudice, its psychological correlates, its underlying motivations, and its relationship to hate crimes and other antigy behaviors.
This paper argues for the value of a reformulated and reoperationalized functional approach to attitudes. The development of two new procedures for directly assessing functions is described. First, a content analysis procedure was devised, using essays written by undergraduate students describing their attitudes toward lesbians and gay men. Patterns of themes were identified in the essays that indicate the presence of three functions: Experiential-Schematic, Defensive and Self-Expressive. Correlations with theoretically relevant measures indicate that the content analysis procedure effectively assesses attitude functions. In a second study, an objectively-scored method, the Attitude Functions Inventory (AFI), was developed and used to assess the functions served by attitudes toward lesbians and gay men and toward persons with three stigmatizing disabilities: AIDS, mental illness and cancer. In the AFI, the Self-Expressive function observed in the first study was subdivided into Social-Expressive and Value-Expressive functions. Preliminary data support the AFI's validity. Theoretical and methodological implications for future research are discussed.
Sexual prejudice refers to negative attitudes toward an individual because of her or his sexual orientation. In this article, the term is used to characterize heterosexuals' negative attitudes toward (a) homosexual behavior, (b) people with a homosexual or bisexual orientation, and (c) communities of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. Sexual prejudice is a preferable term to homophobia because it conveys no assumptions about the motivations underlying negative attitudes, locates the study of attitudes concerning sexual orientation within the broader context of social psychological research on prejudice, and avoids value judgments about such attitudes. Sexual prejudice remains widespread in the United States, although moral condemnation has decreased in the 1990s and opposition to antigay discrimination has increased. The article reviews current knowledge about the prevalence of sexual prejudice, its psychological correlates, its underlying motivations, and its relationship to hate crimes and other antigay behaviors.
In this article, the author examines 2,400 men's personal advertisements from the Internet to explore gender role and sex role preferences in mate selection. Using content analysis, the author examines how men define their gender roles and sex roles, and how they express role preferences in their mate. The results show that when compared with gay men, straight men are less concerned about gender roles and sex roles. Gay men's personal advertisements are the real analytic lens here because they are the ones faced with the ambiguities that need to be negotiated, whereas straight men may have taken gender-typical roles for granted. The author also discusses how men knowingly or unknowingly express and reproduce cultural norms of heterosexuality and gender-typical behavior, and how they may perpetuate forms of heterosexism and sexism.
L'A. examine l'evolution aux Etats-Unis des attitudes par rapport a l'homosexualite. Il analyse les resultats des enquetes menees dans ce pays depuis le debut des annees 1970. Il souligne que, dans l'opinion publique americaine, l'homosexualite apparait de plus en plus comme etant d'origine genetique. Il etudie la maniere dont les americains envisagent les droits des homosexuels et la possibilite pour ces derniers de servir dans l'armee
The average student of diverse sexuality hears eight homophobic insults per day with one third from faculty and staff. Through a lens of citizenship education, we elucidate heteronormative undercurrents obstructing the acceptance of sexual diversity; in-depth analysis of two such barriers, the public man and the ethics of marriage, are provided and suggest that heteronormativity, with roots in the Enlightenment discourse, is overpowering instrumental curricula promoting the acceptance of sexual diversity. Further, the perpetuation of such heteronormative undercurrents can and should be seen as a form of violence: cloaked bullying. The article challenges the use of “It's Ok to be Gay” kits and other modes of essentializing sexual diversity, and petitions educators to remain cognizant of heteronormative undercurrents in their teaching practice. By laboring to dislodge heteronormative underpinnings educators are enabled to model genuine open-minded and accepting citizenship and effect meaningful progress in the acceptance of sexual diversity.
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