Safe Emoji and Locker room talk


According to Psychology today, sadomasochism uses the pain or humiliation element for/ as sexual arousal. In sadomasochism, these taboo desires are allowed to expressed freely. As Cameron and Kulick (2003) describes, a consensual sadomasochistic activities, a safe word is often decided to indicate ‘stop’  because of how ‘No’ in this case can indexes something else, like for one to go one with their actions.

While with the technologies available today, one can easily be involved in sexting. As quoted in Cosmopolitan, sexting becomes a portable erotic classroom for two. Instant messaging has also evolved, with the accompanying array of emojis, we can simply converse just by using these tiny icons.  This makes sexting more interesting where a string of emojis can express one’s sexual desires. According to The daily dot, ? ? mean penetration, or ?  ? ? mean “I’d like to put my hands on your breasts”. It is to note by the author, instead of tomatoes, some may use melons. All this leaves to the interpretation of sexter.

This would to say sadomasochistic sexting can happen with emojis and a safe emoji, in this case, is required. It is recommended that a “safe word which will stand out in context as incongruous and therefore unambiguous” (Cameron & Kulick, 2003, pp. 40).  From these emojis given, ? will most likely be their safe word. While ??????? facial expressions should be avoided because it can allow many different interpretations and one may not immediately associated it to ‘stop’. Because of the ambiguity of the emojis, there can be many interpretations and feelings associated to. Looking through the rest of the emoji, most can be correlated to some other sexual elements, which Julie and Mike may be subjected to too. ?⛓??? can all be interpreted to something sexual while ? may be interpreted as ‘stop’ or for ‘more’.

?  will be an appropriate safe emoji as it isolates most from sexual connotation.


Yes I do agree with UrbanDictionary to a certain extent. Because the topics in locker room talk may not be always about sex, but do contain a certain sexual element. Certainly Donald Trump’s excuse- ‘this-was-locker-room-banter’ further associates locker room talk to always include crude and sexual language, further creating a stereotypical locker room talk in the minds of many.  Bill, here, gave us a clearer view of what locker room talk is like and sometimes even be as simply as about traffic.

Generally locker room talks help to enhance homosocial bonding. In the environment of all boys or girls, having common topics to talk about, allows bonding to happen. While certain sexual elements are often talked about for this bonding to happen like comparing penis or boobs sizes, the banter creates an environment for for these topics to be discussed on without being seen as too ‘gay’ or taboo to talk about it.

I do agree the sexual elements found locker room talk are what aid in serving certain social functions. Like first, these banters have an interpersonal function in establish bonds between each other. The topics in these banters help to establish boundaries of in-group and out-group. Usually talking about women, a form of power hierarchy is established. In these stories, women are always objectified, labelled as ‘bitch’ and while describing their sexual experience, “I screwed her”, all portraying female in a subordinate position.  This is similar to hostess clubs in Tokyo, where female hostesses are hired to facilitate ‘breast talks’ where men openly discussed about their female body parts and these hostesses can only agree to (Allison, 1994). This establishes the men belonging in the same group, in this case, also their hetereosexuality identity is enforced and put down to a powerless status to elevate theirs.

Allison, A. (1994). Nightwork: Sexuality, Pleasure and Corporate Masculinity in a Tokyo Hostess Club. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Cameron, D., & Kulick, D. (2003). Language and sexuality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Queer Linguistics and Queer Theory

‘Queer’ was first introduced in the 19th century to mean ‘homosexual’. Homosexuality then, was seen as a deviant and homosexual acts were heavily legislated. Queer was stained as the negative institutionalization of homosexuality back then. Even in modern dictionary, it is indicated as a ‘derogatory’ or ‘offensive’. Linguistic reclamation of Queer has proven tough, especially with mixed feeling from the LGBT community themselves. In the 1990s, academics have successfully reclaimed queer when Judith Butler, in Gender Trouble and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, in Epistemology of the Closet, founded queer theory. They have successfully reopened discussions on the relations between sexuality and gender, segregating it from the preconceived notions that public have on homosexuality.

So what is queer theory? Queer theory is the critical studies of heterosexuality and heteronormativity. It challenges cultural norms of heterosexuality and posits the different sexual identities people encounter based on different living and sexual experiences. Instead of stereotypically prescribing homosexuals’ behaviours to a single set of attributes, we are able to identify how heteronormativity can affect the behaviours and practices of homosexuals. One way people expresses their sexuality in different contexts is through language. This derives to queer linguistics. Queer linguistic is an exploratory study of language use in forming one’s sexuality and desires in discourse (Motschenbacher & Stegu, 2013; Maree, 2015). Through the different contexts mentioned later, it is observed how queer linguistics, based upon queer theory, do contribute to language and sexuality researches. Sexuality, as a whole, do not only consist of just sexual identity but also includes the desires that were suggested in different contexts such as fantasy, repression, pleasure, fear and the unconscious (Cameron & Kulick, 2003, p. 105). In the following, examining the language uses in certain discourse brings to light how heterosexuality is performed and the possible deviances we may observed, that arises from it.


