Date of Award

5-8-2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Wendy Simonds

Second Advisor

Elisabeth Burgess

Third Advisor

Deirdre Oakley

Abstract

The “X-Files” lesbians are an online community of lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, and queer (LBPQ) women who attribute the science fiction show and its lead actress, Gillian Anderson, with the discovery of their sexual orientation. Despite her character Dana Scully’s heterosexuality and that the show features no LGBT+ characters, the claim that “Gillian Anderson made me gay” has been a consistent argument made by women in the broader X-Files fan community since the show began airing in the 1990s. I have examined this phenomenon to demonstrate how much television can influence and aid with the construction of female sexuality. Additionally, I have studied the role media plays in identity formation. I collected data via a survey distributed to LBPQ X-Files fans on the blogging website tumblr. I conclude that the online community, the show’s treatment of gender roles, and having a space to interact without heterosexuals all contribute to this phenomenon.

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