Gay Stereotypes in Primetime

Submitted by wngreen on Mon, 2006-12-11 18:42

I am not usually subjected to TV advertisements but I do sometimes catch them while watching HD (still waiting for that Tivo Series 3) or listening to the radio (only out of desperation when my CPN podcasts are done). When I first heard the commercial for Wedding Wars I thought it was a spoof. I had to look it up today after hearing it again on the radio during lunch:

This 2006 made-for-cable film lightens up the gay-marriage debate with a silly story that still manages to be charming at times. Plus it stars hot TV docs Eric Dane (aka McSteamy of Grey's Anatomy) and ER's John Stamos. Dane's character is marrying the daughter of Maine's governor and hires his gay brother (Stamos) as his wedding planner. But the governor's opposition to gay marriage sends the brother on a strike. The media runs with the story, and gay workers everywhere strike. Hairdressers and florists walk, leaving the world less fabulous but, unfortunately, leaving viewers with more reinforcement for their stereotypes. — Bill Ecklund, TVGuide

I know I should not be surprised but several things about this disturb me. First there is the irony of apearing to be supportive of Homosexuals while reinforcing the sterotypes and biases that hurt individuals like myself much more then some sort of government issued marrige licence. Second is the eagerness of so many gays to conform to many of these sterotypes.


( categories: )

Ooo-er, Matron!

Fraser Stephen-Smith's picture

Ross,

Just because I chose to respond to an obvious flaw in your argument, it doesn’t mean I missed the point; it means I chose to highlight something different.

You don’t like camp behaviour. Fine, we understand. As an aside, in my experience, I have generally found the sort of people who consciously and vociferously raise complaints about camp behaviour to have the smallest of minds, and dullest of personalities. You are clearly an exception to this experience (i.e. I do not consider you to have a small mind or dull personality).

There is a small side argument which Linz keeps bringing up, which you do not answer – which is what motivates your distate for camp behaviour. This doesn’t interest me too much.

What does interest me, is that to justify your distaste you have fallen to using at least one dramatically irrational position; i.e. that gay man ‘X’ should ask all other gay men to avoid camp behaviour so that no third parties will attribute camp characteristics to gay man ‘X’. My preliminary conclusion is that you are struggling to find justification for your position.

Finally – I do not accuse you of homophobia. I did (unjustifiably; and contrary to other evidence) suspect you of dullness.

“If homosexuals want to change the stereotype then they should start working on the problem from the inside out.”  - Sounds like you're offering to help with some internal correction, Ross. Smiling

Ross ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

We're not arguing about those who, for whatever reason, choose to portray themselves as caricatures. At least I'm not. I'm arguing about natural born effeminates, like Crisp (his "camping it up" on purpose merely added another layer to what was already there), like many gays (and, actually, some non-gays) I have known. Like the young boy at the YMCA camp. Are you arguing flat-out that effeminacy is not and cannot be inborn?

And whether it is or isn't, you haven't told us what's wrong with it. Just that you don't like it. (Matter of fact, it doesn't turn me on at all, but I don't actively dislike it. Life's rich tapestry and all ...)

I don't know how we got on to jock straps and ass-whipping, but I always thought it was you on that float, Ross. Smiling

I detest the Hero Parade, actually. So I don't watch it. Simple. Smiling Certainly, ratepayers shouldn't have to pay for it.

Linz

I've been watching a series called Playing It Straight. A young lass has to choose a partner from a group of hunks, several of whom are gay and primed to deceive. Each week, she eliminates one of the hunks. If she ends up picking a gay guy he gets a million bucks and she's left high and dry. If she picks a straight guy they each get half a million and supposedly go off into the sunset together. The last programme played yesterday. She picked a straight guy to whom she was genuinely attracted & vice versa, so it ended happily. What was instructive was that the only one of the hunks who was overtly stereotypically gay, Ryan, whom she eliminated early, was straight!!

Lindsay...

Ross Elliot's picture

...you really should read the final para of William's original post.

And, to me, he summed it up perfectly in his next post when he said: "I just tire of conflating sexual orientation with personality."

And the two homosexual friends I have say *exactly* the same thing. They both came out of the closet more than ten years ago, and courageously so since they were in positions of high profile in a smaller city, and it saddens them that even now, after so many years, a hard core of homosexuals haven't matured enough to see themselves and portray themselves as more than caricatures of a particular sexual persuasion.

Fact is, the mincers are a dying breed. And a good thing, too, just as the overly servile women and the huntin', shootin' and rootin' male stereotypes are a dying breed.

Re Crisp. A little more research may be in order. Crisp has admitted that he played up his effeminate side simply to offend the sensibilities of pre-war British society. And I'm still to see any evidence that there's a mincing gene. If you research "code switching" or "polari", you may find the situation is a little more complicated than simply suggesting that one is born with a deep desire to put on a leather jockstrap and dance to the Village People while symbolically whipping the bare ass of the float driver during the Hero parade.

