November 18, 2010

The 20 Ways in Which I am Not Stereotypically Gay


Let’s face it; there are a lot of stereotypes of gay men. Some of them are good and some of them are bad, but all of them are damaging in that they attempt to tell gay men how they should behave and enable society to marginalize the diversity of the gay community, so I figured that I’d write up a quick list of all the ways in which I am not stereotypically gay. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with conforming to stereotypes concerning gay men--seriously, there's not just look at the picture of me above--it’s just that the stereotypes of gay men that are culturally enforced portray an image of the gay community that is not necessarily genuine or reflective of who we are.

So, without further ado, here is my list:

1. I enjoy nature, and not just because it’s hip to be a hiker, but more because of an intrinsic love for it. Which leads me to the next thing;

2. I am not scared of bugs: as a matter of fact, I think that they’re both fascinating and kind of cute if anything.

3. I am Southern: according to some people who are from north of the Mason-Dixon line, the existence of gay southerners is shocking.

4. I loathe shopping: When I go to the mall—which I did for the first time in a year yesterday—I get in, get what I need, and get out. Racks of clothes sort of bore me.

5. I do not own a pair of pants or jeans that cost more than $50: Well, correction, I do own a pair of French jeans that cost $155, but I got them for free, and I never turn down free things

6. I am not promiscuous: While I’ve made a mistake or two in my life, I refuse to dissociate physical affection from interpersonal/emotional affection, and consequently, I’m like Kelly Clarkson, “oh, oh, I do not hook up, up, I go slow.”

7. I like music other than pop, indie, and electronica: this includes but is not limited to, bluegrass, Johnny Cash, hip-hop, opera (which I guess is pretty stereotypically gay), and Elvis.

8. Clubbing is not my raison d’etre: I would much prefer to watch a movie and cuddle.

9. I do not watch Glee, have never seen Wicked, and think that Gossip Girl is kind of a waste of time.

10. I don’t like getting drunk really.

11. I get my haircut at Great Clips.

12. I’m not scared of vaginas. After all, that is where we all came from isn’t it?

13. I’m not superficial, and if you think otherwise, we should have a serious conversation.

14. I don’t like to gossip: it’s not nice to talk about people behind their back.

15. I love power-tools and construction work.

16. My dream is not necessarily to live in New York City or San Francisco; I like the South just fine, and I’d also be fine with a village in Burma.

17. I’ve never tanned in my life, because I don’t like the idea of melanoma.

18. I value the idea of family and family structure. I aspire to be a father, to have a husband, and to someday have grandchildren.

19. I don’t mind getting dirty; not in the Christina Aguilera sense of the term, but in the I-have-mud-on-my-face-and-my-leg-is-covered-in-grass-stains sense of the term.

20. I really like Mormons. Some of my best friends in high school were Mormon and I find their spirituality and commitment to principle inspiring.

So those are my top twenty. I’d love to hear some other people’s.

Also, be on the lookout for my next post, "THE 20 WAYS IN WHICH I AM STEREOTYPICALLY GAY"

18 comments:

  1. I'm in love with this. Mainly because it points out the struggle of what is "expected" of gay men and basically...EVERYONE.

    All too often, gay men are told that they need to break stereotypes and be more masculine or butch but it seems as if people forget that being a man has nothing to do with how masculine you are. Similarly women are looked down upon for not being effeminate enough or they are "too butch". Even the heterosexual man is looked down upon if he doesn't exhibit masculinity. The struggle with expectations can be found among all gender and sexual identities.

    The whole idea that people should "act" like a specific gender is ludicrous. People should be themselves and unconfined to the gender roles that are expected by society. I wish people could get that. =\

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  2. I love this haha <3 Also, TOTALLY looking forward to the next post.

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  3. If this was my list, number one would be that I am a car fanatic. Every time someone tells me that I should not like cars, particularly sports cars, because I am gay, I get quite cross. They'll change their tune when I bolt past them in a BMW.

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  4. "Racks of clothes sort of bore me." LOL, replace mall with thrift store and I can see Jacob's eyes light up in a flash.

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  5. Twenty Reasons I am Stereotypically Gay:

    1) I love shopping.

    2) I pay attention to what I wear.

    3) I really like romantic comedies.

    4) I like to go to clubs.

    5) I love love love Taylor Swift.

    6) I don't believe that sex should be so stigmatized.

    7) I enjoy styling my hair.

    8) I wore tight pants before they were fashionable.

    9) Most of my friends are female.

    10) I'm a humanities major.

    11) I thoroughly enjoy art.

    12) I don't like playing sports.

    13) I enjoy Pride Parades.

    14) I see nothing wrong with my sexuality.

    15) I don't believe that stereotypically "gay" things are bad.

    16) I don't feel the need to constantly affirm my masculinity.

    17) I don't feel the need to defend my "feminine" qualities.

    18) When I tell people I'm gay, I don't include an afterthought that goes like "but I'm not...."

    19) I don't see anything wrong with breaking down gender roles and challenging conformity.

    20) I notice that stereotypically "gay" things are stereotypically "feminine" things, and I see nothing wrong with being "feminine"

    21) I don't make people who do conform to these "gay" stereotypes feel as if they should be shunned, isolated, or excluded from this Community because they enforce certain perceptions.

    22) I enjoy being me.

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  6. In response to number 15 on your list, "15) I don't believe that stereotypically "gay" things are bad," I sincerely hope that is not what I communicated with this post, or at least that was not my intention. There is absolutely nothing wrong with conforming to or defying a stereotype, because the whole point is that the stereotype shouldn't matter.

