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Gay boys, we love ya but ladies don't always want your advice, thanks.

[bold]Yolo Akili explores how gay men’s sexism and male privilege shows up in relationship to women.[/bold]

At a recent presentation, I asked all of the gay male students in the room to raise their hand if in the past week they touched a woman’s body without her consent. After a moment of hesitation, all of the hands of the gay men in the room went up. I then asked the same gay men to raise their hand if in the past week they offered a woman unsolicited advice about how to “improve” her body or her fashion. Once again, after a moment of hesitation, all of the hands in the room went up.

These questions came after a brief exploration of gay men’s relationship to American fashion and women’s bodies. That dialogue included recognizing that gay men in the United States are often hailed as the experts of women’s fashion and by proxy women’s bodies. In addition to this there is a dominant logic that suggests that because gay men have no conscious desire to be sexually intimate with women, our uninvited touching and groping (physical assault) is benign.

These attitudes have led many gay men to feel curiously comfortable critiquing and touching women’s bodies at whim. What’s unique about this is not the male sense of ownership to women’s bodies—that is somewhat common. What’s curious is the minimization of these acts by gay men and many women because the male perpetuating the act is or is perceived to be gay.

An example: I was at a gay club in Atlanta with a good friend of mine who is a heterosexual black woman. While dancing in the club, a white gay male reached out and grabbed both her breasts aggressively. Shocked, she pushed him away immediately. When we both confronted him he told us: “It’s no big deal, I’m gay, I don’t want her– I was just having fun.” We expressed our frustrations to him and demanded he apologize, but he simply refused. He clearly felt entitled to touch her body and could not even acknowledge the fact that he had assaulted her.

I have experienced this attitude as being very common amongst gay men. It should also be noted that in this case, she was a black woman and he a white gay male, which makes this an eyebrow-raising dynamic as it invokes the psychological history of white men’s entitlement to black women’s bodies. However it has been my experience that this dynamic of assault with gay men and women also persists within racial groups.

At another presentation, I told this same story to the audience. Almost instantly, several young women raised up their hands to be called upon. Each of them recounted a different story with a similar theme. One young woman told a story that stuck with me:

“I was feeling really cute in this outfit I put together. Then I see this gay guy I knew from class, but not very well. I had barely said hi before he began telling me what was wrong with how I looked, how I needed to lose weight, and how if I wanted to get a man I needed to do certain things… In the midst of this, he grabbed my breasts and pushed them together, to tell me how my breasts should look as opposed to how they did. It really brought me down. I didn’t know how to respond… I was so shocked.”

Her story invoked rage amongst many other women in the audience, and an obvious silence amongst the gay men present. Their silence spoke volumes. What also seemed to speak volumes, though not ever articulated verbally, was the sense that many of the heterosexual women had not responded (aggressively or otherwise) out of fear of being perceived as homophobic. (Or that their own homophobia, in an aggressive response, would reveal itself.) This, curiously to me, did not seem to be a concern for the lesbian and queer-identified women in the room at all.

Acts like these are apart of the everyday psychological warfare against women and girls that pits them against unrealistic beauty standards and ideals. It is also a part of the culture’s constant message to women that their bodies are not their own.

by Anonymousreply 5511/07/2012

It's about time someone said it - I have been waiting to read an article addressing exactly this dynamic.

by Anonymousreply 111/05/2012

Why do women put up with it? Just punch the moron in the face. Seriously.

by Anonymousreply 211/05/2012

Gay men who act this way are the ghetto trash version of our minority group. Seriously. Learn how to participate in mainstream society when in mixed company and keep this bullshit to your close circle of friends. The gays mentioned in this article do not represent me, my husband, or most of my friends. We would never do that.

by Anonymousreply 311/05/2012

The one or two gay men she knows behave this way so now it's a trait we all share.

by Anonymousreply 411/05/2012

Miriam!

by Anonymousreply 611/05/2012

Furthermore, ladies, quit asking us to cuddle with your when you're depressed, lonely, and/or horny. And fucking STOP rubbing up on my abs and ass at the club when you're too drunk to remember to fake not being attracted to me.

by Anonymousreply 711/05/2012

[quote] Their silence spoke volumes.