Ross ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I'm not in the least bit threatened & I don't need reminding I'm an individual, believe me! Smiling

All I want to know is what precisely is wrong with those stereotypes in flaming lycra flaming across the stage, apart from the fact that you find them tiresome & dated, given that so often the stereotype is NOT an affectation but inborn? It's easy to glibly say, "Forget Quentin Crisp." Millions of lives have made made miserable by irrational prejudice against the stereotype, such as that of the young boy at the YMCA camp I mentioned. Crisp is a great symbol of the stereotype fighting back. I won't forget him or what he went through.

Linz

This is probably the last thing...

Ross Elliot's picture

...I expected to see on SOLO: knee-jerk, barely-disguised accusations of homophobia cum queenophobia--and some sort of strange argument from the freedom to flame--simply because I chose to shine a light on the very thing so many homosexuals--including friends of mine who are homosexual--find so dated & tiresome.

Lindsay, why does it irk you that I choose to draw attention to it? This thread is about stereotyping, after all. You're an individual and should not feel in the least threatened by my criticism of the behavior of some members of what is increasingly looking like a collective.

Would I object if it was a woman? If a woman was wobbling around and employing every vampish, cliche-ridden move in the book, in a manner that was obviously designed to do nothing more than call attention to herself, then yes, I'd find the spectacle ridiculous. And I can assure you that most of the women witnessing the same would find it equally ridiculous. In Sexual Personae, Camille Paglia had a lot to say about the culpability of individuals when they choose to act in certain ways regardless of their right to act that way. Worth a read.

Fraser, as per the above, you've completely missed the point.

Duncan Bayne's picture

The 'heroes' of Brokeback Mountain ought to have taken a leaf out of this book:

Pink Pistols

 

---
Buy and wear InfidelGear - 25% of all InfidelGear profit goes to SOLO!

Truth to tell ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Ross is just jealous that the "Nancy-boys" are way prettier in lycra than he is. And out of lycra for that matter. Smiling

Ross Don't Like Them Nancy-Boys

Fraser Stephen-Smith's picture

Good lord, Ross!

"It's about stereotyping, to which my input was that if gays don't want to be stereotyped then they should perhaps look to those within their ranks that perpetuate the stereotype!"

So if one suffers from stereotyping, or is discriminated against; rather than challenging the person with the misunderstanding, one should instead demand that anyone who does (willingly) resemble the stereotype change their behaviour to better please you?

This argument is phenomenally weak, Ross. I also question what you find so offensive about aforementioned mincers.

Um, Ross ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Why don't you just answer the points I raise in "Yes, congenital!"?!

If you can't cope with queens, no one's making you. "Lycra-shorted mincers as they flame their way across the public stage"? So what is wrong with them, exactly?

And would you have a problem with them if they were female?

Linz

Crisply Minced Limp Lisps Irk Wimps

Ted Keer's picture

I had the rare pleasure and honor of speaking to and once meeting Mr. Crisp in the early 1990's. It was around the time of the release of Orlando, an incredible film, where he plays Queen Elizabeth to Tilda Swinton's Orlando. He was quite an impressively witty and polite gentleman.

As for the genetic component in effeminate behavior, it is my belief that some, but not all, homosexuals are hormonally feminized, and that lisping (which is seen as sexy in most females) is a modifiable but unconsciously acquired and not an affected trait in many "sissy" types, to use an apt if crude phrase. Certainly many homosexuals do adopt and intentionally exaggerate this behavior. But it seems a little odd to accuse young children of affectation, and I have seen it in two- and three-year-olds.

The problem lies in seeing homosexuality as a unified phenomenon. It most certainly is not. Most humans are facultatively bisexual but expressly heterosexual. Some "congenital" homosexuals may be neurologically or hormonally feminized. I believe in my case that I am biologically bisexual. But, due to a strong introspective capacity, I identified and early on accepted my attraction to males as well as females. (I did not understand the sexual nature of this attraction, but did know instinctively to hide it.) From looks and actions, I am neither exaggeratedly butch or at all effeminate. I have dressed in drag once, for Halloween, as my high school French teacher wearing a black cape, powdered wig, and a witch's hat. It was quite a lot of fun to mock her European idiosyncrasies, and got a lot of laughs. I did not intend to offend her, and simply said I was a witch during her class.

