It’s raining men

Question 1

Sadomasochism inherently is the partaking/enjoyment of sexual practices that are characterised by both sadism and masochism. In simpler words, participants of sadomasochism engage in fantasies that involved humiliation and pain. Participants generally agree on a ‘safe word’ prior to indicate the immediate cessation of whatever the other partner is doing. Before going into the nature of the ‘safe word’ it is imperative to understand why the word ‘no’, which in other conventional situations would imply the stopping of activities, cannot be used. In sadomasochism, ‘no’ is not taken as an explicit ‘no’. Rather it is taken as preliminary opposition to the idea that would follow with submission to the idea which is taking a s sexually pleasurable. The dominant partner would not be able to achieve sexual pleasure if without such submission to power by the submissive partner. Also, in sadomasochistic scenarios it is ideal that the ‘safe word’ is inconsistent or incongruent to the situation at hand. This would make it clear cut that the submissive partner is tapping out.

Therefore, in the case of Julie and Mike in question 1, it is likely that their ‘safe emoji’ would not explicitly indicate a ‘no’; in view to stop whatever either partner is doing. Their ‘safe word’ would also have to stand out from context. I believe the ‘safe word’ to be the mike emoji. Of course, this could change depending on context.

Question 2

The men’s locker room is conventionally looked upon as the fortress of honour and centre of brotherly bonding. Seen pervasively in Western cultures and movies is the notion that only the best, the most sporting, the manliest and the most capable can get into the locker room and be part of the football team. It shown as a place where such athletes can ready themselves for competition, coaches give their tactics, preparatory talks and where they go to celebrate after they win. Being a sport fanatic, I assure you that it is seen as an enormous privilege it is a privilege to have a peek in there. To the athletes themselves and the onlooker, it is almost as if the locker room is a shrine.

Generally, the happenings of a locker room are kept in the locker room. This is wide ranging, from the tactical plan of a coach to gossip. In this sense, the top 3 entries in the UrbanDictionary do capture the ‘secretive’ nature of ‘locker room talk/banter’. The UrbanDictionary entries also suggest that the ‘locker room talk’ takes place amongst similarly gendered individuals. This is also congruent with the idea of a locker room where sports that have these locker rooms are those that are played by men or women; never mixed teams; think soccer or football. In these sense, it seems that the UrbanDictionary has captured what ‘locker room talk/banter’ is.

The first and third meanings in the UrbanDictionary go on to specify that ‘locker room talk/banter’ is only for men. I believe that it may be conceived this way due to the fact that there is still inequality between men and women in sports (take for example, baseball which is only played by men at the top level). However, I would like to dispel this notion. I believe that in the present day, ‘locker room talk/banter’ has literally and figuratively come out of the locker room in specific the ‘men’s locker room’. I believe it can be unilaterally applied regardless of gender to conversations held in private between like-minded individuals. It is conversations that are held between like-minded individuals, be it banter or otherwise, that they cannot have in the open. These may be things such as racist/sexist jokes or crude language.

One who engages in such banter may or may not be racist/sexist but merely engages in it for banter or to reinforce social bonds within a group or become a member of the group. Therefore, ‘locker room talk/banter’ plays a key social function. It has been suggested that criticism and gossip of people who aren’t part of the group functions to affirm and reassert the groups commitment to social norms. One could say this is similar to the situation in single gender institutions such as fraternities.

In conclusion I feel that the UrbanDictionary’s second meaning is closest to grasping what ‘locker room talk/banter’ stands for. I also feel that ‘locker room talk/banter’, unfortunately forms crucial social and interpersonal functions in society as it is used almost as the primary manner by which social bonds/ relationships are built and reinforces.

From the UrbanDictionary:

  1. The crude, vulgar, offensive and often sexual trade of comments guys pass to each other, usually in high school locker rooms. Exists solely for the purpose of male comedy and is not meant to be taken seriously.
  2. Any manner of conversation that polite society dictates be held privately – with small groups of like-minded, similarly gendered peers – due to its sexually charged language, situations or innuendos.
  3. Racist, sexist, and crude language most men use towards immigrants, minorities, and women, when they are with their fellow male chauvinistic pigs.


