Locating the "Scruff Guy": Theorizing Body and Space in Gay Geosocial Media

Yoel Roth


This article offers a critical examination of the smartphone application Scruff, a gay geosocial networking service targeted primarily at bears that boasts a user base of more than five million individuals in more than 180 countries. Using a case study of gay geosocial networking, the article argues for a theoretical reworking of the relationships among embodiment, space, and digital media. Geosocial services such as Scruff, by virtue of their emphasis on bodies and locations that can be accessed offline, complicate notions that online interactions are displaced, disembodied, and ethereal. By layering a virtual, but still spatialized network of users atop existing physical locations, Scruff straddles the online–offline divide and indicates how bodies, places, and identities are discursively constructed through the interplay of virtual and physical experience.


gay men, social media, mobile media, geosocial, embodiment, location, identity

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