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Analysing Media Reactions to Male/Male Dance Partnerships On British Reality TV Shows: Inclusive Masculinity in Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing On Ice

Wong, Yen Nee; Harman, Vicki; Owen, Craig


Vicki Harman

Craig Owen


Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing on Ice are primetime reality television shows that promote partner dancing as a form of leisure in the UK. Both shows have consistently represented partner dancing as a partnership between a man and a woman. However, in 2019 and 2020male/male partnerships were introduced into both shows for the first time. Drawing on media reports that discuss these male/male partnerships, this paper explores how the partnerships were represented and made sense of by mainstream and LGBT + media. Employing thematic discourse analysis, we demonstrate how the male/male dance partnerships were framed by a complex and contradictory inclusive masculinity discourse. On the one hand, this discourse celebrated the male/male couples as evidence that Britain is a progressive society in which homophobia is in decline. At the same time, the representations largely centred on the male dance couples’ bromances while ignoring or silencing discourses of gay love or sex. We show that although the representations can be viewed as a positive step forward, there were also some limitations to the representations which necessitate more critical examination in future research

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 8, 2021
Online Publication Date Jun 24, 2021
Publication Date 2021-12
Deposit Date Jul 18, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jul 19, 2023
Journal International Journal of the Sociology of Leisure
Print ISSN 2520-8683
Electronic ISSN 2520-8691
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 4
Pages 397-413
Keywords Male/male partnerships, LGBT +, Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing on Ice, Inclusive Masculinity Theory, Ballroom Dancing, Ice Skating, Partner dancing, Bromance, Intimacies


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