Bears Masculinities in Lisbon: Analysis of Public Profiles from Growlr

Proceedings of The 3rd International Conference on Gender Studies and Sexuality

Year: 2023



Bears Masculinities in Lisbon: Analysis of Public Profiles from Growlr

Alexandre Rodolfo Alves de Almeida , Maria Manuel Rocha Teixeira Baptista




The research presents the results of a categorical content analysis of public profiles from Lisbon, Portugal, on the Growlr app, a location-based social networking platform used by self-identified Bears, mostly consisting of homo/bisexual men. Bears are a subgroup of the GBTQ+ community, and there is a dispute regarding their conceptualisation. While some scholars emphasise certain physical features, others focus on attitudes or behaviours. However, the online profiles of self-identifying Bears reveal that each individual interprets and enacts their identity in a unique way. The study reveals a prevalence of femmephobic discourse in the profiles, which aims to enforce cisheteronormative masculinity. However, the research also identify resistance to this norm, particularly among non-standard members of the Bear community. Online platforms like Growlr provide Bears with a space to connect and express their identities in their own ways, making them a rich resource for exploring how Bears navigate their gender and sexuality in the digital age. By analysing these profiles, we gain insights into the diversity and complexities within the Bear community and can identify patterns of discrimination and resistance that can inform broader efforts towards promoting equity and inclusion for all members of the LGBTQ+ community. The paper represents a section of ongoing research conducted by the first author under the Doctoral Program in Cultural Studies at the University of Aveiro, Portugal, under the adviser Professor Maria Manuel Baptista.

keywords: LGBTQ+, Normativity, Portugal, Sexualities, Social Networks