It’s raining men

Question 1

? is most likely the safe emoji.

With the invention of emojis, one can express their desires without words. For example, ?? would mean “penetration” while ??? means “I’d like to put your genitals in my mouth until something pleasant happens“.

However, it is important that before sexting starts, both parties negotiate their roles and it must be consensual. Especially in sadomasochism, it is a sexual play where one will perform the dominant role while the other performs the submissive role. The emoji for no ,?, definitely does not mean no in sadomasochistic sexting. If this emoji really meant what it is supposed to mean, couples would not get far into expressing their desires. Hence this typically used no emoji enhances the experience of sexting and cannot be used as an indication to stop.

Hence, the safe emoji needs to be established to indicate when the sexting has gone too far. This safe emoji must be unexpected in sex and must be agreed upon. From the list of emojis presented, the ? emoji is the most unexpected in sexting.

The emoji needs to be something that is iconic and does not leave the receivers open to their own interpretations. Hence the facial emojis such as ?? cannot be used as safe emojis as it enhances the sexting by providing emotions which is important in sadomasochism. Emojis like the microphone, pickle or even the key could be representations of the male genitalia. All of these emojis, if not agreed upon as a safe emoji could be seen as enhancing the experience or desires expressed.

The reason as to why the ? is most likely the safe emoji is because it is iconic and refers to an object. It is difficult to gather other interpretations from it and does not really relate to sex in any way, hence it is the most random. According to Kulick (2003), pickle is one of the words couples use as a safe word, as it is unrelated to sex. However, it is different when one is sexting. Pickle is deemed to be unrelated to sex when voiced. However, it may not mean the same when it is represented in emoji as it could suggest the desire for the male’s penis as it looks like one.

Question 2

I disagree that the top three entries encapsulating the functions of ‘locker room banter’. Apart from it being offensive, sexually charged and racist or sexist, these entries did not manage to point out that it functions as a way to reaffirm their heterosexuality, facilitates homosocial bonding and challenges each other’s masculinities.

In a homosocial environment, it is important for them to bond without crossing the line of being seen as homosexual. Hence this banter ensures they do not cross this fine line. ‘Locker room banter’ can be seen as a form of gossip. Hence, it is interesting that men are involved in this form of gossip, as it indexes femininity. However, according to Cameron  (1997), talking about other people establishes the boundaries and demarcates what is considered ingroup and what is considered outgroup. This already facilitates homosocial bonding as they define who is in the group and who is not. According to Cameron and Kulik (2003), banter displays feminine cues such as latching. It is the opposite of what is typically assumed of how heterosexual males talk like, where it is assumed that they are more competitive than collaborative. This way of speaking shows that they are all agreeing with one another on a particular topic and hence shows solidarity.

It also functions as a way to reinforces their heterosexuality. It objectifies both women and gays in the same way. Both are objectified by the way they look and this reaffirms one sexuality where it indicates what they desire to have and what they desire to stay away from. For example, Cameron (1997) analysed fraternity brothers talk and found that they identified one’s sexuality, by the way a person dresses and acts. By scrutinising and gossiping (as gay as it might sound) about gay guys, it reaffirms their heterosexuality as they would avoid the “deviant” behavior.

“Locker room banter” also serves as an opportunity to outdo each other’s masculinities.  Discussing sex stories with each other just functions as a way to achieve dominance and gain higher status in the group. In this context, it is seen that the more people one screw, the more masculine that person is and this should be revered by others. Hence, this form of gossip is a platform to compete with each other’s masculinity.

Hence on the surface, it might seem that the locker room banter is simply offensive, but it has more functions to it. It is just a weird way for heterosexual males to bond and stroke each other’s ego.


Cameron, D. (1997). Performing gender: young men’s talk and the construction of heterosexual masculinity, in Johnson and Meinhof (1997) pp. 47–64.

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

Kulick, D. (2003). No. Language and Communication 23 pp. 139 – 151.

GURL!!! He’s TOTZ a sister!

‘Do I Sound Gay?’ addresses a feature that is associated with being gay; the gay voice. This 2014 documentary provides a peek into an unexplored issue of sexuality and its associations with how one speaks. David Thorpe, the director of this film, shared his own life struggles of sounding “gay”, which was interestingly shared by many in the media industry. The film provided a plethora of evidence of how the gay character or even characters with a gay voice were portrayed in the media and this could have led to a socially constructed notion that people with similar characteristic are to be looked down upon. This documentary has led me to further discuss whether there is really a “gay voice”, the perceptions and the effects of the “gay voice”.

It is difficult to pinpoint what is a gay-sounding voice. Many could easily say that one sounds gay (as seen in the film) but many do not know the concrete criteria for a person to sound gay. It seems that this notion of the gay voice is a social construction. Thus, it is interesting to see how this “gay voice” is typically used by as a tell-tale sign of one’s sexuality. Many would assume that if a guy were to employ effeminate cues such as over articulation or extended consonants such as “s”, he could potentially be gay. However, is there really a gay voice and can it be used to correlate to someone’s sexuality? Many heterosexuals would expect gays to employ effeminate cues when speaking much like what the stereotypical women use as they are considered as deviants. Upspeak, nasal sounding and employing rhythm and intonations are some examples of the oversimplified prototypical language used by women (Lakoff & Bucholtz, 2004). However, we have seen even heterosexual men using these cues in their daily conversations. Jobs in the service sector, for example, requires men to employ superpolite ways of speaking which is seen as feminine. Hence it can be seen as absurd to associate the way one speaks to one’s sexuality. However, it this is not the case for the gay associated cues.

