Monday, November 23, 2009

Tim Gunn fits neatly in the box of heteronormative conventions of masculinity?

In Helene A. Shugart's "Reinventing Privilege: The New (Gay) Man in Contemporary Popular Media," she asserts that the homosexual man portrayed in the mainstream media is quite sanitized and conforms to the "Heteronormative conventions of masculinity" (73). So, in the fashion world, I suppose there is more or less a stereotype that most of the guys in the industry are gay and/or effeminate. I suppose Lifetime, and previously Brave, are not necessarily mainstream, but they too conform to the neat little box created for the "new gay man."

Take Project Runway for example. And to be honest, I didn't even know Tim Gunn was gay until maybe the second season. He definitely fit the gay man that is portrayed by mainstream media. First of all, he exhibits traits that are given to male leads, such as being "handsome, ... and physically fit" (74). Furthermore, Gunn serves as the "wise gay man" as he is the guru that gives advice to all the contestants of the show (83). They need his advice for the show's plot to be driven forward. His comments are important in helping the viewer negotiate the outcome of each episode. Also, Tim fits under the criteria of the gay serving "as straight enlightenment" (70). Again, he is the guiding light to all the sometimes clueless contestants on the show. It also seems like his only purpose on the show as well.

Here is a photo of Tim Gunn in a comic!


  1. Project Runway is such an amazing show! I like how Tim Gunn is the "wise man" giving them guidance and advice for their designs. It's interesting to see him be the leading advising man where as characters in film act like accessories such as Anthony to Charlotte in Sex and the City

  2. Certainly, "make it work" is a phrase and mentality that's applicable to all types of people, regardless of gender or sexuality. Tim Gunn is in the Anderson Cooper line of gay men--out, but not overly flamboyant or making their sexuality more important than their respective duties.