    Just wait 'til my next post to see all the ways that I am fabulously stereotypical.

    Also in response to the "racks of clothes bore me" critique, I will admit RIGHT HERE that that rule doesn't apply in thrift stores. I guess I was thinking mostly in a mall context when I wrote this :D

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  7. If the stereotype doesn't matter, why do you feel the need to make two entire post discussing ways in which you do or do not fit these stereotypes? By making this post, you are inherently implying that you do see these qualities as something that are inferior, regardless of what you precede it with. I'm curious to see what qualities you hail as "good" gay stereotypes in your next post.

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  8. ^
    If the stereotype doesn't matter, why do you feel the need to make two entire post discussing ways in which you do or do not fit these stereotypes?

    "It’s not that there’s anything wrong with conforming to stereotypes concerning gay men--seriously, there's not just look at the picture of me above--it’s just that the stereotypes of gay men that are culturally enforced portray an image of the gay community that is not necessarily genuine or reflective of who we are." - taken from first paragraph.

    There was no implying of inferiority. Nice post Jacob!

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  9. This was interesting. I agree 100% with #4! I can't stand to be in a store for more than 30 minutes. I know I want something if I look at it and know I want it (redundant much, but that's the point lol); I shouldn't have to debate whether or not I want it, because that means my chances of wearing it are low.

    Anonymous 8:34- YES! I particularly love this about your reply: "People should be themselves and unconfined to the gender roles that are expected by society."

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  10. Into it.

    Also, I really appreciate this photo. It's truly a work of art.

    When I think about my sterotypes, I feel like I have to put myself up against the girl with "the look."

    There aren't a ton of Duke women who have body hair, bieber hair, or who wear purple pants everyday. But when I go about in town or in San Diego, I see that I ascribe to a common way of representing myself. So it always depends on context. I don't feel like I'm stereotypically gay in the Duke sense, but some of those same things are superduper day in the general sense.

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  11. "It’s not that there’s anything wrong with conforming to stereotypes concerning gay men--seriously, there's not just look at the picture of me above--it’s just that the stereotypes of gay men that are culturally enforced portray an image of the gay community that is not necessarily genuine or reflective of who we are."

    Notice he/she said: "regardless of what you precede it with." Kind of like, you can't just say "No offense, but..." and expect what you say immediately after NOT to be offensive. You can't just say: " It’s not that there’s anything wrong with conforming to stereotypes concerning gay men" and then go on to defend yourself against these stereotypes, as if there's some need to in the first place.

    18) "I'm gay, but I'm not..."

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  12. I really appreciated this post because I feel a ton of pressure from the gay community to act in a certain way. I know of lot of this pressure was self-imposed, but I still feel like the only way I'll fit into the LGBT community or the group that hangs out at the center is if I watch Glee, love Britney, or am friends with everyone and follow all the drama. It's kind of intimidating, which was hard for me to deal with because the center is supposed to be so accepting of everyone.

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  13. does no one else see the sexism emanating from this post?

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  14. Anon 7:37 (above),
    Come to tomorrow night's LGBTQA discussion group and talk about it! The whole idea of the group is to expand on the blog and comments and since tomorrow night we're talking about sexism, it sort of seems right up your alley.

    7pm @ The Center. Free cookies (#chrisperrywouldkillmeifididn'tmentionit)

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  15. To anonymous: "does no one else see the sexism emanating from this post?" I would say three things:

    1) First off, if you perceive this list to be sexist, IT IS. The stereotypes of gay men are COMPLETELY based in sexism and misogyny. After all, the only reason that it is considered bad to be gay is because you are not a "real man" i.e. you ascribe to more feminine behaviors (at the very least dating other men), i.e. you relinquish your masculine privilege, i.e. you threaten masculine privilege as a whole. Homophobia is rooted in sexism, so it should serve as a surprise to no one that this list is sexist.

    2) I'm not sure if your post was meant to attack me personally, but if it was, I think you should consider the fact that I am not the one who created these stereotypes; I am only subjected to them. These stereotypes were created by a larger culture that is beyond my direct control. So, if stereotypes of gay men are sexist, then please don't blame me. If I had my way, I'd have gender abolished.

    3) Are you saying that my post is sexist because I'm saying that I do not conform to stereotypes that describe typically feminine behavior? If so, I would argue that is just as sexist. If you have a problem with me asserting the parts of my personality that may be perceived as more masculine, that is simply a different form of sexism. Everyone, regardless of sex, gender, or sexuality, has the right to claim whatever parts of themselves are perceived as more masculine without being called sexist. In the same vein, everyone, regardless of sex, gender, or sexuality, has the right to claim whatever parts of themselves are perceived to be more feminine without being called sexist. Also, calling this post sexist enforces a specific idea of what it means to be a woman, which may be even more sexist than the list itself, which once again was not determined by me, only articulated by me.

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  16. Get it, Jacob. This post is awesome and your subsequent defenses of it are spot-on. I, personally, would like to make a list of all of the ways in which I am actually a totally stereotypical gay man, but everyone seems to read into these posts way too much! Off to watch Glee now...

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  17. I have just recently come out, and i guess i'm being a bit bold. i looked up this article for a project i'm doing in school. I am making a list of gay stereotypes, and i have to talk about how they affect the US sociologically. to be honest, this is the most helpful thing i've found, because it covers a lot of things that i haven't been able to find otherwise.

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