No Homo: Gendered Dimensions of Homophobic Epithets Online
We examine a case of homophobic language online, specifically the deployment of the phrase “no homo,” shorthand for “I’m not a homosexual.” An analysis of 396 instances (comprising 1061 individual tweets) of the use of the phrase “no homo” on the social media platform Twitter suggests that the phrase is a gendered epithet that conveys cultural norms about masculinity. The first finding is that the phrase is used more often by male tweeters than by female tweeters. The second, as predicted by the literature on homophobia, is that the phrase is used in a negative emotional context to convey disapproval for men’s homosexuality or behavior that is not gender normative. The third finding is that the modal use of the phrase “no homo” is in a positive emotional context, accompanying expressions of men’s pleasure, desire, affection, attachment, and friendship. Our analysis suggests that the phrase “no homo” is a gendered one, primarily used by men to facilitate a particularly masculinized construction of positive emotional expression. Our research adds to and complicates findings on the relationship between homophobia and masculinity that suggests that homophobia is an organizing principal of masculinity in western cultures.
KeywordsHomophobia Emotion Men Masculinity Social media
The authors thank the Earl and Edna Stice Memorial Lectureship in Social Sciences Fund and the David M. and Nancy L. Petrone Faculty Scholar Fund for supporting this research. We also thank Aaron Gullickson and Annie McGlynn-Wright for their help with the quantitative aspects of our article; as well as audiences at the University of Washington, Boston University, and University of Chicago for their feedback on various versions of our article. Finally, we thank Andrea Herrera for her research assistance on our project.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
Neither author has potential conflicts of interest regarding this research.
Research involving Human Participants and/or Animals
No animals were involved in this research. The University of Oregon Institutional Review Board determined that this project did not need to undergo review as it dealt with publicly available online textual data.
No informed consent was necessary for this project.
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