Look at all those big knobs! Online audio technology discourse and sexy gear fetishes

Eliot Bates, Samantha Bennett*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Despite a predominantly digital, 21st century music production landscape, analogue hardware professional audio technologies persist. In the discoursal throes of the leading online audio technology message forum Gearslutz, such technologies are routinely objectified, sexualized, fetishized and socialized into gear. Situated in a contemporary critical, interdisciplinary framework of fetish, masculinity and sexuality studies, this research interrogates how audio technologies manufactured and intended for music production contexts become sexy. Applying a mixed-mode methodology, including an intensive discourse, image and material-semiotic analysis of an ‘epic’ sexy gear thread, we collated extensive data about technological fetishization. Sexy gear discourse articulates themes of voyeurism, acquisition, control and animation – linking the fetish value of technological objects and their connoisseurship with the erotic potential of sexualized objects. Such discourses ultimately serve to maintain social order, and become sites for performing the maintenance work of hegemonic masculine formations. This research provides new insights into how hegemonic masculinities depend upon the organization of online and offline sociability around fetishized material objects. Furthermore, our findings align with those of current scholarship focused on representational politics of technoculture.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1241-1259
    Number of pages19
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


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