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Sexualities, desire and ‘lifestyle’: masculinity constructs in three Greek - page 11 / 17

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text the author describes the process of seducing a woman, again metaphorically, as a ‘game’5, evoking yet another well-established conceptualisation of men-women relationships, in line with the metaphorical frame of WAR discussed above in the Playboy text.

Thus, in this text of Status we have some representations and advice that do not adhere to Greek masculinity stereotypes – however, they all revolve around preoccupation with appearance (detailed discussion of colour combinations for clothes and shoes, brand names and cosmetic use) and the function seems to be the perpetuation of consumerist and upper-class stereotypes. There is no attempt to overthrow stereotypical hegemonic perceptions of ‘male superiority’, ‘gender differences’ or heteronormativity. On the contrary, the less stereotypical elements of masculinity are positioned within the dominant ideological matrix, justified and legitimised in a way that does not challenge but rather reinforces the status-quo.

3.3 Ο ΔΙΚΗΓΟΡΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΔΙΑΒΟΛΟΥ-ΠΟΣΟ ΓΚΕΪ ΜΟΙΑΖΟΥΝ ΟΙ ΜΟΝΤΕΡΝΟΙ ΑΝΤΡΕΣ;

THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE-HOW GAY DO MODERN MEN SEEM?

(Nitro, Feb. 2006, pg. 183)

This text appears to be a commentary on modern men, but at the same time can function as advice/guidance on the ‘problem’ of ‘appearing gay’. Presenting ‘appearing gay’ as a problem of course carries the ideological presupposition that appearing, or being, gay is undesirable and problematic. Moreover, we actually observe a disjunction between masculinity and (male) homosexuality:

(16) ΠΟΣΟ ΓΚΕΪ ΜΟΙΑΖΟΥΝ ΟΙ ΜΟΝΤΕΡΝΟΙ ΑΝΤΡΕΣ;

HOW GAY DO MODERN MEN SEEM?

The verb ‘μοιάζουν’ can be translated as ‘seem’ or ‘look’, which, both in Greek and in English, under one interpretation can mean that something appears to be x, but is not. The question also presupposes that it is a fact that certain straight men (‘modern men’) seem gay, and the question is, to what extent. This on the one hand juxtaposes ‘modern men’ to ‘traditional men’, but on the other hand presumes a ‘fixed’ correlation between sexual orientation and certain behavioural or appearance traits – modern men can seem gay, but not be gay, and they only seem gay because they adopt elements of the ‘gay’ stereotypes (as if it wouldn’t be possible for modern gay men to exist!). Thus ‘gay man’ is not included as a hyponym of the broader category ‘man’, on a par with ‘straight man’, but rather ‘gay’ is represented as a gradable attribute. Clearly this is not in any way reflecting any theoretical concerns about the gradability of biological sex, gender and sexuality (see Wodak, 1997: 2-3, 11-13; Cameron, 1997), or about the fluidity of ‘identity’ - the question is one of appearance rather than essence, relating ‘gay’ to a gendered performance of lifestyle and not much else. As identity constructs, ‘modern man’ and ‘gay man’ are very solidly separated, not only by the wording of expressions such as example 16, but also

5 (drawing on the conventional conceptual metaphor LOVE IS A GAME, similar to Black’s discussion on the metaphorical representation of marriage as a ‘zero-sum game’ (1993) – here a relationship is a zero-sum game where one wins and the other loses)

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