Footballer Comes Out … As Metrosexual #metrosexual #gayism #sporno

Posted: February 21, 2013 in Fashion, Football, homosexuality, Identity, metrosexuality, Sporno, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

robbierogersmodel

Hello Campers! I’m continuing to develop my thoughts on that thorny topic of  sporno, anti-homophobia and metrosexual-machismo. While I do so I thought I’d show you an apt illustration of the theme.

Last week a professional  footballer came out as gay! Oh. Em. Gee. But before anyone could get the babycham out it was also revealed that he was giving up professional football. According to the Graun,

‘The former Columbus Crew and USA winger Robbie Rogers has announced that he is gay, and that he has decided to “step away” from his career as a professional footballer.’

So, although on  twitter Robbie said he was touched by how supportive everyone was to this ‘news’, and ‘gay academic’ Mark McCormack fitted this event into his thesis about ‘declining homophobia’ especially in sport, I was not so jubilant. It seems a shame to me that a young man coming out does so just as he is leaving the career for which he is well known. He’s not exactly becoming an ‘ambassador’ for gay and bisexual players by putting his boots on the shelf. I’m not blaming him. I believe that football, by its very sweaty, physical, passionate, sexy nature is already ‘well gay’. And until the ‘beautiful game’ ‘fesses up to that fact, out gay or bi players will be few and far between. But before I get down and dirty and grapple with this complex subject, I want to point out something else about Rogers’ announcement that I think is worth a mention.

Apparently,  ‘Rogers is starting a new position with Men’s Health Magazine  in the UK and he is also part of the ownership group for the clothing company Halsey.’ So the side of himself that he is finally openly celebrating is not necessarily his gayness, but rather his metrosexuality!  From what I can see, football is as conflicted about this contemporary tarty display that its stars like to indulge in as it is about sex itself.  Taking your kit off with your  mates and posing for Gay Times is all very well, but if you are actually… you know….gay or bi, it makes the whole exercise a little bit more threatening and destabilises the ‘macho’, ‘heterosexual’, camaraderie of most sports teams.

I am glad Rogers is now free to be himself. But that self, and the culture he inhabits, is a little bit more nuanced than most people will have us believe.

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Comments
  1. shoegirl says:

    Great article. I think you make one really excellent point: its all very well “playing gay” as a “performance” for the public/media/ANother, but the moment it becomes representative of something actual, its suddenly far more taboo and dangerous. This is something I’ve observed in looking at women playing masculine roles in opera: while there is considerable more overt homoeroticism in performances, every most of the performers either goes out of their way to reemphasize their heterosexual marriages etc as evidence of their heterosexuality. At the same time, those tier 1 women of opera who are actually openly gay (of whom there are at least 6, 3 of whom play roles with homoerotic overtures) tend to be largely ignored in favour of endless speculation/open lusting over those that are emphatically not gay, or trying to divert attention away from their homosexual leanings. What this reveals is the level of taboo still around the “gay performance” as much as gay actualité. And thats women, where its commonly (and wrongly, IMO) believed to be “more acceptable.”

    A singer friend joked yesterday that “opera is a participatory sport” and I definitely think there are strong connections in any kind of “team game”: sport, politics, opera, anywhere that people are expected to interact widely. It seems to be widespread that “coming out” is something the performer does on retirement from the game, which is a shame, and doesn’t really break the mould.

    Then again, I can’t totally blame anybody. Even in more “respectable” team sports such as tennis, rugby and golf, there is still a conservative element who make their voices heard, even if they’re concealed by the powers that be.

    I will say though, that rugby boards have been far ahead in direct support for teams and players, offering facilities, use of coaches, referee panels etc. This does make a huge and direct difference, as opposed to lip service from a faceless body without backing it up. When soccer boards start offering facilities and services to gay tournaments and clubs, then it might be more believable.

  2. shoegirl says:

    Actually worth noting the cultural difference too – I read today that openly gay Aussie rules player Jason Ball has led the Melbourne Pride parade, http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/2013/01/16/gay-footballer-leads-pride-march/93366, he’s only 24, so no sign of retirement – http://www.samesame.com.au/news/local/8881/Gay-footy-player-tackles-AFL-homophobia.htm

  3. […] ‘gay’ – in our 21st century (social) media age, football is a blazing, fragrant metrosexual. My view is that many players, even if the scheme had been better thought out and organised, would […]

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