ManShape: Conflicts and ambiguities regarding the embodiment of Hegemonic Masculinity among Gay Bears

  • AngĂ©lica Cabezas Pino

Student thesis: Master of Philosophy


In this dissertation, I explore the ambiguities and contradictions regarding the discourse and embodiment of hegemonic masculinity among the gay Bear subculture in Manchester, UK. People who identify themselves as Bears in Manchester are often white gay men from working-class backgrounds who adopt a masculine aesthetic as a reaction to the 'mainstream gay scene'. Bears perform as 'straight' gay men in order to distance themselves from any kind of effeminate behaviour. However, while following this idea to resist homonormativity, they create a discourse nourished by hegemonic masculinity that reinforces discrimination and places them in an ambiguous position. The model of hegemonic masculinity instead of liberating them, seems to create anxiety, frustration and isolation. I look at their strategies of belonging and exclusion, and approach Bear performance as a point of intersection between class, gender and identityMy ethnographic research focused on few working-class gay men who are part of a music band called Bear Explosion. I use collaborative participation, interviews and documentary filmmaking to explore their narratives and performances while following their dream to become the best Bear boy band in the UK.
Date of Award3 Jan 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAngela De Souza Torresan (Supervisor) & Anthony Simpson (Supervisor)


  • Masculinities
  • Homophobia
  • Identity
  • Positionality
  • Women filmmaker
  • Anthropology
  • Ethnography
  • Documentary
  • Hegemonic Masculinity
  • Sexuality
  • Gay
  • Band
  • Manchester
  • Men
  • Performance
  • Masculinity
  • Homosexuality

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