July 2016. Published in Sexualities Published Online.
‘Shouldn’t Tom Daley be a bottom?’: Homosexual stereotyping online
This article uses British diver and homosexual celebrity Tom Daley as a case study to examine instances of homosexual stereotyping on LGBT internet forum the DataLounge. Through textual analysis, I consider the anonymous discourse relating to Daley in terms of its representational implications. Of interest is how Daley is constructed through this discourse and what such constructions have to tell us about views on homosexuality and a particular well-known homosexual subject. I argue that Daley is objectified and aligned with certain stereotypes within this dedicated homosexual forum via the anonymous comments made about his profession, his body and mannerisms, and his personal life. I nominate certain ‘themes’ to make sense of this discourse, namely: the ‘dancer body’, the bottom, the slut, and the daddy’s boy. In addition to offering insight into how a particular homosexual celebrity is constructed through discourse by his own community, these themes also point to the pressures gay men feel to conform to ‘ideals’, and the consequences of nonconformity, of being a ‘failed representation’ (also known as a ‘stereotype’).