Alexandre Rodolfo Alves de Almeida
Maria Manuel Baptista
In this research we present the preliminary results of the quantitative analysis of a survey conducted with users of the app Growlr in São Paulo, Brazil (n = 171). Growlr is a Location Based Social Network aimed at people that self-identify as Bears. The APP allows users to establish contact with other individuals that are geographically close to them. Bears form a subgroup within the gay community that share characteristics that are opposed to what one would consider “expected” in gay men: “masculine” attitude, little to no vanity, big and/or fat body, hairy body, and facial hair. The objective of this study is to identify the level of acceptance of non-conforming identities presented by these subjects and simultaneously verify how the image of the “standard” Bear is crystallized in the self and hetero representations of this group. The results point to the fact that age plays a strong role in the level of acceptance of non-conforming identities among Bear subjects, since younger subjects respond less cisheteronormatively when compared to older subjects. Age also makes the level of fixation of the standard Bear image differ; older subjects are more likely to limit what they mean by Bear identity.
Keywords: Cultural Studies; Bear Identity; Homosexuality; Queer Studies.