Contemporary French Civilization

Digital geographies: online spaces and gay identity in twenty-first-century France

Contemporary French Civilization (2020), 45, (2), 229–244.

Abstract

In 2017, Erik Rémès criticized gay men in France for spending too much time on their cell phones. As smartphones and apps have become integrated in French society as modes of communication, it is time to consider the role social networking apps play in creating gay identity. This article argues that applications such as Grindr, Scruff, Hornet, and Tinder have reshaped the urban landscape that has been crucial in the creation of gay identity and that digital spaces complement traditional urban geographies. It advances lines of thought such as that introduced by Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner’s “Sex in Public” to contend that these apps fulfill a need for the creation of queer spaces. The article uses close analysis of Jérôme Reybaud’s Jours de France (2017) to demonstrate the relationship between the digital and the physical and the ways in which gay men construct identity through apps. Finally, it argues that digital spaces are vital in preserving gay ways of life in the twenty-first century.

En 2017, Erik Rémès a critiqué les homosexuels parce qu’ils passeraient, selon lui, trop de temps sur leurs téléphones portables. Alors que les smartphones et les applications sont devenus des modes de communication intégrés dans la société française, il est temps de considérer le rôle des applications et des réseaux sociaux dans la création de l’identité gay. Cet essai soutient que les applications telles que Grindr, Scruff, Hornet, et Tinder ont remodelé le paysage urbain qui fut primordial dans la création de l’identité gay et que les espaces numériques complètent les géographies urbaines traditionnelles. Ce travail met en avance des discours tels que celui introduit par «Sex in Public» de Lauren Berlant et Michael Warner pour affirmer que ces applications répondent à un besoin de création d’espaces queer. L’essai propose une analyse approfondie de Jours de France (2017) de Jérôme Reybaud pour démontrer la relation entre le monde numérique et le monde physique ainsi que la manière dont les hommes gays construisent leurs identités à travers des applications. Enfin, il fait valoir que les espaces numériques sont essentiels pour préserver les modes de vie des homosexuels au vingt-et-unième siècle.

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Works cited

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Witt, Emily. Future Sex. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016. Google Scholar

Alessandrin, Arnaud. “J’aimerais bien mais t’es trop loin.” Miroir / Miroirs N°1: Grindr, mon amour. Les Editions Des Ailes sur un Tracteur, 2013. Google Scholar

Berlant, Lauren, and Michael Warner. “Sex in Public.” Critical Inquiry, vol. 24, no. 2, 1998, pp. 547-566. Google Scholar

Cahn, Arthur. Les vacances du petit Renard. Editions du Seuil, 2018. Google Scholar

Caron, David. My Father & I. Cornell UP, 2009. Google Scholar

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. L’Anti-Œdipe. Les Éditions de Minuit, 1972. Google Scholar

Dibbell, Julian. “A Rape in Cyberspace.” The Village Voice, Dec. 1993. Web. Google Scholar

“En France, l’homosexualité est mieux acceptée.” Le Figaro. 26 Jun. 2019. Web. Google Scholar

Hooker, Evelyn. “Male Homosexuals and their ‘Worlds.’” Sexual Inversion: The Multiple Roots of Homosexuality, edited by Judd Marmor, Basic Books, 1965, pp. 83-107. Google Scholar

Humphreys, Laud. Tearoom Trade. Aldine, 1971. Google Scholar

Lepastier, Joachim. “Point(s) de fuite.” Cahiers du cinéma, no. 731, 2017, pp. 50–51. Google Scholar

McCaffrey, Enda. “From Homographies of Invisibility to Hypervisibility: Queering and De-Queering City Centre Space.” Queering Paradigms III, edited by Kathleen O’Mara and Liz Morrish, Peter Lang, 2013, pp. 33–61. Google Scholar

McCaffrey, Enda. “Towards an Ethics of Distance: Representation, Free Production and Virtuality.” Australian Journal of French Studies, vol. 53, no. 1–2, 2016, pp. 23–38. Google Scholar

Nakamura, Lisa. Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet. U of Minnesota P, 2008. Google Scholar

Naselli, Adrien. “Faut-il brûler Grindr?” Têtu, no. 219, 2019, pp. 74–79. Google Scholar

Rémès, Erik. Je bande donc je suis. Éditions Blanche, 2004. Google Scholar

Rémès, Erik. Pride. La Musadarine, 2017. Google Scholar

Rémès, Erik. Serial Fucker. Éditions Blanche, 2005. Google Scholar

Reybaud, Jérôme, director. Jours de France. Chaz Productions and Centre National de la Cinématographie, 2017. Google Scholar

Schehr, Lawrence R. “Fragmented Territories: AIDS and Paris in Les Nuits Fauves of Cyril Collard.” French Forum, vol. 34, no. 1, 2009, pp. 53–65. Google Scholar

Warner, Michael. The Trouble With Normal. The Free Press, 1999. Google Scholar

Waskul, Dennis D. Self-Games and Body Play: Personhood in Online Chat and Cybersex. Peter Lang, 2003. Google Scholar

Witt, Emily. Future Sex. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016. Google Scholar

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Author details

Troth, Brian