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Commodification of Sexuality

Title: The Commodification of Sexuality: A Critical Analysis of Queer Eye.
Name(s): Velázquez Vargas, Yarma, author
Nudd, Donna Marie, professor directing dissertation
McGregory, Jerrilyn, outside committee member
Proffitt, Jennifer M., committee member
McDowell, Stephen D., committee member
School of Communication, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2008
Publisher: Florida State University
Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This dissertation uses critical discourse analysis to conduct an examination of the reality television program Queer Eye. Queer Eye is a makeover show and each of the five main characters --Ted Allen, Kyan Douglass, Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley and Jai Rodriguez—has an area of specialty. The first two seasons of the show entitled Queer Eye for the Straight Guy gave makeovers exclusively to straight men. However, after season three the Fab Five, as they are commonly called, shortened the title and expanded their makeovers to couples, a gay man and a transgender man. The purpose of this study is to help understand the manner in which the representations of queer culture in the show reinforce the binaries of sex, gender and sexuality. By investigating the evolution of Queer Eye (all four seasons), this study provides insights into popular culture's understanding and depiction of sexual difference and evidences the strong link between these representations and the commercial interests of the producers. This study's theoretical framework brings together concepts from queer theory and political economy to the examination of the commodification and construction of sexuality and gender. In the show Queer Eye, the identity of both the five main characters and the guest character is represented as a reflection of their aesthetic choices, and audiences are exposed to numerous product placements and advertising messages. In encouraging materialism, the show transforms the term queer into a commodity sign and redefines masculinity as represented through wealth and accumulation. Drawing on a critical discourse analysis of the show, I argue that the Fab Five serve as normative figures within the structure of the capitalist system because their performance reflects the intrinsic values of a materialistic society and ignores social responsibility. Moreover, consistent with the stereotypical representation of gay males in American culture the queerness of the Fab is depicted as asexual and a form of aestheticism.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-4572 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Communication in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2008.
Date of Defense: March 18, 2008.
Keywords: Queer Eye, Political Economy, Queer
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Donna Marie Nudd, Professor Directing Dissertation; Jerrilyn McGregory, Outside Committee Member; Jennifer M. Proffitt, Committee Member; Stephen D. McDowell, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Communication
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Host Institution: FSU

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Velázquez Vargas, Y. (2008). The Commodification of Sexuality: A Critical Analysis of Queer Eye. Retrieved from