When gay men are a problem

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.

fashion

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.

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12 thoughts on “When gay men are a problem

  1. I have been waiting for gay men to speak out about some of their misogynist culture and attitude towards both lesbian and straight womon. Some gay men appear to think it is the norm to articulate their sexuality by denigrating womon in general and as you said latching onto to the notion that they can ‘do’ femininity better!
    Recently I watched (Gogglebox) a gay male couple commenting on a new quizz show being anchored by Sandi Toksvig.their first remarks were to attack ‘look at her’ ‘what!!’ ‘Couldn’t they find someone more err you know ‘ referring to the fact she was not apparelled in exotic clothes but rather a jacket and trousers (Sandi has never been glam) and not as skinny as a rake. It was an attack that just fell out if their unified mouths. Nothing about saying how great it was that a talented lesbian womon was making a tv programme. heterosexuals watching the same prog were just remarking about how fun it was to join in the quizz . (Gogglebox this week).
    I hope this article will be read and acted upon by gay men to check their misogyny and open entitlement that appears to give them a licence to be foul mouthed objectifying and denigrating about and towards womon.

  2. Another great line that encapsulates fashion TV/movie culture and generally in media:
    “I find gay men primping women for heterosexual consumption to be just a tad bit more than creepy.”
    There is a prevalence of these kinds of behaviour on TV, gay guys telling hetero females how to dress, how to make-up, how to talk, how to walk. As a bisexual female who considers myself anti-gender, I have always been profoundly insulted by such messages.
    You have a knack for great lines. 🙂

  3. lesbian here. I appreciate this post.

    I’ve experienced assorted violations of my body by gay men under the screen of “don’t get pissy, it’s not like I want to fuck you.” as if assaulting a woman is fine as long as your heart is pure. as if women as humans don’t deserve a choice of who gets to put their hands on us. as if our histories of abuse are unimportant compared to whatever momentary thrill is had from copping a feel.

    so sick of that shit.

  4. Yes Jay I think you’ve definitely resonated here, particularly with the use of language for me. It is the “b***h”, “c***t” thing I find most troubling. Men use these to self-refer, in gay circles, and to each other, but so do lesbians, particularly the latter one. Is it the truth that we in the gay community have absorbed patriarchal messages, but we end up disrespecting ourselves, and others in the lesbian and gay movement with them. ybawife, I think I know the quiz show you mean, and Sandi has had a lot of stick for being “too chatty” to contestants etc on Internet etc, My thought was would she get the same stick if she were a straight woman, or a straight man?

    I doubt it. But the Fifteen to One of old was a chat free zone.The point is, people expect more now.

    If a man was chatty, patriarchy wouldn’t care.

    I have to say I’m enjoying the new version, and enjoyed the old.

  5. It’s actually a stereotype that gay men are wholly different from straight men just because they’re gay. On the contrary, just because a man is sexually attracted to the same sex and gender, doesn’t guarantee anything about his personality. He runs the same gamut as a heterosexual male.

    As a result, it’s pretty common for gay men to be, quite simply, male pigs. And they get a huge pass on it from gay culture every day. Some of this is understandable in the sense of a desire for unity – gay people know they need to stick together, and turning on one another may seem as if it is servicing the aims of actual bigots who seek to tear down and marginalize gay culture. But at the end of the day, people are people regardless of whether they’re gay or straight and need to be held to the same standards.

  6. Thanks for this! Gay men can be just as misogynistic as heterosexual men and even worse many of them use their sexual orientation as an excuse. Actually, gay men can be just as lesbophobic as heterosexual men; see the controversy over NBC Hannibal where the gay male writer had the lesbian character sleep with a man (apparently it wasn’t in the books) because, “well I talked to some straight men and they would sleep with a lesbian!” That falls under the thing you mentioned about “primping women for heterosexual consumption”. And of course, the radikewl queers are defending that shit. I’m mad and I never got into to show because it’s just another symptom of how bad the lesbophobia is and how a lot of people within the “community” perpetuate it.

    Anyway, I agree with a lot of what you said. Even before I left queer politics I was never into drag, but I hate it because it seems almost impossible to do it without being a misogynist. And I do not care what your sexual orientation is; it is not okay to grope or touch other people without their permission.

  7. That’s a good article; thank you. It’s really just a myth that gay men are inherently more respectful of women than straight men. In fact many gay men can get a pass on their misogyny thanks to the devaluing and erasing of women and lesbians in male-centric queer culture. As for gay men and fashion, you might be interested in Sheila Jeffreys’ book “Beauty and Misogyny” because there’s a big section on gay men in fashion design.

    I’m kind of laughing at hetero MTTs criticizing drag considering the long homophobic history of heterosexual male cross-dressers and MTTs trying to distance themselves from gay men. More of the same really.

    As for drag itself, it can be very misogynistic at it’s worst but even if it wasn’t misogynistic it’s so fucking overrated.

  8. I always wondered what interest gay men have in heterosexual women’s appearance. It’s totally creepy. I’m not a bonsai tree just waiting to be pruned by a perfect gay male fashionista. Being gay does not absolve you of male privilege and does not make you “one of the girls”. If a gay man recognizes this, we can be friends. If he’s a boundary-disrespecting misogynist, not so much. Just because you’re not interested in someone sexually doesn’t mean their ass is up for grabs. Boundaries apply to everyone. Nobody is exempt.

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