Forbidden Fruit

Just thinking about food has the ability to make one’s mouth salivate and stomachs growl. Eating involves so many of our senses. Remarkably, these are the similar senses involved in sex. Also, hunger and procreation are part of our primal instincts as humans, making it sensible that somehow these two are linked. What links these two? Language.


It is only fair to start with the original Forbidden Fruit in biblical story of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve eat the fruit of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden, despite being commanded by God not to eat it. The phrase has generally been used as a metaphor whereby the fruit of knowledge of good and evil stood for indulgences or pleasures that were immoral or outright illegal. Just as we know every coin has two sides, it was also interpreted as Adam and Eve doing the deed. Whether this biblical story was the precursor to the current state, of language, sex and food, nobody will know for sure. However, sex and food  does seem to have grown a long way from the Forbidden Fruit.


In the present day and age, the media vividly displays the relationship between language, sex and food. Look no further than to Burger King, the iconic fast food chain that is popular globally.


In this advertisement, the connection of language, sex and food is clear. First off, Paris Hilton catches the attention of the viewer with her less than obvious sex appeal. The viewer would than look at the enormous and delicious looking burger. Here, to a man, it would scream off that size does indeed matter (with the caption) and to a woman it would scream out that she could indeed have a burger that large and look as sexually appealing as Paris Hilton.


In this second image, Burger King is at it again engaging the sexual metaphor of a blowjob. They claim that their ‘NEW BK SUPER SEVEN INCHER’ would ‘BLOW YOUR MIND AWAY’. To add to this madness, it also seems to show the woman to have a surprised expression; inciting the possibilities that the woman is either surprised by the large size which they are again promoting, or that she is non-consensual. I believe what exacerbates the problems of this advertisement is the fact that potential non-consensual blowjobs (which may amount to rape) have become such a humdrum that Burger King has chosen to use it in advertising.


Food therefore seems to have a performative dimension in the media. (Magee, 2007) There seems to be a need to graphically stimulate food. This not only occurs in advertisements such as the ones used by Burger King, but even in cooking shows. The famous Nigella Lawson was at it again here by posing with a caramel dripping face; needlessly sexualising caramel I should add.


Atop pictures of such, Nigella often sexualises her food by using sensual terms and sensual use or licking of her fingers.



Language, sex and food is not just restricted to advertising in the media. It is also rife in the music scene. Examples include the Lemon Song by Led Zepplin, Ice Cream Man by Nicki Minaj and the list goes on. Studies have shown that music videos that are highly sexualized or objectified manifest negatively. In a study based on a date rape scenario, it was found that generally, the high sexualized/objectified music video had a greater effect on males’ perceptions, decreasing their judgments of guilt and empathy for the victim. Moreover, the females in the high sexualized/objectified condition were more likely to rate the female as responsible for the date rape (Burgess & Burpo, 2012).


Although the study focused on music videos, it does seem more likely that the effect of listening to or singing the lyrics would have a more pronounced effect. Odds are, the average Jane listens to such a song more than she watches the music video. Hence, the widespread usage of sexual innuendos of food in music is bound to have more far reaching consequences that it seems on the façade. It is more troubling that it has become so ordinary to draw parallels between the pleasurable feelings derived from eating and having sex. Even much so for women who are often the target of sexualisation or objectification.



Culturally language, sex and food is connected. The link may not be apparent, but with closer attention to the Asian cultures, this will become more apparent. In the Philippines it is Balut (duckling embryo), in Japan it is Fugu (pufferfish), in China and Vietnam it is cobra’s blood and the list goes on here. Unlike in western cultures, food is generally not used as sexual innuendos in the Asian cultures, tying in with the Asian conservationism. However, somehow information linking food and sex is passed on from generation to generation. These aphrodisiacs are a part of these cultures. Language therefore plays a role in culturally transmitting this information. Cultural transmission is the process by which information is passed from individual to individual via social learning mechanisms such as imitation, teaching or language. (Mesoudi & Whiten, 2008). Proof of this exists in the form of people who eat these aphrodisiacs even though they do not think it works!


