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In Defense of Gaydar: Reality Television and the Politics of the GlanceA previous version of this essay was presented at the 2004 National Communication Association's annual convention in Chicago
Critical Studies in Media Communication (2006)
  • Jeffrey A. Bennett, University of Iowa
Abstract

The reality dating programs Boy Meets Boy and Playing It Straight purported to illustrate the elusiveness of performing sexual orientation in a culture that increasingly understands sexuality as fluid. By highlighting stereotypes typically associated with both gay and straight men, the shows exposed the difficulties of determining sexual orientation with “gaydar”. Both gay and straight participants were represented as equally incapacitated to identify sexual orientation. In doing so, the programs sought to advance liberal democratic conceptions of tolerance and equality. Employing Foucault's conception of the “glance,” I explore the problems inherent in relocating “gaydar” to the small screen.

Disciplines
Publication Date
December, 2006
Citation Information
Jeffrey A. Bennett. "In Defense of Gaydar: Reality Television and the Politics of the GlanceA previous version of this essay was presented at the 2004 National Communication Association's annual convention in Chicago" Critical Studies in Media Communication Vol. 23 Iss. 5 (2006)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jeffrey_bennett/4/