As for people getting more or less effeminate as their emotions go up and down, this is no sign of necessary disingenuity. My first male lover was born and raised in Harlem, quite "black", but had the most incredible and educated "white" radio-announcer's voice you could imagine. After being together for a year we got in our first loud argument, and I heard him using street slang and a ghetto-accent that I had never heard before. I told him it was the first time I had ever heard the negro in him, and couldn't stop laughing. He got annoyed, but then understood the humor of the situation. The next time anyone here gets in a conversation in a raised voice, see if your mannerisms don't revert to the speech of your childhood.

in ira et vino veritas.

Ted Keer, 12 December, 2006, NYC

The still from Orlando is at www.scifimoviepage.com.

Dr Perigo...

Ross Elliot's picture

...don't give me that bleat about it being forced on me. This discussion's got nothing to do with anyone's *rights*, and you know it.

It's about stereotyping, to which my input was that if gays don't want to be stereotyped then they should perhaps look to those within their ranks that perpetuate the stereotype! It's not just straight folks that roll their eyes at the ridiculous posturings of lycra-shorted mincers as they flame their way across the public stage.

Jesus!

Forget Crisp. For every one of him there's a Wilde. I've seen enough Queens ramp up the limp & lisp levels to incendiary degrees *when it suits them* to know that to a great extent that behavior *is* a grand affectation.

Yes, congenital!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

They can be cultivated and affected, and are on occasion by gay social metaphysicians (or humorists just having fun), but I assure you, for the most part they are inborn—as inborn as the brick-shithouse hip structures of many lesbians. I remember some poor bastard at a YMCA camp I went to as a kid, limp-wristed & lisp-tongued as all get-out (the poor bastard, not me), at a time when no one had a clue about such things. Persecuted to hell this kid was, for something he had no control over. It was disgraceful, to the point where the YMCA director saw fit one day to send the poor guy outside on some pretext and tell everyone remaining inside to lay off him: that not everyone in life was the same. That was enlightened.

Ross, do you seriously argue Quentin Crisp was simply affecting it? Why would he, when it brought such abuse—life-threatening abuse—down on him?!

Linz

PS—Congenital or affected, what does it matter? Are those who "affect" it forcing it, themselves, or anything, on you, Ross? Check your fucking premises!!

Congenital?

Ross Elliot's picture

Limpness of wrist? Lispness of tongue? Hardly. Physiological anomalies aside, limping & lisping are as cultivated and affected as anything else.

Mincing Queens

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The stereotype is out there because it exists. It's not my cup of tea, but many a time, such as in the case of Quentin Crisp, its embodiments have displayed great courage in the face of lumpen "blokes" who can't cope with anything out of the very, very ordinary. Courage, unlike limpness of wrist & lispness of tongue, which are congenital, is a self-cultivated attribute—very, very rare among both gays and straights.

Linz

William...

Prima Donna's picture

Firstly, thank you for being a CPN fan!!!!

Secondly, your post brought up a memory that always makes me chuckle: A gay friend of mine (who is normally very butch) was talking to a very queenie friend on the phone, and I witnessed the change in his mannerisms unfold as the conversation progressed. When he hung up I said, "Wow, I've never heard you speak gay!" Laughing out loud

Jennifer

-- Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

Queer Eye

If I was a young homosexual...

Ross Elliot's picture

...man and was constantly exposed to the type of limp-wristed, lisping, hand-on-hip pouting & sacheting stupidity exhibited on shows like Queer Eye and in numerous Hero parades, not only would I not want to come out of the closet, I'd want to lock myself in and throw away the key.

If homosexuals want to change the stereotype then they should start working on the problem from the inside out.

Ted thats great!

Ted I like sodomite, but in my circles that would be too easily confused with Saddamite Smiling. I like the idea of making your own label for exactly the same reason.

Wm

Islam insofar as it is directed by governments, and as a measure enforced from above by any government, is to be done away with.

I don't like euphemism

Ted Keer's picture

I don't like gay because gay=democrat=flaming=etc., in so many people's minds. I'd rather call myself a sodomite. Less PC, more filling.

Ted

Dan & William

Ted Keer's picture

There is no disagreement. We're crossing posts. I know how bad some people have it. And I find the "one of us" crowd are indeed comprachicos. I have always been happy being myself. Remember, I left the church they day I discovered what sex was, and came out in junior high (unnecessarily, as I am tres butch, and have had boyfriends and girlfriends at will) before Boy George and before I'd read Ayn Rand.

Ted

(They need to) Get a Life

Ted Keer's picture

People who worry about stereotypes, people who only think in sterotypes, people who expect other to conform to stereotypes and people who just don't get on with their lives as if they were individuals was who I was telling to get a life, not you William.

I happen to be your stereotypical ille sui generis, which suits me just fine. Baltimore's nice, haven't been there since I went to see Noi Vivi open though.

I love RuPaul, Camille Paglia, and second all of what Daniel said.

Ted

Hate to tell you Ted, but there's definitely a problem.

