Tick­ing ev­ery macho box

Si­mon Wil­liamson lives with his hus­band in het­eronor­ma­tively-as­sim­ila­tive fash­ion in Athens, af­ter a year of sur­viv­ing ru­ral Ge­or­gia.

GA Voice - - Voice - By Si­mon Wil­liamson

I typ­i­cally love it when sports stars come out, be­cause it shat­ters the myth that gay men are any­thing stereo­typ­i­cal and that, in fact, we are a many var­ied beast. Along with be­ing tal­ented in many are­nas his­tor­i­cally dom­i­nated by women, we’re ac­tu­ally pretty well rep­re­sented when it comes to ar­bi­trar­ily mas­cu­line pur­suits like shoot­ing guns and bring­ing home the ba­con and cook­ing things on an open flame (in­ci­den­tally, all of these pas­times fea­ture a long list of woman par­tic­i­pants, too).

And so my ears pricked up when the first ac­tive Bri­tish rugby player strode out of the closet this past week­end and an­nounced to a Bri­tish news­pa­per that in­deed he en­joyed man-love.

It wasn’t easy for him, he told the pa­per. “I had a wife and kids. I’ve been a builder, door­man, worked in fac­to­ries—I play rugby. I tick “The new golden age of tele­vi­sion, made pos­si­ble by tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment, media in­no­va­tion, and the pro­lif­er­a­tion of plat­forms and out­lets for sto­ries, must in­clude ‘Bob’s Burgers’ in its canon.” ev­ery macho box. How could I be gay?” Hmmm, I thought. Lit­er­ally none of those ac­tiv­i­ties ex­empts you from be­ing gay, be­cause be­ing gay has as much to do with mar­ry­ing women and be­ing macho as Cher has with ag­ing.

Of course the young man’s as­sump­tions are not his fault. He is a vic­tim of a world in which “I tick ev­ery macho box” is a great in­di­ca­tor of how fucked up greater so­ci­ety’s at­tach­ment to typ­i­cal gen­der roles is. Typ­i­cal male be­hav­ior is ac­tu­ally an ab­surd and ar­bi­trary stan­dard by which we make young men live, and carve them into the shapes we want. When a penis-bear­ing per­son chooses not to par­take in such typ­i­cal be­hav­iors, a large por­tion of the world we in­habit has ab­so­lutely no idea what to do with him.

And it means that young men ev­ery­where are be­ing pun­ished for not be­hav­ing in the cor­rect way, and end up in mar­riages they hate, bound into fam­i­lies they may not have wanted, main­tain­ing the pres­sure of keep­ing their sex­ual pref­er­ence or gen­der in­con­gru­ence a se­cret. All be­cause of, and I keep us­ing the word, ar­bi­trary rules we have set for how men should act.

I once saw for­mer San Fran­cisco 49ers coach Jim Har­baugh say on TV that football was one of the few re­main­ing parts of the world that taught boys how to be men. This in­sipid, vac­u­ous phi­los­o­phy is a great sum­mary of just how im­be­cilic the def­i­ni­tion of mas­culin­ity is: a game where you bash each other, chas­ing a tes­ti­cle-shaped ball, is what makes peo­ple men? By that stan­dard, beat­ing your wife will make your cock big­ger.

No, “be­ing a man” is fun­da­men­tally a ridicu- lous con­cept, and gives no fig for any­one that doesn’t fit into the pre-planned des­tiny de­ter­mined by the bulge in his pants. It also as­sumes that ev­ery­one with a bulge in their pants is a man, and ev­ery­one with­out one is a woman—a fun­da­men­tally flawed and trans­pho­bic con­cept. As flawed as “the best man is a macho man.”

Which leads us di­rectly to why a man could be sur­prised that he could want a cock up his bum even though he “ticks ev­ery macho box.”

“Macho” does not equal “not gay.” Play­ing rugby or football does not make you im­mune to ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity. Mar­ry­ing women doesn’t make it go away, nor does work­ing in a fac­tory or be­ing a door­man or liv­ing in a con­ser­va­tive town. None of these things make the gay­ness go away. How do we know this? We’ve all fucked peo­ple who tried them.

“Typ­i­cal male be­hav­ior is ac­tu­ally an ab­surd and ar­bi­trary stan­dard by which we make young men live, and carve them into the shapes we want. When a penis-bear­ing per­son chooses not to par­take in such typ­i­cal be­hav­iors, a large por­tion of the world we in­habit has ab­so­lutely no idea what to do with him.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.