Since we live in a very straight-forward, structured society where right is right and anything else is taboo, anal sex seems to be a reoccurring loop hole. From the article “Anal Sex: Phallic and Other Meanings” by Simon Hardy, we can understand how society constructs and deconstructs what types of anal sex, if any, are socially acceptable and how anal sex is used in general.
While reading, I couldn’t help feeling that the article itself, a scholarly work, is itself quite heteronormative. It hardly mentions the gay community in any way, let alone a positive one. In regard to many other concepts discussed in class, the gays just seem to be outcast. So, I beg the question: where exactly do the gays fit?
From the article, Hardy suggests that anal sex, like vaginal sex, involves a heterosexual couple. Although when the article does happen to mention the gay community, it denotes the gays as ‘risky behavior’ (107). Other examples of risky behavior as outlined by the article include sex work and drug use. Anal sex also is degrading, according to Hardy. Therefore, we can infer that since the act is degrading, the people who engage in the act are also degrading. From this comparison, what can we conclude about the stigma that gay is bad and straight is right?
First off, consider the effect advertisement and media. Calvin Klein underwear billboards, perfume ads, and even television commercials are all very hetero-centric because of the social binary that everyone wants to see: a hot blonde girl hovering over a man with abs, both almost naked. Recently, however, a controversial Banana Republic ad depicted two gay men lying in the grass.
Why exactly is society so persistent in outcasting the LGBT community? What kind of effect will this ad have on future ads? Are we making progress as a more encompassing society?
Furthermore, the alienation of gays reaches into the fag discourse. The logic built around social areas is that if you’re a straight man, the gays are out to get you! WATCH OUT! Even in high school, it’s important to signal heterosexuality. It’s under the assumption as a teenager that if you aren’t one thing, you’re the other. If you can’t prove your attraction to girls (which plays into rape culture), then you’re OBVIOUSLY gay. God forbid catch a glance of another guy in the locker room…
From my own experience as a gay man, I find it very difficult at times to break away from the stigma that I was essentially born into. As aforementioned, high school is a shark tank, especially if you are perceived as ‘weird’ or anything other than normal. Gay, faggot, fag, queer, all those degrading and derogatory words are used frequently as ‘buzz words’ and are usually in context with bad things. As an adult, now it’s becoming more evident of the social ramifications of gays and how they are perceived outside of the high school realm. According to society, all gays have spray tans, pearly white teeth, and ride in their German car blasting Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. It’s almost as if society doesn’t want to think of us as anything else. We’re all super feminine, carry designer bags, and wear oversized sunglasses. What’s important at this point is for us all, regardless of how society perceives us as individuals, is to break away from our stigmatized social standing and fight back against that binary. Everyone, aside from the football-player-marries-cheerleader type that society deems normal and acceptable, is outcast, alienated, or stigmatized in some way.
So, what are the gays doing to fight back against this social outcast? Since gays are part of the ‘non-normative’ society, they’ve decided to organize their own communities and structure their inner culture with gay-friendly products, people, and services. Locally, we have Church Street, filled with several gay bars and clubs. East Nashville is home to MadDonna’s and the Lipstick Lounge. Around the country, larger cities have specific parts of the town dedicated to the gay community. For instance, New York has Greenwich Village, Chicago has Boys’ Town, and Los Angeles has WeHo (West Hollywood). Commercially, the gay culture has created its own predominantly gay clothing line and underwear lines, such as Andrew Christian. In this way, the gay community seems to be less dependent on heterosexuals and non-accepting individuals by building their own support groups and ways of living.
On outbuzz.net, I recently discovered someone who, writing under the initials JWB, further discusses his personal experience with the gay culture how the community works.
“Be it Twink, Jock, Bear, Leather, Jock, etc. our culture is very quick to sort, classify, and categorize themselves based on race, body type, hair, activities, and age.”
JWB finds the community to be rather demanding and quick to judge, much like the song “Mean Gays” by Australian entertainer and RuPaul’s contestant Courtney Act implies. From an insider, much like JWB, I find the song to be VERY stereotypical and quite comical. Have a listen.
As a society, we can agree that many different ethnicities, sexualities, races, and religious groups are marginalized. However, there seems to be some progress being made in the gay community, with the inclusion and institution of social media and smaller communities within cities. What can we do to further improve the way things are going and eventually destroy the binary once and for all? Is this ideal even possible in today’s world? What changes would have to be made for this to be possible?