Daniel Walden's picture

I have a very good friend who had an awful time coming to terms with being homosexual and who eventually attempted suicide because he was torn along the lines of the false dichotomy between "gay" and "straight" behavior. You and I may have had different experiences in this regard, but I've encountered a number of what I've come to call "militant gays." These are people who not only insist on defining themselves on the basis of being homosexual but also insist that being "gay" involves a whole host of things that have absolutely nothing to do with being attracted to one's own gender. To those who are at home with their sexuality and identity, these people are merely a nuisance. However, the fact is that adolescents in the process of discovering both their sexuality and their identity as an independent human being are psychologically vulnerable. It's perfectly fine to let someone be a "flaming queen" if they so choose, but if that person also asserts to scared, insecure teenagers that "gay" and "straight" are two totally different worlds and that they must choose one or the other, to stand by and watch is morally equivalent to watching those teenagers be mutilated. It's a mirror image of the scenario described in "The Comprachicos."

Live your own life

Ted, I'm not sure what your point is. Are you saying that it's not a stereotype because it is mostly true? If that is what you are saying my answer is simple -- it's mostly true because it is the stereotype. Like you said, urban ghettos tend to attract the same kind of people, gay or not (whats wrong with the word gay?). I know its true from both Baltimore and Ann Arbor. I just tire of conflating sexual orientation with personality.

Wm

Islam insofar as it is directed by governments, and as a measure enforced from above by any government, is to be done away with.

Get a Life

Ted Keer's picture

I worked at a small publishing company where 95% of the employees were gay. They all wanted to take me out for makeovers - a decade before "queer eye." Whe Clinton ran promissing that his first act as president would be to end discrimination against gays in the military - hey, Hillary can still run on thet one! - they expected everyone to register to vote. I wore heavy metal T-shirts to the office. I came to work with bruises from the mosh pit. And I registered Republican. You should have heard the cackling and clucking.

I was close friends with a lesbian there, not very butch, but she had a crew cut and wore no make-up. I said we should stop for a drink as we passed her favorite lesbian bar. She said the patrons would be hostile since I was a man. Well, I don't swish very well, so I asked to borrow her pink triangle button. With the stares I got, had it been a male bar there would have been a fist fight.

I once had a counselor who was helping my family deal with some issues. After the session I took her aside and asked her advice on talking to my parents about my boyfriend. She was very concerned that I was "self-hating" that I was overcompensating, and that I had girlfriends (years after I was out, and who knew of my proclivities) in an attempt to "cover up." I told her that If I had no problem sharing a one-at a time commode at a gala premeer for one of the Star Wars movies on 42nd street, going in and coming out with a black linebacker who could pass for a pretty Queen Latifah when he wanted to, that self-hating was the last applicable word to pin on me.

Most "gays" (a word I dislike) simply do fit into stereotypes and do so with relish and confine themselves to urban ghettos where like meets like meats like. So what? 90% of the people creating this show and 90% of the people commenting on this show will be homosexual. Sodomy laws are illegal in all 50 states. Unless you're in a wheelchair, (and even then) it's hard to worry about getting kicked around, unless you're into that sort of thing.

Pictured is RuPaul

Ted

Objections to the American "gay culture"

Daniel Walden's picture

I know exactly what you mean. Overall, the super left-leaning pomo-wanker gay culture tends to make me gnash my teeth, especially since people have a tendency to expect me (a bisexual) to conform to it. Sure I have my moments of tongue-in-cheek "flaming gay" behavior, but those are cases of the proper use of humor: to demolish something that is inconsequential. By exaggerating an oft-applied stereotype to larger-than-life proportions, I show how ridiculous it actually is. Of course, I'm an amateur. The best caricature of the "gay culture" ever done is in The Producers (the Broadway/2005 film version). Damn near wet myself laughing during the "Keep it Gay" musical number.

The main problem with the way homosexuality (and bisexuality) are viewed in the U.S. is that the gay rights movement has sought shelter under the wing of postmodernist academia. Instead of going for the obvious notion that the discrimination against gays is a result of a few faulty premises that can be exposed and corrected with relative ease, they immediately decide that the entire society is against them and that our entire manner of thinking needs an overhaul. Tragically, too many young gay men and women who simply want recognition as human beings are led into this hideous intellectual quagmire of disciplines like "Queer Theory" and "Gender Studies" that serve only to isolate them from the rest of the world. I was fortunate enough to have decent, sensible friends to support me and perfectly normal gay adults to illustrate how trivial something like sexual orientation is in defining who you are. Yes, I am bisexual. But I'm also a student of the classics, a techno-geek, and a passionate lover of music. To define oneself by one's sexuality, as the "gay culture" is wont to do, is to foolishly place limits on a rich well of magnificent potential.

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