I want anyone reading this right now to be honest with themselves with just how much misogyny gay culture and many gay men perpetuate. While I did take offense to recent articles written by heterosexual M2T’s people that where critical of drag, it had more to do with who was calling it out and their misplaced reasoning behind doing so rather than a lack of need. Gay culture, and more micro cosmically individual gay men need to start being confronted on a few things.
Drag, as performance, if critically analysed, is an obvious offensive slight against women more than it is men exploring “femininity” or expressing repressed empowerment, as it is nothing more than camp performance. It’s not an authentic expression, and thus insincere. Having never been a fan of drag shows, but still sometimes catching one by chance I was never impressed by what I was seeing, and to this day fail to see the point. While gay men, women cheer them on and throw money at them in a way that emulates what happens to strippers at strip bars. It truly leaves me puzzled. Of course, drag is hardly the most relevant or pervasive issues in relation to gay cultures or gay men’s misogyny, it is one of the more often addressed ones.
An issue with gay men that really gets to me, even most all gay men I know and love as friends, is language. I can’t stand how prevalent misogynist and even macho lingo actually is among us. I’m by no means perfect, words have slipped out, it’s something I’m sure we have all been guilty of at times, but the more conscious we become the more we must acknowledge how harmful these words are and work on exercising them from our vocabulary. For the most part politcally “progressive” gay men understand why certain words are wrong. There is no need for an explanation why racial slurs are offensive, or homophobic slurs obviously. While causing an uproar over the word “faggot” gay men will viciously and hypocritically respond with “cunt” or “bitch”. These words are offensive- and if we truly see women as human(which is the failure here I believe when progressive’s elevate all other oppressed classes over women in terms of respect.), we will understand, that like all oppressed groups of people, there are certain words that have a painful history behind them and these words are in no way appropriate for us to use, much less use so liberally.
Another thing that I find perplexing is gay men’s interest (perhaps stereotypical, but totally prevalent.) in upholding and even creating much of what is the patriarchal mold of what women are suppose to look like. Why are so many gay men invested in women’s fashion? What kind of entitlement does that speak to that we so often take it upon ourselves to dictate how women should look or that they would “look better doing…” ? Because it is certainly entitlement. Gay men should be seen as the predominate group of men that are responsible for the size zero looks and the reinforcement of cosmetics. While straight men may “appreciate” it and through their attitudes enforce it, I think we can safely say for the most part it isn’t their direct doing. I spent a few thousand on Esthetician school, only to, at the end, decide not to peruse a career in that, some of those reasons factored in. I don’t support that, why would I want to be in that industry? I’m not slagging off every man who decides to do this, but stepping back and being critical, it’s not something I could honestly ever see myself doing. Stepping back, I find gay men primping women for heterosexual consumption to be just a tad bit more than creepy.
One has to also recognize the part fashion plays in rape culture and the subordination of women. In a world where the rape of women is an pandemic, why do we celebrate fashion and what all of that entails? When we are designing clothing that is, essentially, easy access clothing, what are we saying and what are we complicit in? Women are raped and here we are designing skirts for them. Skirts. This isn’t “blame it on what’s being worn” by the way. Not at all. women should be able to wear what they want, and despite that not be bothered. I doubt a man who is intent on raping a woman cares if she is in jeans, a burka, or nothing at all. Rape isn’t about what is being worn, and I want to make clear that’s not what I’m saying. It is however, a critique of rape culture’s trends. Similarly the way the fashion industry dictates what is a desirable body type needs to be examined. In a rape culture, where women are targeted and often assaulted and raped- why are we so loudly promoting that women be emaciated and men be hulking? I have always found this to be very troublesome.
Speaking of gay entitlement on a more personal level, I’ve often seen my gay friends take liberty in dealing with boundaries. What is it with gay men thinking they have some sort of right to touch women’s bodies? The Cupping of breast, the smacking of derriere’s etc. It’s activity that would not be tolerated for straight men, what gives gay men the pass? The answer is nothing. There is no reason for that kind of behavior period. So my call for both myself, and other like minded gay men is to try to make these conversations that we need to be having louder. If you see your gay friend drunkingly feeling up a woman…pull him aside and ask him what he thinks he is doing. When you hear certain language, make a point to have a conversation about it. There are so many things we could do better collectively. There will be a few other post on this topic as time goes on.