THE LAIRD HOTEL’s Men on Men Art Competition: A Celebration of Masculinity (ugh/why/seriously?)

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Recently The Laird Hotel in Abbotsford, Victoria, ran its latest art competition. The winner was this piece entitled “Guys” by an Asian Australian gay guy named Andrew Li.

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Let’s start with the title of the competition: Men on Men Art Competition – A Celebration of Masculinity. Seriously The Laird Hotel! You couldn’t think of a better name for your competition? Or could you simply not resist buying into the modern gay man’s culture of homophobia? Pathetic really! Once again we have gay males with no understanding of the complexities of gender, no understanding of the homophobic ideologies that uphold concepts of “masculinity”, and no place representing the queer community, making idiotic language choices that only serve to perpetuate the very homophobia and stereotypes they always claim to be breaking.

So, whilst The Laird thinks it’s doing something lovely in celebrating “masculinity”, what it really is doing is celebrating a gender identity that, by its very nature, is homophobic at the core. (An abridged version of Kimmel’s incredibly convincing arguments regarding the inherent homophobia of masculinity can be found here, but I would encourage anyone with access to find his full treatment of the concept and read it at least ten times!).

Anyways, let’s move on, as this is not meant to be just an attack on The Laird, even though it remains a space where too many insecure gay men go to project their insecurities onto each other as they attempt to reclaim a sense of lost heteromasculinity by posing like “real blokes” behind a pot of beer and a flannel shirt. That shit may have been acceptable in the 70’s, but as modern queers we really need to be moving on from this adolescent self-hating model of manhood. Especially modern queers who like to pepper their language with such idiotic phrases as “contemporary masculinity”. 

On The Laird‘s website were the following appraisal’s of the piece by the so-called “judges”:

“I want to be in this picture. This piece is so unique, which is why it stands out. Couldn’t stop looking at it or the boys. Very Melbourne too. Loved that there’s a guy with a bear singlet!” James Findlay

“The standout! Strong image, very now.” David Hunt

“Great modern image of contemporary masculinity”. Mystery Judge

If by “very Melbourne” James Findlay means the gay males depicted in the piece are wearing the uniforms typical of today’s “masc drag” then yes, it is very Melbourne. In that sense I’d agree with David Hunt that the piece is “very now”. How you can read “contemporary masculinity” into the piece, as the “mystery judge” did, is anyone’s guess. The people in the image are signified as all male, but surely “contemporary masculinity” includes FTM trans men as well? Couldn’t get more contemporary than that. Although we must remember that the concept of trans men in the gay male community in Melbourne is still a very thorny subject, with many a transphobic gay male holding on to dear life to their self-delusional beliefs that their precious “gay spaces” must be reserved solely for those of us born with a penis (The Laird denies entry to female people and women regardless of gender identity). The point: don’t use terms you don’t understand! “Contemporary masculinity” deserves the inclusion of at least one FTM individual. And while The Laird’s website claims to attract a “masculine” crowd, I can assure everyone that the only gay men you will meet there are queens, or people so insecure about their gender expression they are bursting their appendix trying to “act masc” – and they never do a good job at it anyway.

In MCV: Melbourne Community Voice (which is the local, corporatised, politically diluted glossy gay rag that barely represents the voice of the community unless that voice is a mainstream LGBT cheerleader focused solely on gay marriage and HIV), states the following about the artwork:

“we feel its contemporary take on gay male culture is a representation of gay men that we don’t often see”. (p.6, 25 June 2014)

Again, I’m really not sure where these people come up with this sort of rubbish. The fact the gay males in the image are wearing the standard gay masc-drag uniform contradicts the idea that we rarely see this sort of representation of gay males. By the way, the person who wrote this for MCV was none other than one of the judges, James Findlay. James, sweetie, have ya not been out and about lately in Melbourne? Or are you one of those gays who sees a single fag in hot pants and glitter and immediately has a meltdown, screaming as you run for the hills “ALL THE GAYS LOOK THE SAME!!!!!!!!!!!! THEY’RE ALL TWINKS AND QUEENS!!!!!!!!! HELP!!!!!!!!” FACT CHECK: the image of gay men in glitter, hot pants, or Lady Gaga-ing it up is in steep decline these days. Time to stop pretending that the images of gay men portrayed in the above piece are anything other than the norm.

