Monday, April 20, 2009

Ideal Gay, really



The Ideal Gay, really (short essay)
I had the pleasure of reading a little article in Details magazine called “The Rise of the A-Gay”. “Moneyed, successful, educated, and comfortable in their own skin they’re fast becoming the new archetype of cosmopolitan masculinity,” an expert string about the new stylish, athletic species of male “master-of-the-universe types,” the A-Gay. It goes on to mention models of this ‘ideal gays,’ mentioning Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford, them being poster boys of the A. To top it all off, the article mentions a grading system of gay men. There is the A gay, B gay, and C gay, mentioning the particular characteristics of each level of the system. The article was cheeky and logical in its explanation, readers actually being able to recognize and formulate where they were on the grading system. I found the read empowering and gives gay people a positive model to aspire to. “Out but not loud, proud but discreet, they transcend gayness in much the same way that Barack Obama is said to transcended race,” the article is great in it’s explanation of the A-Gay.
I’m vigilant when it comes to the gay rights movement but what is tragic is that the biggest threat to the gay rights movement is gay people themselves. The ultimate deciding factor about why gay people aren’t granted civil rights is because they aren’t assimilated into society. Instead of a social group defined about their orientation, I see gay people as an entire society in itself. Advertising in the media has portrayed gay men as sexual deviants that sleep with random partners because they are just so damn horny. This archaic portrayal of gay men is rooted from the 1970s and the very strict laws against sodomy brought men to their knees in discreet bathhouses, and speakeasies that made partaking in gay sex requiring a high level of anonymousness. Until of recently, with laws protecting gays about discrimination that gay men can openly be ‘out’ but not be attacked. But this old portrayal still lives on in advertising and the media. More so the media is far reaching and this negative portrayal reaches the young 13-year-old boy who is coming to terms with his sexuality. The tragedy is that we, gay men, feed ourselves into the media’s cookie cutter gay and we don’t even know it.
“We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it,” has become the slogan of the gay rights movement. Get used to the Drag Queen, shirtless men in leather chaps, and the disorientating barrage of sexual energy at pretty much every gay event, and only at a gay event. Never would you see this behavior at cultural event like, Asian Pride, or Navajo Tribal etc. Gays don’t transcend, they don’t assimilate into society, and what makes it worse is that they don’t want to. 10 years ago, if you asked anyone if the US would have a black president, they laugh, for example Head of State featuring Chris Rock. Can we say the same thing about a gay president? Definitely no with gay cultural climate how it is today.

4 comments:

Zach said...

"The ultimate deciding factor about why gay people aren’t granted civil rights is because they aren’t assimilated into society."

Is it really? Many would argue that's simply homophobia. Let's say if you were to wake up tomorrow and gay culture were to assimilate into mainstream culture, would gays immediately be granted all the rights that we don't currently have?


Gays indeed do have a culture of their own, but it is something they have to give up? Look at any other minority in American society, did they have to give up their culture or simply "assimilate" to be accepted into society? I don't think so.

Zach said...

"Is it really"
Yeah it really is.

Elaborate.

What is gay culture based on?

i think you gave a good intro to it. Secrecy is a large element that was always apparent in past centuries, because being gay was obviously comparable to Satan. The cruising scene is a leftover from another era, but it's still a very active part of today's "gay culture" (or for those who decide to partake in it).

Unlike other "traditional" minorities, gays aren't [usually] born into gay families and taught gay lingo and grow up in gay neighborhoods. We're born into straight families. We are educated about "our culture" through the institutions that they are based in (dance clubs, bars, ect.). But this image culture is definitely changing by, guess who, us - the younger generations. We don't need secrecy to be accepted by our peers, we can bring our boyfriends and girlfriends to our friends and (some) family. The need for the underground hook up scene might not ever completely go away, but the need for it is definitely withering away.

What change will result? What will this mean for current gay culture? I can't be sure.

VanE.Dy said...

"Is it really"
Yeah it really is. Homophobia is a byproduct of this lack of assimilation. What do you think racism is?
"Lets say if you were to wake up..."
Yep. However, it would have to be able to embrace every facet of the culture. Thing is Gay culture is assimilated into mainstream culture. From Queer Eye for the Straight guy, To Will and Grace. Gays are accepted in mainstream culture. However the portrayal, (LIKE I SAID IN THE ESSAY) is a poor one. The gay guy in such media aren't just the regular gay guy like, well, YOU, but stylocratic Queens like Carson.

This is not the issue. It's not gay culture that needs to be assimilated, its gay people in general.

"Gays indded do have a culture of their own but it is something they have to give up?"
No they don't. That is what the A-Gay is. Gay people have morales and values, like fitness, and style. But it is a part of themselves, not the character. Van isn't a gay man, but a man who happens to be gay.

"Look at any minority in American society,"
That is true.

But it's different. What is gay culture based on?
Racial cultures were able to assimilate into American culture because they are based, well lack of a better world, cultures. Family traditions and morales standards that is created from something bigger themselves.

However gay culture is based on what.

This isn't about cultures. It's about people.

VanE.Dy said...

That's how I see it to. It's dated and stupid. (even though I partake)
but that is how the majority of society of views us
which brings me to the first part and why I said
"The ultimate deciding factor about why gay people aren’t granted civil rights is because they aren’t assimilated into society."
which is my thesis.

Something that is viewed as 'Satan' as you said (in the Christian way of viewing it) isn't something an outsider (and I say this meaning majority society) would want to assimilate into their society.

In the end. ' We (Young gays) are educated about "our culture" (GAY CULTURE SAY IT >.>) through the institutions that they are based in (dance clubs, bars, ect.)' and our fathers and mothers who are 'traditional' (in the Christian way of viewing it) see us as little Satans (in the Christian way of viewing it). Our fathers and mothers are in the Congress
Not you and me.
Which leads me to why we aren't grated civil rights.

We aren't SEEN as CIVIL people.

I'm sure Zach.

Our GENERATION. is the turning point.
Because like you said...

Unlike other "traditional" minorities, gays aren't [usually] born into gay families and taught gay lingo and grow up in gay neighborhoods. We're born into straight families.

Our kids will be.

And thats when we will be assimilated
Until then... our peers
and I mean our peers right now.
And our older peers

Ruin it for the rest of it.
Who are in lack of a better word.
Averagely gay.