Monday, November 12, 2012

A Dumb Insulting Video about Gay Men by College Humor

I just watched the dumbest video about gay men by College Humor I've ever seen before. I'm treading lightly here and I'm really trying to keep an open mind about this. On the one hand it's funny and even I laughed when I first started watching. On the other, the more I watched the more I saw that it's about as insulting as any stereotype of any minority I've ever seen before.

Here's the link to a video that's titled, "Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends." I'm guessing it's supposed to be a political statement about legalizing gay marriage on a state by state level, and it's pointed at straight men. To date, I have failed to see anyone in the mainstream media mention Fred Karger and all the work he's been doing to legalize gay marriage. But I see this nonsense about gay men marrying "your girlfriends" all the time and it is getting tired now.

I do get the humor. I like to think I have a good sense of humor. But whenever I see something like this I have to wonder WTF because the gay men I know are more like the straight men I know in more ways than one. And videos like this hurt more than they help with the way the general public sees the gay community at large.

There may have been gay rights victories in Maine, Maryland and Minnesota this past election, but there are still states out there doing their best to keep couples from getting married.

For those states, the men of College Humor have an ultimatum: Let them get hitched, or they'll bite the bullet and start marrying your girlfriends.

The biggest misconception I find here is the implication that straight men are all against gay marriage and their girlfriends support it.  And that's just not the way it works. There are as many straight women against gay marriage as there are straight men, at least that's how it works from my own personal experiences as a gay man. In fact, the straight women who are against gay marriage tend to be both condescending and militant about it at times. In other words, Anita Bryant wasn't the only one. I also have many straight males friends who really don't care one way or the other.

But what I find even more insulting is that gay men have to fight these stereotypes constantly while they are also fighting for equality. And that's just not something I'm willing to accept without speaking up about it anymore.

First, I don't cook or arrange flowers. I don't even eat quiche...never have and never will. The kitchen is my least favorite room in the house and I'm not even sure how to use the big hot thing they call a range. I know gay men who do cook and arrange flowers and there's nothing wrong with that, but I know more who work as corporate executives during the week making six figures and they spend their weekends putting in hardwood floors and building decks. I could write pages about this alone, but you see where I'm going with this with respect to insults and stereotypes.

This time the dumb video hurts more than it helps because it not only objectifies gay men in a general sense as being prissy and effeminate, but also too dumb to stand up and understand the political implications behind the scenes. Some of us do "get" it. We are well informed politically and we know who is going to help us and who is going to hurt us. You just don't hear from us often because we are the discreet silent majority. But we're getting fed up and starting to talk more. Unfortunately, a lot of people out there who don't know much about gay men and don't get the parody in the video will actually think all gay men are like this...because this is all they ever really see!!

Try doing this with any other minority in America and you'd be slammed before you could even get your first "like."


Shelagh said...

I see what you mean. It is funny and it plays on the fears and stereotypes that most homophobic people seem to hold. The thing is is, it stereotypes gay men, straight men and women.

It reminded me of a conversation I recently had with my husband about gender; he was telling me that back in the 70s, when he was in his late teens/early 20s, how flamboyantly he used to dress, he wore his hair quite long, carried a shoulder bag. His point was that in some ways things are more rigid now - back then no-one looked twice at him, lots of young men dressed the same way. Now, the asumption would probably be that he's gay.

We seem to have got rid of some stereotypes and gained others in their place. He also likes to cook, I detest it. (There's nothing I want to eat so much that I'll cook it myself, I could live the rest of my life on cheese and marmite sandwiches!) We still get odd looks from people when they find out that David does all our cooking and always has.

I sometime think we're not a typical couple (I've worked in IT for over 20 years, my husband's a nurse), but then I don't think we're that untypical either. There's really no such thing as 'typical'. The people who truly fit the stereotypes are few and far between.

ryan field said...

"We still get odd looks from people when they find out that David does all our cooking and always has."

That's an important statement, I think. So many straight men nowadays actually like to cook that they do most of the cooking. Even the straight guys got stereotyped in this video.

Ex-Leftist said...

Thanks for this article, Ryan. Totally agree. The video plays into the narrative that it's straight males (the enemy of both women and gay men) who are the obstacles to gay marriage. The gay characters are all stereotypes. It makes it look like they would want to play house with their straight girlfriends and would want to do a 3-way with them. This just feeds into the belief that we can be straight. Sometimes gay men can be their own worse enemy by encouraging these stereotypes in pop culture.

Ex-Leftist said...

Thanks for writing this, Ryan. This video actually plays into a supposedly gay-friendly stereotype about gay men. I love my female friends, but I wouldn't want to play house with them. Nor would I EVER want to do a 3-way with them. This feeds into the belief that we can be straight but choose not to. And yes it also stereotypes straight males. As if they're the sole reason there isn't gay marriage. Modern day straight males, for better or for worse, don't match these stereotypes either. I know this video was popular among many of my fellow gays and gay-friendly people, but using so-called positive stereotypes (about us) like these, will hurt us in the end.

ryan field said...

I agree completely. Thanks for commenting.