Gays love pop music/culture - genetics or social conditioning?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 02, 2013 3:00 PM GMT
    Why is it so many (I'll risk saying the majority) of gay men love - and never seem to grow out of - trashy, manufactured, sugar-candy pop music and pop culture. Why do gay men idolise (and "worship") female pop icons?

    It's a trend not echoed in the wider society.

    Could it be that gay men, for whatever reason, would have a genetic predisposition to idolise strong female characters?

    Or is it purely as a result of social conditioning which has developed within the gay scene over its development?

    I know there are exceptions to the above - I am very much one of them. Hence I pose this question.
  • The_Guruburu

    Posts: 895

    Jun 02, 2013 3:02 PM GMT
    icon_eek.gif


    Is this real?
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    Jun 02, 2013 4:02 PM GMT
    (I recall you saying from another post that you're a self-described "music snob", so I'll keep that caveat in mind when I write this icon_wink.gif )

    I read an article recently on Science News about music cognition...
    Mental puzzles underlie music’s delight
    Brain activity reflects how much people enjoy a particular new tune

    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/349594/description/Mental_puzzles_underlie_musics_delight

    When people hear a new tune they like, a clump of neurons deep within their brains bursts into excited activity, researchers report April 12 in Science. The blueberry-sized cluster of cells, called the nucleus accumbens, helps make predictions and sits smack-dab in the “reward center” of the brain — the part that floods with feel-good chemicals when people eat chocolate or have sex.
    ...
    As our ears pick up the first strains of a new song, our brains hustle to make sense of the music and figure out what’s coming next, explains coauthor Valorie Salimpoor, who is now at the Baycrest Rotman Research Institute in Toronto. And when the brain’s predictions are right (or pleasantly surprising), people get a little jolt of pleasure.

    Given these results and also previous studies showing that gay men's brains are "wired" a bit differently from straight men's brains, it's possible that gay men might have a physiological predisposition to enjoy pop music. How much of that predisposition is genetic or enforced culturally? I don't think we can ever know. Plenty of studies show that people can get addicted to any stimulus (which includes music) that causes the release of dopamine (our natural "feel-good" reward chemicals); which in turn causes a physiological change (ie - building up a tolerance to said stimulus).

    (Study on gay men's brains vs. straight men and women: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/06/080616-gay-brain_2.html)

    However, I don't know know that liking pop music isn't as prevalent in wider society compared to gay men. I know plenty of straight men that listen to Beyonce, GaGa, etc. But they'd swear up and down to their straight friends (male and female) that they don't. Could it be that straight guys aren't as overt about their like for pop music?
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    Jun 02, 2013 4:10 PM GMT
    Also...

    ...it's just a preference icon_wink.gif
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    Jun 02, 2013 7:10 PM GMT
    Bromoflexual saidAlso...

    ...it's just a preference icon_wink.gif


    I agree! While I have loved Madonna since I was a teenager, my favorite pop icons have always been men.
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    Jun 02, 2013 7:25 PM GMT
    I don't. I'm a fan of both male and female singers and I don't have a particular attachment to any female singers. I do have more attachment to male singers with the ones I think are hot. The exception was when I was 11 years old I had a crush on Britney Spears and wanted to marry her but I didn't know I was gay yet.
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    Jun 02, 2013 8:51 PM GMT
    Bromo - thanks for the sensible and rational response! Fascinating research done on the psychological effects and response of music on the brain!

    I found this particular segment interesting:
    "As our ears pick up the first strains of a new song, our brains hustle to make sense of the music and figure out what’s coming next, explains coauthor Valorie Salimpoor, who is now at the Baycrest Rotman Research Institute in Toronto. And when the brain’s predictions are right (or pleasantly surprising), people get a little jolt of pleasure."

    Mostly, because I have always taken an interest in music which challenges, shocks or confuses, often featuring very eratic, jolted rhythmic elements, or modulations which are less than predictable. I wonder, then, I appear to be much more excited by the "pleasantly surprising" rather than the correct "predictions".

