Date of Award

8-2020

Degree Type

Report

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

English

Committee

Keri Holt

Committee

Chris Gonzalez

Committee

Candi Carter Olsen

Abstract

My thesis explores the culture surrounding the 2018 reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy in relation to contemporary arguments in masculinity studies about the costs of hegemonic masculinity, performance, and identity. This paper examines how Queer Eye carefully creates space where heteronormative men can safely express emotional vulnerability and embody a more functional masculinity that expands beyond the bounds of hegemonic performance. The bulk of the analysis involves close readings of specific episodes and scenes from Queer Eye that introduce and examine the strategies the Fab Five use to redefine their subject's engagement with masculinity, explore the effectiveness of these strategies, and evaluate their potential to be used as a model to create spaces for struggling heteronormative men. This analysis, along with a theoretical framework provided by scholars in the field of masculinity studies, provides insight into and better define terms like "crisis of masculinity" and "toxic masculinity,” which oversimplify deeper issues of shifting gender norms and privilege that are affecting American society. I hope that this work can contribute to solving our current "crisis of masculinity" by providing insight into potential methods that enable men to embody an unconstrained, individualized, masculinity and deconstruct the source of toxic expression that limits them.

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