1st Edition

Getting It On Online Cyberspace, Gay Male Sexuality, and Embodied Identity

By John Edward Campbell Copyright 2004
    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    Learn how gay men use Internet technologies to connect with others sharing their erotic desires and to forge affirming communities online!

    Getting It On Online: Cyberspace, Gay Male Sexuality, and Embodied Identity examines the online embodied experiences of gay men. At once scholarly and sensual, this unique book is the result of a three-year ethnographic study chronicling the activities on three distinct social scenes in the world of Internet Relay Chat (IRC)—virtual spaces constructed by gay men for the erotic exploration of the male body. Examining the vital role the body plays in defining these online spaces offers insight into how gay men negotiate their identities through emerging communication technologies. The author combines a critical look at the role of the body in cyberspace with candid accounts of his own online experiences to challenge conventional views on sex, sexuality, and embodied identity.

    Getting It On Online provides an inside look at three specific online communities—gaychub (a community celebrating male obesity), gaymuscle (a community formulated around images of the muscular male body), and gaymusclebears (a space representing the erotic convergence of the obese and muscular male bodies emerging out of the gay male “bear” subculture)—in an effort to unsettle those models of beauty and the erotic depicted in more mainstream media. The book demonstrates how the social position of these men in the physical world in regards to age, race, gender, class, and physical beauty influences their online experiences. Far from a realm of bodiless exultation, Getting It On Online illustrates how the flesh remains very much present in cyberspace.

    Getting It On Online examines topics such as:

    • why people chat online
    • the history of IRC (Internet Relay Chat)
    • how people construct their identities in cyberspace
    • how some online spaces function like virtual gay bars
    • the concept of online disembodiment
    • the role the body plays in online social relations
    • the future of online communication
    • ethnographic research in cyberspace
    • mediated images of the male body and the gay male beauty myth
    • and much more!
    Getting It On Online: Cyberspace, Gay Male Sexuality, and Embodied Identity is an essential resource for anthropologists, sociologists, and psychologists; academics working in gender studies, queer theory, cultural studies, and cyber-culture studies; and anyone interested in gay and lesbian issues and/or cyberspace.

    • Foreword
    • Acknowledgments
    • Chapter 1. Bodiless Exultation?
    • Bodies in Cyberspace . . .
    • Interrogating the Online Disembodiment Thesis
    • Why Gay Men?
    • Coming Attractions
    • Chapter 2. Getting Online
    • Of Virtual Tents on Cyberbeaches . . .
    • A Brief History of IRC
    • Negotiating the Insider/Outsider Duality in Cyberspace
    • Conducting Fieldwork Through the Ether
    • Virtual Ethnography, Real Subjects
    • Chapter 3. Virtual Gay Bars
    • Entering the Virtual Gay Bar
    • General Profile of the Channels
    • Walk Like a Man, Chat Like a Man . . .
    • Who Else Would Go to a Gay Bar?
    • Virtual Queer Havens: Anonymity, Safety, and Erotic Exploration Online
    • Chatting in Private
    • Virtual Havens As Real Communities
    • Chapter 4. Singing the Body Cybernetic
    • Semiotics of the (Cyber)Body
    • To See Someone Online, Just Ask for His “Stats”
    • Online Types: Bodybuilders, Musclebears, and Chubs in Cyberspace
    • Erotic Bodies, Erotic Practices
    • Cyborgs, Freaks, and Online Embodiment
    • Chapter 5. Guts and Muscles and Bears, Oh My!
    • The Gay Male Beauty Myth
    • They Never Show: Reactions to Media Representations of the Male Body
    • Subverting/Reconstructing Beauty Hierarchies in Cyberspace
    • Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful . . .
    • Chapter 6. Getting Off Online
    • Who’s Native to Cyberspace Anyway?
    • Emancipation from the Body?
    • Sanctum Sanctorum in Cyberspace
    • Appendix. IRC Interviewee Profile
    • Notes
    • Bibliography
    • Index


    Campbell, John Edward