Editors' Note: Guest blogger Grace Chu lives in New York City, and she is the editor-in-chief of lesbian humor and culture blog Grace The Spot and a staff writer at AfterEllen. She likes penguins.
I've been hit with deadline after deadline, so it was only today that I could respond to this article on Gawker, "Marc Jacobs Is the Best Thing Ever to Happen for Gay Liberation." The thrust of the article is that convincing straight people to love the more flamboyant and outlandish elements of the gay community is essential for the gay rights movement. Agreed. But then comes this paragraph, replete with that tired "we are not like them" canard that (some) gays continue to perpetuate:
The great sham of the gay movement is that it is trying to convince the hetero society that we are just like them. Sure, there are many gay men and women living boring lives in the suburbs trying to raise some babies, but still, we are not like them. We will never be like them, and trying to hide it is only going to make them suspect us and hate us even more. So, instead of putting on a stuffed suit, let's all grab one of Jacobs' skirts and head out on the town. When the world gets used to the faggiest of the tribe, getting them to vote for the rights of Uncle Boyd down the street is going to be a snap.
That paragraph presupposes that people like this Uncle Boyd character are the norm in heteroville. Uncle Boyd is an artificial construct, much like the Cleavers in Leave It To Beaver. Back in the 1950's and 1960's, life was more like the world portrayed in Mad Men. You know what I think? Ward Cleaver was probably attempting to emulate Don Draper at any chance he was away from the missus (but most likely with less success) while June Cleaver was home popping barbiturates. Wally Cleaver was kind of a pimp, so he probably convinced a couple of girls to blow him under the bleachers during homecoming.
See, the great sham is that hetero society is still in denial that they are fundamentally every bit as outlandish and ridiculous and hormonal as the "faggiest of the tribe." Take one look at any magazine stand nowadays and you'll see that hooch-zilla Bombshell McGee, you know, the one who had the affair with Sandra Bullock's hubby, a man who is 51 years old and still likes running around doing wheelies on tricycles. What about Tiger Woods and his jizz-covered cell phone? What about former president Bill Clinton and his cigar a la creme? What about the germ-ridden casts of any given MTV reality show? Or any given rap video? If straight people were to suddenly turn into a sea of Uncle Boyds, the entire media and entertainment industry would collapse, no one would go to Mardi Gras, and people would suddenly remember that St. Patrick's day is a Catholic holiday and they would head to church instead of the pub.
This is not to say that every straight person is an uncontrollable pill popping lothario. I'm sure that most straight people - like most gays and lesbians - would not live a Girls/Boys Gone Wild lifestyle even if given unlimited sums of money and freedom. It's simply too tiresome to keep that up. But every person - gay and straight - has a little bit of "gone wild" in them. Every person wants to buck squeaky clean middle class social conventions from time to time. Otherwise films like Office Space and Old School wouldn't exist. Humans are animals too, and animals don't like to be kept in cages or cubicles. Every so often, the animal must come out.
But when it comes to bucking "nice" middle class social conventions, gay people have a pass. When a gay man who wears a suit on the weekdays puts on a skirt and dances with glow sticks to house music as go go boys writhe on the bar on the weekends, straight people think it's normal. "Ohhhh... he's gay," they say. Of course, this stems from the idea that gays exist outside of the norm and are weirdos, but this prejudice does lead to the unintentional result of gays being able to express themselves more freely than straights in certain limited situations.
Sometimes, straight people are more likely to be subjected to public flogging when they are caught doing something deemed unsavory by the populace. When Paul Reubens a/k/a Pee Wee Herman was caught jacking off to a showing of Nancy Nurse in an adult theater, all hell broke loose, even though no one was harmed. Before George Michael came out, he was arrested in a Los Angeles public bathroom for engaging in a lewd act with an undercover cop, and the media went wild. But ever since he came out, he has admitted that he does cruise for anonymous sex and that his partner is ok with it, and no one even bats an eye. Shouldn't straight people have this freedom too?
Listen, straight people. Learn to accept and love yourselves. You are just as expressive and whimsical and fun loving as gay people. You, just like gay people, sometimes have the desire to do socially unacceptable things. Of course, socially unacceptable does not always mean harmful, so we are all for straight people being allowed to do unharmful socially unacceptable things. (But quit it with the harmful things. We're looking at you, Tiger Woods. Go team Elin!) We're not going to judge you; we'll simply just look away and say, "Oh, those darn straight people..."
The sooner you learn to accept and love yourselves - every wild, filthy, and convention-busting part of yourselves - the more you will realize that you are just like us, and that we are just like you. (And to you gay people who insist that straight people are not like us - you simply just don't know that many straight people.)
So, let's hear it! Straight liberation now!
(Crossposted at the Huffington Post)