The Performance of Softer Masculinities on the University Dance Floor

In this article we examine the masculinities of heterosexual men in English university dance club settings. We highlight that multiple influences shape perceptions of gender and sexuality - influences that are also used to subvert a polarized gender and sexuality order. This is evidenced by how straight men dance, interact, and even kiss each other. Accordingly, we ask what it means when queer masculinities are performed by otherwise straight-identifying men. We examine the implications that the queering of straights has on understandings of gender and sexuality, arguing that, whether the context is a sporting event or a dance hall, social terrains rely on a body of assumed knowledge that helps construct the social meanings inculcated in and performed by moving bodies. We suggest that homosocial intimacy expressed through men's dancing together, which used to be considered subversive in the 1980s, is increasingly found in the domain of popular and normative heterosexual youth culture today. Keywords: dance, masculinities, queer, peer culture, athletes.

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