Li himself was quoted in the MCV piece as saying he wanted “to capture a greater sense of diversity in the drawing.” I commend the intention, but even though I can see he has tried to include some racial diversity in the image, I don’t think it was all that convincing. And then when you realise that The Laird is an intensely white establishment, this image and the award bestowed upon it seem to be more about creating warm fuzzies regarding social acceptance within the gay community, despite there being no actual diversity-acceptance to speak of. An Asian gay male can enter the premises at The Laird, but he will be one of the only Asian gay males there, and whilst he may be lucky enough to find some polite conversation (maybe someone will talk to him, but probably not), it won’t be long before he realises he is in a room full of white gays who overwhelmingly find only other whites attractive. One doesn’t need to be confronted with the words NO ASIANS in the Melbourne scene to know that Asians are not exactly considered to be catch of the day. And this aspect of the hotel is exaggerated in the extreme when it holds dance parties such as Thick ‘n’ Juicy, where the A-list white bears take over and invisibilise any patron of any colour, size, and shape, who doesn’t fit the following “contemporary masculine” trope: 

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(Want acceptance and attention in the gay world of Melbourne? Then you better make sure you look like one of these guys, otherwise you might as well fuck off and die.)

I applaud Li for making this piece, and I don’t begrudge him any attention or reward his artwork receives. I just think the “celebration” of diversity and the claim to “contemporary masculinity” by the judges are disingenuous coming as they do from places like The Laird that don’t actually support diversity or acceptance in practice (albeit unintentionally). They might mean to and want to but the reality is that places like The Laird and Sircuit remain dominantly white gay establishments, and will continue to remain so as long as the gay media like MCV continue to plaster white men and regurgitate white standards of beauty and thinking all over their publications.

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everyoneoffendsme:

endracismandhomophobia:

everyoneoffendsme:

endracismandhomophobia:

everyoneoffendsme:

endracismandhomophobia:

shetongrindr:

Do I look like I got time for this?

“I’m just stating what I like”, she says, after writing a list of what she DOESN’T LIKE. 

“Who am I disrespecting?” she says, after disrespecting older gay men and effeminate men.

“…u need to check your insecurities,” she says, which is a great line coming from someone too insecure to show her face.

I don’t know about you, but when I go to a restaurant, and the waiter comes up to take my order, I sit there for 15 minutes and read the entire menu like this: “I don’t want the chicken, I don’t want the oysters, I don’t want the squid, I don’t want the sweet potato, I don’t want the salmon, etc. etc”. 

Then, after I finish my meal, I tell the owner that their establishment looks old an.d camp, spit on the floor, and leave.

But, you know, I’m not being disrespectful or anything. It’s just how I show people what I like, and if you got a problem with that, then you need to deal with your insecurities.

I get the whole everyone’s beautiful and you shouldn’t put people down thing, but all I saw him doing is telling people in advance what he is not sexually into. It’s a hookup site, just because everyone is beautiful doesn’t mean he is required to want to bang all of them. If he wants to tell them he’s not into it all at once to save both himself and them the time and disappointment, I don’t see why he can’t. I doubt some old person or feminine man came by this page, felt personally insulted and wanted to slit their wrists because this one particular ass didn’t want to fuck them.

Also that menu analogy is horrible. Menu items don’t try to order you.

I usually don’t resort to name calling on here, preferring instead to use reason and logic to make my case, but in this instance I think I should make an exception and just call a spade a spade: you just sound like a massive, grade A asshole who lacks a basic understanding of respect and of the mediums modern gay men use to interact. It’s been such a long time since I’ve heard the flawed logic you just used that I’d actually forgotten there were still gays in this world who thought such basic-assed things. Furthermore, you should probably never again write the sentence “I get the whole everyone is beautiful and you shouldn’t put people down thing”, because clearly you don’t “get” that at all. There is no difference between saying ageist or femmephobic things on your profile and saying racist things on your profile. Despite your insane belief that these offensive profiles are just saving other people time (yeah because insulting groups of people is so helpful!) and that somehow an app used primarily (but not solely) for hooking up means normal ideas of respect and recognition of others are suspended, there is a growing number of queers who think it’s high time we treat our fellow queers with respect, courtesy, and sensitivity, instead of a long list of harsh, unrepentant NOT INTO’S. And whilst you don’t happen to think any older people (they’re not “old people”, they’re “older people” you cretin) or effeminate identifying people would be bothered by this profile, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be. I know everything I’ve just written will wash over you like water off a duck’s back because there’s never a point in attempting to reason with a complete bastard such as yourself, but I’m not responding for your sake. I’m responding so that anyone who happens to read the rubbish you just spat out can see there’s an alternative to your mean spirited sense of what’s acceptable and what’s not. And clearly, based on the likes this post has already received, it would seem most other people would agree with me.

