Now, this is an example of creating a false title as a lure; no, that’s not a serious question or any real thought of mine. Everybody knows that gay men on reality TV, as well as scripted TV, to a degree, are often caricatures. They are usually the most flamboyant, shallow, fashion-crazed, seemingly mean-spirited, stereotypical folks one could possibly find. After all, am I lying? One could definitely argue that the Fashion Queens, the RuPaul protégés and Housewives’ “pocket gay” minions/the remaining Bravo cabal fit that category in their own individual ways. But for some reason, the TV industry favors them, much to the chagrin of many in the LGBT community. Why are they so prominent? It’s because they make great TV.
Gays are no different than any other socioeconomic class. Along with that, such classes have their stereotypes for a reason—there’s truth to them. But among gay males, you will find all different personality types from the truck driver, to the intellectual, to the old-school dad type, to the familiar over-the-top showman that many in the general public assume all gays are like. That’s why I love shows like Noah’s Arc, 1 Girl, 5 Gays (before the cast renewal) and DTLA, as they give highly accurate portrayals of the social spectrum of LGBT. Extending from that, people are going to watch TV, especially reality TV, because they want a show. I won’t debate that bigger and more vibrant personalities put on the best or most memorable shows.
Mirroring the dark-skin vs. light-skin schism in the Black community (with brown-skinned folks lost in between), it’s similar amongst gays, specifically gay men: masc vs. fem with inbetweens or trangendereds—which is different—in the middle. Many gay men who describe themselves as masculine have a disdain for the more feminine types, feeling that they make gays as a whole look bad. It’s like an emasculation of sorts. They’re easily called “queens,” “fags/faggots,” “punks,” “sissies” or any other homophobic slur as a way to differentiate. ‘I’m a man—a real man. I don’t paint my nails, dresses, make-up, talking about Rihanna and all that shit.’ While such insecurity is never a good quality in a person…I get it.
I’m unsure of lesbian culture—well, let me elaborate. All I’m familiar with is the U-Haul pigeonhole of the women moving together soon after the first date, only for it to end and they move apart almost immediately after. I actually had a friend from high school who did that exact thing, the “U-Haul.” It’s sort of a rush into monogamy, which is the inverse of the clichéd gay men fucking and running with “monogamy” being nowhere in the dictionary. I chalk all of it up to male and female nature, only intensified with it being male-for-male and female-for-female. Throw your tomatoes and waste all you want, but I hold a lot of validity in that notion. Dig deep.
Restarting, I don’t know that much of lesbian culture, but among gay men, some of the more masculine types feel pressure by society to prove that they’re not them. A lot of the hetero community’s poor perception of the gay community is triggered by the portrayal in the media, and if you’re someone who knows no gay people and nothing about gay culture or anything, you could be left feeling some type of way. It’s like racism—it comes from ignorance. Well, such straight-acting gay will not, I repeat, not be lumped in with that group of punks. Therein lies a problem, and that’s why the same gays that they’re showing contempt for call them ‘self-loathing.’ The term doesn’t necessarily imply that this masc tool is hiding the inner femininity, but that this person isn’t fully happy with themselves. In the big picture, this man is no different than the homophobe who can’t even use religion as his excuse for hatred.
As you should tell by now, this entry is more about sociology and its paradigms than television itself. As on offset of my previous blog, it’s in reference to an exchange between me and this guy from Bravo’s The People’s Couch. Wait, wait…while editing this post, I’m just now realizing that BLAKE McIVER EWING is on there, and I didn’t even recognize him! What 90s kid doesn’t remember him from Little Rascals, Full House and everything else!
Okay, back to this.
Personally, my orientation is no different than my race and my ways are no different than my skin-tone, even though I’m a brown-skinned dude on the more masculine/geeky side, in case you’re wondering. In other words, it’s how I am and look, but not who I am. Well, I tweeted something in the tune of how the shallow end of the gay spectrum annoys me. Why? Because it does. It simply isn’t something that I understand nor am I into. Unlike this person, I’m not concerned about which character is wearing what and when. Not a big deal, huh? He’s into what he is, and I’m into what I am. But it’s the ubiquitous obsession with material or trivial things like that, and the borderline congressional debates that sometime follow that trigger my annoyance, among other things. In short—it’s not that serious.
The guy saw the tweet, and responded that I’ve only seen him for five minutes on TV and think that I know him, blah-blah-blah… Look, as y’all know, I’m heavy on Twitter. Tweets like this—combative—I dismiss with a quickness because I have neither the time, patience nor temper to even directly entertain it. It was a longer tweet, but all I caught was that first line of it. He has a right to defend himself or others if he felt attacked, yes. But at the same time, I have a right to that opinion. No, I don’t know him, but there are certain facets of both of my cultures that I don’t care for. So if I think what he said or portrayed was shallow, I think it’s shallow. Done. But I’m never going to call him shallow because, as he said, I don’t know him, something I never claimed to.
In summary, I don’t think there’s anyone out there who would want to watch characters that don’t entertain because after all, we’re drawn to the biggest personalities. It just so happens that the gayest of gays tend to provide that entertainment, for better or for worse. It’s not a good feeling to know that these personalities tend to serve as the face of your culture, much like the “angry black man,” but it’s what people seem to find entertaining, that they put on the best show. Personally, watching someone like me would get a little boring after a while. At the end of the day, one’s persona is just that, and if it’s not liked, there’s the remote.