Archive for the ‘homosexuality’ Category

You may remember the Kinsey Sicks from my recent enthusing over their unique brand of ‘dragapella’ extravaganza. Now this irreverent barbershop (nail salon?) quartet are celebrating their 20th birthday with a rather brilliant song and video.

Why The Fuck Aren’t We Famous? is not only a very good question considering the talent, wit and style of the Kinsey Sicks, it is also a timely comment on contemporary celebrity pop culture. Aping  A and R men and Pop Idol judges, the Sicks list reasons why they’re not Top of the Pops along with the Biebers and Gagas of the world.

‘if you wanna be commercial minimise the controversial, people want their chicks with sticks to cut off the politics’.

I think there’s a very serious point here, in amongst the make up, stilettos and oh so lovely harmonies. In a world where popular culture has pretty well entirely  gone gay – see Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Eurotrash, Jersey Shore, Big Brother, The Golden Girls, etc etc – actual gay men writing and singing candidly about their sexuality, politics, and gender, still come across as a bit too much for the mainstream. In other words, Kinsey Sicks, darlings:

‘why can’t you all be like Ru Paul?’

I particularly love the therapy sessions in the vid, with the Kinseys taking it turns to sit on the couch of ‘Dr Fraud’ and tell him their woes. I have a sneaking suspicion that the original, unacceptably intellectual and open-minded Dr Sex would be a fan of the Kinsey Sicks, should he be alive today.

Famous or not, I am glad these talented performers are still here…er…sticking it to polite yet often hypocritical, celebrity-obsessed, trash TV society, and proving that good old-fashioned Camp is alive and well, and as brash yet subtle as ever.

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Remember the Libertines and that explosive, intense, doomed love affair between Doherty and Barat? This photo of them, topless, sweaty, lips touching over the mic (dick?) sums their homo love up beautifully. I don’t care if they fucked or not, the sexual tension that powered their music was enough for me.
I’m mentioning this because according to tumblr, One Direction that squeaky clean British boy band, have also done some mic -licking recently. You can see the animated gif here.
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According to ‘gay academic’ Mark Mccormack One Direction are an embodiment of a new, ‘inclusive’, ‘softening masculinity’ that allows for ‘playing with sexuality’ even if they’re straight.  Softness v Hardness aside, I and @lindygeek reminded Dr Mccormack on twitter, that this kind of homosocial flirtatious bonding between men in pop is nothing new. See Bowie, Prince, Little Richard etc:
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And, who is it who is headlining Glastonbury this year? Yes, some kings and queens of ‘omnisexual’ rock and roll: The Rolling Stones.  I rest my case.
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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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Ben Cohen, Calendar Pin Up, anti-homophobia activist and Rugger Bugger, posted this delectable photo on twitter, just before Christmas. He added that he is a ‘gay icon and proud’. This was quite a clever, if a little catty move. And was in response to an interview in the press with Louis Smith, Charleston dancing, hair coiffeuring, boxing winner of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing. The issue at hand is Louis’ disavowal of the ‘gay’ bit of his status as new gay icon on the block. Like many ‘straight’ metrosexual men, especially models, pop stars and sportsmen, Louis is happy to receive attention and adulation from wherever he can get it. But he is less delighted by some of the sexual undertones of this attention. The Telegraph reports:

‘After admitting that he has become a “gay icon”, he adds: “As long as gay people can see the line, and that I fancy women, that’s fine. I don’t want to be put in a difficult, uncomfortable situation.”’

These comments, also discussed in the gay press, received a lot of angry responses from (mainly white middle class) gay men. They seem to feel upset that lovely Louis is ‘playing’ with their affections, but unlike Cohen, refusing to play ball. Not only is Louis NOT an anti-homophobia activist like cuddly Cohen, he also has the audacity to throw a bit of a spanner in the works of gay men’s wet dreams about him. This ‘gay icon’ is doing it wrong!