That sentence speaks volumes about the author.

by Anonymousreply 811/05/2012

There's a lot in here for us to think about, boys. Let's take a hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we're truly being the best sidekick to our female friends that we can be.

When she asks you for fashion advice, do you give it with the proper humility?

Do you respect the sanctity of her body, while recognizing your own body was made for her amusement?

When you drag her to a gay bar, do you do everything in your power to ensure she feels welcomed and cherished?

When she needs emotional support, do you drop everything in your own life for as long as necessary to be there for her?

Do we accept our position in her lives with the requisite gratitude, and do we know when to fade into the background when our presence is not required?

My heart shatters when faced with the the plights of these poor, innocent women oppressed by gay male tyranny. As of this moment, I'm dedicating my life to the fight for female equality by becoming completely submissive to women. If you other faggots have souls, you'll join me.

by Anonymousreply 911/05/2012

^ Yeah, methinks this was posted in response to the Bachelorettes/Male Strippers thread.

by Anonymousreply 1111/05/2012

First of all, it's a HE who wrote this article, and second of all, it touches upon a very real dynamic. In no way is it implied that it applies to all gay men.

by Anonymousreply 1211/05/2012

Question for the author: Does your outrage extend to unsolicited touching and fashion/fitness comments from females? If so, why single out gay men? If not, do some thinking.

by Anonymousreply 1311/05/2012

It's true.

I used to work in a women's shelter, and 99% of the women who came in had been raped, beaten and abused by gay men.... often for YEARS.

One thing I admire about this fierce sister is her accurate vision in discerning the source of women's oppression and her radical courage in standing up to women's real enemy.

Not.

by Anonymousreply 1411/05/2012

R3 is right.

I don't know what kind of class room the writer describes that 100% of the gay male students are laying on hands and offering up unsolicited personal appearance tips to women, but decent people -- gay, straight, male, female-- keep their hands and unasked-for advice of a highly personal nature to themselves.

by Anonymousreply 1511/05/2012

[quote]First of all, it's a HE who wrote this article

Sorry. Please consider my reply to be "Mary!"

by Anonymousreply 1611/05/2012

[quote]In no way is it implied that it applies to all gay men.

Yes it is. He says every gay man in the room raised a hand and

by Anonymousreply 1711/05/2012

A woman who takes this behavior because she is afraid to speak up and appear homophobic needs some coaching.

"Get your fuckin hands off my breasts, asshole" should do the trick.

by Anonymousreply 1811/05/2012

[quote] In no way is it implied that it applies to all gay men.

Actually, very much and intentionally implied.

" Once again, after a moment of hesitation, all of the hands in the room went up."

by Anonymousreply 1911/05/2012

It is certainly implied that it applies to all gay men. The author makes a point of mentioning that every single gay man in the class admitted to being this type of bitchy stereotype by raising their hands.

by Anonymousreply 2011/05/2012

It sure did, R10. That nerve would be the audacity of females to barge into the lives of gay men and claim to be victimized when it doesn't revolve around them.

There's not a single behavior listed in that article that isn't also done to gay men by straight women. When we do it to you, it's male privilege, but when you do it to us, it's kicky fun?