A study done by Mack and Munson (2012) proves the still standing notion of the “gay lisp” and the “association between the quality of /s/ and the judgement of sexual orientation”. Up to date, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that lisping is a sign of gayness. Another study done by Levon (2006) corroborates the idea that people tend to overlap effeminacy with gayness. He also found that participants in his study were more likely to rate a man’s voice with effeminate cues gay rather than feminine. This shows how people can just assume one’s sexuality in the way one talks with reference to their stereotypical perception of how gays are supposed to sound like. This is interesting as it seems like we humans are groomed to fit the way one speaks to their sexuality like a jigsaw puzzle. However, that is not the case. For example, in the documentary, Thorpe’s friend, Kris Marx had the stereotypical gay voice even though he is straight. Therefore, there are exceptions to this notion on gays sounding unique as compared to the heterosexuals. One cannot just simply associate sexuality with how one talks. There could have been reasons as to why a person has that “gay voice”.

Biologically, one can simply just have issues with pronouncing certain sounds; in this case, having a lisp. The environment one grows up in could also be a factor in how one talks. Children most probably would model how they talk with the prominent individuals in their lives. For example, if a male child grows up in a female dominated family, there is a higher tendency that he will model the way he talks with reference to the women in his life. Therefore, the gay voice, from the evidence (or lack of it),  is a social construct. This notion could have been formed from the stereotypical perpetuation in the media over the years, which will be discussed in the next paragraph.

On one hand, the gay voice has become pop culture, with shows such as RuPaul’s Drag Race, where many heterosexuals have adopted it and use it in certain situations or daily conversations. However, when a gay person uses it, the gay voice is seen as the root of humiliation they have faced. This is because the media has not helped in bringing positivity of having the gay voice. The perception of the gay voice is mostly negative and is deep-rooted not only in the heterosexual community but the gay community as well. The media has always portrayed characters with the “voice” as bad and evil. Therefore, the negative view of the “gay voice” is highly due to the fact that it is propagated negatively by media. Even with the recent changing times, and the portrayal of gay characters who are out like the movie I love you Philip Morris or the show Queer as folk, gay characters with the gay voice are still type-cast into non-favourable roles such being unattractive and divaesque as compared the hypermasculine gay characters, which are overly idolised. In this sense, the gay voice has not changed its status and is still considered unfavourable.

Due to the idea that of having the gay voice is unfavourable, many would try their best to conform to heteronormative ways of speaking as they do not want to be associated with those stereotyped bad qualities. This could pose some stress, especially to closeted gay adolescents as they would tend to feel isolated as the way they speak could easily compromise the truth of sexuality to their peers (Lovaas & Jenkins, 2007). In this case, their voices could be seen as the cracks in their “closet” doors. If ever their sexualities were revealed, especially in an environment that is not as accepting, they could get bullied. This was demonstrated in the documentary where a boy was severely bullied because of how he spoke. Hence, this repression of identity and being overly conscious of how one is to act would definitely affect their confidence and self-esteem. Continually being worried about fitting in and not seem as a “faggot” in front of their peers could overall affect their mental health as the pressure to not be associated to being gay is a lot for adolescents ( Lea, Wit & Reynolds, 2014).

This negative perception also extends into the LGBTQ community. It is interesting that even though many would think the gay voice would be embraced in the gay community, as a way to index camaraderie, however, that is not the case. In the film, the gay community ranks their statuses by comparing their voices. The more effeminate one sounds, the gayer he is perceived and this lowers his status. This could also be due to the proliferation of hypermasculine gay men in the media. Hence, the desire to be in a relationship with a man with a masculine voice is desired over a person with the gay voice.

When a community, that from the outside seems to be accepting of people who are considered as “deviants”, but in reality are not, makes it hard for anyone to find a place where they truly can call a community of their own. This stigmatization of the gay voice has led to further spiralization down the status ladder. This would definitely affect these minority of people as they question their self-worth in the low status they have been placed by society.

In a nutshell, “Do I sound Gay?” is a documentary that addresses the issues that are not publicly discussed. This could be a possibility as to why this film was critically acclaimed by the public and has garnered generally positive reviews. It posits the notion that the “gay voice” is a social construct and it is perceived so negatively that even the gay community does not want to embrace it. It has affected the individuals with the “gay voice” in a multitude of ways that they start to be more self-conscious and worse could possibly spiral into depression due to the isolation. This film just makes us question, if there is the notion of the gay voice, there will always be a linguistic insecurity where people, be it straight or gay, will always feel conscious about how they talk. With no concrete prototype of sounding gay, this ranking of people according to the way one speaks will never cease to exist.



Gertler, H. (Producer), & Thorpe, D. (Director). (2014). Do I Sound Gay [Video file]. Canada: IFC Films.

