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

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


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  • Guest

    but of course, there are a lot of gay men who are not misogynists. and not to dismiss your critique, but some of it seems to come from a weird internalized homophobic #dark place. i have never in my life treated my friends who are women poorly. they are my fruit flies, after all.  

  • Guest

    WOW! Awesome article. Great read and definitely a topic that is fresh and should be addressed.! 

  • hey there, what's up?

    This article is so imfamatory in the first few paragraphs that the meaning gets lost and just becomes “i hate haters” article.   I very much disagree (and take a little bit of insult) with this generalization “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.”

    • Ebz4


  • http://twitter.com/snowkissed_ Lianne P

    Fantastic article, and sadly very true.

  • steph

    I haven’t encountered this too much, but one time I remember well: I hung out with a couple guys who were (I thought?) pretty alright people, nice and all, my bf’s coworker & said coworker’s roommate (/f-buddy, with a weird rejection/jealousy dynamic?)… In less than 15 minutes, I was told “You’re just a cunt, I can tell.”  (Followed by an awkward silence and uncomfortably direct gaze, as if to say, “Yeah, bitch, I meant what I said.”)  Way to make things icky.  (The worst thing I’d done was be shy.)  I usually keep better company.  
    Cheers to gay men everywhere with better character than to stoop to the level of unmerited fag hag-bashing.  It’s too bad that there are insecure people in the world who feel the need to get confrontational and rude.  I’ll pass on them, TY.  
    Ryan, you seem totally awesome, btw.  I love how much personality your pieces have!  Keep it up.

  • http://newhandsweepstakes.com/contributors/brian-mcelmurry/ Brian M

    I’ve seen my fair share of the gay dude and girl relationship, and the thing is the girl seems to really want the gay dude to be mean and argue with them and then tell them they love them. It seems the dynamic the girl wants, kind of like a brother, or sister, from the friendship with gay men. idk.

  • Alerthih89

    i’m pretty sure the author is gay

    • Quaggan0000

      “Gay men have been celebrated for their meanness. It’s practically our calling card.”

    • Rishtopher

      You’re new to TC I take it.

  • Leigh

    this is awesome ryan thank you 

  • Kevin

    This essay drastically oversimplifies the issue by equating making misogynistic comments with pure unadulterated “hate.”  Women also make sexist comments towards other women, but it seems doubtful the author would refer to women who make such comments as woman haters.  While the types of relationships the author describes do sound unhealthy, it is likely that such relationships have developed for a number of reasons on the part of both the man and woman, and are not as simplistic as, “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.”  Also, its worth pointing out that in Will &  Grace, Jack often poked fun at Will’s appearance, and Karen did the same to both Will and Grace.  I think the author overlooks this fact, perhaps not deliberately, because it does not fit in with his narrative of the evil hateful gay man who is celebrated for his meanness.

  • James

    I think, while this may be very true, the ‘gay man-straight girl’ relationship is a two way street. There are plenty of women who seek out the position of fag-hag, so that they can have someone to bitch about men to and go shopping with. Plus, the example of Will and Jack making fun of Grace is not relevant, as Karen insults her dress-sense more than either of them…

    • http://www.facebook.com/akoroknai Andrea Koroknai

      Obviously the opposite situation can be a problem, too. Some women seek friendship with gay men, because they see it as trendy, like the men are any accessorie, but Ryan wrote an article about that as well. I once heard a girl say to a mutual friend whose gay that she’d be very upset if her son turned out gay, so yeah, some girls see gay men to be a trendy oddity, unfortunately…

    • ZetaMRA

      Indeed. It is a form of exploitation and really a kind of chauvinism, where the gay is seen as similar to a retarded child for them to show off and cry at/about (depending on which). And she can call him a friend because he is in her eyes “defective” and “castrated”. Basically a trophy of sorts, an enemy casualty of war more or less.

      Transgendered people present even more complicated and severe problems too, in that it once again upstages them in fields where they traditionally felt secure in dominating, thus reaffirming once and for all that men are really just better or at least comparably abled at EVERYTHING she does.

  • http://twitter.com/scruzz Shawn

    I hate to be a debbie downner, but this article is prime example of AMAZING (and much needed) observation, poor execution.

    Really, the only thing that I left with was “I really hate when people are mean to someone.” Maybe if there was more of a discussion on WHY gay men are “misogynist” (as a side note, I think you’re mistaking misogyny with people who are mean to people who just so happen to be women… not so much BECAUSE they’re women).

    But yes, amazing topic. I’d love to see it discussed more in the forum…

  • Bernard

    I totally agree.

    I think Brad’s comments came from him being annoyed that his assistant was stealing his spotlight, though.
    And in all fairness, it was very unprofessional of her.