Painting your bullshit hurt feelings as oppression is insulting to gay people, and it's insulting to yourselves.

by Anonymousreply 2111/05/2012

I never touch any of my female friends, nor do I have any desire to. I also never give fashion or weight advice unless asked. I would also appreciate it if my straight female friends would stop inviting to me to such gender specific events such as baby showers, bridal showers, or anything shower related. And please stop coming to gay bars on those gender specific events. We are not part of a petting zoo and I am not interested in partaking of heterosexual pageantry. Oh, and if I do come to your wedding with my partner of 20 years, do not try to make us get up and slow dance together.

by Anonymousreply 2211/05/2012

Every gay male in this particular classroom (which may or may not be an exaggeration) represent ALL gay men? I think not, especially since the author is a gay male himself.

by Anonymousreply 2311/05/2012

[quote] " Once again, after a moment of hesitation, all of the hands in the room went up."

there goes any credibility

by Anonymousreply 2411/05/2012

[quote]that particular classroom which may or may not be an exaggeration)

You mean: which may or may not exist.

by Anonymousreply 2511/05/2012

This is such a petty diatribe. If accuracy were a concern, the whole thing can be reduced to:

[quote]Some gay men offer women unsolicited fashion and fitness advice and a small minority of those fashionistas sometimes go so far as touching the women. The people who do this are often mistaken in believing that women don't mind this behavior from gay men.

The rest of the article is total bullshit and bringing slavery into the discussion is hall of fame level bullshit.

by Anonymousreply 2611/05/2012

Like r24, I don't believe for a second all hands went up.

This is the worst kind of preaching based on stereotypes, disguised as somehow 'progressive' claptrap. Otherwise known as bullshit.

I don't touch the bodies of female friends, i would never provide fashion/style advice. Just bullshit. Did i say i call bullshit?

by Anonymousreply 2711/05/2012

[quote]Her story invoked rage amongst many other women in the audience, and an obvious silence amongst the gay men present.

This is the first proviso of this 'piece'. Rage and silence in a made-up setting. Then she wove her filaments of bullshit around it as a backstory.

The worst part is that it distracts from a dialogue that would be useful, but you can't start that dialogue using transparently false pretenses.

by Anonymousreply 2811/05/2012

[quote] ...While dancing in the club, a white gay male reached out and grabbed both her breasts aggressively. ... I have experienced this attitude as being very common amongst gay men.

No, you have not. You are a liar trying to make a point. It is not common behavior for gay men to grab strangers' tits because they feel entitled to.

Apparently in your head gay men are the step-n-fetchits. We need to be called out on our uppity, 'entitled' and 'very common' behavior.

by Anonymousreply 3111/05/2012

I'm old. I move in a social circle that is not varied, everyone's pretty much like me (white, middle class, straight). Anyone that touches me without consent (which would be, basically, anyone) would hear about it. No one gets a pass. I've never asked a gay friend for advice. I would never put myself in a position to take advice from someone I don't know. And I sure as HELL have never been clubbing. Thank God.

by Anonymousreply 3211/05/2012

R29,

Who cares if she's considered a grumpy dyke shrew for speaking up????!!!!! If she cares, she's hanging around the wrong circles.

Perhaps speaking up for yourself and weathering the fallout is part of growing up and voting with your feet. Get the hell away from assholes.

by Anonymousreply 3311/05/2012

^^ Now there's something you don't see everyday.

A lesbian who hates men. Go figure.

by Anonymousreply 3611/05/2012

any male that fascinated by tits and puss is NOT gay.

by Anonymousreply 3711/05/2012

Bi woman here, and a naturally very busty one. I would estimate that 75% of the time I am in male gay clubs (in a lesbian context, mind you, so I am not with a gaggle of straight women), I have had a gay man either fondle or ogle/compliment my tits. What the hell are you supposed to say? I just say thanks, but I am almost always uncomfortable. There is a certain level of crudity there.

by Anonymousreply 3811/05/2012

There's so much wrong with the basic premise of the article. First, the author would have no way of knowing if EVERY gay male in the room raised his hand. Second, the author is polling a bunch of college students - not normally considered bastions of etiquette or empathy - and extrapolating that out to represent a majority of all gay men. Third, the fact that women in gay clubs do the same sort of thing all the time is never even mentioned.

