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View Diary: On Slut-shaming and Gay Men (115 comments)

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  •  Really? (5+ / 0-)
    I don't have to worry about being harassed or cat called, I tend to be seen as more serious and straight forward than a woman by virtue of being male, and I don't have to worry that some random man is going to try and rape me in order to turn me straight.
    If you haven't been harassed  (I'm presuming you mean sexually) and cat-called, then you haven't worked in a male dominated workplace where you were suspected of being gay, or you haven't been in a gay bar as a 20-something twink with a bubble-ass, and groped by strange men you've never seen before in your life. If as a gay man you haven't had to deal with sex-based harassment and catcalls, I feel pretty safe in saying, you lived a charmed life.
    and I don't have to worry that some random man is going to try and rape me in order to turn me straight.
    Gay men are often victims of homophobic rapes meant to demean and humiliate them and teach them a "lesson" for "acting like a woman." Rape of gay males as part of gay bashings are not unusual at all.
    •  But to the same extent a woman does? (5+ / 0-)

      Or especially a lesbian woman?

      Walking out on the street, I won't get catcalled.  And in a workplace or gay bar, a woman will still get sexually harassed.  And as a man, in the workplace scenario I get the choice of going along with the harassment of the female and become "one of the guys" and reduce the harassment I get, by making myself the masculine ideal.  Should there be no women there, well there's nothing to compare to.  Maybe a woman can do the same, but I've never seen or heard of that happening.  And in a gay bar, women get groped with even more bravado "cause I'm gay so it doesn't mean anything and it doesn't count!"

      I'm not trying to say I've never experienced sexual harassment at all, but even straight men get sexually harassed, it's not like it magically goes away from being a man.  It's that the simple fact that one is a woman means they will get harassed far far more than a man, even a gay man.

      I don't have to worry about being out on the street and being cat called, then followed for not responding, then being called a lesbian and then subsequently raped.  I don't have to worry about a man trying to hit on me in a bar and then shooting him down or telling him I'm a lesbian and then the same thing happens.  The only time that can happen to me is if it's assumed I'm gay.  For a woman, it happens because they're a woman.

      My issue is in the idea that a gay man has no male privilege over a woman (especially lesbians) not that gay men don't experience similar harassment for being gay men.

      •  I can't say I agree with you (5+ / 0-)

        Maybe, and just maybe, if you have a masculine enough appearance you won't get cat-called and harassed on the street, and maybe then you benefit from male privilege. Maybe.

        But many gay men are harassed in those situations specifically. And straight men do publicly harass  and demean gay men. And we don't even have to discuss the homophobic bullying that gay youth face at schools --- the harassment there is relentless. Upwards of 80% of gay youth report being bullied. As we know, an unfortunate high number of them attempt or complete suicide as a result.

        Closeted gay males may in fact avoid this harassment (it's one of the reasons so many of them stay in the closet), but then we have to talk about how disempowering the closet is.

        I can go on and on and point out examples all the time. Not only do gay men get harassed, for many, it's a routine part of their lives. And gay men, as pointed out in the diary, are particularly vulnerable to gay bashings. I think you overestimate the power of your male-security blanket.

        •  I wish I could write a "closet" diary (4+ / 0-)
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          gizmo59, paxpdx, jabney, Matt Z

          but the only closet I was ever in was my mother's, trying on her heels. ;)

          I would really like to see a good closet diary as a kind of follow-up to this diary on gender and orientation roles and society. If you have the experience to write such a diary, I really wish you would.

          Unfortunately, being gay bashed is something I CAN (and have written about) but the closet: not so much.

          Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car.

          by commonmass on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 01:33:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I am lucky (4+ / 0-)
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          commonmass, raincrow, worldlotus, Matt Z

          I am lucky enough to have not experienced a good amount of the most severe first hand.  I just wanted to emphasize that women face this stuff too, and that certain points felt like it was downplaying what women have to deal with and the benefits of male privilege.  Either way, it hurts us all, and the fight against sissyphobia and rigid gender constructs is a good fight.

