Constructing identities on a Japanese gay dating site
Hunkiness, cuteness and the desire for heteronormative masculinity
By analysing 200 posts on a Japanese gay dating Bulletin Board System (deai-kei BBS), I investigate how users strategically deploy language to construct desirable identities and “sell themselves” online. Drawing upon both quantitative and qualitative analysis, I demonstrate that users of the BBS creatively manipulate stereotypical identity categories known as Types (taipu) to construct highly nuanced yet specific discourses of the Self and the desired Other. Through a discursive analysis of the strategies users employ to construct their own identities, and the identities of their desired partners, I argue that identity categories marked as masculine and hunky (sawayaka) are privileged as more desirable than feminine and cute (kawaii) identities. Through this analysis, I suggest that users of this particular forum appear to valorise heteronormative masculinity, which they link to being hunky. Furthermore, I argue that being cute is considered undesirable due to its perception as transgressing normative masculine gendered traits.
Keywords: Japan, identity, desire, gay dating sites, heteronormativity, masculinity
Published online: 16 October 2017
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Cited by 2 other publications
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