    To put it into context, this is an example of the sort of erratic rhythmic and harmonic music which excites me:


    I do still stand by my statement that many gay men do idolise the strong female character. I bemused a member of this forum just last week by stating that I did not "worship" any "pop goddess".

    Perhaps this element of my original question is entirely unrelated to the psychological cognition of music/sound, and more a social issue.
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    Jun 02, 2013 9:05 PM GMT
    Generally speaking, I would say that people's music preferences are influenced by what they're exposed to from their parents, siblings, friends, peers, and so on.

    Slightly different article on the topic of music:
    http://news.discovery.com/human/psychology/music-dopamine-happiness-brain-110110.htm
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    Jun 02, 2013 9:25 PM GMT
    Generally speaking, possibly yes.

    But this rule does not follow for me. Growing up, I never received much external influence upon my musical taste.

    - My parents and family have no passion for music; the most influence they have had is in starting me on piano lessons aged 7. After this, there was no further external source. My parents never played music in the house - only talk radio.

    - My peers/friends at school were never interested in the music I sought out; even calling it awful and "nothing but noise". I investigated much of my music purchases online or, prior to that, through music magazines or flicking through records in my local shop.

    It was only in my late teens when I was able to go out to gigs/clubs that I started to meet people who shared my taste.

    I've often questioned why I am so moved by music that baffles/displeases others.
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    Jun 02, 2013 9:53 PM GMT
    I grew up listening to punk and alternative music because that's what all my friends listened to. But when I got to college, I branched out to other types of music. So yeah, I think it's partially based on your surroundings and mostly on the individual person. Some people enjoy music more than others I suppose.
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    Jun 03, 2013 4:59 AM GMT
    when i was a child (7-10 yrs) these were the albums that i listened to:
    61TYXddqRjL._SL500_AA300_.jpgSpiceworld.jpg
    Aquariumcover1.jpgBaby_One_More_Time.jpg

    i had no friends and my parents basically let me listen to whatever i wanted to, and that's what i chose, so i don't think it's social conditioning.
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    Jun 03, 2013 5:32 AM GMT
    I don't care for most mainstream pop music at all, just not really my thing.

    Some of it might be environmental - it's popular among gay men, so people might draw some influence from friends or the atmosphere they hang out in. For example, most of my friends are really into Britpop, and as a result, I've found myself more open towards exploring and listening to certain artists just because my friends talk about them a lot.

    I've noticed that straight men (at least most of the friends I've had over the years), tend to gravitate towards music that has a more macho factor to it, which in itself might be social conditioning. Maybe gay men are just more free to be open about what they like. In other words, maybe straight men are less likely to admit when they like Lady Gaga.

    I've actually been asked this question a few times by various friends and I've never had a really good answer. icon_neutral.gif

  • Buddha

    Posts: 1765

    Jun 03, 2013 5:47 AM GMT
    ... I doubt gay people are wired to like Lady Gaga.

    But gay men do seem to relate to strong divas, and in general these women tend to create pop music. I'd also argue that there's a stronger party-culture among gay men. While straight people can like a certain type of music and go to a bar/club that plays that kind of music and meet other sexual partners that also like that music, gays haven't really had that luxury. This in addition to the fact that gays had/have a harder time just hitting on someone in public pushes them in to the club scene. So when you have a mixture of so many different people that don't have anything in common (that you know of) apart from their sexuality, going niche is probably not a good business strategy. So I'd say that gay people are just culturally bound to pop-music because that's a safe bet; but it has also affected the general tone of the music gay people listen to.

    What people like in music has so many different values that it's difficult to pinpoint just one source. It's a conglomeration of so many factors; I have gay friends that hate pop music and I have straight male friends that love pop music.
  • killercliche

    Posts: 948

    Jun 03, 2013 7:36 AM GMT
    Masculism saidwhen i was a child (7-10 yrs) these were the albums that i listened to:

    i had no friends and my parents basically let me listen to whatever i wanted to, and that's what i chose, so i don't think it's social conditioning.


    at the age of 7-10 you were thoroughly conditioned by society.
  • killercliche

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    Jun 03, 2013 7:38 AM GMT
    gayinterest said
    Could it be that gay men, for whatever reason, would have a genetic predisposition to idolise strong female characters?
    .