The study of heterosexuality constructs ideological concepts of normal and deviant sexualities are. In Kulick’s (2003) study on the enunciation of ‘No’ in different situations have constantly emphasize heterosexuality and heteronormativity. In his first illustration on cases of rape- in a culture where women are constantly objectified, a woman’s ‘No’ in this case has lost its illocutionary force. A woman’s ‘No’ has been normalized in the society and females in these situations are not allowed to reject males’ desires (McConnell-Ginet, 1989). On the other hand, men refusing women’s sexual advances can indicate non-heterosexuality. Stereotypically, men are also the ones who initiate sexual advances and only to females. Should a male expresses desire to a man, then rejecting it by saying ‘no’ will be put straight male in a predicament as a female’s. In this case, it can sometimes result in a Homosexual Panic Defense. In such defense, men claim to use aggression in reaction to other male’s sexual advances which they perceived as a provocation and their heterosexuality has been jeopardized. Such justification has been exploited in court where Jonathan Schmitz managed to escape first degree murder charge.

The art of saying ‘No’ for both man and woman strongly conforms to heteronormativity. Stereotypically abiding cultural norms, woman’s ‘no’ is disregarded and man always are allowed for sexual advances to woman, they should also never reject a female’s sexual desire. However the man being sexually initiated will have his heterosexuality threatened. Cultural norms are being challenged, and as mention justification of Homosexual Panic Defense can result in the marginalization of homosexual community.


The early study of language and sexuality was more prescriptive whereby analysis were carried out on how homosexuals spoke index their sexual identity. The initial stage of ‘Lavender Lexicon’ was established by Legman in 1941. 329 items were listed claimed to be words used by the in-group of homosexuals. It is unfair that a lexicon listing can simply represent the entire community as they are too generalized and lack in contexts. When these lexical items seemed to be too superficial in representing the gay community, homosexual language emerged. It did not focus on identity as per se, but encompassed sexuality showing how desires were conveyed by utterances through different contexts. Through the language use in expressing desires in different discourses, not only the utterances are performed but also portray how performative materializes one’s sexuality.

For instances of drag performances, the use of features of women’s language is constantly dramatized. The use of stereotypical linguistic resource by drag queen shows how fluid one’s sexuality can be (Livia & Hall, 1997). Drag queens who are biologically men, are subversive thus  their performances do not conform to a single set of hegemonic heteronormativity. The performative effect of such performances displayed unnaturalness of one’s sexuality and how simply one can flout heteronormativity. In a study of 801 girls, one audience felt that they are neither male or female, but “their own thing” (Taylor & Rupp, 2004). The explicit personification of drag queens as women and yet do not biologically identify with, continue to challenge sexuality that cannot be conform to binary categories.

While in queer theory, heteronormativity is studied extensively as such, it is challenged on authenticity in identity and in its discourses that molded these identities. Studies found telephone sex workers’ (Hall, 1995) and Brazilian travestis’ (Kulick, 1997) gender and sexuality are not in alignment as one supposed. Telephone sex workers exploit features of women’s language to create a setting to entice their clients. It was also discovered one of the telephone sex worker was a bisexual Mexican-American male. Sexuality in this case is not transmitted through one’s sexual preferences. It is precisely the context, which is work, in which these fantasy makers are able to deploy the various linguistics resources to characterize the person they are in without relating to their actual identity. Therefore in line with the definition mentioned previously, the discourse-  living experiences (the need to work for money) although, shaped an unauthentic sexual identity but it challenges heteronormativity by simply using linguistics.

Brazilian travestis’ sexuality on the other hand, is conflicting. Apart from economic gains that may motivate one to be a travesti, there may be more to it. Brazilian travestis that dress as women, also try to achieve more women bodily forms through estrogen intake. Despite this, they still very much value their male genitals instead of augmenting their biological sex like most transgender do. In terms of their linguistic practices, they refer themselves as both gender pronouns depending on the situations they are in. In situations when client refuses to pay for services, a traversti may convert into one who is masculine. The freedom to cross over between genders can be attributed to its patriarchal culture. Travestis identify themselves with women because of their desire of being penetrated yet they do not see the benefits of removing their male genitals, as it does not signifies what she does not has. The feminine bodies they choose to possessed, also culturally bounded, allow them to attract both male (penetrator) and non-male (penetrated). Here, it is also illustrated how heteronormativity, cultural norms of heterosexual where men are the penetrators and attracted to beautiful females bodies while women are the ones being penetrated and should be attractive enough for men to look at, shaped the sexuality of travestis. As complex as travesti’s sexuality seems to be, queer theory in this sense, allow us to how sexuality is continuously negotiated in discourses.

Queer theory allows a descriptive perspectives into different sexualities. By enlarge, sexual desires advances can be observed through language use. We can grasp the idea of ideological notions of heterosexuality and homosexuality. As such, through queer theory, we understand that sexualities are not compounded to binary categories. Lastly the discourses should also be considered in the materialization of sexuality.


Bucholtz, M. (1999). Why be normal? Language and identity practices in a community of nerd girls, 203-223.

