January 30, 2012

What's The Deal With Misogynistic Gay Men?

I don’t understand gay men who hate women. Most of them aren’t even aware of their hatred, which makes it difficult to acknowledge and discuss the misogyny. They actually believe that they adore them. “OMG, can’t go anywhere without my girls! What would I do without them!” But, in reality, they’re used as punching bags. They tease them mercilessly and cut down their appearance while the friend just sits back and laughs, clearly uncomfortable by the insults but used to the unhealthy dynamic by now.

I’ve seen so many relationships like this. Typically what happens is a domineering gay man with a mean streak will seek out an archetypal fag hag who has pudding for a backbone and together they’ll form a sick co-dependent relationship. The girl is essentially there to feed the gay man’s narcissism and ego, which is already overflowing, and the gay guy will give her some form of male attention in return. It’s sad for both parties but it’s particularly reprehensible for the gay man who’s knowingly manipulative and emotionally abusive to someone who’s supposed to be his close friend.

What frustrates me is how socially acceptable it is for gay men to treat women like crap. People assume that just because you don’t want to get into a woman’s pants, you’re inherently a feminist. But, what do you know, that’s not true. There are a myriad of ways to disrespect women that don’t involve ploys to get them into bed. Calling them bitches and whores as a “joke” is one of them. (Seriously, hearing a drunk gay man scream and shout to their girlfriend, “You’re such a filthy whore!” is like nails on a chalkboard to me. I just can’t.)

Sometimes I worry that pop culture has played a major role in making the misogyny seem like NBD. In Will & Grace, we saw Jack and Will tear apart Grace’s appearance constantly, and in modern rom-coms, there always seems to be some chic gay man pointing to a haggard woman and being like, “Oh no, girl. You are a hot mess! Let’s fix you up!” Gay men have been celebrated for their meanness. It’s practically our calling card. Need a bitchy quip? Call a gay guy! So when a gay guy criticizes a woman, it’s met with a flippant “Oh, that’s just how they are. Gay men are bitches. LOL!”

Just last week, on an episode of It’s A Terrible Gay World (oops, I mean, It’s A Brad, Brad World), stylist Brad Goreski slut-shamed his assistant after she modeled her bikini for a photographer. In a joking tone (isn’t it always?), he told her to jump into the lake so she could wash away her sins after behaving like a dirty slut. The assistant was clearly hurt by the comment and apologized profusely for supposedly acting like a show off, but then Brad was like “JK! Love ya!” and they walked off into the weird misogynistic sunset together.

But it’s not JK. When Brad called his assistant a slut, it came from a weird #dark place, like most comments like that usually do, and they shouldn’t be so easily dismissed. When gay men are applauded for acting cruel to women, we know we have a long way to go with how our society treats women as well our offensive perception of gay men. TC mark

image – Will & Grace