    There are very few ways in which female pop creations could accurately be described as strong.

    Throughout history the idea of even what chords and progressions are dissonant or in harmony has changed drastically. It's clearly (unfortunate) social conditioning.
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    Jun 03, 2013 8:02 AM GMT
    killercliche said
    Masculism saidwhen i was a child (7-10 yrs) these were the albums that i listened to:
    i had no friends and my parents basically let me listen to whatever i wanted to, and that's what i chose, so i don't think it's social conditioning.
    at the age of 7-10 you were thoroughly conditioned by society.
    lol really
    was i really tho
    because the kids i know that age (my little brothers friends) are basically misogynistic assholes, except for my brother because he looks up to me as a role model and i'm not a misogynistic asshole and neither are my parents so they don't force society's ideals of "boys do THIS and girls do THAT" on him

    example:
    i was playing soul caliber 5 with my little brother and it was the first time i'd ever played it so i was trying all the different characters, half of which are female. his friend (the one i like least out of all of them) comes over to see if my little bro wants to play or whatever, so he enters the room and he assesses the situation and the first thing that comes out of his mouth is "why are you playing as a girl?"
    i said "because girls can be strong too." and he dropped it.

    i understand why a child would be like "i dont listen to that music, its for girls" because they were socially conditioned to think that way, but if the child's parents and siblings are like "whatever u like its kewl we aint judgin u" and they wanna listen to spice girls and britney spears wouldn't that be their own choice as opposed to being ~*~oppressed by societyy~*~

    also when i was 7-10 i didn't even know what gay meant, so how could i be like "omg all the gays love this music and im a faggot so i love it too!!!!!!"
  • killercliche

    Posts: 948

    Jun 03, 2013 8:36 AM GMT
    Masculism said
    killercliche said
    Masculism saidwhen i was a child (7-10 yrs) these were the albums that i listened to:
    i had no friends and my parents basically let me listen to whatever i wanted to, and that's what i chose, so i don't think it's social conditioning.
    at the age of 7-10 you were thoroughly conditioned by society.
    lol really
    was i really tho
    because the kids i know that age (my little brothers friends) are basically misogynistic assholes, except for my brother because he looks up to me as a role model and i'm not a misogynistic asshole and neither are my parents so they don't force society's ideals of "boys do THIS and girls do THAT" on him

    example:
    i was playing soul caliber 5 with my little brother and it was the first time i'd ever played it so i was trying all the different characters, half of which are female. his friend (the one i like least out of all of them) comes over to see if my little bro wants to play or whatever, so he enters the room and he assesses the situation and the first thing that comes out of his mouth is "why are you playing as a girl?"
    i said "because girls can be strong too." and he dropped it.

    i understand why a child would be like "i dont listen to that music, its for girls" because they were socially conditioned to think that way, but if the child's parents and siblings are like "whatever u like its kewl we aint judgin u" and they wanna listen to spice girls and britney spears wouldn't that be their own choice as opposed to being ~*~oppressed by societyy~*~

    also when i was 7-10 i didn't even know what gay meant, so how could i be like "omg all the gays love this music and im a faggot so i love it too!!!!!!"


    By the age of three children begin to understand society's gender expectations.

    My point is, at the age of 7-10 you were affected by social conditioning and it definitely informed your decision to like that music. If anything, at such a young age you were MORE vulnerable to marketing behind that music than someone older.

