Faux Bro: Gay Hookup Websites and Modern Gay America's Masculinity Crisis

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communications


Carol M. Liebler


Gay, Gender, Hookup, Masculinity, Sexuality, Websites

Subject Categories

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Mass Communication


This study seeks to provide a greater understanding of the gender dynamics that play out on gay hookup websites to discover whether gay men are deliberately altering their online gender presentations to suit the current eroticization of masculinity within the gay male community. The findings of this study indicate that gay men are not only masculinizing their digital identities in these online spaces, but that such masculinizations are not needed because of gender performance preferences of other users. Using the survey data collected in this research, this study also finds support for the existence of a butching effect occurring within the digital walls of these sites. This butching effect suggests that the more a gay man engages with media that perpetuate these masculine ideologies, the more he internalizes those messages and believes that in order to be considered attractive by others in the gay community, he must conform to those masculine ideals. Thus, gay men who frequently engage with masculinity-perpetuating messages deliberately alter their online personas to reflect those masculine traits in order to be seen as more attractive by other gay hookup website users.

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