An article about a Jezebel article appeared on Bad Catholic a few days ago, both deserving of serious contemplation. The initial article, by a homosexual gentleman fed up with what has become the prototypical gay persona, gives a telling analysis of masculinity/femininity, power relationships, “gay privilege,” and a few other topics of note from an insider’s perspective. Start there.
The second article expands on a topic mentioned in the first: gay culture fosters its own misogyny that is as dangerous as, if not worse than, the heterosexual objectification of women. I have found very few articles I agreed with so thoroughly as this one. You can find it here.
One point that has not been stressed here enough, though, is the objectification of gay men. Everyone wants to be the subject of another’s affection or respect. Objectification is a very difficult trap to avoid when people encounter those they do not know well, and the better we get to know our friends, the more subjective our undertanding of them becomes. There are circumstances, though, in which people are objectified even within friend-relationships. There is a tendency toward “token” friendship, by which someone we are friends with becomes a status symbol or sign of “coolness.” Generally, this is seen in those who call attention to the fact that they are friends with a person of some minority goup or other. Comedy shows joke often about “token” blacks, asians, gays, et cetera. “Token”-ing is commonplace in a culture where acceptance and tolerance of difference are crammed into a mold we disguise as virtue.
I have a couple of buddies and relatives who are gay, but none of my best friends have yet come out as gay. I have lots of friends and relatives who are best friends with gay guys, though, and often it makes me uncomfortable. Not because of anything I believe about what it is to be gay – it isn’t my job or ability to judge men’s hearts, and most of the gay guys I know are of superior virtue in sexual discretion than heterosexual dudes. (The latter of these, that insecure wish toward masculinity by connecting with other men through sexual exploits about women is another story in itself worthy of deconstruction and absolute visceral rejection, but I will save it for another day when I have the time. Even so, it is a huge pet peeve of mine – because I see it in several friends I am close with who are unable to hold a conversation without talking about women if they are willing sex dolls, worthy of no attention except in a sexual arena.)
What makes me uncomfortable about my friends having close gay friends is that being friends with a gay guy has become “cool,” and my friends often seem to be unable to see past the objectification of their best-gay-friend as primarily gay and defined by that sexuality and cultural paradigm, rather than someone who should be loved and befriended for their inherent traits and worth. When we choose friends, our last concern, that below all others, should be how it looks to an outsider. You need not be a Christian to buy that, but if you are one, you must. The apparent interactions, though, between these besties, is very apparently similar to those described in the Bad Catholic column above. So it is a two way street here. Gay men may objectify each other and their token “fag hag” (as the first artivle put it), but they are objectified in turn by their friends. The objectification of a best friend because of how it looks is actually quite sad, and I think it happens more than we would like to admit.
The problem is partially cultural, based in that idea that tolerance is a hip quality to have, but perhaps it in part stems from the inability of many gay men to transcend stereotypes about what being homosexual means. Again, another topic to be discussed, but worth the head-nod, at least, for now.
Only one post today. There is only so much controversy worth wading into in one sitting…