But I have quite a lot of sympathy for Louis, and all men who identify as straight in our tarty, self-loving metro culture. Life is confusing enough, as it slowly dawns on them that they are as narcissistic – if not more so – as their gay brethren, that hair gel and moisturiser matters to them too, without being told they are also expected to be ‘up for it’ with homos as well!

Yes, metrosexuality is ‘well gay’. But more importantly it marks the ‘end of sexuality as we’ve known it’. And so gay men have no right to put the new generation of men pin ups in a ‘gay’ box. These boys won’t be fenced in and don’t have to be! So maybe the older gay generation are just jealous.

As for Cohen, I think he gets away with being an out and proud ‘gay icon’ because he looks more ‘butch’ than Louis. He seems to be maintaining his ‘straight’ status more successfully than pretty Smith, despite the oiled up calendar shoots and naked exhibitionism the rugby player displays. The irony is of course, that another reason the gays go easy on Cohen is he looks just like a gay bear with his gay beard and big muscles! He’s one of them!

But I vote for Louis in this stand off. We will be seeing a LOT more of him in the  future. He may be a gay icon, but mainly he is his own metrosexual man.

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My view: Ben Cohen et al strip off for anti-homophobia charities as a nod that what they do is ‘well gay’, but they’re #NOHomo just ‘allies’

Metrosexual Machismo is alive and well, and disavowing the HOMOsexuality of metrosexual men’s narcissism #metrosexual

In the old days rugger buggers and rowing clubs could get naked together noone would bat an eye. Now gay is visible they need a ‘line’ on it

and their line is: ‘we’re doing it for charity, we’re ‘lads’, and we support anti-homophobia campaigns’ #metrosexual #gay

But how this actually helps actual gay and bi sportsmen be out and comfortable I do not know! They will hide even more! #metrosexual

My ex went to Warwick university. He wasn’t in the rowing club: he would have mucked things up, since he was an actual sodomite.

- more on this soon I was tweeting some notes. Keeping them here for the record!

h/t paul for the metrosexy rowing vid!

Not sure about the ‘genocide’ slur, apart from that I call a tie.

‘I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo, what the hell am I doing here? I don’t belong here.’

What is the worst thing you can call a man? According to feminism, it seems the worst thing you can call a man is a ‘woman’ or a ‘girl’.

Most feminist writing on masculinity focuses on ‘misogyny’. If men are shown to also suffer belittlement and stereotypes, as well as women, feminists always seem to bring the conversation back round to women. They are self-absorbed like that!

So it wasn’t surprising to me when two feminist articles, one by Laurie Penny, the other by Hugo Schwyzer, focused on insults to men being ‘misogynist’.

According to Penny, who has suddenly transformed into an expert on masculinity:

‘The first thing little boys learn at school is that there’s nothing in the world worse than being “like a girl”, with the possible exception of being “gay”. ‘

And Hugo Schwyzer, resident feMANist at Jezebel wrote:

‘A man who gets penetrated behaves like a woman and is labeled as feminine — a fate that we raise small American boys to fear more than almost anything else. (This is why, of course, words like “bitch” or “pussy” when used by one man to another, are so much more likelier to lead to blows than “dick” or “prick.” Men are unlikely to be enraged by references to their own anatomy, only to a woman’s.)’

I often find that this ‘misogyny’ analysis of men and masculinity (including homophobia) is very selective of the kinds of insults it chooses to focus on.

Some other insults that refer to men and masculinity that DON’T draw on ‘misogyny’ that I can think of are:
Troll – often presented as a ‘loser’ man alone in his room with no social skills, addicted to computer games and internet forums

Rapist/Rapey – You don’t have to actually rape someone to get these monikers, and as I have written the ‘rapist’ is constructed as male in our culture

Wanker – again, wanker is a masculinised term, and again suggests loneliness and lack of social skills

Hoodie – this is a gendered (and often ethnically loaded depending on the context) term, that conjurs up a young man in a tracksuit, up to no good.