So, what, if you’re not sexually attracted to someone on the basis of age, that makes you ageist? If you’re not sexually attracted to someone on the basis of them being overweight that makes you weightist? Sorry, not buying that. It’s like calling a gay man sexist for not being attracted to women. None of us can control our sexual preferences, and if I don’t think someone in their 60’s is sexy, that doesn’t make me ageist. It means I have a preference, and I have every right to not want to have sex with someone in their 60’s.

By your logic, the fact that there is even a gay hookup site to begin with would be offensive, because by it even existing, all they men are basically screaming “women, go away, ew, I don’t want to have sex with you” the same way it’s wrong to scream “75 year old dude, I don’t want to have sex with you”.

So, let’s say he didn’t have all that stuff on his profile. Someone who he doesn’t find attractive comes by and asks for a sexual encounter… Are you saying that if he doesn’t accept on the basis of not being attracted to someone because say, they’re not his preferred body type, he’s being anti-effeminate? He has to agree to the sexual encounter with a person he’s not attracted to in order to be correct?

Once again, not buying it. Doesn’t work that way. Just because everyone is beautiful doesn’t mean everyone has to find everyone else in the world sexually attractive in order to not be a bigot.

If you think my argument is “if you are not attracted to everyone, then there’s something wrong with you and you must be a bigot”, then you aren’t understanding what I’m writing. This is not about attacking people for having sexual preferences, even if we accept those “preferences” are usually the result of a racist/sexist/ageist system that conditions us all from birth to find a particular aesthetic more attractive than anything else. This is about using language that excludes and denigrates in our online profiles, even though the use of this language is redundant and unnecessary. If the profile above focused ON WHAT HE LIKED (and no, saying things like WHITES ONLY, MASC4MASC, REAL MEN ONLY is NOT acceptable either) in a positive way, there would be no problem. It’s really time for gays to start behaving in a respectful manner towards each other instead of being such major league arseholes in online spaces. All of the “logic” you think makes sense to your argument is deeply, deeply flawed. All of it. I’ve heard all of it before and addressed it thousands of times on my blog. You are basically arguing against me using examples that I agree with. For example, I agree with you that calling a gay man sexist for not being attracted to women is ridiculous. And similar examples I would also agree with. I’M TALKING ABOUT HOW UNNECESSARILY OFFENSIVE THIS PROFILE’S LANGUAGE IS, NOTHING MORE. Let me use another example: if a gay male wrote NO ASIANS on his profile, he would be unnecessarily offending Asian gay males who deal with a lot of exclusion in the gay community. Yet if the profile didn’t say NO ASIANS, and it’s creator received a message from an Asian, he could simply say “Thank you but no thanks”. Or he could just not respond. THE SAME THING HE WOULD DO IF A WHITE PERSON HE DIDNT FIND ATTRACTIVE SENT A MESSAGE. Get it? The language is unnecessary, and NOT using it causes the Grindr user no harm at all. But using that language does have the potential to cause harm to others. This is basic, basic, basic, basic shit here. I created a page called Gay School which addresses these issues and others, you should check it out. Here, I’ll make it easy for you, by providing you with this handy, easy-to-click link! http://endracismandhomophobia.tumblr.com/gayschool101

That would be much more polite. I agree. Didn’t even think about it that way. That and I fell into the trap of once again thinking everyone was being a ridiculous social justice warrior. I’ve got to start ignoring them. But seriously Tumblr is a place full of ridiculously extremist people. The way you explained it this time was perfect. You clarified that it’s not rude because he should find everyone beautiful and sexy, which is what many blogs on Tumblr actually WOULD be stupidly arguing, but that it’s rude because he could simply put up with people he’s not interested in soliciting him, and simply respond that he’s not interested, just like most well adjusted people actually do on dating sites and in real life. Totally, The only thing I will politely disagree with is the idea that the only reason we have sexual preferences is because of bigoted social standards. In nature, sex is used for making babies. Even if you argue that many animals have sex for pleasure, which is impossible to prove, when it boils down to it, the majority of animals pick mates based on traits they find attractive, which are usually the traits that seem on the outside like they will provide the best suited offspring for survival. I’m not going to use that to argue anything about any type of non-hetero sex being wrong, because that’s stupid. There are plenty of gay animals in the world as well as people, and in the end we really do a lot of things much differently from animals any way. In a lot of ways we are the same though. Many traits we find attractive in mates would have made sense in the old system. Fitness is stereotypically sexy because in the wild, strong children would have a higher chance of survival, and so on. Advanced age is stereotypically not sexy because it’s hard to have offspring with someone who is older, and if you do it’s likelier for their to end up being traits in the offspring that would make passing their genes on further more difficult. So, I’m not saying that we all should have sex to have offspring with the highest survival chances, or even to have offspring at all. In humanity, sex is mainly used for pleasure, and that’s perfectly natural, and really preferred at this point with the world being overpopulated, I’m saying that what each individual likes is probably genetic. Society never ingrained it in me to find really muscular women appealing. Seriously, I’m pretty sure they’ve been trying to defame them forever, and I knew the second I saw a female bodybuilder that it was aesthetically appealing. This is only a shallow example, but we are talking about shallow traits here, and while it’s not acceptable to base who you love on shallow things, we are mostly genetically programmed to get “turned on” by fairly shallow things. You have every right to believe this to not be true, that genetics does not determine what we find attractive and unattractive, that it’s really just society, and heck, you might be right, but I don’t personally think it’s likely. In the end, I feel that it’s both genetics and society, and which had the stronger influence depends on the person.

