Effect of Targeted LGBT Media on Body Image Perception Of Gay College Men
AuthorCoffey, Daniel E.
AdvisorFelts, M. Todd
Reynolds School of Journalism
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As the legal status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people improves in the United States, the prevalence of LGBT media increases as well. From homoerotic advertisements to LGBT social media, the images are more common today than during any other time in U.S. history. Currently, there is a limited understanding of how such images affect LGBT people, particularly gay men. With body image dissatisfaction in gay men, this qualitative study addresses whether LGBT media have an effect on the way gay men feel about their bodies. The population was narrowed to college students, as college represents a time in which formation of an LGBT identity is most common. Following an analysis, the first finding includes that gay college men use social media tools, specifically Grindr, for romantic, sexual and friend-seeking motives. Another finding indicated that gay college men perceive higher expectations for their body images based on both the external heterosexual community and internal LGBT community. The last findings showed gay college men perceive that less-muscular bodies become associated with being too flamboyant or feminine. Overall the findings and results indicate that gay college men perceive intense pressures to achieve an idealized body from inside and outside the LGBT community as a result of social media and advertisements, respectively. However, gay men find empowerment and confidence when using narrative and online media.