Lakoff, R. T., & Bucholtz, M. (2004). Language and woman’s place: text and commentaries. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Lea, T., Wit, J. D., & Reynolds, R. (2014). Minority Stress in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Young Adults in Australia: Associations with Psychological Distress, Suicidality, and Substance Use. Arch Sex Behav Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43(8), 1571-1578. doi:10.1007/s10508-014-0266-6

Levon, E. (2006). Hearing “Gay”: Prosody, interpretation, and the affective judgements of men’s speech. American Speech 1, 81(1): 56-78. doi:

Lovaas, K. E., & Jenkins, M. M. (2007). Sexualities and communication in everyday life: A reader. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Retrieved from voice and confidence&ots=M_5cwyC4Bi&sig=EbDq9Xqb8jJVkTjJuRCRodoKqyg#v=onepage&q=closet &f=false.

Mack, S. & Munson, B. (2012). The influence of /s/ quality on ratings of men’s sexual orientation: Explicit and implicit measures of the ‘gay lisp’ stereotype. Journal Of Phonetics, 40(1), 198-212. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2011.10.002

“No man can turn down this pussy!”

Grace Jones is one of the most influential gay icons of all time. An actor, model and singer, she continually challenges societal gender norms. Her androgynous appearance is one of the most obvious indications of her gender deviance. In movies, she was usually typecasted to specific roles that portrayed her as someone who defied all stereotypes of not only her sexuality but her race as well. The portrayal of Jones in media over the years has impacted the LGBTQ community and hence gave her the title of one of the most influential gay icons.

This video is a scene from the movie “Boomerang” and this is an interesting snippet of how gender performance is swapped between Jones and Eddie Murphy.

This scene started off with Murphy talking about his visions and his thoughts. He did not hesitate to start off the conversation and it seems like he wanted to establish the gender roles that is line with heteronormativity. As the gender role of a “prototypical” heterosexual male is to take the initiative and make the first move, he started his conversation with Jones in the report style without letting Jones intervene. He was performing his gender until Jones started talking.

“So when are we going to fuck?”

This is something that is not typically expected from the female interlocutors. The look on Murphy’s face indicated that he was surprised that Jones was not performing her gender in terms of societal norms. She employed “neutral language” and not “women’s language”. Jones was direct and used the competitive communication style where she was clear about what her wants were and did not take into consideration Murphy’s opinions. She is deliberately performing the opposite gender role and it was interesting how Murphy started to use feminine linguistic cues as he continued to talk to Jones. He was more indirect, used hedges and used intonation patterns that resembled questions which were considered to be feminine characteristics of speech (Lakoff & Bucholtz, 2004).

In American culture, baseball was the metaphor for sex and sexuality. In this model, sexuality is constructed where men are expected to pursue sex and should keep on chasing, while women are supposed to avoid sex and are expected to say “no”. According to this baseball model, roles are not supposed to be swapped around and different genders were supposed to stick to the roles that they were assigned (Dreyfus, 2014).

However, in this case, it is the total opposite. Jones was basically not performing to her stereotypical gender role and this threatened Murphy’s masculinity. He was very uncomfortable as Jones was not following the societal codes of conduct of how the different genders are supposed to act.

“You are going to turn down a pussy like this?” as Jones lifted her skirt and showed her vagina to Murphy. Clearly, this move indicated the gender deviance Jones was performing as she did not abide by societal norms. This was a turn off for Murphy maybe because, in his head, he labelled her as a deviant and so, rejected her. However, his rejection was not taken seriously and Jones continued the “chase”. After multiple failed attempts, Jones questioned Murphy’s sexuality and considered him gay as she assumed he did not like women.

In this case, there was a clear director’s choice for the swap in character’s gender roles. If the roles were to be performed by the respective sexes, it would not have been as impactful as it was. It is interesting how when a woman chases the guy like what Jones did becomes humorous but if it was a guy doing it to a girl, we wouldn’t see it as funny. If Jones was a guy, this creepiness would just be associated with his desires. This just reflects the current construct of sexuality and gender roles of different sexes and if you do not follow the norm, you are considered a deviant.


Dreyfus, C. (2014). To Slide or to Slice? Finding a Positive Sexual Metaphor. Retrieved March 02, 2018, from

Lakoff, R. T., & Bucholtz, M. (2004). Language and woman’s place: text and commentaries. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

M. (2012). Retrieved March 02, 2018, from


Bromance is a very close relationship shared between 2 males.

It is where both of them are comfortable in sharing their thoughts, feelings, secrets, etc. with each other. That person is your confidant and you genuinely care for him. 

Typically, the relationship is between 2 heterosexual males. 

I am not saying that gays are usually left out from having a bromance. It can happen. However, in cases where a bromance is between a gay person and a heterosexual person, it is difficult if feelings are involved. As the parties in the bromance are very close, feelings for the heterosexual person could start to develop. Therefore since these feelings are not reciprocated back, it is difficult to maintain this bromance. The only way a bromance can be possible is if both understand that the bromance will not proceed further into a more serious relationship (unless the feelings for each other is mutual).