Interesting story reported in Pink News which from what I can work out from the net is based on a research paper delivered in the Spring. Prof Ben Light at Salford Uni has accused the well known dating site, Gaydar, of using “vilage people stereotypes”. The company behind Gaydar pointed out that people don’t need to define themselves as a group to sue the site. I, like them don’t really understand what Prof Light is on about and I’d certainly like to see his full paper. If people define themselves as a role that is self definition and though you could get into the issues around identity construction it seems clear that the site is not responsible (though arguably the online “community” is). I’m not sure I’d even accept that. Where Prof Light may have a point is in relation to the “Sexfactorelement of the site. This is where people can nominate and vote for people on the basis if their appearance and the number of votes given is shown. Now, there are fairly extensive categories and some of them perhaps conform to some “stereotypes” but I’d consider them subcultures. The full list is: Leather, Rubber, Skins & Punk, Muscle (18-30), Muscle (31+), Cubs, Bears, Young Guys (18-21), Young Guys (22+), Guy Next Door (18-30), Guy Next Door (31+), Older Guys, Alternative, Hip, Uniforms and Sports Gear. I’d be interested to know how widely these categories are understood beyond the “active” gay community.
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