And I fell into the trap of losing my temper and calling you an arsehole instead of giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming your brain is just as good as anyone else’s. You’re right: so many crazy social justice warriors attacking people for the flimsiest of reasons on here makes us all overly defensive and close minded at times. If only we could enter these online spaces with open minds instead of always waiting to pounce. As for where you disagree, I would politely suggest you move away from theories of “in the wild things are like this” and “animals do certain things so therefore we humans are the same”. I’m not saying we humans are not animals at all, but we can’t ever take away the enormous impact our differing cultures have on the way we behave. This is where evolutionary psychologists come undone because they tend to universalise behaviours that are really just unique to a particular subcultural set, and they tend to superimpose behaviours of animals onto human behaviours as a means of universalising that which can never be universalised. The fact is, in the west, we are culturally conditioned from birth to find white male heterosexual masculine men more attractive than any other type of human – via the media of course. This plays an overwhelmingly enormous role in how we all behave sexually, even though we claim it to be “preference”. Furthermore, remember too that standards of beauty and aesthetics change over time and culture. A few hundred years ago being overweight was considered the height of attractiveness because it represented your wealth and status. That fact alone exposes your idea that we are “naturally attracted” to people who are fit as not really correct/defendable: standards of beauty change from culture to culture, and over time. Anyways, glad we are meeting on some common ground, if not totally common ground.

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budweiner:

foxxycleopatra:

“No fems. Bodybuilders only” says the white twink with a cheetah print tattoo

the second hand embarrassment is whats going to kill me

“The straighter the better”… This is what internalised homophobia looks like – a bottom boy demanding we all be “straight”.

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amenparis:

that liberation > equality post is so stupid

not only is it misleading because at first it looks like they’re saying LGBT people are greater than straight people but also the definition that the person gave underneath it is literally the very definition of equality that LGBT people want so what’s the point of making another, more pretentious, symbol when really it means the same thing

You’re referring to this post I made: 

http://endracismandhomophobia.tumblr.com/post/90341754942/flumoxxed-endracismandhomophobia-because

Just because you’ve not been able to understand what it means, and have completely misinterpreted what I’ve written, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Just means you don’t understand it at all.

There’s a big difference between assimilation and equality, and it’s really disturbing that you think I’ve just described equality by pointing out the distinct lack of equality the gay marriage movement is peddling. Nope!  

Assimilation has absolutely nothing to do with equality. Most queers, when offered a definition of assimilationist vs liberationist perspectives, will identify quickly with liberationist politics. But because of all the money being poured into the gay marriage movement by cashed up white middle class queers and corporations who want to look progressive, alternative, less well-funded but more ideologically robust and queer-focused politics are being drowned out of the conversation.

As a result, all younger queers hear about is gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage……..

The politics of the equality movement, however, have nothing to do with liberation and nothing to do with a better life for a majority of queer people. Just for those few cashed up mainly-white queers who want the privileges that marriage brings their particular socio-economic demographic. Assimilation into heterosexual institutions is a dirty concept when it comes to queer politics because it means giving up our culture in favour of adopting hetero culture – a culture that, at its core, functions to oppress queerness and women. All for the benefit of the few, not the many.

If you actually want to learn about it, then these links will help:

http://endracismandhomophobia.tumblr.com/post/81474658529/queer-liberationist-or-gay-assimilationist

www.againstequality.org

If, on the other hand, you can’t be fucked learning anything new, and think you know everything about everything already, then by all means continue to call my politics stupid.