Queering Nazism or Nazi Queers? A sociological study of an online Gay Nazi Fetish group
This thesis is a qualitative sociological study into the phenomenon of gay Nazi fetishism in the Internet age, and its wider social and political implications. This sociological research is timely because of the proliferation of online groups targeted at those with fetishistic sexual interests as well as the increasing adoption of queer theory as a theoretical framework through which to analyse non-normative sexualities. Data was collected through examining a range of websites and groups targeted at gay men who enjoy Nazi fetishism. Drawing on interviews with 22 members of one particular gay Nazi fetish group, it is argued that the Internet provides real and important benefits for those exploring non-normative desires, compensating for a number of perceived offline dis-satisfactions as well as offering opportunities to enhance and experiment with sexual play. Nonetheless, this proliferation of non-normative sex does not mean that the world will necessary be a ‘queerer’ place. Not only do problematic hierarchies and exclusions operate on Nazi fetish websites, but its members demonstrate a firm (over)conformity to heteronormative masculinity. Moreover, the appropriation of Nazism for both sexual fantasy and sexual practice draws from and re-iterates its well-established and horrific history rather than, as some queer theorists assert, providing a means to re-signify Nazi regalia. I conclude that the subversive effects of non-normative sexuality should not be assumed but rather that research needs to pay closer attention to the gendered and sexual identities and political sensibilities of its practitioners as well as the ways through which they frame, experience and understand their embodied sexual practice.
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