    But this ofcourse doesn’t excuse Brad’s comments.
    He should have just said that it wasn’t cool that she was hogging all the attention, when he’s the one  desperately trying to keep the attention on him.

  • McGill

    For once Ryan O’Connell has crafted a poignant, insightful and non-pretentious article that addresses a genuinely substantive issue in the wider perception of gay culture (a perception that is sadly startlingly accurate). A remedy is lacking however.

    • AlsoAMcGillStudent

      Interesting to note that you have the authority to designate your own perception of “gay culture” (and that of Mr. O’Connell) as “startlingly accurate.” I think you can talk to Michelle Bachmann and her husband re. “remedies.” Also, I believe UAE just  formulated a “remedy” of some description. Maybe you can get in on that too.

  • Gregory

    This article is ignorant, regressive, and myopic. The gay “archetypes” that are discussed in this piece are completely unrepresentative of the vast majority of homosexual men that exist in everyday life (i.e. not on fashion television). Homophobic bosh like this does nothing but nurture uninformed and offensive public views of What Gay Men Are Like, which in turn puts pressures on gay teens/young adults to conform to this new media-constructed “community” in their own coming out process. It is clear that the author was just wronged in some way by one of these Typical Gay Men he observes from his faux-ivory tower of internet authority, or else is just bitter and seeking some pathetic form of self-validation. Another boring and self-righteous piece from Thought Catalog – bravo. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/black.moon.ghost.girl Moon Temple

      This would be relevant except for the fact that Ryan O’Connell wrote a piece addressing said gay stereotypes in re: Shit Girls Say to Gay Men, like, last weekish.

    • GUEST

      what are you babbling about the author IS gay. get yourself down from that faux-ovary i mean ivory tower of internet authority, man. 

      • Gregory

        The author’s own sexuality is not relevant – being gay doesn’t give him a license to generalize and typify a group of people in such a negative and narrow-minded way. “Gay men have been celebrated for their meanness. It’s practically our calling card” is a homophobic statement no matter who’s saying it. The point is this whole article is full of bullshit and does nothing but perpetuate a false idea of gay culture to the general public by drawing on specific examples that are very far removed from the way an average gay male conducts his life (or maybe I’m wrong and all gay men are meant to be on fashion TV and fill the bitchy-personal-stylist role for all of their female friends- – –  ?) 

      • Anonymous

        I think that what the author is trying to say is that this type of public and misogynistic behavior from anyone should be frowned upon (I’m referring to the Goreski section). However, in this instance Brad Goreski berates a female for the way she looks and he’s still on TV, no public reaction or mass media outcry at all. If a straight male in the same situation were to do the same thing, he would have been crucified. Because he is gay, our society gives him a pass. 
        YES this is a stereotype and thats the problem. People look at gays as being able to be misogynistic and THAT is the problem. Just because you are gay does not give you the right to be a misogynist. And in the examples that he lays out, society does just that they give these misogynists a pass because they are gay.

      • Gregory

        I agree with what you are saying (particularly your comments that misogyny is never justifiable and that being gay does not give grounds for misogyny in any way). I just think it’s problematic that these isolated cases (Goreski etc.) that are very far removed from reality are being accepted as gay archetypes on a larger and more general scale. In my own experience as a gay male, I have never felt as though anyone has given me a “misogynist pass” – if I were to call one of my female friends a “filthy whore” or comment on a “muffin top” (as was cited in one of the other comments), I would surely be reprimanded in a big way and probably lose that friend (an appropriate repercussion). People of all genders and sexualities are guilty of misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, etc., and disrespect/intolerance can never be justified by gender or sexuality. Does the author’s homosexuality justify his simplistic generalisation of gay men? No. Does Brad Goreski’s homosexuality justify his lewd comments towards a female coworker? Absolutely not. Countless other cases misogyny by hetero, homo, trans, queer, etc., people are also unfortunately ignored on a regular basis every day. I don’t see what we stand to gain by perpetuating this vapid stereotype that gay men as a rule are indignant, fashion-loving, disrespectful, woman-hating assholes, particularly since it is largely untrue and distracts from the real issue here (which is that misogyny is rampant in all spheres of society and should never be shrugged off or accepted no matter who it comes from).

    • Courtney

      I totally agree with you and glad someone else felt the same way.