Cameron, D., & Kulick, D. (2003). Language and Sexuality. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Hall, K. (1995). Speaking of sex. Gender Articulated: Language and the Sociall constructed self, 183-216.

Kulick, D. (1997). The gender of Brazilian transgendered prostitutes. American Anthropologist, 574-585.

Kulick, D. (2003). No. Language & Communication, 139-151.

Livia, A., & Hall, K. (1997). Queerly Phrased. Language, Gender and Sexuality.

Maree, C. (2015). Queer linguistics. The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality.

McConnell-Ginet, S. (1989). The (re)production of sexual meaning: a discourse-based theory. Language, Gender and Professional Writing, 35-50.

Motschenbacher, H., & Stegu, M. (2013). Queer Linguistic approaches to discourse. Discourse & Society, 519-535.

Taylor, V., & Rupp, L. J. (2004). Chicks with Dicks, Men in Dresses: What It Means to Be a Drag Queen. Journal of Homosexuality, 113-133.

Hiding behind the rainbow: Protection for gay in rape culture

Review on The New Yorker

In light of the allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein, recent #metoo movement came into play when Alyssa Milano used it in support of her friend’s Rose McGowan. Following the allegations about Weinstein, many others from both men and women, slowly unfolded. One interesting switch of event, was on Kevin Spacey. After denying two allegations about him harassing other men, he finally came out from the closet on his sexuality on the third one. Of course, he was criticized on the way he has come out. Not only it took several sexual accusations for him to disclose his sexuality, but one would be quick to judge on the relevance of his sexual orientation and the serious alleged offence of sexually harassing an underage child.

The reason it is titled ‘Hiding behind the rainbow’ as Kevin Spacey had it easy by simply apologized and confess to his sexual orientation (without being marginalized for it). As quoted, “I choose now to live as a gay man.”, he borrowed the limelight of LGBT community and the ‘rainbow’ of milestones they have recently achieved.

In Language and Sexuality, chapter three talks about how heterosexuality has been defined through the system of male supremacy (pp. 45). Acting as a political institution, any deviation from this norm such as, homosexuality is considered to be ‘out of the system’. The stigmatization in the documentary in 1995 Celluloid Closet demonstrated how homosexuality was portrayed in the past film making days. Homosexuals had always been depicted as villains, murderers, jokers and also as a form of illness. Kevin Spacey would have thought having an easyway out by garnering supports and sympathies for his sexual orientation.

Dorris brought up what rape culture is like for the gay community. The concept on consent varies differently for heterosexual women and homosexual men. Women are placed under the scrutiny of court and, despite not consenting to the abuse, are mercilessly blamed for the lack of strong resistance. While homosexual victims, due to their sexual orientation are understood as desiring it, indicative of consent as the ‘unmarked choice’ (Cameron and Kulick, 2003, pp. 39). In this case, drawing from the gay artist who was almost raped by alleged Kevin Spacey, did not at that time felt it was an assault, as his orientation toward men made such encounter a pleasurable one. The 14 year old then, artist (anonymous), took it upon himself, as he saw it as ‘a sin’ due to the negative connotation of homosexuality as what one may have to go through (self-doubting/blaming) when coming out as gay.

As gay men are likened to women, and being more feminine, especially ‘gayspeak’ adopts women’s language (Cameron and Kulick, 2003, pp. 93). The ironic part is that toxic masculinity may be emphasized on the perpetrator. Identified by APA , 11 traits were identified commonly related to toxic masculinity. One trait is dominance. Kevin alleged forced himself onto then 14 year old, artist. Mentioned on them., such action is a ‘commonplace’ of forcing ‘power over’ over the victim. On the journalist’s  account of harassment, Kevin went berserk (need for control of emotions) on the journalist at the hallway, as he was rejected when making further sexual advancement. On Rapp’s account, he described the incident the same as how a man dominates woman sexually, we see how toxic masculinity is conceptualized on Kevin Spacey, who has now eventually came out as gay. This is contradictory to how many to portray gay men behaving like women.

Yet, through the notion of sexual intercourse- one has to be the woman. The victims are constantly seen, ‘of being like the woman’ who are ‘weak’ in resisting the assault. As such, the one way, this author has proposed using the good old ‘coping strategy’ which is looking to women in triumphing over heterosexual men. In combating sexual assault gay should follow suit women by creating ‘a whispering network’ to warn of other men as much as gay do not wish to portray themselves “women”.

Gay community can be victims of rape culture, as much as one may think “they want it too”, and only till the concept of consent changes, gay will only continue searching for plausible ways to protect themselves.


Cameron, D., & Kulick, D. (2003). Language and Sexuality. New York: Cambridge University Press.


What is bromance?



According to urban dictionary, bromance is “the complicated love and affection shared by two straight males”. In this intimate male friendships, they are allowed to share secrets and even express love to each other openly. It is essentially the same kind of relationship that girls share with their ‘BFF’. Opposing to the stereotypical views of how a male same-sex friendships are like, bromance has now been more socially accepted as they can display more affections to each other. As quoted from Time, bromance requires “emotional connection and personality” but never sexual attraction.