Man – I have been called a ‘man’ as an insult by feminists a number of times! The very idea of masculinity is considered low and wrong, sometimes.

Mansplainin’ – If men dare to engage in debates with feminist women they often get accused of ‘mansplainin’ ‘, which suggests they are looking down on the woman they are debating with and assuming superiority due to being a man.

Whatabouttehmenz ? this ‘whatabouttehmenz’ insult is used to silence men (and non-feminists in general) when they bring up any disadvantages men face compared to women.

And, again, homophobia is not JUST based on misogyny. In the  comments on his blog he recently remarked:

‘Homo­pho­bia is often dis­guised misog­yny. But what makes male homo­sex­u­al­ity so much fun for all the fam­ily, cul­tur­ally speak­ing, is that dis­gust for it can also be dis­guised misandry — dis­dained for being too male, and beastly. And some­times it can be just be dis­dained for rea­sons that have noth­ing to do with either. Such as tight t-shirts.’

So I reject Penny and Schwyzer’s assertion that men insult each other mainly using misogyny. This means my understanding of the term ‘creep’ is different from Schwyzer’s analysis. He says:

‘ if fear of the feminine is what gives male insults their power, why then is “creep” worse than “pussy?” The answer is that creep is the only insult that instantly centers women’s perceptions. To call a man a “pussy” is to make a comment about how his behavior appears; to call him “creepy” is to name how he makes women feel. If a man wants to disprove that he’s a “pussy,” all he has to do is act with sufficient macho swagger or courage to make the insult obviously inappropriate. But trying to disprove “creepy” involves trying to talk a woman out of an instinctual response to a potential threat, a much more difficult thing to do. Most men recognize (or eventually learn) that the harder they try to deny their creepiness, the creepier they appear.’

Apart from the fact that Schwyzer is contradicting his own belief that the worst thing you can call a man is a ‘girl’, he is also ignoring some important aspects of the use of the term ‘creep’ by women.

I think ‘creep’ functions in a similar way to words like ‘troll’ and ‘rapist’ or ‘rapey’. Yes, it is accusing a man of making a (often) woman feel bad. But the power of this accusation lies partly in the power of feminism in our culture. Schwyzer is dismissive of MRAs, but MRA websites are FULL of men who feel hard done by, due to women’s ability to assert a moral superiority over men.

This power dynamic has real implications, e.g. in the law. It is predominantly men who are accused of rape, because in the UK, the law says a penis is required to commit that specific crime. And women in divorce/custody cases are far more likely to gain custody of children. Why? Because women are naturally good? and naturally maternal? Because men are often just losers and creeps?

And can women not be creeps too? I myself have been accused of misogyny, of being aggressive and ‘menacing’ online. But this has always come in conjunction with a questioning of my status as a woman.

Maybe, as Radiohead have done, it is time to reclaim the word ‘creep’!
http://jezebel.com/5903883/why-guys-really-hate-being-called-creepy

 

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It Gets Better

Back in 2008 Mark Simpson asked a simple question: How gay is MMA?  And the simple answer was: VERY! His steamy description of a live fight he attended sounded (deliberately of course) like a review of the latest homo porno:

‘Mac Danzig is still on his back; his sweaty, pumped, almost translu­cently white torso is flushed with the auburn heat that auburn skin pro­duces when it is aroused. His pant­ing, fetch­ing head has been pushed up against the cage by red­head Marc Bocek’s ener­getic pound­ing, as if the cage were in fact a head­board. Bocek isn’t mak­ing love, how­ever, or at least not the vanilla kind. He’s ham­mer­ing the liv­ing day­lights out of Danzig, stok­ing the crowd into ever-higher waves of frenzy. Although the Octa­gon is right in front of me, I’m watch­ing all of this on one of the giant screens over­head: MMA is mostly a hor­i­zon­tal sport — one that requires mul­ti­ple zoom lenses and a big TV to enjoy properly.’

