Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Rachel E. Dubrofsky, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Aisha Durham, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kim Golombisky, Ph.D.


gayness, masculinity, post-sexuality, straight benevolence, whiteness


This thesis analyzes three current and popular media sites, exploring a term I coin “straight benevolence.” An ostensibly supportive and progressive attitude adopted by heterosexuals and expressed toward gay men in the United States, straight benevolence surreptitiously subordinates gayness and further entrenches white masculine heterosexual privilege. In my examination of hip-hop artist Macklemore’s “Same Love,” seven Major League Baseball “It Gets Better” gay-advocacy videos, and the “Suddenly, Last Summer” episode of ABC’s primetime U.S. television series Modern Family, I take an intersectional approach to address the interanimation of sexuality, gender, and race. I ask: In what ways is gay male sexuality normalized and sanitized, which I argue are requirements for straight benevolence? What attitudes toward gayness surface? How do supposedly enlightened, even charitable, stances on gayness construct representations of ideal—straight, male, white—citizens and therefore privilege particular identities? How, in other words, does straight benevolence preserve heterosexist and racist norms?

Included in

Communication Commons