    • kd1034

      you’re ignorant, regressive, and myopic…

    • MJ

      Well, the point isn’t discussing a “vast majority of homosexual men” is it? He’s talking about a specified group of gay men who have misogynistic relationships with women. Though he does provide an example from “fashion television” for the benefit of the readers, he also goes on to state that he has “seen so many relationships like this”, and he adds that he finds “hearing” drunk gay men tearing down women at parties upsetting. These are clearly firsthand experiences and specific examples that he’s talking about, not archetypes or “uninformed” views of “What Gay Men Are Like” (again, we are very obviously NOT talking about ALL gay men, and to assume that means that you haven’t understood the article at all). How does this affect gay teens and young adults in a negative way? At the most, it advises them not to be mean or cruel just because it’s “socially acceptable”, which I think is good advice in general, for anyone in any situation. Going beyond the particular circumstances described in the article, I would think that any relationship where you feel like you are constantly being torn down is unhealthy. And better yet- some people say that the girls are asking for it, looking for a “gay bff”. Just because the girl has issues doesn’t mean she should be mistreated. It’s still wrong. I could go on- but please explain, how is it offensive? I just don’t understand your point on the issue.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CSPTEKAYXATWLEZJAYMIZHEYOA Kananga

      You don’t like it because it goes against the preferred narrative. “All gays= nice people”.

  • http://twitter.com/JimmyyCheww Jamie

    what a load of fucking garbage… no sensitive fag hags need apply. SERIOUSLY? gay men are called gay husbands for a reason. HEY- whoever wrote this – shove it! 

  • Iampissed


  • Maria

    You’re already my favorite writer on TC, but this article just gave me another reason to love you. Great work!

  • Jeff

    I’m a non-misogynistic gay male and I find this article interesting enough not to hate on it and even agree on it.  You brought to light an idea that was never really discussed before.  I’ve been around enough gay men to say that  it’s generally the more flamboyant homosexual males who tend to tell their women friends that they are bitches/skanks/sluts.  But hey, some girls love being a fag-hag and love having that “gay best friend” and don’t even mind the derogatory comments at all!  In fact, it’s almost like they need each other.  

  • Elyse

    Once again, Ryan O’Connell accurately sums up misogyny in culture.
    Yay Ryan O’Connell! Keep being utterly brilliant.

  • Rtest88

    Thank you.

  • Jcbollard

    My first exposure to this site and this writer, so I’m sorry if I’m missing something, but what the fuck is this article about? It is so poorly written and poorly argued that I was dumbfounded to see positive comments on it. If this writer is gay, then he’s got a very myopic understanding of his own community. If he’s not, then he’s just a fucking idiot that can’t write.

  • Choses

    I love disliking women. It’s freeing. They always bugged me but your article helped me realize I don’t have to care. Who wants to be around people who demand that you respect them for no reason? They can take their stinky skin, their cloying laughter, and their fake blond hair elsewhere!

    • Nicki

      Well, I guess it’s okay for me to dislike flamboyantly gay men as yourself. (I’m guessing you are one of those stereotypical gay males, which according to this article, seem like the perpetrators)

      Oh shit, is that homophobic? 

      • Choses

        I’m femmeophobic.

    • http://www.facebook.com/akoroknai Andrea Koroknai

      are you serious? a decent human being should respect others until they have a genuine reason not to. its freeing? what is it freeing you from to disrespect and dislike a whole group of people?

      • Choses

        Respect is something accorded to those who you know or believe are superior to you in some way.  I respect Nabokov because he’s a good writer.  I respect Obama because he’s the POTUS.  Etc.  I do not respect chatterboxing gigglers who talk on the phone and toss their long-ish hair inside at the Starbucks while I am trying to study.  Or those who paint their lips RED.  Or those who stink.  What you’re talking about is just being polite.  I am polite.  In public.  But not on the Interwebs.  Yes I was kidding.  No I am not a flamer.  Yes you are homophobic (below).   Any more questions?!

    • Benjy

      I think he might be kidding folks.

      • FU

        …and after being cranky about studying in a place where there are other people around (shhhhhocking!), CHOSES tongued some guy’s asshole and felt much better about teh ‘stinky’ wimminz. The end.

  • Sean

    The worst part is that I googled and am now aware of what this brad goreski is. I want my innocence back mr oconnel!

  • Narcissa Sl

    Certainly there’s a lot of lack of understanding about what in my opinion was meant to be said here. I think the author by any means tried to describe general gay culture. In fact, I’m quite amazed that you obviously didn’t even take five minutes to read other articles from the same author. If that’s all you take from this article, then you’re probably missing some important things in this world dude.

  • http://luzidentraumen.blogger.com/ Liah

    About a year ago I stopped trying in a friendship with a gay boy who -coupled with his multiple psychological disorders- was constantly tearing me down. I would put in a dress and he would say something like, “Ooo, I can see your muffin top.” and I would laugh it off but buy a different dress instead. Things of that nature happened ALL THE TIME. Finally, I told him he was shitty and move on with my life, though he still texts me every now and again asking if we can stop fighting. This really does happen. Not only with gay men, but with guy friends in general, I’ve found.

    • FU

      Sadists always need someone around to abuse whether it be physically or emotionally. As the author suggests, they need someone with little to no self-respect to subject themselves to the entitlement complex society has imbued them with, and yeah, it gets really old really fast.

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