    I'm not saying that you chose to like that music to fit in with some gay scene. I'm saying your choice to like that music wasn't some predetermined genetic situation.
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    Jun 03, 2013 9:07 AM GMT
    killercliche saidBy the age of three children begin to understand society's gender expectations.
    My point is, at the age of 7-10 you were affected by social conditioning and it definitely informed your decision to like that music. If anything, at such a young age you were MORE vulnerable to marketing behind that music than someone older.
    I'm not saying that you chose to like that music to fit in with some gay scene. I'm saying your choice to like that music wasn't some predetermined genetic situation.
    but isn't all of that "trashy, manufactured, sugar-candy pop music" supposed to be for girls?????
    why did i "decide" to like it?
    why did my little brother borrow my aqua CD because he heard "barbie girl" at school and listen to it almost as much as i did when i was his age?
    why does this video exist?
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    Jun 03, 2013 12:30 PM GMT
    Masculism saidwhen i was a child (7-10 yrs) these were the albums that i listened to:
    61TYXddqRjL._SL500_AA300_.jpgSpiceworld.jpg
    Aquariumcover1.jpgBaby_One_More_Time.jpg

    i had no friends and my parents basically let me listen to whatever i wanted to, and that's what i chose, so i don't think it's social conditioning.


    Plenty of people listened to that stuff at that age. Straight, gay, male, female.

    Although I've never heard of the first one.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 03, 2013 12:33 PM GMT
    Masculism said
    killercliche said
    Masculism saidwhen i was a child (7-10 yrs) these were the albums that i listened to:
    i had no friends and my parents basically let me listen to whatever i wanted to, and that's what i chose, so i don't think it's social conditioning.
    at the age of 7-10 you were thoroughly conditioned by society.
    lol really
    was i really tho
    because the kids i know that age (my little brothers friends) are basically misogynistic assholes, except for my brother because he looks up to me as a role model and i'm not a misogynistic asshole and neither are my parents so they don't force society's ideals of "boys do THIS and girls do THAT" on him

    example:
    i was playing soul caliber 5 with my little brother and it was the first time i'd ever played it so i was trying all the different characters, half of which are female. his friend (the one i like least out of all of them) comes over to see if my little bro wants to play or whatever, so he enters the room and he assesses the situation and the first thing that comes out of his mouth is "why are you playing as a girl?"
    i said "because girls can be strong too." and he dropped it.

    i understand why a child would be like "i dont listen to that music, its for girls" because they were socially conditioned to think that way, but if the child's parents and siblings are like "whatever u like its kewl we aint judgin u" and they wanna listen to spice girls and britney spears wouldn't that be their own choice as opposed to being ~*~oppressed by societyy~*~

    also when i was 7-10 i didn't even know what gay meant, so how could i be like "omg all the gays love this music and im a faggot so i love it too!!!!!!"


    There's nothing "feminine" about playing a fighting game as a girl character, or any game with a girl character. Plenty of girl gamers play male characters and I don't think that makes them butch.
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    Jun 03, 2013 12:36 PM GMT
    Stan24 said
    Masculism said61TYXddqRjL._SL500_AA300_.jpg
    Although I've never heard of the first one.
    They're Canadian, lol
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 03, 2013 12:38 PM GMT
    Some straight guys like to play as female characters in games if the characters are half-naked and have big boobs.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 03, 2013 12:41 PM GMT
    Stan24 saidSome straight guys like to play as female characters in games if the characters are half-naked and have big boobs.
    Some gay men like to play as male characters that are wearing the least amount of clothing possible.
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    Jun 03, 2013 1:01 PM GMT
    gayinterest saidWhy is it so many (I'll risk saying the majority) of gay men love - and never seem to grow out of - trashy, manufactured, sugar-candy pop music and pop culture. Why do gay men idolise (and "worship") female pop icons?

    It's a trend not echoed in the wider society.

    Could it be that gay men, for whatever reason, would have a genetic predisposition to idolise strong female characters?

    Or is it purely as a result of social conditioning which has developed within the gay scene over its development?

    I know there are exceptions to the above - I am very much one of them. Hence I pose this question.


    It's learned behavior. I'm gay, and I think much of it (esp pop music and the celebrity voyeur culture) is trash.
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    Jun 03, 2013 1:05 PM GMT
    I am a metalhead for the most part, though I can work with techno/trance.

    Most of the pop culture types that the paparazzi track, and which most of North America follows with slavish devotion could fall off the planet or get eaten by swarms of rabid squirrels tomorrow, and I'd shed not a tear.