Are there pushy, entitled, tacky queens out there? Absolutely. Does this represent some sort of cross section of gay men everywhere? Not even close.

by Anonymousreply 3911/05/2012

[quote]What the hell are you supposed to say?

Hey guy, how long have you known that you're bisexual?

by Anonymousreply 4011/05/2012

I never give unsolicited fashion advice but SOME females give me unsolicited advice on how I should dress and do my hair. I find it very offensive. Some women used to feel my muscles and tug up my shirt without asking when I worked out. One woman even pulled my pants down AT A PARTY to see my ass. I think this definitely goes both ways, but it's important to note MOST straight/gay/bi men/women do NOT violate people in this way.

by Anonymousreply 4111/05/2012

Author of this piece is a male. I was mistaken.

by Anonymousreply 4311/05/2012

I don't know a single gay man who has any touchy-feely curiosity about any women's bits.

From my experiences, it's the women and their hen parties who are inappropriately touchy and make spectacles of themselves by ogling the gay men, groping and flirting and being just obnoxious overall. And getting my dick grinded against by a drunken chick's large butt is not my idea of fun. Sorry.

Only one solution: Women stay away from gay men's bars, please. Or if you have to go, compose yourselves accordingly.

by Anonymousreply 4411/05/2012

"I would estimate that 75% of the time I am in male gay clubs (in a lesbian context, mind you,"

Is this bullshit for "I was out with some gay friends"? Otherwise, what does it MEAN???

As a normal gay man, I have NO interest in groping a female of any size, shape or sexuality.

In fact, I'm not entirely happy with PDAs of any sort...

So this guy is basically saying that NO-ONE in his class was of that ilk?

by Anonymousreply 4511/07/2012

Believe it or not, some gay men don't pay attention to how women are dressed. I leave that to the women and their female friends. Why do so many assume that all or most gay men are interested in women in this way? It's just another limiting stereotype. A lot of gay men I know do not identify to this extent with women.

by Anonymousreply 4611/07/2012

Isaac Mizrahi grabbed Scarlett Johansson's tits on the red carpet. Anyone remember that? She was furious and called him out on it. Haha. I thought it was funny.

That said, I do think that article is mostly fictitious. Every single gay guy in class (what class would that be, I wonder, that's just teeming with gay men) sheepishly raising their hands to her stupid questions. C'mon, she's just setting up her thesis with a phony, lame story. And the female student who conveniently pipes up to say, "yes, yes, that happened to me---all of it. One guy I hardly know insulted my clothes, my make up.....and...and....he even squeezed my boobs, too." Such an obvious attention whore lying through her teeth.

Bah!

by Anonymousreply 4811/07/2012

I find it interesting that almost everyone assumed that the article was written by a woman.

by Anonymousreply 4911/07/2012

The title is very misleading, r49...

by Anonymousreply 5011/07/2012

[quote]Would they be less likely to assume that the author is a "lying attention whore" if they knew he was male? I'm guessing yes.

You must be new here.

by Anonymousreply 5211/07/2012

Trust me, this is not a widespread problem. Some people need to get a hobby.

by Anonymousreply 5311/07/2012

Thank you, OP, you must know we find fixing you EXHAUSTING'

by Anonymousreply 5411/07/2012

This happens to me frequently when I'm out at a gay club (on a lesbian night). I've had gay men come up to me, grab my ass, tits and they haven't even met me before. At a social gathering with friends, I was chatting with a female friend when a gay man in the group walks over and just places his hand on my breast without saying a word. I stopped mid sentence and my female friend smiled uncomfortably. I felt awkward and removed his hand saying "...yeah don't do that again." I don't know what makes them think they have the right to touch women like that with the excuse being they're gay and are so allowed to. If a straight man did it it would be labeled as assault but because a guys gay it's 'having fun'. I wouldn't go up to a stranger or any of my male friends and grab they're dicks.

by Anonymousreply 5511/07/2012
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