        •  These issues ae more complex (3+ / 0-)
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          commonmass, Matt Z, kamilumin

          than we often consider.  There are a number of factors that come into play in how each person experiences hostility:  size, appearance, location (eg, living in NYC as a gay man is a very different experience than  a small town/rural experience), demeanor (eg, more outgoing people tend to attract more attention) to name just a few off the top of my head.  

          I also believe that the increased acceptance of homosexuality has increased the tendency for conformity.  When I came out, that act was much more political than it is today.  Indeed, I find younger gay men are more inclined to reject the political component (being gay doesn't define me).  There is an increased tendency societally- and in the gay community- to want to differentiate the "acceptable" man from the queen.  It was not by accident that gays in the military became the battleground in the age of AIDS.

          I think experience is more variegated than binary notions of privilege can support.

          •  You make an intersting point. (1+ / 0-)
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            Matt Z

            When I came out in the 80's it was both personal andpolitical.

            I have lived in many big cities, and a few small ones, and in rural areas. I remain "out", however, in all of those circumstances. I would never try to "pass" and I would say "yes, I'm gay" if asked.

            I think that in an age where we are winning on marriage equality, younger LGBT folks should be more in tune with the political side of it but sadly, it seems many of them are not.

            Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car.

            by commonmass on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 08:49:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Hmm, one other thing (also, commonmass, read this) (2+ / 0-)
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        commonmass, raincrow

        If they only way you can enjoy any of this male privilege is to assume roles that violate your own sense of right and wrong, for example, piling on the harassment of a woman even though you know it is wrong, then I'd have to say that is a very alienating thing. In that situation you aren't acting on your own agency.

        If you have to "butch up" and prove yourself as macho as the straight men around you, even though that isn't your natural inclination, then that is alienating, it is acting on the agency of others, and not at all empowering. If you feel any need to hide your sexual orientation to have access to this male privilege, then you aren't privileged at all, you are only pretending to be privileged, and that is alienating and you are acting on the agency of others and not your own agency.

        And ultimately wouldn't this not be any privilege you are gaining when you join in on sexual harassment of a female co-worker but mere momentary safety from the abuse of others? Because if we know if you acted on your own agency, the situation would be different and you would act to empower the woman being harassed. So, when you cede your own power to help someone in need of your assistance because you don't want to be outed as a fag, you are disempowered, not empowered or privileged.

        And to commonmass, if I were to write that closet diary you requested, these are some of the points I would touch upon.  

        •  I agree with you. I try to be myself all the time: (2+ / 0-)
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          RfrancisR, raincrow

          even on-line where it is easy to hide. "Acting Straight" is, indeed, not only dishonest (if that's not who you are) but is self-oppressing.

          Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car.

          by commonmass on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 02:11:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Good point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I personally don't define privilege as something empowering (like in terms of one's self worth), just something that gives one power over another.

          Safety from abuse is still something better than abuse, though it may bring stress and self-hate with it.  I think that as long as someone isn't all of straight, white, rich, male, able-bodied, cis, and etc, their power and privilege over others is only what others grant them.  It's not really a matter of choosing to be empowered, though how one uses it plays into one's feeling of being empowered.

          But of course that does mean that one who engages in belittling others in order to save their own self encourages that dynamic of lessening power for both parties.

        •  I think you are wrong (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, KenBee, kamilumin

          Your comment presumes that all straight men participate willingly in sexist behavior.  The same peer pressure, unwillingness to stand up, etc. occur for straight men.  If we accept your frame, then there really is no male privilege- except for the boorish.  I do not agree with the privilege framing of differences (frankly, I find it too simplistic a frame for assessing human behavior), but if you do, I don't think you can carve out this kind of exception.  One of the fatal flaws of the privilege framing is that it cannot allow for personal agency because on the personal level, privilege is much more nuanced.

      •  Some years back (1+ / 0-)
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        I was in a crowded bar sitting at the bar with a guy. A woman reached past him to take a drink from the bartender. I didn't even give her a first look. But I was shocked to see he was ready to slug her, because she was wearing a suit and he figured she was a lesbian, which means... sheesh.

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