July 15, 2011
…and why would rednecks laugh?
I find an unlikely answer in the feminist theory of “the male gaze.” I submit that at least some of these celebrity “homophobes,” like most men who had once been teenagers, have been on the receiving end of unpleasant and unwelcome homoerotic attention at some point in their lives. For many of us, “homophobia” is a primal defense mechanism against unwanted sexual aggression, and so long as lug-butts and breeders intermingle, it will never go away. That’s not a hate crime—it’s human nature.
The male-gaze theory was hatched from the radical 1970s academic criticism of art and film, putting forth the argument that women are only portrayed as boner-provoking eye candy. Male viewers are active and dominant, while the female is left passive and exposed. A woman’s lovely face, breasts, buttocks, and southern canyon stimulate a man’s will to power and pleasure rather than a desire for debates on gender norms. What can I say? Guilty as charged.
It is argued that patriarchy is constructed around this objectification. At the extreme end of feminist theory, the piercing, invading, ravenous, dehumanizing “male gaze” is tantamount to rape. The radical-feminist response is to neuter the dominating male personality by crushing his balls.
But that’s exactly how I feel when surrounded by male gays beaming the male gaze at me. It is only natural for a young man to feel revulsion in the presence of leering queers—no different from a prudish woman who is disgusted by horny, uncivilized cads. Getting eye-raped feels nasty on an animal level. The difference is that I have a strong right cross.
Most men, whichever way their penis swings, are pigs. I was a total fag-magnet in my hairless youth. When my beard finally grew in, it became some kind of magical talisman against NAMBLA types.
Which brings me back to the clothing-optional gay club in NOLA. What’s a fella gotta do to get a little attention around here? Aside from the sleazy bartenders snubbing my girlfriend and calling me “baby,” or a few naked dudes going out of their way to strut their waggling wangs into my line of vision, I flew totally under the gaydar. I would like to think that my groping girlfriend drove them away, but I suspect I need to lay off the beer and hit the gym more often.
Our hot-tub party included the balding, blubber-bellied “Big Daddy” Darren—who is fifty-eight—and his twenty-two year-old lover, Little Lola. The same tutti-fruttis who called me “homophobic” for saying that I feel weird hanging out with naked rump-wranglers proceeded to pour scorn on this couple’s “sick,” “disgusting,” “May-December” relationship. While I can’t blame Darren for a second—my girlfriend and I could be called May-June—watching this gray-pubed pervo petting his topless love slave was gross as hell, but no more than seeing two dudes sit ass-to-lap in a Jacuzzi.
Then the black people showed up. One of our party’s man-lovers—a bronzed bodybuilder who once joked that “nigger bikers” are taking over the streets of New Orleans—scowled at the African arrival. Our homo-hipster bartender spat, “I’m sssorry, but thessse black motherfuckersss tip like ssshit.” Everyone nodded in solemn agreement. When my girlfriend’s hat got stolen from the dressing room while we were in the sauna, guess who got blamed? The shifty-eyed black girl.
Imagine that—an exclusive ingroup is revolted by an unwelcome outgroup. Some might call it hypocritical. I call it hilarious.