CORRELATIONS WITH HOMOSEXUAL
The strongest correlation in the set is between homosexual and feminine, supporting the interpretation that /s/-fronting is stereotypically associated with a particular kind of gayness, namely, the effeminate gay man. This intersection of (homo)sexuality and gender is well known (e.g., LaMar & Kite 1998; Levon 2014). Furthermore, we find positive correlations with place and intelligence for the scale homosexual.
The correlation with the place Nordsjxlland may be linked to the stereotype reported in the quote in example (3), where class belonging is implied. Northern Zealand is where the posh suburbs of Copenhagen are, and also where celebrities and wealthy people supposedly live. This assumed connection between gayness, creativeness, and prosperity is perhaps not well established as statistical evidence, but it is found in discourse at different levels. It is, for instance, communicated by some of the major international companies, both globally and in Denmark. Organizations such as Microsoft, IKEA, and Mffirsk all claim that gay employees are a creative resource, and that gay clients and customers constitute a well-funded market, since it is claimed that gay men earn 20% more than straight men, and that they are first movers when it comes to consumption (Tholl 2010). These organizations organize conferences with the theme of how to improve profit by employing gay staff or targeting your marketing activities toward gay consumers (Microsoft 2010). Thus, the correlation between gayness and class is not surprising, and it is found in potentially quite influential agents in society, such as international companies. The term pink money is also linked to this view of the gay community as constituting a valuable market.
Valocchi (1999) argues that this focus on consumption developed in the 1990s, and that it reinforced a class bias that was already visible up through the twentieth century. The shift from gay identity as a political category to a lifestyle category further consolidated the invisibility of working-class gays in the gay community. Valocchi’s argument rests on both ideology and economy, and while he stresses the importance of the economic aspect, other scholars, such as Barrett & Pollack (2005), argue that ideological aspects have had major influence in consolidating this class bias. In any case, the relationship between sexuality and class is well established as an ideological relationship where working-class gays are practically invisible. We will get back to this issue in our discussion of the correlations with the immigrant scale, where we see a similar link between class and sexuality. Ideologically, then, there is plenty of evidence that a link between gayness and (higher) social class exists (Valocchi 1999; Barrett 2000; Barrett & Pollack 2005). This way, the perceived link between gayness, femininity, and upper class is perhaps to be expected from the respondents in our study as well.
The last positively correlated trait, intelligence, is more surprising. Recall, however, that this correlation did not obtain for the modern guises with [s+]. In popular discourse, as in examples (1)-(з), the use of [s+] is typically associated with stupidity, ignorance, and simple-mindedness. The fact that the scale intelligence does not correlate with the scale homosexuality in the modern [s+] guises does not directly indicate an association with low intelligence (since we would have then expected a significant but negative correlation). However, the result does suggest that the presence of fronted /s/ can attenuate the association between class and competence, and in that sense it is unexpected to find correlations between [s+] and (high) intelligence (in one of the “modern” speakers). On the other hand, this perceived relation may be based on the social meanings described earlier. If a person is viewed as higher class, the person is probably also perceived to have a higher level of education. It is known from many perception studies that traits such as intelligent, well-educated, articulate, and upper class go together to form a dimension typically termed superiority (Zahn & Hopper 1985). In that sense, it should be expected that intelligence and upper class are connected.
Just as interesting are the (significant) negative correlations for homosexual: while not particularly strong for confused, the remaining scales show that homosexuality is not associated with immigrants, with the western suburbs of
Vestegnen, or with males projecting a gangster-like persona. We will get back to this in our later discussion of homonationalism.