But it is in 2012 that the ‘gayness’ of MMA has really come home to roost. One of the finalists in the competition to become a contestant in The Ultimate Fighter, a reality TV show featuring MMA fighters, has admitted to once starring in gay porn.

Whilst this information could affect his chances of getting on the show, the general reaction is not as shocked or disapproving as you might expect.  In fact he seems to be winning over hearts and minds with his ‘honest’ confessional of his ‘sleazy’ past. The fact he has two kids and is about to marry his long-term girlfriend (who encouraged him to ditch the porn career) probably helps keep his reputation as a good old american boy almost intact.

This is a very different story from one Mark Simpson told us in 2006. He conducted an exclusive ‘investigation’ into a US army scandal involving young soldiers being disciplined for appearing in gay porn movies. Simpson presented them as sexual outlaws, but commented that their activities were not uncommon, either amongst army personnel or amongst ‘straight’ men in general.

Fast-forward to 2012, when the Metrosexy youtube is in full flow. And we watch our favourite, heterosexual, ‘masculine’ heroes such as David Beckham in hardcore Sporno all the time without batting an eye. This latest porn revelation, rather than seeming like a terrible blow for red-blooded, uber-‘straight’ MMA, actually just goes some way towards ‘outing’ it as  what it is: gay for pay sporno. And that seems normal.                                                                                                                                                                    
I think gay blogs such as Queerty who have reported this story in their usual giggling OOh Matron tone, are behind the Metrosexy times. Everyone knows that fit young men love nothing more than to display their bodies on film. And the line between porn, sport and personal showing off has been well and truly blurred. Not to mention the line between ‘gay’ and ‘straight’.

h/t @Parclyfe

http://www.towleroad.com/2012/02/a-marine-comes-home.html

This photo has gone viral recently. It was first posted on a ‘Gay Marines’ FB page and has since been sent round the internet, with the tagline ‘Gay Marine Comes Home’.

You know me. I am an out and proud ‘homophile’. I am bordering on being a homo myself.  My blog archives are full of pictures of men in clinches, from the sacred to the profane. But when I saw this image I was caught short. I will admit it to you, Roland. I felt a bit queasy. And I think you will understand why.

The photograph is a graphic illustration of the end of DADT, the edict that kept gay, lesbian AND BISEXUAL army personnel from being open about their sexuality. In some ways, the military was, until very recently, the last bastion of ‘pre-gay’ times. ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ has been the unspoken motto of men who have sex with men for eons. And now it is over.

But it is not just the repression of homosexuality that is over here. I fear some other things may be on their way out too. What about all those soldiers ‘acting gay’ on video? Will they be doing that so much, when their gay colleagues are on site? Or, a story you know intimately, those plucky GIS who went gay for pay a few years back. Would that happen when being gay in the army is normalised?

I know that you and your ‘accomplice’ in homo-anthropology Steven Zeeland, have had a range of feelings about the ‘coming home’ of gayness in the military. In Male Impersonators and Barrack Buddies, you both seemed to be opposed to DADT, even though you were nostalgic for a time when homosexuality was even more hidden than it was in the army in the 1990s. You of all people are aware of the complexities and contradictions here. And you, of all people, would be unlikely to begrudge a passionate embrace between a marine and his lover, especially if it is caught on camera.

But something is well and truly lost isn’t it?

Perhaps our only consolation is that in coming home, the gay identity is also quickening its own demise. You have predicted we are nearing the end of gay. Judging by the defensive reactions mainly gay men give to me when I even dare to critique their precious identity position, I am inclined to think you are right.

A Gay Marine Comes Home. We know it’s over, Roland.

It’s over.

P.s. I am going to be honest with you, one of the things that made me feel a bit ‘queasy’ was the gender dynamics of the photo. The marine, supposedly one of those macho masculine types, has a garland round his neck and is being lifted off the floor by his big strong civilian boyfriend (who he termes ‘the giant’ on his facebook page). But I am an old-fashioned girl.