Sunday, May 22, 2016

Why Define Masculinity?

What's the point? It seems to me that all it leads to is a long list of normal healthy things which many boys and men are afraid to do because of the risk of being thought of as "unmasculine," or as gay, with an accompanying explicit or implied homophobia : dancing, crying, playing with cats, cooking, not being an absolute asshole, bathing, shaving, reading -- the list varies according to the norms of the particular macho subculture, and is often extremely long. Don't eat salad. Don't drink schnapps. Don't wear pink. Don't show any emotions at all and die of a stroke in your 40's.

I reject all of these stupid restrictions, and the notion that homosexual men are "less masculine" than the rest of us.

Has the notion that dancing is not for heterosexual men become more widespread in the past several decades, or have I just become more aware of how widespread it has been all along? The term I've heard most often to describe my looks is "butch" or some equivalent of that term. But I like to dance. I like it a lot. How many women have seen me dance and turned away from me disappointedly, thinking to themselves something like, "Oh no! And up until now he had seemed so butch!" ?

Well, if that's how they thought, maybe I'm better off because they turned away.

(The term I've heard most often to describe the way I dance is "like Snoopy.")

For a couple of years I've been wondering whether some people who were laughing in a bar were laughing at me, and specifically, whether they were laughing at me because I had ordered cinnamon schnapps. Only more recently have I begun to wonder why I was concerned at all about what some homophobes might have thought of me for not sticking to their homophobe-approved list of manly drinks. (As I recall, the laughing, sneering people were drinking something truly horrible like Bud, or maybe even PBR.)

These rules about what manly men may and may not do seem to reach much farther than the demographic of those who are so homophobic that they don't want LGBT's to marry or serve in the military. It seems that many people are for gay rights to that extent, but still are implicitly homophobic by continuing to carry around with them their particular subculture's list of approved and disapproved behaviors for heterosexuals, because it's not just the irrational assumption, because I am dancing or wearing a pink shirt, that I may be gay, it's the horror at the possibility at which they've irrationally arrived. Not only are they morons for thinking that dancing may be a sign that I'm gay, they're assholes for worrying about what they're moronically thinking. That's right, if anybody has any problem -- or "concern," or is "alarmed" or taken aback -- because I like to dance, or because I talk to cats in a baby voice, they're a moron and an asshole.

They need to unclench. And perhaps I do too, for taking their prejudices too seriously. As well as the LGBT's nervously adhering to their long list of LGBT-approved interests and activities, instead of just being themselves.

Masculinity? It's defined by chromosomes. Sexual orientation? It's a matter of physical attractions and disinterests. All the rest is just artificially overlaid, a matter of culture-specific neuroses or lack of same.

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