SOC309Y1 Chapter Notes -Safe Sex, Arthur Ashe, Hegemonic Masculinity

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13 Apr 2012
SOC309 Readings
9) “There’s No Such Thing As A Gay Hero”: Sexual Identity and Media Framing of HIV-Positive Athletes
NOTE: article is VERY repetitive.
9) “There’s No Such Thing As A Gay Hero”: Sexual Identity and Media Framing of HIV-Positive
Athletes Faye Linda Wachs and Shari L. Dworkin
- Members of the straight community who engage in high-risk sexual behaviour are somewhat
absolved of the stigma of AIDS because they are, in the case of “promiscuous men, conforming
to dominant IDEOLOGIES about male virility
- Heterosexual male athletes and AIDS, women are constructed as responsible for both putting
themselves at risk and bringing risk to the athletes
- Continuous struggle over what is labelled as good sex and what is marked and stigmatized as
bad sex
- Surveillance is carried out in a variety of ways, one being the confessional
- Team sports were considered male appropriate, whereas sports that emphasize grace were
associated with femininity
- Johnson- participation in basketball, is part of the cultural discourse that defines and
(re)produces not only masculinity but also hegemonic masculinity
Icon/examplar of how to be a man including sexual access to women
- Johnson is framed as a hero for living with a stigmatized illness
Louganis is framed as a carrier who was morally responsible for alerting the heterosexual
community to this risk
- Social and cultural assumptions about the acceptability of sexual practices and the identities
conflated with these practices
- The mass media frame and accept, condemn, and deny behaviours
- The data demonstrate that Johnsons redemption appeared to be inevitable, whereas Louganiss
redemption was impossible given the news frame of sexual identity and the AIDS virus
- Johnson framed as a hero for 2 primary reasons:
1) For encouraging public awareness of the AIDS epidemic, particularly in heterosexual and minority
2) For gracefully and honestly dealing with a socially stigmatized illness, taking the sting out of
- Louganis as a carrier where he is discussed with reference to his moral obligation to inform
others of this status (still framed as having morally debatable actions)
- 7 out of 11 articles mention Louganis is gay, none mention his long-term partner, this reinforces
cultural conceptions of what is a legitimate or real relationship
- Rather than condemning Johnson, newspaper articles focus primarily on how unlikely it is that
one would acquire HIV/AIDS on the court
- The image of Johnsons bleeding and the fear it engendered became a sign not of his deviance,
but rather of the publics ignorance about the risk of transmission and Johnsons heroism at
living with a stigmatized illness
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