Jimmy Draper’s (2010) article “Gay or not?!”: Gay men, straight masculinities, and the construction of the Details audience” analyzes the representation of gayness in the magazine industry. This article specifically targeted and analyzed the relationship how gayness was used to help construct straight masculinity in the men’s lifestyle magazine known as Details.
Draper’s (2010) research regarding gayness to establish differences between models of straight masculinity in the magazine industry was extensive. He began his research by analyzing Details’ issues from September 1990 to September 2008 that had to do with gay men references. He then created a timeline that determined the gay moments that occurred and also analyzed the way editors at Details talked to and about their audience. These were his methods of data collection and he used Butler’s theory, “that gender is performative, socially regulated, and discursively constructed,” and “Carrigan, Connell, and Lee’s assertion that multiple masculinities exist that get contained and reframed by hegemonic masculinity.” (Draper, 2010, p. 360) Along with these methods, he also analyzed editors’ letters in each issue relating to sexual identity and gender and examined interviews the editors gave to the press and newspapers.
During this process, Draper (2010) examined three distinct eras of editorial that offered an opportunity to cross-examine how gayness helped create three totally distinctive models of straight masculinity through Details. The first era of editorial control, “Not uptight” heterosexuality (1990-1997), “following its makeover features the magazine’s most counterintuitive of straight masculinity through gayness.” (Draper, 2010, p. 362) The magazine involved responses in sex surveys of gay men and alternative-rock musicians, CD reviews, along with fashion spreads where the members were cross dressing, or making out with other men. (Draper, 2010) The three of them “could capitalize on gay men’s perceived cultural cachet while reaffirming their reader’s heterosexuality through the insistence that they were simply “not uptight”, in the end, straight men are not worried when they are confronted by gay men. (Draper, 2010, p. 364)
Maxim-ized heterosexuality (1997-2000) is the second era and differs from the first era. Conde Nast thought that the magazine’s gayness was holding them back from having a greater target audience. So Caruso and then Golin transformed the music section in the magazine with sports and of women dressed sexily because they wanted a more heterosexual audience. Maxim’s magazine was launched and had sexy cars with sexy, almost naked women pictures. Golin stated that, if you are going to have a general-interest magazine for men – one of men’s general interest is women.