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HOME > Queer Eye For The Straight Guy

Does 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy' pander to gay stereotypes?

By Wade Paulsen, 08/26/2003 

Much of the discussion regarding Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy has focused around the idea that the show's popularity will help break down anti-gay stereotypes. But could the show actually be pandering to those stereotypes?

This question is raised in an analysis in Hollywood Reporter, which notes that the media buzz about Queer Eye has been that the show sets the stage for the mainstreaming of gays. In fact, a new term, "metrosexuals," has been coined to refer to straight men who, in the words of the Boston Globe, "loves to shop, cook, primp and preen. He uses whiteners, reads InStyle and wears Jil Sander to see the Red Sox. He exfoliates and emulsifies." In other words, metrosexuals are straight men who behave like the "Fab Five."

However, the Hollywood Reporter notes that, despite Queer Eye, the percentage of people opposed to legalizing same-sex unions had increased from 35% in late May to 46% in late July -- hardly consistent with mainstream acceptance of gays. Instead, its theory is that the success of Queer Eye results from the portrayal of the "Fab Five" as a stylish, flamboyant gay stereotype. Said Douglas Ross, the executive producer of Bravo's other gay-themed series Boy Meets Boy, "It's what viewers already assume all gays are like."

Maybe Bravo was telling the truth when it claimed that its target audience was female viewers, not gays ... since the entire metrosexual concept seems to call for a feminization of the male stereotype, as described in this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article. We wouldn't know, since we're still trying to grasp the idea of men wearing Jil Sander to a baseball game.


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