Author (Your Name)

Lijah Barasz, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Senior Scholars Paper (Open Access)


Colby College. Sociology Dept.


McFadden, Margaret

Second Advisor

Jennifer Boylan

Third Advisor

Alec Campbell


You Know How I Know You're Gay?: Masculinity and Homophobia in Contemporary Mainstream Comedy is a three-part senior scholars project that consists of a critical analysis of homophobic humor in contemporary mainstream comedy, an original feature-length comedy script entitled Don 't Be that Freshman, and a DVD of selected scenes from Don't Be that Freshman. The critical analysis first establishes the existence of homophobic humor in mainstream comedy and then links this homophobia to masculine anxiety, applying the ideas set forth in Michael Kimmel's essay, "Masculinity as Homophobia," to contemporary, mainstream, homosocial comedies. The paper goes on to examine audience reactions to this homophobic humor, focusing on audience members who enjoy these movies, yet consider themselves to be accepting of homosexuality and against homophobia. I discuss ways of resistance and the importance of opposing homophobic humor, and finally, I look at comedy as a potentially transgressive medium that could be used to fight homophobia and social inequality. The critical analysis, therefore, leads into Don't Be that Freshman, a film that uses progressive humor to oppose homophobia and expose the potential dangers and pitfalls of conforming to social constructions of gender. Don't Be that Freshman is a film about three pairs of college roommates in their first semester at college who become each other's first friends on campus. It is a character-driven comedy that attempts to normalize non-heterosexual sexual orientation and gender non-conformity, to advocate a type of living that does not conform to problematic social constructions and cultural ideologies, and at the same time to appeal to a mainstream audience. The film version is twenty-five minutes long and consists of ten scenes from the script.


Gays -- Drama, Homosexuality in motion pictures, Comedy films, Motion pictures -- Social aspects, Stereotypes (Social psychology) in mass media, Gays in popular culture, Comedy films, Motion picture plays, Video recordings, DVD-Video discs