By Zachary Wright
A while ago on Reddit, a post of an illustration featured a monster, and a user was asking for feedback. The monster featured tentacles, a huge mouth with sharp teeth and a disproportionate body. “As a gay man, this is what a vagina looks like to me,” a commenter wrote. Initially, it didn’t bother me.
However, later on, I began to hear these types of comments again and again – in person and online. The comments usually came from gay man, jokingly discussing about ugly and repulsive vaginas are to them. I started to ask myself, “Why would you be so into vaginas if you aren’t attracted to them?”
Then I began to realize how prevalent misogyny runs in the gay community. Perhaps all of us, at some point without thinking twice about it, made a crude comment about a woman’s down under.
We all know someone, in spite of claiming how progressive they are, who is outspoken about thinking vaginas are gross. They’ll turn their noses, acting disgusted at issues relating to female hygiene or promiscuity.
A lot of what is said is seen as a joke, sort of like tongue-in-cheek humor. So many times, it’s given a pass. Everyone already faces stigma for their bodies, especially women since society can be so cruel about how women look. The little jokes still carry weight. The little jokes or referring to someone as a b***h, even playfully, still carries weight. Using “It’s cool, I’m gay,” should not be an excuse. If we are to hold certain people to higher standards, we should hold everyone to the same.
Femininity is still seen as weak in a society that still very much so caters to straight men (Looking at you, Brett Kavanaugh). Unfortunately, no one is immune from being subconsciously influenced by toxic masculinity.
You can even look to see this on gay dating apps. “MASC 4 MASC” is seen on a lot of profiles. What is wrong with femininity? No one is forcing you to be attracted to someone you aren’t, but there are ways to go about this differently.
Unfortunately, everyone is a victim of this patriarchal society. Gay men face homophobic attacks, which for the most part, stems from misogyny. Homophobes see that liking the same sex is feminine because straight women do. They see gay men in the same light as straight women, believing that because gay men are attracted to men, they must have a lot in common with straight women. This is still the thought process, even in liberal areas and especially in rural pockets of the country.
Even in marginalized communities, there’s still those who discriminate in others. For some in the gay community, misogyny can be so embedded. Perhaps it is unintentional and many do not necessarily realize.
There are gay subcultures known as “gay bros” who make it their livelihood to seem more manly than their stereotypical flamboyant counterpart. They’ve latched homophobia and misogyny on nearly every activity they do. They do things like hiking, fishing, participate in sports and call themselves “straight acting.”
Essentially by saying this, you diminish nearly every gender and sexual preference. Let’s be honest, by saying straight acting, you’re saying you don’t want to be around people who “act gay” because it’s seen as being feminine.
Continuing with this idea of femininity, some harbor this idea of how feminine women should act. Telling women to “act like women,” but claiming to be a feminist makes you a hypocrite. If you tell women how to act, you still enforce gender norms and enforce this notion that women cannot be themselves unless a man allows it.
Overall, gay male sexism is seen differently than straight male sexism. While it may be harmless, it still in a way enables misogyny to be practiced by others.
However, as women’s rights are under attack, perhaps it is time we try to stand alongside them – just as they did during the HIV and AIDS scare.
As long as we continue to enable those who don’t see this as a lingering issue, the more we allow for discriminative actions towards a certain group of people. It’s unfortunate that even in marginalized communities, there’s those who still find ways to discriminate against someone. Now more than ever, marginalized communities like the LGBT communities and women need each other more than ever.
Of course, not everyone is like this. We should not have to worry about our word choices, but it is not entirely unreasonable to ask ourselves if this makes someone uncomfortable. Maybe this is all unintentional – maybe we don’t truly realize how much words and actions carry weight. People don’t often realize this until they take the time to reflect or have awareness drawn to the issue.