In conclusion, the connections between language, sex and food are endless and here to stay; especially so in the media. Even with the negative publicity that comes with advertisements like that of Burger King, it seems as though Burger King had just become more famous! It is almost as though sex sells! According to Cebrzynski (2000) however, it isn’t the sex itself but the sexiness that sells. It is clear that the connections between language, sex and food in the media are here to stay. Culturally, the situation is the same.


Burgess, M. C., & Burpo, S. (2012, December 1). The Effect of Music Videos on College Student’s Perceptions of Rape. College Student Journal, 748-763.

Cebrzynski, G. (2000, March 14). Sex or Sexy? The difference is that one sells, and the other doesn’t. Nation’s Restaurant News.

Mesoudi, A., & Whiten, A. (2008, November 12). The multiple roles of cultural transmission experiments in understanding human cultural evolution. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Magee, R. M. (2007). Food Puritanism and Food Pornography: The Gourmet Semiotics of Martha and Nigella. Americana: The Journal of Americal Pouplar Culture, 6(2).




A certain ‘quality’…

F.R.I.E.N.D.S, dare I say, has to be the best sitcom ever to be made. Although F.R.I.E.N.D.S began its broadcast well before some of us millennials were born, it has still managed to capture our hearts and cracked us up. The characters are on a comedic and romantic journey through their life issues such as their career and personal lives. The 6 main characters had and maintained their very distinct character roles from start to end. In this post I intend to explore the character of Chandler, with specific interest in the scenes where he is thought of as gay or feminine.

Gender and Sexuality

Throughout the series, despite it being vividly clear his sexual orientation, Chandler was mistaken to be gay. The clip shows part of the episode where he was mistaken to be gay and tries to find out what about him screams out as gay. Much to his annoyance, all anyone could tell him was that he had a certain “quality”.

In fact, I believe that Chandler actually lacks a certain “quality” that makes him appear to be gay. From a heteronormative angle, Chandler is insufficiently masculine. He is interested in activities indexed to be feminine (in other episodes Chandler had candle lit soaks in bathtubs with bath salts or did threading). By performing these gender acts (Butler , 1990)

, typically indexed to be female, Chandler’s gender is questioned. In a sense, Chandler is ‘less of a man’ as he performing the ‘female’ role. It can then be said that being gay is more about gender than it is about one’s actual sexuality. (Cameron & Kulick, 2003)

Chandler’s character therefore brings up the differentiation between gender and sexuality. First it is important to clearly define gender and sexuality. Gender, refers to the socially constructed characteristics that stereotypical men and women possess while sexuality refers to sexual orientation and identity in relation to which gender they are attracted to. In F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Chandler’s gender is perpetually in question, even when he is married to a woman. However at the same time, Chandler’s sexual orientation is blatant in the sense that he dates, sleeps with, marries and only talks about women. Therein the difference between gender and sexuality.

Gendered sexuality

Here it stands to get rather confusing. On the assumption that everyone is heterosexual, Chandler performing acts that are indexed to be feminine, Chandler’s heterosexuality is questioned. His F.R.I.E.N.D.S start to think that he may be gay and us viewers also follow suit. Hence, Chandler’s situation can also be seen as a case of gendered sexuality where Chandler’s gender (male exhibiting some female traits) is causing his perceived gay sexuality.

Other observations from the show

In conclusion, the show that spanned 10 years and captured countless hearts was homophobic in my opinion. In specific, towards male homosexuals. Female homosexuals, in the contrary were not frowned upon. For example, there was Ross (another main character) who was laughed at for marrying a lady who turned out to be a lesbian. He eventually even played a part in her wedding to another woman; the woman who broke his marriage. Chandler on the other hand spent the entire show having his sexuality questioned even though he was clearly heterosexual. Also, Chandler’s father in the show turned out to be a transgender who worked as a drag queen. Chandler was shown to be in disgust of this and even refused to speak to his father for years. Chandler also attributes some of his more (indexical) feminine acts to be from his father. For example, he used to do threading for his father and his other friends who performed as drag queens for pocket money. He tried his best to hide such ‘acts of feminism’ unless he was put in a situation that demanded it. Here the producers could be trying to portray that upbringing plays a part in gender and sexuality of a person.


Butler , J. (1990). Gender Trouble. Routledge

Cameron, D., & Kulick, D. (2003). Language and Sexuality. Stockhom Universitet.